Two weeks ago, Antiwar.com received a letter from a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps wondering what motivated our behavior. One of my jobs for Antiwar.com is handling letters like these, and since he asked like a gentleman, Iâ€™ve done my best to represent the site and the case against the war.
What follows, with his permission and with his name and rank omitted, is our discussion:Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2007 21:05:06 -0800 To: @antiwar.com Subject: Inquiry from websiteâ€”-(USMC) submitted a linkâ€¦here are the results! Subject: motive
I just want to know what your reason is for starting a website of such substance. As a Marine who anti-war activists commonly bash, I always seem to be on the offense while discussing the matter of war. Did I do something wrong? I want to serve my country and hopefully, keep my children from fighting these battles in fifteen years. Because, we all know that if we donâ€™t keep the terrorists â€œover there,â€ they will inevitably, end up, â€œover here.â€ Maybe your opinions contradict. To debate would be a welcome experience. You can definitely consider that a challenge.
â€”â€“ Original Message â€”- From: Scott Horton email@example.com
Sent: Sunday, December 16, 2007 10:46:55 PM Subject: Re: Fwd: Inquiry from website
â€“Thanks for your challenge, I accept and mean to change your mind about some things.
â€“First an answer to your question why do we do Antiwar.com http://antiwar.com/?: The site was begun in 1995 in opposition to Bill Clintonâ€™s wars in the Balkans. All the staff are libertarians – like Ron Paul – but we feature articles from all political positions in opposition to foreign intervention. (Youâ€™ll notice that most of our in-house writers are libertarians and conservatives.) As to the why, well, we do it for the same reason you fight in the Marines: To protect Americansâ€™ freedom. Remember how the founders were wary of standing armies? It was because permanent military establishments and war are detrimental to liberty. War is the health of the state. And the U.S. has been at war or on a permanent war footing since WWII. Hence, we have the national security state, homeland security state, the PATRIOT Act (illegal searches), Military Commissions Act (legalizes torture), Protect America Act (tapping phones) and on and on *because* we have Marines all over the world waging war. And conversely, none of these laws will ever be repealed as long as we are at war.
â€“Now I can see how a freedom loving patriot like yourself would reason that even though our Constitutional system here at home may be suffering for the short term, it is worth it to bring the war to our countryâ€™s enemies to protect us for the long term. And you would be right, but for the fact that your first assumption about we all know that warring now prevents worse war later is fatally flawed.
â€“For example, if Europe, China and Russia were to send their navies to invade and occupy our land, we would all tolerate Commander in Chief Bush taking extraordinary measures to coordinate our defense, including running roughshod over state governors, seizing certain property, etc. It would be horrible, but worth it in that case. But the war on terrorism is different.
â€“In this case, we have a very small band of jihadists who would or could attack the U.S. They are, at this point, holed up in exile in the Hindu Kush. They donâ€™t control a single country on earth. The local Sunnis in Iraq have shown that they could turn â€œal Qaeda in Iraqâ€ off like a switch when they felt like it.
â€“Bin Laden was looking at a fractured bunch of Afghan-Russian war leftover jihadists and wanted to unite them. The attacks on America were his attempt to lure the US into occupying Afghanistan (Iraq was a bonus for them) so they could recreate the old war against the USSR. The plan was to bleed our treasury dry and wear our military out, thereby forcing our government out of the region permanently.
(The six objections to U.S. policy that the CIA says he cited over and over were: 1: U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia, 2: Support for Israel over the Palestinians, 3: Support for tyrannies in Egypt, Saudi, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, UAE etc., 4: Pressure on them to keep prices set where Houston wants them, 5: The blockade and no-fly zone bombings against Iraq [now replaced on the list by invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan], 6: Support for Russia, China and India in their wars against Muslims. In other words, al Qaeda recruiter schtick is all about U.S. empire in their countries [not about hating freedom and democracy]. This is why ALL of the 9/11 hijackers were from â€œfriendlyâ€ Middle Eastern countries [Egypt, Saudi, Yemen], not Iraq, Iran or Syria.)
