Category Archives: Iraq

Resistance to DC rising

“The Yankee is compelled to toil to make the world go around.” Admiral Raphael Semmes, CSN

Pat Buchanan has a must-read piece that is perfect in every way except for its inappropriate title, “Why Neo-Isolationism Is Soaring.” My nit-pick is that “isolationism” is what interventionists use to slam those who question their endless wars. It’s the equivalent of the use of “racist” to put down anyone who objects to socialism — which is exactly what that term means. And as I’ve argued before, the interventionist abroad validates and reinforces the interventionist at home. Both have an other-worldly ideal that mere humanity never quite lives up to, requiring the noble idealists to spill a little more blood. All in the name of doing good, you see.

Pat points out that the interventionists have directly harmed this country. The facts he presents cannot be argued:

We invaded Panama, intervened in Haiti and Mogadishu, launched Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait, bombed Serbia for 78 days to force it to surrender its cradle province of Kosovo.

Came then the blowback of 9/11, following which we had the Afghan war to overthrow the Taliban and create a new democracy in the Hindu Kush, the invasion and occupation of Iraq to strip Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction he did not have, and the air war on Libya.

Others may celebrate the fruits of these wars but consider the costs:

A decade of bleeding with 8,000 U.S. dead, 40,000 wounded, $2 trillion sunk, Iraq and Libya disintegrating in tribal, civil and sectarian war, Afghanistan on the precipice, and al-Qaida no longer confined to Tora Bora but active in Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

While America was caught up in these wars, China swept past Britain, France, Germany and Japan to emerge as the second largest economy on earth. Using her $250-$300 billion annual trade surpluses with the United States, she has been locking up resources across Africa, Latin America, Australia and Asia.

Now Beijing has declared its own Monroe Doctrine to encompass the East and South China seas and all islands therein and to challenge the United States for hegemony over the Western Pacific.

The Afghan and Iraq wars, we should note, were supported by big-government interventionists of both the left and right. What’s scary is that the same coalition is still at it today, demanding war on Iran, and blasting those who courageously uncover illegal surveillance by the federal government. Despite their differences, the left and right interventionists are united in their support of a powerful centralized government and the demonization of dissent.

The bottom line is that they’re both cheering while the federal government chips away at what’s left of our liberty. That makes them part of the problem, not the solution. Let’s not forget that.

2 years after US military departure, Iraq asking for new help to battle al-Qaida

Oh, good Lord, here we go again:

Nearly two years after pushing out the U.S. military, Iraq is asking for more American weapons, training and manpower to help fight a bloody resurgence of al-Qaida that has unleashed a level of violence comparable to the darkest days of the nation’s civil war….

Al-Maliki is expected to ask Obama for new assistance to bolster its military and fight al-Qaida. Faily said that could include everything from speeding up the delivery of U.S. aircraft, missiles, interceptors and other weapons, to improving national intelligence systems. And when asked, he did not rule out the possibility of asking the U.S. to send military special forces or additional CIA advisers to Iraq to help train and assist counterterror troops.

First of all, let’s remember that al-Qaida DID NOT EXIST in Iraq until W the Conqueror invaded, destroying the existing political order and unleashing fresh conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites. al-Qaeda is Sunni, and represents the most visible example of 4th generation warfare, which is characterized by long-term, decentralized conflict conducted by non-governmental entities. For any government, especially the US government, to stick its nose into such a conflict would be worse than poking a hornet’s nest–imagine the barriers collapsing between the honey badger, wolverine, and dingo exhibits at the zoo, and rushing in with a butterfly net.

But surely Obama, that “peacenik liberal,” would never consider getting us mired in that nightmare. Would he? From Fox News:

Administration officials consider the insurgency, which has rebranded itself as the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant, a major and increasing threat both to Iraq and the U.S., the official said.

Well, it WOULD get people’s minds off the ObamaCare fiasco…

“American Exceptionalism” = Yankee Supremacy

In a recent open letter to the American people, Russian president Vladimir Putin assured us he likes and respects us, but asked us to realize we’re embarrassing ourselves and doing a lot of harm with our delusion of “American Exceptionalism.” Both the mainstream American left and right rushed to prop up our most beloved myth against this iconoclastic Cossack.

What’s interesting is that both wings of accepted American thought agree on what “exceptionalism” means–and more significantly, that both, though supposedly rivals, are actually in lockstep on all other major issues as a result.

