Everyone is aware of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
Most members of Congress understand that government actions can have unintended
consequences, yet few quit voting for government "solutions"
always hoping there won't be any particular unintended consequences this time.
They keep hoping there will be less harmful complications from the "solution"
that they currently support. Economics teaches that for every government action
to solve an economic problem, others are created. The same unwanted results
occur with foreign policy meddling.
The Law of Opposites is just a variation of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
When we attempt to achieve a certain goal like, "make the world safe
for democracy," a grandiose scheme of World War I one can be sure the
world will become less safe and less democratic regardless of the motivation.
The 1st World War was sold to the American people as the war to end all wars.
Instead, history shows it was the war that caused the 20th century to be the
most war-torn century in history. Our entry into World War I helped lead us
into World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Even our
current crisis in the Middle East can be traced to the great wars of the 20th
century. Though tens of millions of deaths are associated with these wars, we
haven't learned a thing.
We went into Korea by direction of the United Nations, not a congressional
declaration of war, to unify Korea. And yet that war ensured that Korea remains
divided to this day; our troops are still there. South Korea today is much more
willing to reconcile differences with North Korea, and yet we obstruct such
efforts. It doesn't make much sense.
We went into Vietnam and involved ourselves unnecessarily in a civil war to
bring peace and harmony to that country. We lost 60,000 troops and spent hundreds
of billions of dollars, yet failed to achieve victory. Ironically, since losing
in Vietnam we now have a better relationship with them than ever. We now trade,
invest, travel, and communicate with a unified, western-leaning country that
is catching on rather quickly to capitalist ways. This policy, not military
confrontation, is exactly what the Constitution permits and the Founders encouraged
in our relationship with others.
This policy should apply to both friends and perceived enemies. Diplomacy and
trade can accomplish goals that military intervention cannot and they certainly
are less costly.
In both instances Korea and Vietnam neither country attacked us, and neither
country posed a threat to our security. In neither case did we declare war.
All of the fighting and killing was based on lies, miscalculations, and the
failure to abide by constitutional restraint with regards to war.
When goals are couched in terms of humanitarianism, sincere or not, the results
are inevitably bad. Foreign interventionism requires the use of force. First,
the funds needed to pursue a particular policy require that taxes be forcibly
imposed on the American people, either directly or indirectly through inflation.
Picking sides in foreign countries only increases the chances of antagonism
toward us. Too often foreign economic and military support means impoverishing
the poor in America and enhancing the rich ruling classes in poor countries.
When sanctions are used against one undesirable regime, it squelches resistance
to the very regimes we're trying to undermine. Forty years of sanctions against
Castro have left him in power, and fomented continued hatred and blame from
the Cuban people directed at us. Trade with Cuba likely would have accomplished
the opposite, as it has in Vietnam, China, and even in the Eastern Bloc nations
of the old Soviet empire.
We spend billions of dollars in Afghanistan and Colombia to curtail drug production.
No evidence exists that it helps. In fact, drug production and corruption have
increased. We close our eyes to it because the reasons we're in Colombia
and Afghanistan are denied.
Obviously, we are not putting forth the full effort required to capture Osama
bin Laden. Instead, our occupation of Afghanistan further inflames the Muslim
radicals that came of age with their fierce resistance to the Soviet occupation
of a Muslim country. Our occupation merely serves as a recruiting device for
al-Qaeda, which has promised retaliation for our presence in their country.
We learned nothing after first allying ourselves with Osama bin Laden when he
applied this same logic toward the Soviets. The net result of our invasion and
occupation of Afghanistan has been to miss capturing bin Laden, assist al-Qaeda's
recruitment, stimulate more drug production, lose hundreds of American lives,
and allow spending billions of American taxpayer dollars with no end in sight.
Bankruptcy seems to be the only way we will reconsider the foolishness of this
type of occupation. It's time for us to wake up.
Our policy toward Iran for the past 50 years is every bit as disconcerting.
It makes no sense unless one concedes that our government is manipulated by
those who seek physical control over the vast oil riches of the Middle East
and egged on by Israel's desires.
We have attacked the sovereignty of Iran on two occasions, and are in the process
of threatening her for the third time. In 1953, the U.S. and British overthrew
the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh and installed the Shah. His brutal
regime lasted over 25 years, and ended with the Ayatollah taking power in 1979.
Our support for the Shah incited the radicalization of the Shi'ite Clerics in
Iran, resulting in the hostage takeover.
In the 1980s we provided weapons including poisonous gas to Saddam Hussein
as we supported his invasion of Iran. These events are not forgotten by the
Iranians, who see us once again looking for another confrontation with them.
