In light of what has gone on in the Middle East in the last week, the United States now has, as Rep. Ron Paul explains at The Hill, an opportunity to take a look at our foreign policy before we make yet another mistake by getting involved in Syria:
The attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya and the killing of the U.S. ambassador and several aides is another tragic example of how our interventionist foreign policy undermines our national security. The more the U.S. tries to control the rest of the world, either by democracy promotion, aid to foreign governments, or by bombs, the more events spin out of control into chaos, unintended consequences, and blowback.
Unfortunately what we saw in Libya this week is nothing new.
In 1980s Afghanistan the U.S. supported Islamic radicals in their efforts to expel the invading Soviet military. These radicals became what we now know as al-Qaeda, and our one-times allies turned on us most spectacularly on September 11, 2001.
Iraq did not have a significant al Qaeda presence before the 2003 U.S. invasion, but our occupation of that country and attempt to remake it in our image caused a massive reaction that opened the door to al Qaeda, leading to thousands of US soldiers dead, a country destroyed, and instability that shows no sign of diminishing.
The anti-war movement has all but disappeared. You would think that with both major party conventions coming up, they would take the opportunity to demonstrate, especially with the media being concentrated at the conventions. However, there are no plans to demonstrate and in fact you don’t hear a whole lot about the war in Afghanistan anymore. Short of putting Cindy Sheehan’s face on a milk carton, we really need to find where the anti-war movement has gone because 2,000 American soldiers have now died in Afghanistan. If war was bad when George W. Bush was president, why isn’t it bad now that Barack Obama is in the Oval Office?
Not only has Obama expanded the war in Afghanistan and kept Bush’s Iraq withdrawal timeline; he even started a new war in Libya. Plus, the Obama administration appears to heading down the road to war with both Syria and Iran. Obviously, the wars have not stopped. American soldiers have not stopped dying overseas and drone strikes certainly haven’t stopped all over the world. Why has the press and so-called anti-war activists ignored the ongoing wars?
The only unfortunate conclusion to make is that the anti-war movement were either at best pawns of the Democratic Party or they really don’t have a problem with war in general, but only with wars launched by Republican presidents. This isn’t just a phenomenon confined to the left, because the right only generally believe in limited government when a Democrat is president. All this means is that when a Republican is elected president and decides to go to war, it will be easy to dismiss war opponents as partisan hacks. It will be just a way to silence debate and opposition by the War Party.
Somewhat lost in the fray over the disappointing ObamaCare decision was the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Stolen Valor Act, a law passed in 2006 that made it a crime for anyone to lie about receiving a medal or decoration.
But in a 6 to 3 decision on released on Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down the law on First Amendment grounds:
In United States v. Alvarez, No. 11-210, a highly anticipated First Amendment case, the Court held six to three that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional. The Stolen Valor Act, 18 U.S.C. § 704, makes it a federal crime to lie about having received a military decoration or medal, punishable by up to a year in prison if the offense involved the military’s highest honors. The key issue in this case is whether knowingly false statements of fact – made without any apparent intent to defraud – are a protected form of speech, and if so, what level of protection they deserve.
Charles Sipe is Executive Editor of Criminal Justice Degree Schools where he manages news coverage of the latest topics in the criminal justice field. He is also a graduate of University of Washington and US Army basic training.
A groundswell of opposition and concern has risen regarding the growing military use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to attack suspected terrorists overseas which has included American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki last fall. The idea of faceless killer machines flying overhead is no longer a figment of science fiction. Earlier this year, Congress approved the use of drones in U.S. airspace that could lead to the widespread proliferation of drones above U.S. soil. The following infographic provides some important facts that you should know about military drones.
Infographic by Criminal Justice Degree Schools
Earlier this week, I noted that Mitt Romney had taken a view of presidential war powers that was even more troubling than that of President Barack Obama, who had taken part in a bombing campaign of Libya without congressional approval. Romney told Bob Schieffer, host of Face the Nation, that he didn’t need authorization from Congress to go to war with Iran.