For example, liberal columnist Dana Milbank shot back at President Putin with this bristling retort:

When we say we are exceptional, what we really are saying is we are different. With few exceptions, we are all strangers to our land; our families came from all corners of the world and brought all of its colors, religions and languages. We believe this mixing, together with our free society, has produced generations of creative energy and ingenuity, from the Declaration of Independence to Facebook, from Thomas Jefferson to Miley Cyrus. There is no other country quite like that.

Americans aren’t better than others, but our American experience is unique — exceptional — and it has created the world’s most powerful economy and military, which, more often than not, has been used for good in the world.

Miley Cyrus? Really? My pride floweth over.

And former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, now president of The Heritage Foundation, also defended “exceptionalism” by invoking the image of America as the Multi-Culti Empire that roams the globe doing good:

We are, in other words, not a nation based on ethnicity, but on beliefs, and not coincidentally, that is why we attract people of all ethnicities and they become proud Americans…. When we have used our power, however, we have done it for good.”

Both echoed what Madeleine Albright said as secretary of state:

It is the threat of the use of force [against Iraq] and our line-up there that is going to put force behind the diplomacy. But if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us.

That self-image still inspires the Obama regime’s global aggression:

In their more honest moments, White House officials concede they got here the messiest way possible — with a mix of luck in the case of Syria, years of sanctions on Iran and then some unpredicted chess moves executed by three players Mr. Obama deeply distrusts: President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, and Iran’s erratic mullahs. But, the officials say, these are the long-delayed fruits of the administration’s selective use of coercion in a part of the world where that is understood.

“The common thread is that you don’t achieve diplomatic progress in the Middle East without significant pressure,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, said Thursday. “In Syria, it was the serious threat of a military strike; in Iran it was a sanctions regime built up over five years.”

If your identity is that of a polyglot hegemon endowed with greater wisdom than the rest of the world, how can you NOT support open borders? Or the invasion of Iraq? Or Iran? Or Syria?

First of all, the US was NOT founded as a unique blend of whatever ethnic group decided to elbow its way in; it was founded as an outpost of Western civilization.

More important, the notion that the American people have always been committed to a never-ending global war to impose democracy and equality is a pure lie, and a fairly recent one at that. Previous “Wars of Liberation,” including Lincoln’s invasion of the South, the Spanish-American War, Vietnam, and Iraq, later turned out to be based on massive propaganda and misinformation.

The core idea expressed in “American Exceptionalism” is that the role of America’s elite is to serve as the global mind bringing reason and order to a chaotic, degenerate world. That is Gnosticism, an anti-Christian concept that explicitly glorifies abstract knowledge while scorning the physical. I argued here that Northern thought degenerated from its Puritan roots into militant Gnosticism, while Southerners upheld and lived by a balance between the spiritual and the physical.

Author John C. Wright said this of the Gnostic foundations of today’s statists and their leftist enablers:

In sum, they are idolaters who substitute the worship of Caesar for the worship of Christ; they are Gnostics in the posture of eternal rebellion both against God in Heaven and civil society on Earth. They are chameleons who adopt any ideals or values or party lines needed for so long as needed to destroy them, including Pragmatism, including Worldliness. They are Politically Correct and factually incorrect.

They seek to destroy civilized institutions here on Earth and drag Utopia down from heaven to replace them, indifferent, or even glorying, in the bloodshed required.

To avoid confusion, let us call them Ideologues. They are utterly unworldly, rejecting the pragmatism of the Worldly Man as cold and loveless and unspiritual.

The Ideologues are as nearly a pure evil as mankind has ever produced or can imagine, but please note that their motives are the highest and noblest imaginable: they seek things of the spirit, peace on earth, food for the poor, dignity given to all men, and all such things which are the only things, the holy things, that can electrify dull mankind and stir him to take up the banner and trumpet and shining lance of high and holy crusade.

Ever wonder why leftists see “education” as the cure to all ills? Or why they fancy themselves superior to those they see as living in the darkness of tradition and irrationality? Their contempt for the physical explains their hatred of heritage and tradition–and of life itself. But as John C. Wright pointed out, there’s a terrible price to pay for the spreading of their concept of the good. When Madeleine Albright proclaimed the death of a half-million Iraqi children as “worth it,” she was expressing what all Gnostics believe.

By their fruits ye shall know them.