We insist that the UN ignore the guarantees under the NPT that grant countries
like Iran the right to enrich uranium. The pressure on the UN and the threats
we cast toward Iran are quite harmful to the cause of peace. They are entirely
unnecessary and serve no useful purpose. Our policy toward Iran is much more
likely to result in her getting a nuclear weapon than prevent it.
Our own effort at democratizing Iran has resulted instead in radicalizing a
population whose instincts are to like Americans and our economic system. Our
meddling these past 50 years has only served to alienate and unify the entire
country against us.
Though our officials only see Iran as an enemy, as does Israel, our policies
in the Middle East these past 5 years have done wonders to strengthen Iran's
political and military position in the region. We have totally ignored serious
overtures by the Iranians to negotiate with us before hostilities broke out
in Iraq in 2003. Both immediately after 9/11, and especially at the time of
our invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran, partially out of fear and realism, honestly
sought reconciliation and offered to help the U.S. in its battle against al-Qaeda. They were rebuked outright. Now Iran is negotiating from a much stronger
position, principally as a result of our overall Middle East policy.
We accommodated Iran by severely weakening the Taliban in Afghanistan on Iran's
eastern borders. On Iran's western borders we helped the Iranians by eliminating
their arch enemy, Saddam Hussein. Our invasion in Iraq and the resulting chaos
have inadvertently delivered up a large portion of Iraq to the Iranians, as
the majority Shi'ites in Iraq ally themselves with Iranians.
The U.S./Israeli plan to hit Hezbollah in Lebanon before taking on Iran militarily
has totally backfired. Now Hezbollah, an ally of Iran, has been made stronger
than ever with the military failure to rout Hezbollah from southern Lebanon.
Before the U.S./Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Hezbollah was supported by 20%
of the population, now it's revered by 80%. A democratic election in Lebanon
cannot now serve the interest of the U.S. or Israel. It would only support the
cause of radical clerics in Iran.
Demanding an election in Palestinian Gaza resulted in enhancing the power of
Hamas. The U.S. And Israel promptly rejected the results. So much for our support
for democratically elected government.
Our support for dictatorial Arab leaders is a thorn in the side of the large
Muslim population in the Middle East, and one of the main reasons Osama bin
Laden declared war against us. We talk of democracy and self-determination,
but the masses of people in the Middle East see through our hypocrisy when we
support the Sunni secular dictators in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan and at
one time, Saddam Hussein.
In the late 1970s and the 1980s the CIA spent over $4 billion on a program
called "Operation Cyclone." This was our contribution to setting up
training schools in Pakistan and elsewhere, including the U.S. itself, to teach
"sabotage skills." The purpose was to use these individuals in fighting
our enemies in the Middle East, including the Soviets. But as one could predict,
this effort has come back to haunt us, as our radical ally Osama bin Laden turned
his fury against us after routing the Soviets. It is estimated that over 12,000
fighters were trained in the camps we set up in Afghanistan. They were taught
how to make bombs, carry out sabotage, and use guerilla war tactics. And now
we're on the receiving end of this U.S. financed program hardly a good
It's difficult to understand why our policy makers aren't more cautious
in their efforts to police the world, once it's realized how unsuccessful
we have been. It seems they always hope that next time our efforts won't
come flying back in our face.
Our failed efforts in Iraq continue to drain our resources, costing us dearly
both in lives lost and dollars spent. And there's no end in sight. No consideration
is given for rejecting our obsession with a worldwide military presence, which
rarely if ever directly enhances our security. A much stronger case can be made
that our policy of protecting our worldwide interests actually does the opposite
by making us weaker, alienating our allies, inciting more hatred, and provoking
our enemies. The more we have interfered in the Middle East in the last 50 years,
the greater the danger has become for an attack on us. The notion that Arab/Muslim
radicals are motivated to attack us because of our freedoms and prosperity,
and not our unwelcome presence in their countries, is dangerous and silly.
We were told we needed to go into Iraq because our old ally, Saddam Hussein,
had weapons of mass destruction yet no weapons of mass destruction were found.
We were told we needed to occupy Iraq to remove al-Qaeda, yet al-Qaeda was
nowhere to be found and now it's admitted it had nothing to do with 9/11.
Yet today, Iraq is infested with al-Qaeda achieving exactly the opposite of
what we sought to do.
We were told that we needed to secure "our oil" to protect our economy
and to pay for our invasion and occupation. Instead, the opposite has resulted:
Oil production is down, oil prices are up, and no oil profits have been used
to pay the bills.
We were told that a regime change in Iraq would help us in our long-time fight
with Iran, yet everything we have done in Iraq has served the interests of Iran.
