Category Archives: Iraq

This Kind of Jacksonianism Doesn’t Necessarily Represent Progress

This new breed of anti-nation building, anti-neocon Jacksonian seems intent on proving Daniel Larison right. Here Jed Babbin bemoans that silly neocon desire to nation build because it interferes with our ability to bomb other Muslim countries.

This will necessitate an argument between conservatives and neocons, the latter’s belief in nation-building being one of their defining characteristics. The outcome of that argument will determine the immediate future of conservatism and, in all likelihood, the outcome of the 2012 election.

Neocons — according to an August 2003 Weekly Standardarticle by the late Irving Kristol, credited as the godfather of neoconservatism — define themselves differently from traditional conservatives….

If Bush had meant what he said, the Saudis would have been forced to stop sponsoring terrorism and both the Iranian kakistocracyand Assad’s Syria would only be bad memories. But he never took action, far less decisive action, against any of them.

Terrorists only have global reach if they are sponsored and supported — and given safe harbor [- by nations.

True Jacksonianism probably would represent a step forward, because true Jacksonianism is marked by an understanding of the gravity of war and doesn’t seek out quarrels. But this bastardized version shares with the neoconservatism it supposedly opposes an irrational assessment of the level of threat and a knee-jerk embrace of belligerent interventionism as the only solution. It is also characterized by a heaping helping of historical revisionism.

While it is helpful that these Jacksonians now recognize the neocons as something categorically different, the idea that nation building is a uniquely neocon project and it is keeping us from the important business of bombing Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria, etc. is madness.

The invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan CAN NOT be separated from their nation building component. The same revisionists who are now whining that we should have gone in, struck hard and gotten out are the same people who at one time were telling us we couldn’t leave because the terrorist will just come right back and leaving would be tantamount to “surrender.” (Remember we could have no “timelines” for withdrawal.) So am I to assume that Mr. Babbin would now endorse an immediate pull-out from both quagmires? I seriously doubt it.

While neocons may be more motivated by some abstract sense of America’s mission to police the world, and this new bread of anti-neocon Jacksonian may be more motivated by concrete concerns for American security, the result is the same, especially if both share the same fear mongering perspective about Islam. If we break it, we’ve bought it. They must own the consequences of their policies. There is no easy way of war.

The problem is the underlying interventionism and irrational fear that motivates both perspectives. Until these so-called “conservatives” abandon their Chicken Little mindset, we will continue to have perpetual war for perpetual peace.

What Should Be the Attitude of Non-Interventionists to Recent Converts?

There has been much discussion in the right-wing blogosphere on the movement of such prominent conservatives as Joseph Farah and Anne Coulter toward a more skeptical of war perspective. The problem with embracing their movement our way unequivocally is that they have not become “full-throated non-interventionists” (see Antle link). What they are expressing is a “Jacksonian” skepticism of nation building and long wars and maybe (we hope) a skepticism about war as a type of do-gooder project (spreading democracy, policing the world, etc.). Here are a few links that I think hash out what our reaction should be pretty well.

Daniel Larison is skeptical.

Jim Antle responds.

Larison replies.

Larison is largely right on the facts, but I question the wisdom of publicly slapping down movement in our direction. This seems counter-productive. Who is going to want to join us if they think they will be chastised if they do? They are more likely to just keep their new found reservations to themselves. Farah’s change of heart took courage. It seems to me more helpful to cheer on such public movement our way.

My reason for some optimism on foreign policy is that all the movement, whether great or slight, has been in our direction. Are there any former non-interventionists being won to uber-hawkish militarism these days? It is a shrinking faction that only speaks to itself. There is no audience, except the choir, for fear peddling militarism these days. Not that all its former audience has become principled non-interventionists. They haven’t. They have just moved on to other concerns and priorities.

I also agree with Larison that Iran remains a kind of litmus test. Second thoughts on Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t particularly helpful if the person still wants to plunge us into a much more potentially disastrous war with Iran. But I also believe that a lot of the current discussion about Iran is just rhetorical posturing. Wiser heads realize that we can’t attack Iran even if we wanted to. We are overextend militarily, economically and politically and an attack on Iran would be utterly disastrous, so they saber-rattle as a substitute for action. Kind of like the guy at the bar who talks trash because he knows his friends will “hold him back.” Later he can say, “If it wasn’t for my friends holding me back I would have clobbered that guy. Really, I would have.”