Colin Powell Slams North Carolina Voting Law

Now here’s an opinion we MUST pay attention to — because if a man who helped lie us into a war assures us we’re doing something wrong, then we MUST be doing something wrong:

Colin Powell spoke out forcefully Thursday against a sweeping new voting law in North Carolina, arguing that Republicans should be courting minority voters rather than driving them away from the polls. …

North Carolina’s Democratic senator, Kay Hagan, has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to review the law and a survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling showed that half of Tar Heel State voters are opposed to the measure.

Powell, who endorsed President Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, has addressed his party’s problems with minorities before. In January, he said that he still considers himself a Republican but acknowledged the presence of “a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party.”

He revisited that theme in a big way on Thursday, arguing that measures like North Carolina’s voting law punish minority voters.

“What it really says to the minority voters is … ‘We really are sort-of punishing you,’” Powell said, as quoted by The News & Observer.

Kay Hagan, you may not know, is the junior senator from the District of Columbia, though her salary is paid for by the people of North Carolina. That may sound strange, but that’s how government “of the people” works. But then, thanks to the 17th Amendment, EVERY US senator represents DC’s interests.

I hope NC Governor Pat McCrory tells Holder to go jump in a lake should this most biased and blatantly agenda-driven attorney general decide to intrude into North Carolina’s affairs. But I’m not that optimistic. Pat’s a carpetbagger, as well as a country-club Republican, so I don’t expect much from him.

“Neocon” means never saying you’re sorry

Or that you were wrong. In response to the latest Sunni-Shiite violence in Iraq, Americaneocon blames Obama’s foreign policy. Huh? It was the Bush administration that agreed to this non-negotiable provision with the puppet Iraq government:

“All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.”

Now that U.S. occupation forces have left, old battles have resumed. In fact, no other outcome was possible since the Allies of WWI deliberately cobbled together random regions of the old Ottoman Empire to ensure oil-rich Iraq would be unstable and easily exploitable.

Iraq is fracturing into its component cultural regions, which Americaneocon notes, but wrongly attributes to Bush’s “global democratic revolution”:

There’s been a few bright spots, like the northern Kurdish region, where democratization is taking hold. But that’s despite the best efforts of this administration to sabotage the movement toward freedom in the country. What a shame.

In fact, the Kurds have long agitated for their independence. One of the sad ironies of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq was the charge that Saddam “attacked his own people,” referring to his use of poison gas against the rebellious Kurds. Of course, the U.S. government not only failed to condemn Iraq at the time — after all, Saddam was D.C.’s paid-for client then — but even tried to shift blame to Iran.

You love Lincoln, don’t you?

You’d better – or Rich Lowry will tell everyone how “foul” and “rancid” you are. Those are the adjectives Lowry tosses at Thomas DiLorenzo for unmasking the crimes and treason of the 16th president. And Lowry makes it clear he considers anyone who has read DiLorenzo and questions the Lincoln Myth is part of a “small but foul pro-Confederacy strain on the right.”

Reading Lowry’s article, one can just smell the fear emanating from Lowry, a pundit who’s notorious for his tendency to run away from a fight while goading others to fight for him. Cowards often compensate by talking tough, and Lowry not only supported the invasion of Iraq, but the nuclear bombing of Mecca since the 9/11 conspirators were all Muslim. I can just see Richie Rich giggling in anticipation of thousands of innocent lives being snuffed out in the name of American Power.

I suspect what’s got Lowry so worked up is the steady progress folks like DiLorenzo have made in exposing Lincoln and the regime he founded. The ever-prescient Ed Sebesta hits the bull’s eye in his blog post when he says

What is interesting is that Lowry decided that this article needed writing. The anti-Lincoln campaign of the neo-Confederates has been going on for some time. I think this might be a sign that the anti-Lincoln campaign is going somewhere and the leadership of conservatism in America is beginning to get concerned.

Amen, Brother Sebesta! The concern is real because Lowry knows that exposing Lincoln exposes the Empire. The Lincoln Myth of the Great Liberator is the founding myth of the rogue global empire headquartered in DC today. That myth justifies the ruling elite’s power and privilege in the name of spreading freedom and democracy, terms we heard ad nauseum in the run-up to the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Lincoln’s role as the founder and model of today’s authoritarian American Empire isn’t just my idea. Here’s what Lowry himself wrote recently in an article entitled, “Lincoln Can Teach Us Today“:

The National Security Agency telephone and Internet surveillance program is similar to Abraham Lincoln’s Civil War act of suspending habeas corpus, National Review editor Rich Lowry tells Newsmax.