â€“As we can see, bin Laden was able to provoke exactly the reaction he wanted out of the U.S., but has failed completely at rallying the Muslim world to his cause. They are more radicalized than ever, but sure donâ€™t seem interested in being ruled by him any more than us.
â€“Further, in the book Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, Dr. Robert Pape traced the histories of thousands of suicide bombers – all of them, failed and successful, between 1980 and 2004. What he found was that virtually all of them were attacking forces that were occupying their land. The most suicide bombing is in Sri Lanka where neither side is Muslim. Sudan is a Sunni Arab land, with a lot of Waahabi extremism and widespread violence – but no one has ever done a suicide bombing there because itâ€™s a civil war and they are not being occupied by a foreign power – yet. Just wait for the suicide bombers to come out of the woodwork when Hillary sends the â€œpeace force.â€ In 2005, the Saudis and Israelis both did studies tracing the jihadists who went to Iraq to kill Americans. 99% of them were young people radicalized by the invasion of Iraq itself. They werenâ€™t violent fighters before the invasion at all. The CIA and British MI-6 have both come to similar conclusions. Ayman al Zawahiri has said he wants us to stay in Iraq until 300,000 have been killed, that way we wonâ€™t be back. Al-Whatâ€™s-his-name who took over AQI after Zarqawi likewise complained of the danger to their movement if the U.S. were to withdraw.
â€“Here is a page of interviews I did with all CIA guys and Pape the author of the book cited above after Giuliani attacked Ron Paul for saying essentially what I have said above. They all said Paul was right, including the former chief of the CIAâ€™s bin Laden unit who gave Bill Clinton 10 chances to kill bin Laden.
â€“So the best way to fight terrorism is to kill the guys who did 9/11 (finally) and then get our combat forces off of other peopleâ€™s holy land. The remaining al Qaeda in the world can be wiped out by the worldâ€™s national governments’ intelligence agencies and cops – with Marines for the occasional really tough jobs – no problem, IF we scale back the empire that we shouldnâ€™t have anyway.
â€“As CIA man Scheuer once told me, the choice is war or total war. If we scale back the occupations and just go after the actual bad guys, thatâ€™s war. If we let the neocon crazies talk us into a war of civilizations against the whole Muslim world, then thatâ€™s what weâ€™ll get.
â€“Eagerly awaiting your reply,
â€”â€“ Original Message â€”- From: Scott Horton firstname.lastname@example.org mailto:email@example.com To: â€”-@â€”-.com Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2007 10:29:19 PM Subject: Re: Fwd: Inquiry from website
â€”-, My responses belowâ€¦
â€”- wrote: Mr. Horton, First let me say this. Changing my mind about anything that I feel strongly on is no easy task. I would go so far as to say that it is nearly impossible in most matters. Iâ€™m sure you feel the same way about my swaying your opinion.
â€“Yes, I do as well. Iâ€™ll take extra satisfaction in changing yours when I do. : )
I donâ€™t get the impression that your organization would fall into the realm of such activists that picket servicememeberâ€™s funerals shouting babykiller. Sadly it has happened with other groups. Now, if that is the type of activism that you advocate, well, quite simply, I hope you burn in hell. Tell your friends I said that too. But, I questioned your motives anyway because I have my qualms with these campaigns myself.
â€“First of all, Antiwar.com would never have anything to do with any groups that did such things, but secondly, you should know that the only group that has protested military funerals has been the wacked out church of a right-wing nut named Phelps, whose very small but dedicated supporters protest with signs saying â€œGod hates Americaâ€ and â€œGod hates fagsâ€ – his position is that as long as there are any gay people in the U.S. Army then God-uh will strike down our sinful nation. This clearly has nothing to do with Anyone in the antiwar movement whatsoever.
