An endless war in Afghanistan, where the US takes the side of the communists it opposed in the 1980s. No end in sight and no one even knows what victory looks like. Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria – once the US gets involved it becomes just another government program that can never be cancelled. In today’s Liberty Report, Scott Horton joins us in-studio to discuss his new book, Fool’s Errand – Time to End the War in Afghanistan, and the many other US empire wars. Could the Afghan war have been avoided even though Afghanistan had hosted al-Qaeda? Horton tells us exactly how the US could have pursued its national interest and national security without a 17 year quagmire:
Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton was on the phone with Egypt’s intelligence chief trying to organize a Arab army to take over US duties occupying northeastern Syria. The Trump Administration’s big idea is to have the Saudis lead the occupation to “prevent ISIS 2.0 from emerging in the area.” That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense considering the fact that the Saudis were behind the creation of ISIS 1.0! As media arrives on the ground in Syria begins looking into US claims of a Syrian government gas attack in Douma, they are finding the US narrative does not match the facts on the ground. Congress thinks a new authorization for the use of military force might do the trick. All in all it seems the US has no idea why it remains in Syria. There is no policy but to continue doing what Obama started in 2011. Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Only a couple of weeks ago, US president Donald Trump stated his desire to bring American troops home from Syria: “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon …. Let the other people take care of it now.”
As if on cue: An alleged chemical attack in Douma, where the Assad regime’s forces are rooting out rebel resistance in their re-taking of the eastern Ghouta region.
Investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are only now arriving to look into the claim, but Trump (as well as the UK’s Theresa May and France’s Emmanuel Macron) wasted no time proclaiming the allegations proven and Assad the culprit. On April 14, the three governments launched missile strikes on supposed Syrian chemical facilities.
The strikes were illegal under both US and international law. Congress hasn’t declared war on Syria. Congress hasn’t even passed an extra-constitutional “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” regarding Syria. Nor has the United Nations authorized military action versus Syria.
Once again, the U.S. military has launched Tomahawk cruise missiles against Syria, as well as a new weapon called the JASSM-ER, described as “a stealthy long-range air-fired cruise missile.” According to FP: Foreign Policy, the latter weapon is “likely being closely watched in Tokyo, where military officials are considering purchasing the missile to give the country’s military a long-range strike capability against North Korean targets, Japan Times reports.” In short, the US military demonstrated a new weapon for an ally and potential client while striking a country (Syria) that has no way of striking back directly at the US
April 16/18: JASSM-ER makes its combat debut The USAF has fired Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missile in combat for the first time. 19 such missiles were launched from two B-1B Lancer bombers during last weekend’s sortie against Syrian chemical weapon research and storage facilities, and were joined by 57 Tomahawk missiles launched from US naval assets, as well as Storm Shadow and SCALP missiles from British and French warplanes. While Russian sources in Syria claim that Russian and Syrian air defenses managed to down 71 or the total 105 cruise missiles launched during the Friday night operation – claims Washington refutes – a report on the mission by the Aviationist reckon the newer missiles – in particular the JASSM-ER, SCALP and Storm Shadow – would have been highly effective against their targets.
One thing is certain: business is booming yet again for Lockheed Martin.
It is now being reported that Mike Pompeo is unlikely to be approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. GOP Senator Rand Paul will join all 10 Democrats on the committee in denying him approval.
However, the Republican leadership plans to bring his nomination to the floor anyway. With the Senate so closely divided, Pompeo needs at least one Democrat or Independent to vote for his approval.
These three are considering voting for Pompeo:
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia (202) 224-3954
Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota (202) 224-2043
Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine (202) 224-5344
These two Democrats have not announced their preference and could vote for Pompeo:
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri (202) 224-6154
Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana (202) 224-4814
Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah is a possibility for oppose Pompeo (202) 224-5444
President Donald Trump deferred to his Pentagon chief’s caution and tempered his preference for a more robust attack on Syria over allegations it used deadly gas on civilians, the first hints at the direction of his revamped national-security team.
It is better that Mattis’ view prevailed over Bolton’s, but one problem with taking any military action in response to demands to “do something” is that there will always be a chorus of hard-liners demanding that the U.S. “do more” than it already has. Once a president has conceded that military action is an appropriate response to a foreign government’s behavior, he has put himself in a trap of his own making. When the first strikes don’t “work” or are deemed to be inadequate to “get the job done,” the pressure to escalate increases. Since Trump is especially sensitive to accusations of looking “weak,” he is probably more likely than most presidents to listen to the hard-liners that fault him for not doing enough in Syria. It makes me wonder how long Mattis can hold off the president when Bolton is going to keep agitating for more aggressive actions.