“When he did it initially, any reasonable person would think it was an appropriate measure because troops were coming down from the North at the beginning of the war when Washington was isolated and not protected, and they were stopped in Baltimore by mobs.”

However, many in Lincoln’s day believed the suspension went too far when it became almost a matter of routine, Lowry said.

They’re ba-ack!

Remember the coalition of big-government supporters who bullied and frightened us into supporting the Iraq War? That war, by the way, crippled both the economy and over 100,000 American troops, and spawned the USA Patriot Act.

Well, they have something else to sell you, so you better listen up:

Edward Snowden is an enemy of the people. The patriotic peoples of the United States of America are in perfect solidarity with their humble servants in the National Security Agency, who labor day and night to protect them from terrorists.”

Yes, the same chorus that sang the praises of the Iraq War, the Department of Homeland Security, and indefinite detention, is now demanding the head of Edward Snowden.

Here’s everyone’s favorite name-dropper and fear-monger, Thomas Friedman:

“I do wonder if some of those who unequivocally defend this disclosure are behaving as if 9/11 never happened — that the only thing we have to fear is government intrusion in our lives, not the intrusion of those who gather in secret cells in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan and plot how to topple our tallest buildings or bring down U.S. airliners with bombs planted inside underwear, tennis shoes or computer printers.”

Yes, the li’l ol’ US of A was just sitting there, minding its own business on 9/11 when those dastardly terrorists slipped past the ever-vigilant George W. Bush and attacked the World Trade Center. And if you object to the National Security Agency monitoring your emails and phone conversations, it will happen again, and it will be your fault. So says Thomas Friedman, who is never wrong.

David Brooks, who went down fighting for the Bush-Cheney storyboard even after Bush and Cheney abandoned it, wonders how Americans could take a high school dropout seriously, then finishes Snowden off with this killshot:

“He betrayed the Constitution. The founders did not create the United States so that some solitary 29-year-old could make unilateral decisions about what should be exposed. Snowden self-indulgently short-circuited the democratic structures of accountability, putting his own preferences above everything else.”

Yes, of course. The Founders really wanted an all-powerful central government working in the shadows to give itself the power to monitor, indefinitely imprison, and even assassinate enemies.

Andrew Sullivan, who famously called for fellow homosexuals to cheer on Bush’s wars in the name of the Global War of Homosexual Liberation, now counsels Americans to hush up about the leaked documents and trust their betters in DC.

But remember, it’s not just the DC-embedded elite columnists who create consensus. There’s a role for blue-collar advocates, too. In the runup to the Iraq War, a coalition of progressive and conservative grass-roots bloggers sounded the alarm about Saddam Hussein’s plot to conquer and enslave us all. Of course, when no WMD were found, and the Iraqi insurgents took up W’s challenge to “bring it on,” many of these former war supporters, like their national columnist allies, backed away from the war and started pointing fingers. Even more embarrassing, the right- and left-wing blogs, such as American Power, The Other McCain, and Little Green Footballs, started sniping at each other in what I called the “Little Green Meltdown.”

But Edward Snowden’s leaks have brought them back together. Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has been firing at Snowden’s supporters like a Gatling gun. (See here, and here, for example.) No one can match the biting arrogance of Charles Johnson when he scourges the depravity and ignorance of those who dare disagree with him. He dismisses Edward Snowden by simply quoting from the press release of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. So see here, peasants, attend to the words of your betters, and we shall have no more talk of “illegal” spying.

Not to be outdone, The Other McCain assures his conservative base that Snowden, rather than a hero, is a traitor who deserves the firing squad, hanging, and torture, with the only thing to be debated is the order of those punishments. Says he: “I don’t see any crime at NSA, beyond the negligence that put a high-school dropout in a position to decide what secrets the U.S. government is permitted to keep.”

And this: “Twitter Poll: #Snowden — Guantanamo or Leavenworth?”

These headlines reveal why we’re seeing so much venom aimed at Snowden:

More Americans see man who leaked NSA secrets as ‘patriot’ than traitor: Poll

Americans Disapprove of Government Surveillance Programs

Compare those headlines with this one:

Lawmakers see Edward Snowden as a leaker, not as a hero

So once again, it all comes down to defending the status quo. Our rulers in DC are a little nervous these days. Their machinery of control – that’s what government surveillance is all about, NOT keeping you safe – is despised more than ever. The regime’s legitimacy is at stake here, and its loyal servants know it. Therefore, it’s time for the presstitutes to once again do what they do best, and that is to shame dissidents, fool the American people, and erase dangerous ideas from public discourse.