Charles Johnson skillfully defeats Charles Johnson

How does he do it? The man is a genius, I tell you! Back in the fun days of the Neocon Wars, when W the Magnificent was strutting around in his, uh, enhanced flight suit, the Lizard King cheered on American power as it whupped Muslim butt in Afghanistan and Iraq. And back then, Charles agreed that the Islamization of the West was an evil to be resisted, as he argued in his post entitled One Third of Muslim Students OK with killing for Islam. In his post Radical Islam Marches in London, he warned that Muslims in the West supported their fellow Muslims rather than the Western nations they lived in.

Lately, however, he’s dropped his former pretense that the Neocon Wars were aimed at keeping the West Western. Today, he’s claiming Pam Geller’s “Stop the Islamization of America” is guilty of “increasingly open bigotry.” He ends his post with this show-stopper:

Now that high profile conservative figures like Sarah Palin are also endorsing hatred of Muslims and not-so-veiled calls for violence, decent Americans need to make their voices heard. The so-called “anti-jihad” movement has metastasized into something ugly and hateful.

Violence. Right. What do you call it when you cheer on the invasion of nations that had not threatened us that wipes out a million innocent people?

Apparently, invading Muslim nations is okey-dokey, but trying to defend one’s civilization is bad, bad, bad. Got it.

Note to conservatives who supported the Neocon Wars: You were used. You were fooled into thinking these illegal wars were about protecting America, including its traditional culture of liberty. They weren’t; they were about expanding the Empire’s reach and power at home and abroad. Out liberty is significantly diminished, and the Neocons are using their power to complete the globalization of America.

Vindicated for Removing Saddam

Those rootin’-tootin’ uber-patriots over at Front Page are at it again! Their latest contribution to DC’s quest for eternal war and bigger government is to claim George W. Bush was right to break the UN Charter and invade Iraq. Below are quotes from the article, with certain phrases highlighted:

- [Saddam] “had the ability to quickly produce weapons of mass destruction, and the will to use both against its enemies.”

- The Duelfer Report, the final assessment of the Iraq Survey Group, states that a former Iraqi intelligence officer testified that the M16 Directorate “had a plan to produce and weaponize nitrogen mustard in rifle grenades and a plan to bottle sarin and sulfur mustard in perfume sprayer and medicine bottles which they would ship to the United States and Europe.” The plot was not launched because of an inability to get the ingredients for the weapons. [Oh, really, killer perfume sprayers? Using cutting-edge weaponry from World War I?]

- The ISG confirmed that dual-use facilities had “assets that could be converted for BW [biological weapons] agent production within 4 to 5 weeks after the decision to do so.” One site had the ability to “provide the core of an alternative break-out capability…perhaps within 2 to 3 weeks.” Furthermore, Iraqi intelligence operated “a set of undeclared covert laboratories to research and test various chemicals and poisons, primarily for intelligence operations” and Iraq “intended to develop smallpox and possibly other viral pathogens.”

- The first director of the ISG, David Kay, also raised the point that corruption was extremely high in the Iraqi government, leading to a strong possibility that terrorists could purchase weapons from officials.

That’s right — Saddam could’ve done this and he might’ve done that. It reminds me of an old joke about a pacifist reporter grilling a three-star general who’s training Boy Scouts how to use guns:

Interviewer: “Don’t you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?”
LTG Reinwald: “I don’t see how, we will be teaching them proper range discipline before they even touch a firearm.”
Interviewer: “But you’re equipping them to become violent killers.”
LTG Reinwald: “Well, you’re equipped to be a prostitute, but you’re not one, are you?”

But the last justification for invading Iraq is my favorite:

- These facts bolster the case for removing Saddam Hussein without even mentioning the possibility that WMDs went to Syria.

