Washington's 30-Years War In The Middle East -- A Legacy Of Destruction, Anarchy And Terror
October 15, 2014
Patrick J. Buchanan / Contra Corner & Ron Paul / Contra Corner
Since 1980, the US has invaded, occupied or bombed 14 nations in the Greater Middle East -- Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosovo, Yemen, Pakistan and now Syria. The cost: Tens of thousands of US dead and wounded, trillions of dollars lost, hundreds of thousands of Muslim dead and wounded, millions of refugees. And for what? Are we better off now than we were 30 years ago, with the Middle East on fire with civil, sectarian, tribal and terrorist wars?
Washington's 30-Years War In The Middle East –
A Legacy Of Destruction, Anarchy And Terror
Patrick J. Buchanan / Contra Corner
(October 7, 2014) -- The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature." With this citation from Madison, Cong. Walter Jones is calling for a debate and decision on whether America should go to war in Syria and Iraq, when Congress reconvenes after Nov. 4.
Last week's events make Jones' request a national imperative. For former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says we are heading into a "30-year war" against the Islamic State and the emerging threats in Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere.
He faults Obama for not bombing Syria when Assad crossed his "red line" and used chemical weapons. US credibility was damaged, says Panetta. "There's a little question mark to, is the United States going to stick this out?" This new war is the opportunity "to repair the damage."
Yet consider the man Panetta wants to lead the United States into a war to restore America's credibility. The president's "most conspicuous weakness" is "a frustrating reticence to engage his opponents and rally support for his cause," says Panetta. Too often, he "relies on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader." He "avoids the battle, complains, and misses opportunities."
But with Hamlet as your commander in chief, why would you start a war? And consider our allies in this new war.
Joe Biden has been forced to apologize to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates for saying at Harvard that both had been providing huge infusions of money and weapons to the ISIS terrorists who have beheaded Americans. But what was Joe guilty of, other than blurting out the truth?
The terrorists of ISIS are today closing in on the Syrian-Kurdish city of Kobani on the Turkish border, having overrun scores of villages. A hundred thousand Syrian Kurds have fled into Turkey.
Yet though ISIS warriors are visible right across the border, and Turkey has the second largest army in NATO, with 3,500 tanks and 1,000 aircraft, the Turks are sitting on their hands, awaiting what may be a massacre.
Why? David Stockman quotes Turkish President Erdogan this weekend: "For us, ISIL and the (Kurdish) PKK are the same." Erdogan is saying "a plague on both their houses." To Istanbul, the PKK are terrorists, as are the ISIS fighters the PKK is trying to keep from overrunning Kobani.
The United States, too, designates both the Islamic State and the PKK as terrorist organizations. Which terrorist organization do we want to win this battle? Who do we want to win the war between ISIS and the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra front on one side, and Assad's regime, which Obama and John Kerry wanted to bomb in August of 2013?
Whose side are we on in Lebanon?
This weekend, al-Qaida's Syrian wing, Jabhat al-Nusra, lost 16 jihadists in an incursion into the Bekaa Valley. Who defended Lebanon and fought the terrorist intruders? Hezbollah, which we have declared a terrorist organization.
Whose side are we on in the Hezbollah vs. al-Qaida war?
In Yemen last week, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, whom the United States has been attacking for years, sent a suicide bomber in an explosives-laden car into a hospital used by Houthi rebels, who have taken over the capital of Sanaa.
Are the Houthis America's allies?
Probably not, as they have plastered Sanaa with their slogans, "Death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews, and victory to Islam."
The Houthis fighting al-Qaida, like Hezbollah fighting al-Qaida, are Shia, supported by Iran, which is on our side against ISIS in Syria and on our side against the Islamic State in Iraq. But to Bibi Netanyahu, speaking at the UN last week, Iran is the great enemy: "[T]o defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power would be to win the battle and lose the war."
Hence, the neocon war drums have begun to beat for US strikes on Iran if negotiations on Iran's nuclear program conclude Nov. 24, with no deal satisfactory to the United States. But no matter how olfactory its regime, why start a war with an Iran that is a de facto, and perhaps indispensable, ally in preventing ISIS from establishing its caliphate in Damascus and Baghdad?