Once again, it’s the “patriotic” thing to do.

Quote of the day

“I think there’s been a certain amount of, frankly, Terry, a kind of pop sociology in America, that, you know, somehow the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni, or the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of fundamentalist regime.” Bill Kristol, arguing that Jeffersonian democracy would prevail in Iraq after the US overthrew its former flunky, Saddam Hussein.

Neanwhile,here in the real world, sectarian bloodshed is escalating in Iraq now that US forces have withdrawn. The majority Shia, now in power, have ruled with a heavy hand, precipitating a Sunni backlash that has many fearing that civil war in inevitable.

Same-sex marriage as a “conservative” goal?

Sure, says Andrew Sullivan, who approvingly quotes David Frum, who now agrees with Sullivan. All “principled conservatives,” says Sullivan, support same-sex marriage.

Right. Let’s not forget that both were prominent chickenhawk war boosters for the disastrous invasion of Iraq. Frum slammed REAL conservatives who questioned W’s lunatic crusade as “unpatriotic,” and Sullivan called for nuking Iraq, convinced that Saddam was behind the anthrax scares. In fact, Sullivan even advised fellow homosexuals to support regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of “gay liberation.”

“Principled conservatives,” indeed.

“Neocon” is now a synonym for “Delusional”

Check out this bizarre post from American Power entitled “Just and Noble War in Iraq”:

It’s the ten-year anniversary of the Iraq war and the left is using this as a chance to (hypocritically) delegitimize the use of force in national security policy. … Iraq was popular at the beginning, but Americans rejected the prolonged deployment. … The Democrats: the party of defeat and treason.

As astounding that anyone could defend the Bush regime’s rush to war in Iraq, it’s just stupefying that the war could be praised as a project “conservatives” must defend against “leftists.” So I had to drop a comment:

Many Democrats supported the invasion of Iraq, including the Clintons, Dianne Feinstein, and Joe Lieberman.

The reason the majority of Americans turned against the war was because they eventually realized the Bush regime had LIED about WMD and Iraq’s ties to 9/11.

The blog author responded with this incredible assertion: “Bush didn’t lie. It’s a lie to say he lied.”

Now let me get this straight: I’m lying when I say Bush lied? In fact, we now know that both British and American intelligence knew before the war “that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction.”

The head of Britain’s spy service at the time, Richard Dearlove, has admitted, “It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.”

The reason Americans initially supported the Iraq War was because they had been led to believe Saddam had assisted the 9/11 terrorists. A congressional investigation identified “237 misleading statements” about Iraq-al Qaeda cooperation made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Powell.

Were Bush regime officials lying, or were they merely mistaken? In 2002, Dick Cheney made this assertion: “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”

A claim to certain knowledge can be verified or disproven by subsequent events. I’d say that what’s transpired between the run-up to the war and now has thoroughly disproven the Bush regime’s statements.

Maybe you don’t think this affects you. “So what if a million Iraqis died, and three million lost their homes? Why do I care?” For one thing, we’re going to suffer for this colossal blunder for decades. Some of the direct results of the Neocon Wars include the Department of Homeland Security, the USA Patriot Act, surveillance drones, and indefinite detention.

Then there’s the expanded Muslim influence here at home directly attributable to the Iraq War. Some 62,000 Iraqis have settled in the US since the war. The town of El Cajon, California, is now called “Little Baghdad” because of the 20,000 Iraqis who now live there. Have these Iraqis assimilated? Check it out:

Stores sell pickled turnips and cucumbers. Restaurants sell kebobs and Halal meat. … There are Kurds from the country’s northern region, Sunnis from central areas, and Shiite from the south. There are Chaldean Christians as well.

Is this good for Americans? Think the old rivalries between those groups will continue? Who knows?

And who cares?

We Must Leave Afghanistan and the Middle East Immediately

By Frosty Wooldridge

After ten bloody years in Vietnam, we finally pulled out in 1975.  We left the country bombed out, Agent Orange-contaminated and a trail of 2.million corpses of men, women and children.  We suffered 58,300 young men’s deaths and another 350,000 horribly injured.  Because of P.T.S.D., another 200,000 combat troops who left Vietnam in one piece—later committed suicide.  Millions more remain divorced, homeless, drunk and mentally distressed on our streets across America. We did nothing to make the world a better place.