For all the recent talk from our conservative friends about executive overreach by President Obama, Romney comments are perhaps even more startling given the potential consquences of unilaterally going to war with Iran, both from constitutional and foreign policy perspectives. And even though he has endorsed him, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) isn’t happy with Romney’s recent declaration:
I do not yet know if I will find a Romney presidency more acceptable on foreign policy. But I do know that I must oppose the most recent statements made by Mitt Romney in which he says he, as president, could take us to war unilaterally with Iran, without any approval from Congress. His exact words were:
I can assure you if I’m president, the Iranians will have no question but that I will be willing to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I don’t believe at this stage, therefore, if I’m president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.
This is a misreading of the role of the president and Congress in declaring war.
Last year, many libertarians and conservatives criticized President Barack Obama for involving the United States in air campaigns in Libya to oust Moammar Gadhafi, the country’s dictator, without congressional approval. The Obama Administration claimed the authority to bomb Libya through an alarming interpretation of executive power that they said derived the War Powers Resolution and, thus, did not need approval from Congress. Interestingly enough, two of Obama’s top advisers warned that involving the United States in Libya would require congressional approval. Their advice was ignored.
It appears now that Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has taken a page out of Obama’s book by claiming in an interview on Face the Nation that he could go to war with Iran, a frequent target of neo-conservatives, without congressional approval. Here is the revelant quote (emphasis mine):
Was D-Day the beginning of a heroic crusade to “Free Europe” or was it a pyrrhic victory for the United States? Did the collectivism that grew at home during World War II help save our liberty or destroy it?
Today marks the 68th anniversary of the invasion of fortress Europe by Allied forces, better known as “D-Day.” On that day 156,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. Over 4,000 of them were killed and another 6,000 were wounded. On the German side it is estimated that 4,000-9,000 German soldiers were killed and wounded. Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the fight. But that is just the beginning of the story of the Battle of Normandy.
Today, twenty-seven war cemeteries hold the remains of over 110,000 dead from both sides: 77,866 German, 9386 American, 17,769 British, 5002 Canadian and 650 Poles. Between 15,000 and 20,000 French civilians were killed, mainly as a result of Allied bombing. Thousands more fled their homes to escape the fighting.
The men who died on those beaches deserve to be commended. If you want an accurate picture of what happened on those bloody beaches you should definitely watch Saving Private Ryan. It is an incredible movie that shows in gruesome detail the horrors of war and how bodies, minds and lives are shattered by it. Today there will be plenty of pundits speaking of how “America saved Europe” and how D-Day demonstrates what a nation can accomplish when it pulls together for a common cause. But when we look at a single battle, like the Battle of Normandy, we fail to see the big picture of why the war was actually fought and what was accomplished by all the bloodshed.
MSNBC weekend show host Chris Hayes made some comments about heroism and the military on Sunday. He said:
I feel… uncomfortable, about the word [hero] because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers, and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.
Hayes has since apologized. Personally, I take Hayes at his word that he did not intend to insult American soldiers and veterans. I think he was trying to make a point about militarism and war in general, but said it poorly. I think it’s certainly a legitimate discussion to have and Memorial Day
Visual media is a powerful way to spread a message. In the modern era of the Internet, we’ve learned this quite well—there are entire websites devoted to silly images that absorb you entirely. In the spirit of the 21st century, then, I want to offer some images that I feel sum up our modern age. Let me know if you agree, and add your own suggestions in the comments.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is your world in pictures. And this is why those of us out here who can see this decide to fight.
How can you not see the madness?
As Mitt Romney has moved into “presumptive nominee” status, the focus has shifted to whom he might choose to be his running mate. The conventional wisdom states that Romney would pick someone to his right, in order to shore up support from conservatives who distrust him. While it is still only April, the name that I see popping up the most is Senator Marco Rubio from Florida.
It’s not hard to see his appeal to the Republican base. Rubio is a child of Cuban immigrants. He is charismatic, smart, and attractive. He has a beautiful family, has connections to both Protestant and Catholic churches, and speaks openly about his faith. His positions are largely in line with the conservative base - strongly pro-life, anti-ObamaCare, and hawkish on foreign policy.
But for those of us hoping the Republican Party can take a new direction, Rubio poses a number of problems. As Jason Pye blogged earlier this week, Rubio proudly declared that George W. Bush was a “fantastic President”. One has to seriously question what exactly he thinks was fantastic about Bush. Was it his wild spending and vast expansion of government in the form of Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind? Perhaps it was the unnecessary Iraq War which cost thousands of lives? Or maybe it was his mistreatment of prisoners? It’s troubling that Rubio considers these things “fantastic.”