â€“The only insincere motives Iâ€™ve seen in the antiwar movement comes from some on the communist left who want to use opposition to the war to boost themselves. I think they prefer that thereâ€™s a war just so they can oppose it. Iâ€™ve never heard of them protesting any funerals though.
Many anti-war stances have clout and I donâ€™t mind examining them.
â€“Thatâ€™s why I took the trouble to write that long response. You obviously came looking for an honest debate and opportunity for us to understand each other.
I canâ€™t honestly say that I disagree with the points you make in your letter. You raise good points such as the study done by international intelligence agencies to determine the motivation of these insurgent fighters. That is a well known fact among Marines and soldiers believe me. It is an inevitable domino effect that begins with one sorrowful act of an innocent civilian being caught in the crossfire. His brother vows revenge and attacks coalition forces. He is killed and then his son vows revenge and so on. That is where the problem lies.
â€“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I will tell you now why I disagree with your opinions that you have so thoroughly reinforced with he-said-she-said type of evidence.
â€“I do not believe I made the fallacy of argument from authority. I tried my best to make my argument myself and cite important footnotes where further reading can be found.
First: There is the implication that if we withdrew our forces from abroad it would seem to end our social and economical difficulties. Well, sure, some of it. But it would create others. For instance, hypothetically of course, if we were to return our forward deployed forces to the United States, the next step would be to downsize the military. It would only be natural. That would in turn create a massive influx of unemployed veterans who have no home, no job and a heavy reliance on government assistance. especially individuals who are handicapped due to battle related injuries.
â€“Right now the U.S. government spends over a Trillion dollars a year on war. That is money that is taken out of the productive economy and given to the Pentagon to waste. Thatâ€™s money that would have been invested, spent on salaries, given as grants, etc., etc. Empire costs our society so much money with nothing to show for it. As the Old Right author Garet Garrett once wrote, â€œThe winds that blow our billions away return burdened with themes of scorn and dispraise.â€
â€“And surely you recognize that more war and more empire means more wounded veterans, not less. The economists are already saying the Iraq war – never mind the rest of it – will end up costing 3 Trillion dollars or more. Again that is all money taken from productive use by private citizens (who have no choice but to pay or go to jail, by the way).
Second: The assumption that the CIA, or any of our covert agencies for that matter, can defeat jihadists in Afghanistan without military support, is naive at best. I can tell you from personal experience working with operatives when I was there that the tactics that had to be employed by these agencies are extremely cost-ineffective and turn up little result.
â€“Remember, I said Marines should be used where necessary. But thereâ€™s a big difference between actually fighting al Qaeda in Waziristan and propping up Karzai and fighting the Taliban (which our ally Pakistan still supports), drug wars and the rest of it.
â€“In 2001 the CIA called the local general with his 4,000 marines and said help us out at Tora Bora. The general called Tommy Franks and was told no. Bin Laden escaped that night.
Third: You include a paragraph discussing the nature of motives behind suicide bombings. Well, in case you havenâ€™t watched the news, since 2004 those figures became obsolete. Now that we have deposed the dictator of Iraq, there is no one to oppress the other secular muslim groups there. Civil violence has blown up over there. Literally. The insurgents now target Iraqis who are assisting coalition forces. As much of a hindrance as we are on the average Iraqiâ€™s daily life, we also progress their future. That is one reason why the mullahs donâ€™t advocate attacks against us so much anymore. But they have no problem killing members of another branch of Islam.
â€“Please reread what you just wrote there. The suicide bombers fight the U.S. occupation and those who collaborate with it.
â€“I fail to see how this does anything but make the case Iâ€™m making.
â€“There had Never been a suicide bombing in Iraq before 2003 – Never. Now our foreign military occupies it and suicide bombings are all the rage.
Whether or not Bin Ladenâ€™s ambition behind 9/11 was to draw us into Afghanistan to destroy our economy like the USSR is a very very thin hypothesis.