Later, Robert McNamara, the architect of the Vietnam War, in his book Fog of War  said, “I made a mistake.”

Ten years ago, George W. Bush, arrogantly and without valid purpose— idiotically attacked Iraq with the same immorality and ignorance as Lyndon Baines Johnson attacked Vietnam.  Gulf of Tonkin and Weapons of Mass Destruction—both a bunch of balderdash.  Bush should stand trial for war crimes against humanity.  He created tens of thousands of “Newtown, CT” events in Iraq.

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Doesn’t it feel like Iraq all over again?

A week’s worth of recrimination after Romney’s defeat gave this writer a feeling of deja vu. Where did we here all the happy talk or wildly optimistic talk about the future Romney Administration.

And sure enough came this realization: It was Iraq all over again and it came largely from the same people.

Remember how the neocons and their fellow travelers in the media and other in the Bush II Administration talked of “cakewalks”  and turning Iraq into a full-blown western-style democracy and it was all going to be paid for by oil? In fact talk was so optimistic that there was little postwar planning as a result. The U.S. Military would rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein, they would step aside as Iraqis allied with us took over and rebuilt the country on oil revenues.

Well, we know the rest of the story.  Saddam Hussein was taken out and the country he held together by terror and tyranny fell apart. Insurgencies from both Shiites and Sunnis appeared when none were anticipated, all the grandiose postwar plans were wrecked because of the violence and U.S. soldiers needlessly died and taxpayer money was needlessly wasted due to the incompetence of their leaders who knew nothing or next to nothing about the country they were invading. And when things go badly wrong the biggest supporters of the war lash out at those who incompetence cost them their “cakewalk.” Never do they look at themselves for blame, it’s always someone else’s fault: Rice, Rumsfeld, Bush II, Bremer, then generals, everyone else.

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Daniel Larison on Virgil Goode and Iraqi WMDs

Jim Antle’s article on Virgil Goode (post below) is the occasion for this Daniel Larison blog post. Larison is skeptical.

The Constitution Party is often the default third party alternative for antiwar conservatives. If one wants to vote only on foreign policy and civil liberties, the Libertarian candidate will usually be acceptable (though that wasn’t really the case in 2008), but the Constitution Party theoretically gives dissident conservatives of various stripes a vehicle to express their dissatisfaction with the Republicans on a wider range of issues. Antiwar conservatives unwilling to cast a protest vote for someone as socially liberal as Gary Johnson can usually rely on the Constitution Party to nominate someone credibly opposed to unnecessary foreign wars while still being conservative on most or all other questions. As the profile explains, Goode fits the second part of that description, but not the first.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t make for much of a protest candidacy if the third party candidate can’t make his differences with the major parties sufficiently clear. I have no objection to most of what Goode says here on foreign policy, but that remark about believing that there were WMDs in Iraq in 2003 is such a bizarre and unnecessary error that it brings me up short every time I read this article. The best part is when Goode qualifies his belief in the existence of Iraqi WMDs with the phrase “to some degree,” as if hedging on a demonstrably false belief made it less ridiculous. I don’t know why anyone would still be saying this in 2012. It certainly makes no sense for the nominee of a party that was opposed to the invasion of Iraq to repeat one of the worst pro-war lies. If he is hoping that this claim might make his past support for the Iraq (invasion) seem less obnoxious, he is mistaken.

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The problem with the WMD argument all along was that even if we knew with absolute certainty that Iraq had WMDs, that still would not have constituted a sufficient casus belli for war. Invading Iraq because they had WMDs that they might use is still preventive war.

Crossposted at IPR without the editorial content.

Healthy Skepticism of Virgil Goode

Last weekend I had the opportunity to meet with Virgil Goode, the presumptive nominee of the Constitution Party. This week is the CP National Convention in Nashville. Unfortunately I’m not able to make the convention this time around, but I sincerely hope that my fellow Constitutionalists will scrutinize Goode to the hilt. In 2008 we rightly rejected Alan Keyes because he’s a neocon. Goode’s neocon leanings, especially with respect to foreign policy, ought to be top on the list of concerns for the delegates at the 2012 convention.

