Anti-War

Syria May Prove America’s True Character

The situation in Syria has become something of a fascinating study in the distinction between the principles of politics versus the principles of morality; and, strange as it sounds, it may be the thing that reminds Americans who we are as a people and what we will - and will not - accept from humanity living outside our borders.

The seriousness of potential war — especially one tied to images of children dying while foaming at the mouth — has a not-so-funny way of shining a light on just how shallow ideological passion can be. The libertarians and the traditional liberals are adamant that we stay out of the conflict; the more progressive (those who support Obama and generally the anti-war crowd) Democrats and the neoconservative hawks seem to be aligned in thinking that we must defend the red line President Obama drew in the sand. (Although now he’s insisting it wasn’t his red line at all…).

In short, there seems to be no easy partisan divide on whether we act or shutter the windows and wait for the fall out. But if this makes you uncomfortable, David Freddoso has an excellent piece in yesterday’s Conservative Intelligence Briefing on why it shouldn’t:

It would be rather disappointing to see Democrats who typically oppose all wars vote in favor of this one just to save a president’s rear end.  It would be dispiriting to think (as many liberal pundits have suggested) that conservatives are only breaking against this war because Obama is president.

And sure, there’s probably some of that going on here, especially among the public — a great deal of partisanship out there, one might say. But in fact, both characterizations are misleading, especially when it comes to elected officials.

An Open Letter from a (small-l) libertarian to the Libertarian Party: This Is Your Last Chance

I want to love the Libertarian Party. I really do. It’s the only political party out there that is anywhere close to my beliefs. I cannot stand the Democrats’ Keynesian social welfare malarkey, which ruins our economy, keeps folks from getting jobs, basically makes people dependent on the government, and is run on absolutely no logic whatsoever. Conversely, I cannot stand the Republicans’ social conservatism BS, which oppresses gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, Muslims, pagans, atheists (and agnostics), Hispanics, immigrants, marijuana users and, to an extent, women. I can’t stand either party’s foreign policy, or their joint support of such idiotic civil liberty destroying things such as our current national security state or the war on drugs. Only the Libertarian Party has a platform that I fully (or near as fully as anyone can) support.

But regrettably, the Libertarian Party hasn’t had a lot of success. This is understandable; we are unfortunately stuck on a rather ridiculous plurality vote system that became obsolete in the middle of the 20th century, an archaic throwback to a far more simpler time when the entire electorate was comprised of a bunch of old white landowners (all men, natch.) In our current system, it is nearly impossible for a third party to get success anywhere, though there are examples where they do (notably at the governor level, including, this last time around, Rhode Island.)

Remember This on Memorial Day…

Memorial Day is a holiday that most Americans take for granted. They enjoy the unofficial start of summer by making their first pilgrimage to the beach or by celebrating in the backyard with a barbecue. It is a joyous occasion where people relax, eat, drink, soak up the sun and hang out with friends. But the majority of Americans don’t even realize why they have the day off from work.

A few Americans actually follow the spirit of the federal holiday and remember those who have died “defending” their freedom in wars waged by the U.S. Government. Unfortunately, the list who have died fighting and dying at the behest of politicians is still growing longer everyday. Those names of the dead and maimed are continually added to the over 1.3 million who’ve already died and to the other 1.5 million who have been wounded fighting under the banner of Old Glory.

But does any citizen really understand why the 2.8 million fellow Americans were killed or wounded fighting in wars waged by the U.S. Government?  Most people believe that all the wars the U.S. has fought have been to make the “world (including the U.S. homeland) safe for Democracy? But when you delve deeper beyond the patriotic propaganda of why the wars were truly waged in the past and continue to be waged in the present you begin to find a disturbing pattern of why the United States Government goes to war. We should all remember on this Memorial Day that the wars that the United States of America has waged, have been waged not to protect our freedom but to enrich a very few at the expense of the very many.

War: Who Profits and Who Pays?

War is a violent competition between two Governments to determine who will make the laws, levy the taxes, and regulate the behavior of individuals within a given geographic area.

War is ugly. It is brutal. It is about killing others until they submit. There is nothing more serious in the world than the taking of another individual’s life.  It is the most grave of businesses. And If you believe in Natural Rights and the Principles of Individualism it should only be conducted as a defensive act against an aggressing Government.

Unfortunately, today like in the past war is looked upon not as a grave business but business as usual for the United States Government.

Today, the United States Government has military personnel on 900 installations around the world and over a trillion dollars of taxpayer money is used to fund the wars overseas and the continued “projection” of military power around the world. This is all done for the production of security for the American people. We are told by the propagandists inside and outside of the United States Government that we are all safer because of the endless war in Afghanistan, the continued military presence in Iraq, and the continued military drone assassinations of individuals deemed “terrorists” across the world. Then are also told that it is  our moral imperative to kill warlords like Kony in Uganda, to help oust dictators like Assad in Syria and help kill dictators like Gaddafi in Libya so rebels could take over the reigns of government and bring about democratic reforms (which is usually code word for socialism). We are told that this is in the big scheme of things being done to protect “American Interests” overseas which in turn benefits all of us at home.  Which in reality is a lie perpetrated by the government and its allies in the media to benefit itself and the few who profit when it goes to war.

The myth of the “anti-war” left (and right)

As President Obama laid out his case for intervention in Libya (and really, almost anywhere) some remarked, on Twitter and on blogs, that his speech was the best one George W. Bush ever gave.  The implication was that Obama’s justification for aggressive action paralleled Bush’s almost to the word - wherever people are “yearning to be free”, the United States must be on the side of the yearners.  It is a frighteningly broad criteria for making war, because, let’s face it - most of the world is not free, in fact massively so.  Can we possibly take sides everywhere some are oppressed?