That’s so mind-numbingly moronic it hurts my head to consider that people actually believed it at the time. Imagine you’re a power-mad dictator who “continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” So what do you do when an army of 466,985 foreign troops sits within firing range in next-door Kuwait ready to invade your country with the expressed aim of deposing you? Why, naturally, you get rid of your only means of stopping them. Of course. Are we supposed to believe Saddam was saving his super-weapons for some special occasion?

How stupid are we?

Stupid enough to believe the same people who now want the overstretched and plain flat broke US to invade Iran. One of the commenters on the Front Page article made this perfectly clear:

“In a post-9/11 world, the threat that Saddam Hussein posed could not be tolerated—and the world should know why.”

Then how could an Iran with nuclear weapons be tolerated in a post 9/11 world?

The answer is it can’t! Iran must be stopped at all cost, and the USA and not Israel must lead the charge. If Saddam represented a threat that couldn’t be tolerated, then Iran represents a far greater threat than Saddam ever could.

Heaven help us.

Matt Lewis On Coulter vs. Kristol

Here is a good take on the Coulter vs. Kristol flap that Harrison posted on below.

It is possible that non-interventionists, grasping for any good news, have over interpreted what Coulter wrote. I came to her defense based on reading the excerpts, but the actual column as a whole is a mess, full of boilerplate defenses of the invasion of Iraq. (Reading the column first before opining is always helpful.) But there are at least some seeds of truth and movement in her column that are encouraging. At least one encouraging aspect is that she recognizes that she as an interventionist conservative is not identical to a neoconservative who she clearly identifies as something else.

Any grand “schism” is not going to have Coulter on one side and Kristol on the other, at least not yet, but it may have Joe Scarborough on one side and Kristol on the other, with Coulter having ignited perhaps more than she bargained for.

Iraq violence set to delay US troop withdrawal

Seems Operation 51st Star has hit a snag:

The White House is likely to delay the withdrawal of the first large phase of combat troops from Iraq for at least a month after escalating bloodshed and political instability in the country.

And I thought the reason for staying was that the invasion of Iraq was such a sparkling success, no one wanted it to end.

Pro-War/Anti-Immigration vs. Anti-War/Pro-Immigration

James Antle asks in an article today at VDare:

Should the paleo movement support the congressional Republicans who stopped amnesty for illegal immigrants? Or should it jettison them because of their near-unanimous support the war?

Do paleos support a peace candidate like Gary Johnson who favors open borders? Or do they back someone like Tom Tancredo, who is a stalwart on immigration but speaks casually of bombing Mecca?

It is unfortunate that one must choose between the two. As Steve Sailer has pointed out, “invade the world” is almost always followed by “invite the world.” But if one must choose between (A) a pro-war/anti-immigration candidate versus (B) an anti-war/pro-immigration candidate, then I’d opt for A. And here’s why. Whatever damage irresponsible Wilsonian nation building around the world can do to the U.S. (e.g. bankruptcy, backlash, casualties, etc.) at least it’s temporary. At least in theory we can at some point in the future change course and undo some of the damage. The effects of immigration, however, are irreversible. Demographics are destiny. Once the U.S. demographically becomes Brazil, that’s it.  There’s no going back.

Obongo Regime gears up for War with Iran

Apparently, the Obongo Regime may be gearing up for war with Iran – which is in no way a threat to the U.S.  Obama now has troops engaged in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan & Haiti, and soon it looks like we’ll be in Iran. (I still think Obama  will invade Darfur before his term ends.)

From Paul Craig Roberts:

According to news reports, the U.S. military is shipping “bunker-buster” bombs to the U.S. Air Force base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The Herald Scotland reports that experts say the bombs are being assembled for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The newspaper quotes Dan Piesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London:

“They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran.”

The next step will be a staged “terrorist attack,” a “false flag” operation as per Operation Northwoods, for which Iran will be blamed. As Iran and its leadership have already been demonized, the “false flag” attack will suffice to obtain U.S. and European public support for bombing Iran. The bombing will include more than the nuclear facilities and will continue until the Iranians agree to regime change and the installation of a puppet government. The corrupt American media will present the new puppet as “freedom and democracy.”