We're being told in a threatening and intimidating fashion that, "If
America were to pull out before Iraq could defend itself, the consequences would
be absolutely predictable and absolutely disastrous." I'm convinced
that the Law of Opposites could well apply here. Going into Iraq we know produced
exactly the opposite results of what was predicted: Leaving also likely will
have results opposite of those we're being frightened with. Certainly leaving
Vietnam at the height of the Cold War did not result in the disaster predicted
by the advocates of the Domino Theory an inevitable Communist takeover of
the entire Far East.
We're constantly being told that we cannot abandon Iraq and we are obligated
to stay forever if necessary. This admonition is similar to a rallying cry from
a determined religious missionary bent on proselytizing to the world with a
particular religious message. Conceding that leaving may not be a panacea for
Iraqi tranquility, this assumption ignores two things. One, our preemptive war
ignited the Iraqi civil war, and two, abandoning the Iraqi people is not the
question. The real question is whether or not we should abandon the American
people by forcing them to pay for an undeclared war with huge economic and human
costs, while placing our national security in greater jeopardy by ignoring our
borders and serious problems here at home.
In our attempt to make Iraq a better place, we did great harm to Iraqi Christians.
Before our invasion in 2003 there were approximately 1.2 million living in Iraq.
Since then over half have been forced to leave due to persecution and violence.
Many escaped to Syria. With the neocons wanting to attack Syria, how long will
they be safe there? The answer to the question, "Aren't we better off without
Saddam Hussein," is not an automatic yes for Iraqi Christians.
We've been told for decades that our policy of militarism and preemption in
the Middle East is designed to provide security for Israel. Yet a very strong
case can be made that Israel is more vulnerable than ever, with moderate Muslims
being challenged by a growing majority of Islamic radicals. As the vincibility
of the American and Israeli military becomes common knowledge, Israel's security
is diminished and world opinion turns against her, especially after the failed
efforts to remove the Hezbollah threat.
We were told that attacking and eliminating Hezbollah was required to diminish
the Iranian threat against Israel. The results again were the opposite. This
failed effort has only emboldened Iran.
The lack of success of conventional warfare the U.S. In Vietnam, the
Soviets in Afghanistan, the U.S. In Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel in Lebanon
should awaken our policy makers to our failure in war and diplomacy.
Yet all we propose are bigger bombs and more military force for occupation,
rather than working to understand an entirely new generation of modern warfare.
Many reasons are given for our preemptive wars and military approach for spreading
the American message of freedom and prosperity, which is an obvious impossibility.
Our vital interests are always cited for justification, and it's inferred
that those who do not support our militancy are unpatriotic. Yet the opposite
is actually the case: Wise resistance to one's own government doing bad
things requires a love of country, devotion to idealism, and respect for the
Rule of Law.
In attempting to build an artificial and unwelcome Iraqi military, the harder
we try, the more money we spend, and the more lives we lose, the stronger the
real armies of Iraq become: the Sunni insurgency, the Badr Brigade, the Sadr
Mahdi Army, and the Kurdish militia.
The Kurds have already taken a bold step in this direction by hoisting a Kurdish
flag and removing the Iraqi flag a virtual declaration of independence. Natural
local forces are winning out over outside political forces.
We're looking in all the wrong places for an Iraqi army to bring stability
to that country. The people have spoken and these troops that represent large
segments of the population need no training. It's not a lack of training,
weapons, or money that hinders our efforts to create a new superior Iraqi military.
It's the lack of inspiration and support for such an endeavor that is missing.
Developing borders and separating the various factions, which our policy explicitly
prohibits, is the basic flaw in our plan for a forced, unified, western-style
democracy for Iraq. Allowing self-determination for different regions is the
only way to erase the artificial nature of Iraq an Iraq designed by western
outsiders nearly 80 years ago. It's our obsession with control of the oil
in the region, and imposing our will on the Middle East, and accommodating the
demands of Israel that is the problem. And the American people are finally getting
sick and tired of their sacrifices. It's time to stop the bleeding.
Instead we continue to hear the constant agitation for us to confront the Iranians
with military action. Reasons to attack Iran make no more sense than our foolish
preemptive war against Iraq. Fictitious charges and imaginary dangers are used
to frighten the American people into accepting an attack on Iran. First it may
only be sanctions, but later it will be bombs and possible ground troops if
the neocons have their way. Many of the chicken-hawk neoconservative advisors
to the administration are highly critical of our current policy because it's
not aggressive enough. They want more troops in Iraq, they want to attack Syria
and Iran, and escalate the conflict in Lebanon.
We have a troop shortage, morale is low, and our military equipment is in bad
shape, yet the neocons would not hesitate to spend, borrow, inflate, and reinstate
the draft to continue their grandiose schemes in remaking the entire Middle
East. Obviously a victory of this sort is not available, no matter what effort
is made or how much money is spent.