Given the actions of the left during the Bush presidency and the Iraq War, it would then not be irrational to expect widespread demonstrations and protests.  Surely Code Pink, MoveOn, et al would hold rallies and vigils against a truly unjustified military action that put our troops at risk for no good purpose.  After all, we can’t just go about shooting missiles everywhere, right?

Yet the so-called “anti-war” left is mostly silent, with few exceptions.  Surely this is a double standard, but it should not surprise anyone in the least.  The left has fashioned itself as being entirely in favor of intervention in every other aspect of life, from our choice of light bulbs to whether or not we choose to buy health insurance.  So for what logical reason would they have any deep opposition to intervening abroad?  The fact is, the left has never been and never will be truly anti-war.

Standing up for principles isn’t a conservative position apparently

As a libertarian, I’m obviously a fan of Ron Paul.  I don’t agree with everything he says, but I think he brings up some valid points.  He’s also known for sticking to his principles.  Because of this, the Young Americans for Freedom have “purged” him from their advisory board due to his anti-war stance.

From the group’s press release:

(Washington DC – 2/12/11) The National Board of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF)—America’s oldest conservative-libertarian activist group—has, per curium, voted to purge Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) from YAF’s National Advisory Board.

YAF’s concern with Rep. Paul stems from his delusional and disturbing alliance with the fringe Anti-War movement.

“It is a sad day in American history when a one-time conservative-libertarian stalwart has fallen more out of touch with America’s needs for national security than the current feeble and appeasing administration,” said YAF’s Senior National Director Jordan Marks.

Paul, who had served on the YAF Advisory Board for more than two decades, was awarded with YAF’s highest honor, the Guardian of Freedom award, an honor Rep. Paul has touted on his biography for many years. Only a decade ago, Dr. Paul praised YAF’s work on the House floor. Paul called YAF’s founding document, the Sharon Statement “a great document explicating the philosophy of freedom.”

The Sharon Statement, clearly states: “American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?”

Obama, once the anti-war candidate, now fully embraces the Bush doctrine of preemptive unilateral war

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Democrats swept into control of both houses of Congress in the 2006 elections on a wave of discontent with the Iraq war and then-President Bush’s foreign adventurism. President Obama campaigned over the next two years as the explicitly anti-war candidate. He was the only Democrat running who had opposed the war in Iraq, though he wasn’t in Congress to have to vote for it at the time. Now President Obama is explicitly embracing the Bush doctrine of preemptive war to pretend he has authority to unilaterally attack the ISIS forces in Iraq.

On Wednesday evening, Obama made a primetime address to the nation to explain the strategy against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, which he said he didn’t have last week. In the address and an interview on Meet the Press the Sunday before, he said he already has the authority to pursue that strategy, which John Yoo, a former Bush administration official who literally wrote the memo on Bush’s war powers, says is exactly the same as Bush’s.

Rand Paul’s foreign policy speech upsets anti-war activists

Rand Paul

On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) gave a speech on foreign policy at the Heritage Foundation, which is likely the most well known conservative think tank in the movement.

This was a significant event. The Heritage Foundation has been known for its aggressive foreign policy views. Dare I say that it would have been unthinkable five or six years ago to have someone like Sen. Paul — the son of former Rep. Ron Paul, who is know for his anti-war views — speaking at such a prominent institution.

As he explained in the speech, Sen. Paul was trying to present a “middle path” on the issue, one that stressed a reasoned, fiscally responsible approach. Unfortunately, the reaction to the speech has been met with negative and, in some cases, outright contempt.

While most of the comments border on the absurd, John Glazer at Antiwar.com has one of the more straightforward critiques of Sen. Paul’s speech:

Paul suggested the United States reapply its Cold War strategies of engagement, aggression, and containment to the 21st century’s version of a Soviet threat: “Radical Islam.”

Cartoon of the Day: What happened to the anti-war left?

During George W. Bush’s presidency, anti-war activists were out in force to protest the policies expansive foreign policy views and trampling of civil liberties protected by the Constitution. But during they’ve been oddly silent during the Obama Administration, despite unilateral war in Libya and drone strikes in foreign countries that have killed scores of innocent people.

While there are some groups — such as AntiWar.com — that are working to hold politicians accountable for their actions, the folks at NoodleDoodles came up with this cartoon that pretty much sums up the state of the anti-war movement in the age of Obama:

Anti-War Left

Punk rock is (politically) dead

NOFX

Just after the election, I ran across an interesting post by Mark Judge over at Acculturated titled, “Punk Rock’s Moment.” Growing up listening to and playing in a punk rock band, the post got my attention.

With punk rock’s anti-authority roots, Judge explains that this community “has an opportunity to become relevant again,” in light of President Obama’s re-election:

Punk is often considered an anarchic or at least liberal art form, but politically it has been all over the map. Most famously there was Johnny Ramone, the right-wing guitarist for the Ramones. And while the famous Washington, D.C., harDCore scene, once lead by Fugazi, was–is?–full of left-wing activism, the “straight edge” philosophy of some of the band–no booze no drugs–could almost be considered monastic. The Replacements was always more about parties and poetry than elections.

Arguably the greatest satirical punk band of all time was the Dead Kennedys. To be sure, the band and especially its leader Jello Biafra are not Republicans; Biafra, a Green Party member, was last seen at an Occupy event in New York City. But in its prime, the DKs did something that liberal artists these days seem incapable of: they questioned their own beliefs. In songs like “Hop with the Jet Set” and “Where Do Ya Draw the Line?” the group second-guessed left-wing dogma. It mocked celebrity worship. It expressed healthy self-deprecation. And it did so in a style of high literacy and humor. Hearing the DKs today makes Green Day sound like Britney Spears.


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