Irresponsible US Intelligence Practices Destroy Real Lives

Thomas McGarvey, who submitted this to UL, is a writer living in East Africa.

As an American expat living in East Africa, I have been amazed at how actively involved the US Drug Enforcement Administration is in these parts. I never imagined that a sub-saharan country like Kenya would be seen as warranting its own DEA office, but it does.

The amount of illegal drugs being routed to the United States via Africa is extremely small. Most drugs on the continent are routed through Western African countries, and most of these drugs are destined for European markets. So it is safe to say that the amount of illegal drugs entering the US through the East African Community is probably less than 1/100th of 1 percent. Yet, the DEA is here. Why?

The most obvious reason can be attributed to law-enforcement support the US regularly provides to allies like Kenya in enforcing its own laws and also in dealing with challenges like the Al-Shabaab terrorist organization strongly present in Somalia— Kenya’s troubled neighbor to the north.

Through this support network, the US government has established an elaborate, well-funded, and intricate web of “busy-bodies” that stretches around the globe. And this intelligence community scoops up any information that is thought to be of interest to itself or its allies. The problem arises when this information is wrong and is publicized (either by accident or design). When this happens, the lives and reputations of innocent people can be harmed or destroyed.

Recently, I met one victim, whose story is a tragic example of Big Brother’s overzealous and sometimes irresponsible intelligence-gathering and sharing practices.

Shades of Red

I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.  I think conservatism is really a misnomer, just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals… The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom, and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is. -President Ronald Reagan

The past two general election cycles have been bleak for the Republican Party. Looking  back on its celebrated rise from near irrelevancy in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, it becomes clear that 1994 was a peak rather than a new beginning.  When Newt Gingrich, Jim Babka and PNAC took control of the GOP from what was left of the Goldwater/Reagan conservatives, it marked the beginning of the end.

Missing in action: Bush-era antiwar activists have rubber stamped Obama’s foreign interventionism

In 2002, Barack Obama, then an unknown Illinois state senator, gave an impassioned speech at the Federal Plaza in Chicago in which he blasted the Bush administration’s plans for war in Iraq.

“I don’t oppose all wars,” he declared. “What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.” He blistered Bush administration officials, calling the looming war in Iraq one “based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.”

Obama’s speech was just one small part of the wave of antiwar activism that swept the country over the next several years. Protesters demanded an end to the war, often accusing President George W. Bush and members of his administration of war crimes and comparing them to Nazis.

By 2005, as American causalities began to mount, public opinion began to shift against the war in Iraq. The souring mood is largely the reason Republicans lost the 2006 mid-term election, handing control of Congress to Democrats and setting the stage for the rise of antiwar presidential candidate.

Obama, who by this time was a U.S. senator, had continued to speak out against the war in Iraq and used his opposition to his advantage. Most of his primary opponents — including Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, and John Edwards  — voted for the 2003 authorization for the use of military force against Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Libertarians are the new what?

Don’t you just love it when people who don’t really understand your ideology decide to pontificate on just what is wrong with it?  Well, that’s what happened over at Bloomberg when Nick Hanauer and Eric Liu took to the bandwidth to announce that libertarians are the new communists.

Oh yes, you read that right:

Most people would consider radical libertarianism and communism polar opposites: The first glorifies personal freedom. The second would obliterate it. Yet the ideologies are simply mirror images. Both attempt to answer the same questions, and fail to do so in similar ways. Where communism was adopted, the result was misery, poverty and tyranny. If extremist libertarians ever translated their beliefs into policy, it would lead to the same kinds of catastrophe.

This just tickles me because it comes from two progressives.  You know, progressives: the guys who have given us the non-recovery from the worst financial crisis since the great depression?  But catastrophe will follow if our policies were implemented?

Funny, if complete BS:

Let’s start with some definitions. By radical libertarianism, we mean the ideology that holds that individual liberty trumps all other values. By communism, we mean the ideology of extreme state domination of private and economic life.

Some of the radical libertarians are Ayn Rand fans who divide their fellow citizens into makers, in the mold of John Galt, and takers, in the mold of anyone not John Galt.

Way to completely miss the point on Ayn Rand’s works.

United States conducts airstrikes in Somalia

The Washington Post reported late last night that the United States had launched airstrikes targeting militants in Mogadishu, Somalia:

A U.S. drone aircraft fired on two leaders of a militant Somali organization tied to al-Qaeda, apparently wounding them, a senior U.S. military official familiar with the operation said Wednesday.

The strike last week against senior members of al-Shabab comes amid growing concern within the U.S. government that some leaders of the Islamist group are collaborating more closely with al-Qaeda to strike targets beyond Somalia, the military official said.

The airstrike makes Somalia at least the sixth country where the United States is using drone aircraft to conduct lethal attacks, joining Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. And it comes as the CIA is expected to begin flying armed drones over Yemen in its hunt for al-Qaeda operatives.

When is enough actually enough

So.  We find ourselves smack dab in the middle of yet another war.  Damn, we’re good at that, aren’t we?  This time, we’re doing it at the behest of the United Nations, which is operating under a new principle called “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) that the UN is using to justify involvement in Libya.  It sounds great and very humanitarian and all that, but at what point does it get to be to much?

Bruce McQuain at Hot Air, asks:

Do we intervene in Sudan or the Congo?  Ivory Coast?  And if not, why not?  None of them, like Libya, put our core national interests at stake.  But all certainly fit the new R2P principle.  How about Bahrain and Yemen?  Nepal?

Instead, what we see here is precisely what the left has decried for years – the US along with others who can afford it and are willing to do it –agreeing to police the world.  However, in this case, it would be at the behest of the UN.  We are agreeing that the UN can determine when and where we commit our military forces simply by invoking this principle.  Invoke R2P and, by our precedent in Libya, we agree to respond.

This is far and away different than case by case agreements among member nations to intervene with peace keeping troops in troubled areas around the world.  This is a “principle” that Moon says is a “new international security and human rights norm” apparently is interpreted as a “right” to intervene with military force.

Funny – I don’t remember us agreeing to this “new norm”, do you?  Did we negotiate and sign a treaty saying all of this?  Or did we just hand over our power to make sovereign decisions concerning the use of our military to a world body?

George Will: No intervention in Libya

While many neoconservatives are pratically begging for us to intervene in Libya, George Will once again presents himself as the voice of reason:

[S]ome Washington voices are calling for U.S. force to be applied, somehow, on behalf of the people trying to overthrow Moammar Gaddafi. Some interventionists are Republicans, whose skepticism about government’s abilities to achieve intended effects ends at the water’s edge. All interventionists should answer some questions:

Zimbabwe “Collapses”

The United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs stated Thursday that the country of Zimbabwe has “collapsed” and is on the verge of descending into Somalia-like social chaos. Zimbabwe, more-so than pretty much any other nation, is the antithesis of traditional American values of the rule of law, stable money, private property, free-markets, and individual free-will. Since assuming power decades ago, the dictatorial leader Robert Mugabe has taken a once relatively prosperous and stable south African nation and destroyed pretty much everything a government can possibly destroy.

Is Obama Anti-war?

Somehow the Democratic Party is conceived by many as the anti-war party.

Despite a history of foreign interventions occurring during all of the last four Democratic administrations (in which even the Nobel Peace Prize winning President Jimmy Carter armed the Mujahideen in Afghanistan), the overt hawkishness of the Bush Administration has resulted in a perception of the Democrats as doves. This is aided by remarks such as those by Speaker Nancy Pelosi referring to Iraqis as “all God’s children” and the fact that both the current Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, and the chair of the DNC, Howard Dean, opposed the Iraq war from the beginning.

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