â€“The furthest thing from it. He said so over and over as did Zawahiri. See his October 2004 speech for example. http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/11/01/binladen.tape/index.html
Donâ€™t forget, we funded, trained, and equipped the Afghani fighters in that era.
â€“I havenâ€™t forgotten. More on that below.
The Al Qaeda fighters that were up against us had nowhere near that level of support for this campaign!
â€“Right. Thatâ€™s just what I said in my first response. Even though the U.S. has done exactly what bin Laden wanted and more, the Muslim world has still not rallied around him and he remains nearly powerless in exile in the Hindu Kush. Weâ€™re still going broke though.
The problem in Afghanistan now is that the exiled Taliban are growing in numbers and strength. Karzai begs us to stay any time we get a foot out the door because he realizes that after we leave, his government isnâ€™t strong enough to keep the entire nation from collapsing and creating a collage of locally controlled warlord states.
â€“As Governor George W. Bush once said, â€œWhatâ€™s the exit strategy?â€ There isnâ€™t one. Afghanistan is meant to be a permanent colony of the U.S., but why? What interests of Americaâ€™s are served by the policy? Few to none at all. Why should Hamid Karzai be the lord of those people? What right do we have to put him there?
Plus, we slashed alot of opium and cannabis crops there. Because Americans donâ€™t believe in drugs we have to destroy the strongest market item that the country offers and give them bags of wheat. Before the invasion of Afghanistan, 80% of the worldâ€™s heroin supply was derived from opium exported from Afghanistan and surrounding areas. So that leaves us in a pretty bad spot. We donâ€™t want them to grow opium but we offer no reasonable alternative. It would be irresponsible of us to turn our backs to it due to the drug problem in todayâ€™s America. But then again, in the third poorest country on earth, Afghanis need to feed their families as we do. Fix that one.
â€“Thatâ€™s easy. Let them trade in whatever they want. The destruction of their crops only drives up the price and makes growing it all the more attractive. Drug wars are stupid. Doctors world-wide use opiates on their patients every day. Why shouldnâ€™t Afghanistanis be allowed – by Americans – to sow and reap a cash crop? Insanity. (PS: legalizing drugs would go a hell of a long way toward solving Americaâ€™s domestic drug addiction problems as well.)
Iraq. If we left tomorrow there would be a genocide and a three way civil war. Then we will read about it in the papers and see it on TV and there will be an outcry from narcissistic george clooney types to â€œstop the violence!â€ So guess where the Marines go?
â€“Well, darn it, whose fault is that? They had a secular dictator, then the U.S. invaded and screwed everything up. Now those who opposed the war and advocate withdrawal are to be held responsible for the consequences? I donâ€™t think so. Besides, as you probably well know, the U.S. supports all the Iraqi secessionists (who need us): The Supreme Islamic Council and Daâ€™wa (in league with Iran) and the Barzani and Talabani factions in Kurdistan. The violence between them and the former Baâ€™athist Sunnis makes our permanent military bases â€œnecessaryâ€ while the nationalists want us out ASAP. The nationalist Sunni and Shia Arabs are called the insurgency and the death squads and are marginalized. (I know Sadrâ€™s guys are murderers, but they are no worse that the Iran-backed SCIRI/Badr/Daâ€™wa factions who we call the â€œIraqi governmentâ€ and the Sunni insurgency is now on the payroll – temporarily.) The only thing â€œwrongâ€ with Sadr really is that he wants to form a nationalist alliance with Iraqi Sunnis and insists on U.S. withdrawal. â€“Right?
I do realize that part of your cause is to ensure civil liberties as well. I know that bills such as the Patriot Act are controversial and very unfair to average people trying to live their lives. I am very skeptical of these plans as well.
â€“Iâ€™m a real stickler for the Constitution and Bill of Rights. If the Constitution isnâ€™t the law, then what binds the power of our government? They are forbidden from searches without warrants. Period. If the Patriot Act is worth it, then repeal the 4th amendment.