Obama has increased Bush’s extreme military budget two years in a row.  Added with the bailouts (some of which we’re now learning went to China, Dubai, India, Mexico, Africa, and Haiti), America is nearly bankrupt.  It is beginning to seem impossible that the US could possibly ever pay its debt.  And Obama is starting another costly war?  For what?

How Wilsonian nation building and bombing Middle Eastern countries “fights terrorism” is beyond me. Terrorism is an immigration – not a foreign policy – issue. Barring ICBMs, people in Muslim countries can in no way harm the U.S. If you want to stop terrorism, terminate all visas from threatening countries (India, Guyana, and those in the Middle East), end all immigration from the Third World, and deport threatening characters from the West.

Alexander Haig on Iraq and Afghanistan

I just found this quote from the recently deceased Alexander Haig.

“The notion that the United States can remake the world in its own image, on its own, as a reaction to violence from abroad dates from Woodrow Wilson’s time. It’s an old populist con detached from reality; calling it a neo-con doesn’t make it any better. Does anyone believe that the United States can turn Afghanistan and Iraq into thriving democracies; reconcile India and Pakistan; transform the Middle East and do it all with a 10-division army and a $500 billion deficit?”
~ General Alexander Haig

I think Haig was more of an old school realist than a non-interventionist, but he is right on here.

Obama, Military Growth, and Retirement

“ATLANTA (Reuters) – Shares of major U.S. defense contractors rose on Monday after the Obama administration unveiled a defense budget for fiscal 2011 that seeks a 3.4 percent increase in the Pentagon’s base budget and $159 million to fund missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.” ~ Reuters

The “anti-war Obama” is yet again increasing our military budget? I suppose he has no choice if he’s going to engage in nation building in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, and probably Darfur. As we already noted here at CHT, Obama is in many respects “Bush on steroids,” but don’t hold your breath for any denunciations by the MSM.

Regardless, given that Obama’s first term will probably prove to be a complete disaster, much like Bush’s eight years, it’s unsurprising that people are now speculating Obama will not seek a second term, something I predicted months ago (in private conversations). He’s unqualified for the job and, at the end of the day, probably would prefer to jive Oprah about how interesting his life is than pretend to govern.

Ben Stein vs Ron Paul

Recently, Congressman Dr. Ron Paul and MTV game-show host Ben Stein were on Larry King, where Ben Stein slandered the good doctor’s non-interventionist principles as “anti-Semitic”.  Due to the controversy caused, Ben Stein has issued a clarification at the American Spectator.   In truth, it clarifies quite a lot, though not perhaps in the way Stein hoped.

Stein goes to great lengths to make the reader aware that he is hardly familiar (if at all) with Dr. Paul’s political positions, or with what he (Dr. Paul) was saying to Ben Stein on that very broadcast.  “I could be mistaken,” he writes, about Paul’s comments.  “Maybe I am misinformed,” he writes, about Paul’s position on foreign aid to Israel.  For a man whose recollections of Dr. Paul’s positions are so hazy, he was surprisingly eager to tar Dr. Paul as an “anti-Semite” because (as Ben Stein explains) Dr. Paul asserted that America is “occupying” Muslim lands (Ben Stein does not agree that we are currently “occupying” Afghanistan or Iraq), and because many people who make that claim go on to criticize American foreign policy vis a vis Israel, and to do such is “anti-Semitic”.

The neoconservatives have twisted political discourse in America to the extent that the locution “Orwellian” no longer does it justice.  Ben Stein claims that to acknowledge reality (that we are occupying Muslim lands) is to reveal oneself as an “anti-Semite”. To acknowledge – as the Defense Science Board Task Force (charged by Donald Rumsfeld to assess the ramifications of American Foreign Policy) concluded in 2004 – that the “underlying sources of threats to America’s national security” are “American direct intervention in the Muslim world,” America’s “one sided support in favor of Israel,” and “the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan” exposes one (somehow) as a Jew-hater, according to Ben Stein. If one acknowledges – as that same Task Force did in 2004 – that “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies” then you will be tarred by Ben Stein and his ilk as a quasi-Nazi.