I’m not going to bore readers with a list of mistakes from Goode’s congressional voting record. Suffice to say he’s voted for some ridiculous things as a member of Congress, but the top two concerns for us Constitutionalists ought to be his votes on the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. I asked Goode about both of these issues and I really wasn’t impressed with his answers. He’s a nice fellow and all, but I don’t think he’s a fit for our Party and certainly shouldn’t be our presidential nominee.

When asked about the Iraq War, Goode never walked that back at all. If anything, he gave me a muddled answer which didn’t really address my original question. He talked about how he wants to end foreign aid, bring our troops home from overseas, and that Congress ought to make a declaration of war before going to war–all good things, to be sure–but this wasn’t a real answer. Not once did he come close to saying that the war itself was a mistake. But I’m honestly not surprised given Goode’s previous promotion of our intervention into Iraq.

Regarding the Patriot Act, Goode did say that it was a mistake to subject American citizens to the Patriot Act. But he voted for it–twice. Once for the original legislation and again to make it permanent. He said that he was fine with applying the Patriot Act to non-citizens. Okay. I’m not sure if this can be considered a walking back on this particular issue, but at least his answer on this was more straightforward than when I asked him about the war. Even so, for someone who claims to uphold the Constitution, voting “no” on the Patriot Act should have been a no-brainer.

At any rate, I sincerely hope and pray that the Constitution Party does not wholeheartedly embrace Virgil Goode–unless he publicly repudiates the aforementioned votes. Delegates, now is the opportunity to make yourselves heard. Now is not the time to shrink back and sacrifice our Party’s principles in the name of having a “big name” on the ballot. Whatever happened to “principle above party”? We already have one Republican Party and we certainly don’t need another.

The Axis of Cluelessness

If you think you can keep your head from exploding, check out Americaneocon today. He’s blaming Obama for Iraq’s spiral into sectarian chaos. In response to yet another suicide bombing of Shia pilgrims, he snarks: “Hey, great job Barack Hussein. That precipitous withdrawal is working exactly as planned.”

Whoa. He’s got some heavy, jaw-dropping obliviousness going on here. We’re supposed to believe the instability in Iraq isn’t George W. Bush’s fault. It’s not the Neocons’ fault. And Americaneocon and the countless other laptop bombardiers who cheered on the Iraq invasion are equally blameless.

No. Because Obama is sticking to Bush’s timeline for withdrawing from Iraq, it’s Obama’s fault that Iraq is fracturing along sectarian faultlines – something the omniscient Neocons dismissed prior to the invasion.

My head hurts.

Burn after reading

Some wars end with a bang (Hiroshima) and others just burn themselves out (Korea). And some end in a rather bizarre manner as the U.S. troops withdrawl from Iraq suggest.  As said troops arrived in Kuwait this morning, we find out that apparently the military was pretty careless with some of its files kept during the occupation. Along with broken surplus military equipment discarded at local junkyards throughout Iraq, also disposed in manner one would take recyclables to the local dump, were thousands of pages of classified documents.  There must have been the rationale among the personnel responsible for disposal, in the mad rush to get rid of things before  before final departure, that Iraqi  junkmen wouldn’t make head or tails of such documents and burn them anyway along with the rest of the trash. But they didn’t reckon with an intrepid New York Times reporter finding this stuff before it headed to the burn file.

What the documents entail was the deaths Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines in an incident in the village of Haditha. There will be those disappointed few persons were held accountable for their actions in Iraq and many more were acquitted in variety of trials. Yet in reality, even if there were more convictions in military courts, these persons would have been privates and corporals, not generals nor the policy makers responsible for putting said troops into the middle of hostile territory and expecting them to respect the rules of civilized warfare when the enemy would not play by those rules in order to have any kind of advantage against such forces and expecting them to do so in day to day struggle for survival. This is why no one will really know how many civilians died in Iraq because many such incidents probably went unreported because they’ve became so common place: person or a family not stopping at checkpoints getting blasted by on-edge soldiers or any manner of misunderstandings which resulted in tragic deaths. Persons reading the reports on what happened at Haditha may be appalled by the attitudes of some in uniform towards what happened in such cases, and certainly it’s disturbing. But it’s also understandable from an individual’s own determination not to wind up like of buddy of theirs who got blown up by a insurgent hiding amidst the crowd. You can’t ask a soldier to become a cop. That’s not what they are trained to be or do.  And in doing so we ensured there would always be a steady supply of  insurgents avenging the deaths of family members shot by U.S. troops whether accidently or not.