I see both sides of the argument. But I chose the opposite side of the fence on the issue than you did. Just like how I chose to put my life on the line for the country and you chose to stay and home and write about the mistakes I am making.
â€“Well, I think the mistakes are being made mostly by the civilian policy makers at the think tanks in Washington and New York and then implemented by some of your higher ups. Admirals Fallon and Mullen deserve a great deal of credit for telling Bush/Cheney hell no on war with Iran. I believe they stopped it.
Whenever I get into a discussion of this nature I always listen to the other person make their point and ask a simple question. So I ask you now. What, in your opinion, would be the most effective strategy to conclude this war?
â€“I really appreciate the honesty of this debate. It has been of a far higher standard than much of the email we get.
â€“Alright, short question, long answer:
â€“We have to understand what Ron Paul has been telling us: that the founders were right that we had to leave the world alone. No entangling alliances. Not an appeal to authority, but to their wisdom. When we intervene in wars there are always consequences. Often the consequences are used to justify the next war. We should only fight in our own defense, never for other countries interests in order to minimize these consequences (dead, wounded, inflation, taxation, lost liberty, new enemies, etc).
â€“Woodrow Wilson betrayed Washington and Jefferson when he got us into World War I (then known as The War to End All Wars). Because of this, the groundwork was set for the Commies to seize power in Russia and the Nazis in Germany. Also due to the American intervention the Brits got to steal the Middle East from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.
â€“In WWII we intervened to save the Brits and the Soviets from the Nazis. At the end, we inherited the empires of the British, French, Dutch, Germans and Japanese and accepted it all in the name now of containing the Soviets we had saved. Soon came a coup in Iran because of the democratic election of Mossedeq who leaned toward the Reds. 26 years later the people of Iran rose up and overthrew the U.S. backed dictator and got the Ayatollahs in his place. Right around the same time, the U.S. started backing the mujahedeen in Afghanistan against our old friends the Soviets and Saddam Hussein in Iraq in order to contain the Iranian revolution.
â€“When the Soviets fell and Hussein got too big for his britches, we put bases in Saudi from which to bomb Iraq from 1991 through the present day. This is what angered our old friends the mujahedeen and gave them common cause for their jihad. Result: September 11th.
â€“Now we have regime changes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia with consequences unknown on their way down the line (Iran? Kurdistan? Pakistan? Saudi? Sudan?) The lesson here is that at some point we have to just kick the damn habit. Wars do not, in fact, prevent the next war, they cause them.
â€“Al Qaeda remains a threat that must be dealt with. Hereâ€™s how: As one former CIA officer has said, â€œRamp this whole thing down.â€ It is not conceding to the terrorists for the U.S. to do what is right anyway. We should announce to the world that despite what they may have been led to believe by some of our bad policies recently that we are not an empire, that we are proud of our heritage of independence from empire, we only wanted to protect â€˜em, but were doing it wrong, that we intend to leave Iraq as quickly as logistically possible, that we have no desire for war with Syria or Iran (both are avowed enemies of al Qaeda) and will be sending ambassadors to open embassies in those countries immediately, and we should insist firmly, as we withdraw our empire, on cooperation from all regional national governments to find bin Laden and his top few hundred followers. They should be captured and brought to America for trial – RICO and anti-terrorism statutes should cover it. Those who cannot be brought in alive should be blasted.
â€“If this had been the policy all along, the entire war on terrorism would have been over by June 2002. Qaeda ainâ€™t no Soviet Union. They donâ€™t even own a single county on earth. They are dangerous to civilian lives in our country, but they in no way pose an existential threat to our country itself. One division of Marines could handle this problem once and for all, Iâ€™d bet. And then we should go back to being a limited constitutional republic before itâ€™s too late.
â€“By the way, donâ€™t buy Bush line that it is new to have enemies who can strike across the ocean at us and that the foundersâ€™ advice doesnâ€™t apply today. Back when the founders gave their advice, the Brits and French occupied Canada and Louisiana right on our borders and had the most powerful armies and navies in the world.