Ben Stein is acting as enforcer for the neoconservative Thought Police.  If one criticizes or fails to show obeisance to Israel – if one even questions whether our one-sided support of that foreign nation is wise – he will tar you as a Jew-hater, he will subject you to a Two Minutes Hate, he will slander you, he will play the race card with more dexterity than Al Sharpton, and he will use all the tools at his disposal to crush any inclination you might have to keep America first in your heart – because it is not first in his.

Stein’s AmSpec clarification consists of nothing but that lone slander. Its sole purpose is to slander Ron Paul as an anti-Semite, along with anyone else who questions America’s support of Israel or acknowledges that the American military bombing, invading and occupying Muslim lands increases rather than alleviates the hatred that leads to terrorism – as the aforementioned 2004  Defense Science Board Task Force concluded.  You would think such a serious accusation would be accompanied by proof, or at least some evidence. Well, you would think wrong. It is foul calumny; naked, underhanded slander, backed by zero evidence. That is how blithely neoconservatives toss that term around – as it is meaningless to them, so it becomes meaningless to everyone else. Let him blather on – Ben Stein is irrelevant. Ben Stein’s comrades had their chance at the helm and ran us aground, stranded us in two wars, cost us the lives of thousands of American soldiers and quite literally nearly destroyed the entire world’s economy. That is the reality.  So utterly have they been discredited that to watch them continue to shriek “anti-Semite!” and “appeaser!” now thankfully engenders pity more than anything else.

“Conservative” Jacksonian Interventionists

Daniel Larison has an excellent analysis of the “Jacksonian” pro-war right up at AmConMag.

It is true that “Jacksonians” on the right lose patience with nation-building, but they also have nationalist convictions that our interventions abroad are always benevolent and initially they are very keen to repeat the propaganda that we are fighting wars of liberation or wars against tyranny (or evil or some new form of fascism).

Jacksonians’ instinctive deference to the executive and their belief that criticizing a President in wartime is a kind of disloyalty force them to focus on nation-building and “political correctness” (i.e., refraining from bombing civilians) (as Rep. Chaffetz did) in order to criticize a President and his conduct of a war without suggesting that they lack in support for the military and military interventions in general.

What makes “Jacksonians” weary of nation-building is not the goal of establishing new political institutions in another country. It is instead the time that it takes to do this and the “ingratitude” of the alleged beneficiaries of our interventions that tend to turn them against prolonged deployments. The charge of “ingratitude,” of course, is inevitable if you believe that you have been doing another nation a favor by invading and wrecking their country.

“…movement conservatives have become accustomed over the last three decades to advocating for both a larger military and for a greater willingness to use force around the world. Skepticism of peacekeeping and humanitarian missions has tended to come from the belief that threats are ubiquitous and the military cannot be distracted by such irrelevancies, but this is absolutely not skepticism about deploying forces overseas and initiating force against a variety of other state and non-state actors. It is actually evidence of the depressing lack of skepticism Republicans have when it comes to entering into or starting wars.”

I am a long time veteran of the Internet wars between non-interventionist conservatives and interventionist “conservatives,” and Larison’s description of the “Jacksonians” is spot on. I recognize every detail he has written here in the stock “Jacksonians” who frequent pro-war “conservative” websites.

But, I have more hope that we can change the debate than he does do. The true Jacksonians are a dying breed of Kool-Aid drinking bitter-enders. They are the real true believers who will not allow reality to get in the way of their theory. But their ranks are shrinking, and they know it. Places that after 9/11 wanted everyone against the War tried for treason and sedition and didn’t even know an anti-war right existed now recognize anti-war conservatives as articulating a position whose encroachment they must frantically defend against. This is why they reacted so hysterically to Ron Paul and why they continue to react so hysterically to anti-war conservatives. If they didn’t think we were a threat and saw us as just mere eccentric nuisances, then they wouldn’t lose their heads so when confronted by principled non-interventionism.

Activists are jumping ship to our side all the time, but worse for them, Average Joe, whose vote they covet and who they claim to represent, doesn’t care a whit about Iran or resurging Russia or any of their other boogie men. And they are very skeptical about any long term projects in Iraq and Afghanistan. Economic hard times will do that to a nation.