Logic would tell us there's no way we will contemplate taking on Iran at this
time. But logic did not prevail with our Iraq policy, and look at the mess we
have there. Besides, both sides, the neocon extremists and the radical Islamists,
are driven by religious fervor. Both are convinced that God is on their side.
Both sides of the war in the Middle East are driven by religious beliefs of
omnipotence. Both sides endorse an eschatological theory regarding the forthcoming
end of time. Both anticipate the return of God personified and as promised to
each. Both sides are driven by a conviction of perfect knowledge regarding the
Creator, and though we supposedly worship the same God, each sees the other
side as completely wrong and blasphemous. The religiously driven Middle East
war condemns tolerance of the other's view. Advocates of restraint and
the use of diplomacy are ridiculed as appeasers, and equivalent to supporting
Nazism and considered un-American and un-Christian.
I find it amazing that we in this country seem determined to completely separate
religious expression and the state, even to the detriment of the 1st Amendment.
Yet we can say little about how Christian and Jewish religious beliefs greatly
influences our policies in the Middle East. It should be the other way around.
Religious expression, according to the 1st Amendment, cannot be regulated anywhere
by Congress or the federal courts. But deeply held theological beliefs should
never dictate our foreign policy. Being falsely accused of anti-Semitism and
being a supporter of radical fascism is not an enviable position for any politician.
Most realize it's best to be quiet and support our Middle East involvement.
Believing we have perfect knowledge of God's will, and believing government
can manage our lives and world affairs, have caused a great deal of problems
for man over the ages. When these two elements are combined they become especially
dangerous. Liberty, by contrast, removes power from government and allows total
freedom of choice in pursuing one's religious beliefs. The only solution
to controlling political violence is to prohibit the use of force to pursue
religious goals and reject government authority to mold the behavior of individuals.
Both are enamored with the so-called benefit that chaos offers to those promoting
revolutionary changes. Both sides in situations like this always underestimate
the determination of the opposition, and ignore the law of unintended consequences.
They never consider that these policies might backfire.
Declaring war against Islamic fascism or terrorism is vague and meaningless.
This enemy we're fighting at the expense of our own liberties is purposely
indefinable. Therefore the government will exercise wartime powers indefinitely.
We've been fully warned to expect a long, long war.
The Islamic fascists are almost impossible to identify and cannot be targeted
by our conventional weapons. Those who threaten us essentially are unarmed and
stateless. Comparing them to Nazi Germany, a huge military power, is ridiculous.
Labeling them as a unified force is a mistake. It's critical that we figure
out why a growing number of Muslims are radicalized to the point of committing
suicide terrorism against us. Our presence in their countries represents a failed
policy that makes us less safe, not more.
These guerrilla warriors do not threaten us with tanks, gunboats, fighter planes,
missiles, or nuclear weapons, nor do they have a history of aggression against
the United States. Our enemy's credibility depends instead on the popular goal
of ending our occupation of their country.
We must not forget that the 9/11 terrorists came principally from Saudi Arabia,
not Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, or Syria. Iran has never in modern times invaded her
neighbors, yet we worry obsessively that she may develop a nuclear weapon someday.
Never mind that a radicalized Pakistan has nuclear weapons; our friend Musharraf
won't lift a finger against bin Laden, who most likely is hiding there. Our
only defense against this emerging nuclear threat has been to use, and threaten
to use, weapons that do not meet the needs of this new and different enemy.
Since resistance against the Iraq war is building here at home, hopefully it
won't be too long before we abandon our grandiose scheme to rule the entire
Middle East through intimidation and military confrontation.
Economic law eventually will prevail. Runaway military and entitlement spending
cannot be sustained. We can tax the private economy only so much, and borrowing
from foreigners is limited by the total foreign debt and our current account
deficit. It will be difficult to continue this spending spree without significantly
higher interest rates and further devaluation of the dollar. This all spells
more trouble for our economy and certainly higher inflation. Our industrial
base is shattered and our borders remain open to those who exploit our reeling
Economic realities will prevail, regardless of the enthusiasm by most members
of Congress for a continued expansion of the welfare state and support for our
dangerously aggressive foreign policy. The welfare/warfare state will come to
an end when the dollar fails and the money simply runs out.
The overriding goal should then be to rescue our constitutional liberties,
which have been steadily eroded by those who claim that sacrificing civil liberties
is required and legitimate in times of war even the undeclared and vague war
we're currently fighting.
A real solution to our problems will require a better understanding of, and
greater dedication to, free markets and private property rights. It can't
be done without restoring a sound, asset-backed currency. If we hope to restore
any measure of constitutional government, we must abandon the policy of policing
the world and keeping troops in every corner of the earth. Our liberties and
our prosperity depend on it.