Since 1980, writes Andrew Bacevich, the United States has invaded, occupied or bombed 14 nations in the Greater Middle East -- Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosovo, Yemen, Pakistan and now Syria.
The cost: Tens of thousands of US dead and wounded, trillions of dollars lost, hundreds of thousands of Muslim dead and wounded, millions of refugees, Christians foremost among them. And for what? Are we better off now than we were 30 years ago, with the Middle East today on fire with civil, sectarian, tribal and terrorist wars?
Congress should vote no on any new Thirty Years' War.
Privately, Barack Obama would probably be grateful.
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Antiwar.com Original.
The Lesson of Afghanistan:
Invasion And Occupation Always Fail
Ron Paul / Contra Corner
(October 6, 2014) -- After 13 years of war in Afghanistan -- the longest in US history -- the US government has achieved no victory. Afghanistan is in chaos and would collapse completely without regular infusions of US money. The war has been a failure, but Washington will not admit it. More than 2,000 US fighters have been killed [. . . ]
After 13 years of war in Afghanistan -- the longest in US history -- the US government has achieved no victory. Afghanistan is in chaos and would collapse completely without regular infusions of US money. The war has been a failure, but Washington will not admit it.
More than 2,000 US fighters have been killed in the 13-year Afghan war. More than 20,000 Afghan civilians were also killed. According to a study last year by a Harvard University researcher, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost in total between four and six trillion dollars. There is no way of looking at the US invasion of Afghanistan and seeing a success.
So in light of this failure, what does the Obama Administration do? Do they admit the mistake? Do they pull the remaining US troops out of Afghanistan and try to avoid making matters even worse? No! As with all US government programs, if the desired result is not achieved they just pump in more resources and continue with the same policies. The past 13 years have been an utter failure, so this past week the US government signed on for ten more years of war!
US troops were legally required to be out of Afghanistan by the end of this year, according to a status of forces agreement between the US and Afghanistan. The US was unsuccessful in negotiating a new status of forces agreement with outgoing president Hamid Karzai. The Afghan leader had grown critical of the US military presence -- which has actually increased under President Obama. So, the US needed a new puppet in government.
As international correspondent Eric Margolis pointed out recently, the elections in Afghanistan earlier this year were a farce. The candidates were hand-picked by the US government. Furthermore, wrote Margolis, "[t]he largest, most popular party in Afghanistan, Taliban. . . [has] been excluded as 'terrorists' from the current and past elections."
But they got their new status of forces agreement. US troops will remain through 2024.
The United States' war on Iraq has also been a failure. The neocons want to blame the current disintegration of Iraq on President Obama for pulling US troops out. This is historical revisionism at its worst. The real blame goes to those who put the troops in in the first place.
In fact, President Obama didn't even want to pull US troops out of Iraq. He had tried to re-negotiate a new status of forces agreement with the Maliki government in Iraq, but Maliki hesitated to extend immunity from prosecution to the remaining US troops. The US responded by turning on Maliki, eventually demanding that he step down even though he had been elected.
Maintaining US troops in Iraq would not have prevented the current unrest there for the simple reason that it was the presence of US troops in the first place that caused the unrest.
It was the US invasion that led to the emergence of al-Qaeda in Iraq and other extremist Islamist groups. This should not have been a surprise to war planners: Saddam Hussein had been using brutal means to keep these groups at bay for decades. The same is true with Afghanistan.
The Taliban government of 2001 in Afghanistan did not attack the United States. Al-Qaeda did. But the 2003 US attack on Iraq under false pretenses removed a leader who had fought ruthlessly against al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist fighters.
The result was that the al-Qaeda we were supposed to be fighting in Afghanistan flourished in post-invasion Iraq, along with other even more brutal groups. Will our government ever learn that invasion and occupation are not the solution, but rather the problem? No new status of forces agreement can change that basic fact.
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Antiwar.com Original.
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