I can see these instinctive conservatives who care nothing about foreign policy adopting over time a policy of thoughtful, principled non-interventionism. The pro-war interventionist bitter-enders will never come over to our side, but they will become increasingly irrelevant, selling something the public isn’t buying and talking mostly to each other.

The Fruit of Diversity

After witnessing the events of the events of the past couple weeks, I don’t know how much “hope” I have for the future of the U.S.:

- Anti-American Muslim, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, opens fire at Fort Hood and murders at least 13 people (wounding at least 43).

- Outside a high school in Richmond, CA, at least ten Hispanics gang-rape a 15-year-old white girl for over two hours while their friends watch.  (Read here, here, here, and here.)

- Hispanic Marcos Chavez Gonzalez (probably here illegally) opens fire, and kills four, outside television store in Mt. Airy, NC.

and, just today:

- Hispanic engineer Jason Rodriguez opens fire in an office complex in Orlando, FL, killing at least one person.

I wonder whether Heidi Beirich will write about any of these atrocities?

Obama is ruining a great little war

That’s the message from the pro-war, any-war bloggers these days (see here and here, and here, and here, for example).

But of course, it’s not possible for Obama to lose in Afghanistan, because that war is over, and it was a total victory for the Empire — at least, that’s what Dick Cheney assured us back in 2002:

The U.S. Vice-President, Dick Cheney, said today the Taliban militia was now “out of business, permanently” as the allies targeted weapons of mass destruction in the next phase in the war on terror.

“In Afghanistan, the terror camps have been destroyed, and will not be rebuilt,” Mr. Cheney told about 300 U.S. soldiers serving in the southern Sinai desert with the 1,900-strong, 11-member multinational peace-keeping force.

“Al-Qaeda terrorists are trying to re-group in that country, and they are being permanently dealt with,” Mr. Cheney said at South Camp, just south of the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. “The Taliban regime is out of business, permanently,” Mr. Cheney said, warning that “Afghanistan was only the beginning of a long and unrelenting effort.”

That “long and unrelenting effort” refers to the Neocon opium dream of conquering liberating the entire Middle East — you know, today Afghanistan, tomorrow the Muslim world. Neocon lunatic (sorry for the redundancy) Michael Ledeen expounded on that goal in September, 2002, when he proclaimed the unbeatable DC Empire shouldn’t think about promoting stability, but

“should instead be talking about using all our political, moral, and military genius to support a vast democratic revolution to liberate all the peoples of the Middle East from tyranny.” In addition to Iraq, he says, the governments of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia must also be overthrown. “Stability is an unworthy American mission, and a misleading concept to boot. We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia; we want things to change. The real issue is not whether, but how to destabilize.”

It was Ledeen, you’ll recall, who bragged that Neocons hated tradition and order, preferring “creative destruction,” which is much more fun. They just do not grasp that their other-worldly theories are ruining lives thousands of miles away.

It’s like a horror story worthy of the Twilight Zone — some nerds are playing Risk, not realizing their game is causing actual bloodshed outside their cozy rec room.

More at memeorandum.

The Conservative [sic] Action Project Serves Up Another Lame Foreign Policy Memo

They need to stick to economics and social issues because they have served up two lame Memos on foreign policy. They are clearly stuck in Cold War interventionist police the world mode.

Notice, however, that Richard Viguerie didn’t sign this one. I wonder if he caught flack for signing the last one. Also, note that the President of the Free Congress Foundation signed it. This is very unfortunate. The late Paul Weyrich was already fully in the non-interventionist camp when he passed, and he would not have signed this nonsense.

There is something to be said for not publicly flagellating yourself. It is unbecoming. So the Memo writers have a partially legitimate point. The way to go about this would be to send messages through diplomatic channels and letting your actions speak louder than your words. Bringing the troops home would say a lot more than will empty public apologies.

The problem with what they have written is that it is just more blind, mindless interventionism. For example, America should have NOTHING to say about the Israel/Palestine situation at all. It is none of our concern. And “conservatives” citing UN resolutions is both laughable and sad.