Of course this really wasn’t a “war” by then but an occupation and rebellion in response to this occupation. The “war” phase ended when U.S. forces captured Baghdad. I can still remember the soldiers saying “the quicker we get to Baghdad the quicker we get home.” That never happened and it never happened because the fantasy thinking of the policy makers and the military brass as to what was going to happen and their inability to adjust or even admit what was going on went things didn’t go according to plan.. The end result was a lot of needless deaths which ultimately left behind a broken country which is no longer the bulwark against Iran it was when Saddam was in charge.  Perhaps the neocons should ponder this when celebrating “victory” and clamoring for attack on Iran.

For a good summary of the aftermath of Iraq please read this article by Andrew Bacevich in today’s Washington Post.

Precision and Misdirection in the Use of the Word Neoconservative

Jeffrey Lord still has his panties in a wad over the Monroe Doctrine, and Jim Antle replied. Roger Kaplan, who posts infrequently, chimed in with an attempt to clarify. While Kaplan makes some important points, I also think he attempts some deliberate misdirection. Read his post for context. Below is my reply.

Mr. Kaplan, there is some truth here, but I am afraid some misdirection also.

First, the First Gulf War may have been an exercise in international border enforcement, but it wasn’t our fight. Nowhere is it written in stone by the Hand of God that the US must lead or participate in such ventures. We went to war because the Bush I Administration, with the slobbering acquiescence of Republicans and Democrats alike, took it upon this country to play global enforcer, something I see nowhere in the job description of the US government called the Constitution. Likewise with “get-the-varmints” warfare. Don’t see that in the job description either.

Second, I agree that people throw around the word neoconservative too casually. Many hyper-interventionists (John Bolton for example) are not neoconservatives proper. They are a type of bellicose, militaristic nationalist, and are less motivated by spreading democracy than they are by stomping out perceived (and always alarmingly exaggerated) threats.

I also agree that there is a difference between the “first generation” of neoconservatives, Irving Kristol for example, and “second generation” neoconservatives, Kristol the Younger for example. The second generation is more fixated on foreign policy as you indicate and more grandiose and less cautious with their rhetoric and plans. But it is clear that the seeds of neoconservative thought that grew into the Jacobin radicalism of “second generation” neoconservatism were there from the beginning.

But while I agree that we need to be more careful with the use of neoconservative, confining the term only to those with a direct lineage to the originals is precision with the intent to mislead. Rumsfeld and Cheney may be more Bolton like, but Wolfowitz not a neoconservative? Come on now.

In most cases the term neoconservative is not meant to indicate only people with a direct lineage, but the ideas they promulgated. Kristol the Elder didn’t write a book called Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea for nothing. Unfortunately, neoconservatives ideas suffuse the whole “conservative” interventionist paradigm making it very hard to sort out.

I think most “conservative” interventionists are primarily concerned with what they see as our national interests and suppressing imagined threats, and less concerned with democratization projects, but the tension still exists as was illustrated here in the AmSpec blog regarding Egypt and Libya. But these bellicose nationalists have a very hard time disentangling themselves from neocon ideas and rhetoric especially when pressed on national interest questions. They quickly resort to classic neocon formulations of US as necessary enforcer of world order and bringer of light complete with all or nothing Jacobin–like good guys vs. bad guys scenarios.

There are a few illiberal interventionists who recognize neoconservatism as the post-Enlightenment liberal ideological dogma that it is and still maintain their interventionism (Ron L who comments here at times is one), but they are few and far between. In my experience neoconservative presumptions suffuse the thought processes of the average run-of-the-mill “conservative” interventionist to the point where it is very hard to make distinctions.

For example, Newt Gingrich’s (is he or is he not a neoconservative?) latest book is on the necessity of American Exceptionalism. (It is interesting that he felt the need to write that as his campaign book instead of something on the economy.) Romney (is he or isn’t he a neoconservative?) babbles incessantly about American Exceptionalism and sings pitch perfect from the neocon hymnal. American Exceptionalism, as it is (mis)understood by “conservatives” today, is an entirely neocon infused idea. Both the militant nationalists and the neocons share the presumption that American has a special role to fill in the world and since there are no more naked Imperialists (let’s invade country x so we can pump their oil) this is always prefaced on a notion of America as benign hegemon. It is conceivably possible to be a militant nationalist without having pretensions of being responsible for the whole world. A militant nationalist might conceivably be concerned only about his own “sphere.” So the world hegemon thing is a neocon baby whether you like it or not.