My Latests on the Conservative Action Project is Up at Intellectual Conservative

A Memo to the Conservative Action Project

Recently, a group known as the Conservative Action Project has been issuing “Memos to the Movement,” meaning the conservative movement. All the Memos are signed by several significant conservative movement activists. The Memos address various policy issues and appear designed to present a unified and authoritative voice of conservatism and from which disparate activists can take both talking points and policy direction. Not every memo is signed by the same people, but there are some regulars.

The Purpose of the Conservative Action Project appears in the heading of the Memos.

The Conservative Action Project, chaired by former Attorney General Edwin Meese, is designed to facilitate conservative leaders working together on behalf of common goals. Participation is extended to leaders of groups representing all major elements of the conservative movement—economic, social and national security.

This alone is not objectionable although those of us on the paleo or alternative right should be forgiven if we see an attempt to perpetuate “three-legs-of-the-stool” movement conservatism in that last line. Most of the Memos so far have been largely acceptable form an alt-right standpoint although they have been predictably movementy. For example the Memos on the Health Care Bill and the Stimulus Package provide wonkish critiques and measured responses but fall short of assailing them both as the unconstitutional usurpations that they are.

Unfortunately, the Conservative Action Project really showed its true movement colors with their latest offering on missile defense. The “national security” they refer to in their nod to the three legged coalition does not seem to be the actual security of the United States, but the security of Poland, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Israel, etc. (Funny but I don’t find protecting Poland anywhere in the Constitution.) The reaction on the alt-right has been harsh and deservedly so.

More …

Rush Needs to Untie the Other Half of His Brain

I normally listen to sports talk radio in the morning (the great Mike and Mike) because our local morning political talk guy is a GOP hack, but this morning I happened to catch Rush Limbaugh’s morning update. The subject was Obama’s dreaded liberal internationalism, which Rush of course thinks is a bad thing. I think Obama’s liberal internationalism is a bad thing too, but not just because it is liberal but also because it is internationalist. Rush has no problem with internationalism. He just wants unilateral, bellicose, shoot first internationalism and not that mushy liberal type. There could be nothing more internationalist than spreading democracy by force of arms and telling another sovereign nation what kind of weapons it can or cannot have for the sake of a third nation we supposedly have some obligation to defend.

The sad thing is, Rush really does believe that his brand of bellicose internationalism is the polar opposite of and the conservative alternative to Obama’s alleged liberal internationalism. But it is neither. The true opposite would be a philosophy that rejects internationalism in favor of particularism. Something you might call America First.

For the Rushes of the American “right” internationalism is just assumed. It is taken for granted. They can’t even think in terms that aren’t internationalist. But internationalism of this sort is inherently liberal. (Conservatism can be cosmopolitan. It does not require hostile parochialism, but it rejects the assumptions that underlie modern internationalism.) Conservatism is inherently particularist, nationalist (in the good patriotic sense), regionalist, localist and decentralist. So if Rush wishes to speak for the right he should be countering Obama’s liberal internationalism with conservative particularism, but he is so far from getting that.

Rush brags of having half his brain tied behind his back. Well perhaps he should untie it and make an effort to begin to understand how his bellicose internationalism is neither conservative nor the opposite of the liberal internationalism Obama is peddling.

Eight Years Later

Eight years later, we can safely say that the dreaded terrorists have won. The effect of terrorism is to cause such a collapse in the mindset of the target population that they are forced to change their very way of life. That happened immediately after 9-11 and has only gotten worse since. If you don’t believe this is true, then consider these words I’ve written the next time you have to throw away your travel-size bottle of shampoo before you board a plane. About a month after 9-11, Congress passed the infamous USA PATRIOT Act which was the start of a series of “homeland security” measures which only serve to trample our constitutional liberties.

Most of the common sense security measures which are both constitutional and effective (like securing our borders) have yet to be implemented. Today we still retain a suicidal open-borders policy coupled with mass immigration, both legal and illegal. Not a decade after 9-11, our elected officials are still trying to offer amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Our equally suicidal free trade policies have contributed to a lack of port security. The multinational corporations simply will not allow any stifling of their importation of cheap goods and cheap labor.

On the foreign policy front, what has our reckless warfare produced eight years later? We’ve driven the Taliban out of power in Afghanistan, but we’re still there today and the fighting is just as intense as ever. A few months ago, Taliban forces were within 60 miles of Pakistan’s capital city. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden has never been killed or captured and Al-Qaeda still freely operates in many parts of the world. The new Afghan government which replaced the Taliban has become just another corrupt regime as the recent elections there have shown. Afghanistan itself has become yet another protectorate of the American Empire. Continue reading

9/11 Memories

Author’s Note: I was stationed at Andrews AFB, Maryland on 9/11. The following day I responded to the Pentagon. My memories of those two eventful days are posted at Sharper Iron. I also post it below.

While most of you reading this site know we favor a non-interventionist foreign policy and opposed the invasion of Iraq, we must be careful not to overlook the tragedy of that day because we resent the way it was later exploited.

On “11 Sep 01” I was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. (Former military will recognize the dating convention.) For those unfamiliar with Andrews, it is in Maryland on the outskirts of Washington, DC and is most famous for housing Air Force One. “Ah, now it rings a bell,” you say.

I was in charge of our base’s alcohol and drug rehabilitation services, and 11 September started out an uneventful day like any other. The patients (in my business the more politically correct term is “clients”) had gone down for a smoke break. Almost all recovering addicts smoke. Go figure. They came back frantically instructing us to turn on the TV. An airplane had hit the World Trade Center. Needless to say, not much more rehabbing got done that day.

We were all, clients and staff, watching live as the second plane flew into the South Tower. What had been speculated about and suspected, terrorism, was confirmed. What happened after that could best be described as ordered chaos.

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Defense Hawk Peaceniks?

“Conservatives” who think we can get a handle on out of control spending and cut into our massive budget deficits without cutting defense, which contributes substantially to both, are deluding themselves. While interventionist “conservatives” will often concede that they do not want America “policing the world” and readily admit that they wish the many countries that free load off of America’s military expenditures would start carrying more of their own weight, they are loath to consider defense cuts. America must be armed to the teeth, they warn, in order to counter the many threats they perceive (“Islamofascists,” China, a resurgent Russia) and future threats that are bound to arise. As the story goes, if America shows any weakness and lack of resolve, meaning cutting defense spending, withdrawing troops, opting out of defense agreements, etc., then the international bad guys will quickly perceive this loss of will and move to exploit it.

One problem with countering this mindset is that it is not falsifiable. The fact of America’s continued existence is seen as proof the strategy is working. According to this narrative, while the war in Iraq may not be going as well as we hoped, we are much better off than we would have been had we not taken care of the incipient threat that was Saddam. You know, now Saddam would actually have and be ready to use all those WMDs he allegedly had before. An alternative strategy of non-intervention can’t be tried because “we know” what happens when America withdraws and “let’s her guard down.” Insert here sneering remarks about Chamberlain and appeasement and dire references to Hitler, Japan, Pearl Harbor, etc.

These defense hawks often invoke the much vaunted Reaganesq Cold War concept of “peace through strength” to justify ever increasing defense expenditures. By implication, spending means peace and defense cuts mean war. So who in their right mind could support defense cuts? As if these defenses spendthrifts were all a bunch of Quakers. The problem with this, however, is that what the defense hawk interventionists are advocating is not really “peace through strength.” What they really advocate would be more accurately formulated as “security through preventative aggression.”

A case can be made for peace through strength. An adequate defense may well deter aggression. But modern peace through strength advocates do not seek peace, certainly not in the short term. While some may foresee a long term benign pax Americana brought about by America stamping out bad guys around the globe, in the short term they counsel chest beating and preventative aggression against perceived threats. Military intervention must always be “on the table,” remember, and diplomacy is for sissies. Witness the hysteria among the interventionists over Obama and Iran. For them negotiating essentially means presenting ultimatums. Do what we say or we’ll bomb you. Again, all this has much to do with strength but nothing whatsoever to do with peace, so can we please drop the pretense.