I look forward to your response.
â€”-wrote: Mr. Horton, Hello again. Iâ€™ll tell you right off the bat that I appreciate your complement. At the same time I should tell you that you arenâ€™t half as shallow as I thought you might be. You also have well formed opinions, although I may disagree. You can consider that a compliment, as reluctant as it sounds. Trust me when I say that it is. I have been approached by my share of ignorant and nonsensical individuals who canâ€™t contemplate the breadth of the situation that we are dealing with. Itâ€™s ridiculous at times and I have to walk away laughing because there is no chance for an intelligent discord. So I give you credit for that. But donâ€™t break out the party hats too soon! Iâ€™m not done yet.
Thereâ€™s a topic that I want to hit first because it kind of made me laugh when I read what you wrote. It is the part where you are presenting your withdrawal strategy. Basically scale down the offensive forces in Iraq and send a Marine RCT into Afghanistan to flush and and capture/kill the enemy. Do I pretty much have that summed up? Well, the irony is, That is EXACTLY what General Conway proposed to the Joint Chiefs. Iâ€™m sure you read about it. His proposal was to withdraw the Marines completely from Iraq, (because we arenâ€™t designed or intended to be an occupation force anyway) and send us to Afghanistan and take care of the problem once and for all. Meanwhile the army would withdraw itâ€™s forces from Afghanistan and focus on aiding in the rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure and training Iraqi security forces while scaling back troop strength. Well, The plan got shot down. Itâ€™s too bad because Iâ€™m pretty sure it would work. They want to keep NATO in there.
â€“Ha! You know, I had forgotten about that. Thanks for reminding me! Am I a regular strategic genius or what? : )
Thatâ€™s another thing that has become a common complaint among Marines. We are an expeditionary force. We are intended to be employed as a force in readiness capable of rapid deployment worldwide. Now, of course, I have my rivalry with the army. That rivalry has existed for many, many generations, dating all the way back to the very founding of the Marine Corps, which occurred three months after the formation of the army in 1775. But I think that it is safe to say that the army is better suited for the occupation of Iraq. Albeit a progressive reduction in forces. Not to mention that the situation in Iraq has made vast improvements over the last year since I was there. Mostly in Al Anbar, where the Marines control. But it is commonly viewed by the Corps as a whole that we are not needed over there anymore. I would like to see us take up our position again as the quick reaction force that we are designed to be. Marines out is a good first start.
There is no need to attempt to educate me on the political ties that we share between certain groups that hold power in Iraq. Here it is plain and simple. We work with the first insurgent organization who is willing to cooperate. We form these alliances knowing full well that we were fighting them last week! I will give you an example. The Iraqi division that we were partnered up with, had an old crusty Sergeant Major. He spoke pretty good English so I was asking him about his history. He was 36 years old and had been in the Iraqi army for 24 years. Got his start in the Iran-Iraq war in the 80â€™s when he was a kid. He fought us in â€˜91. Inevitably, he fought us again during the invasion. But there we were, a couple of patriots just having a smoke and talking military life. In, fact he told me that over half of the Iraqi soldiers that we had with us had fought against us during the initial push. Many had become insurgents after the Iraqi military defeat. But they were persuaded to join the army and do the right thing instead of killing the wrong people. Now, I donâ€™t know whoâ€™s logic it was that decided these alliances but the truth is clear. We had to start getting these groups on our side of the table before we could discuss negotiations. Iâ€™ll tell you another story. There was this one section of road through the city that we always got attacked on. Usually sniper fire or a small IED buried in the dirt next to the road. Anyway, I made friends with one of the local community leaders. In fact most of that stretch of road was his extended family. We were bringing him back to the FOB to talk to him and our truck got hit with an IED. The trigger man misjudged and blew it early so it was mostly superficial damage. Well, we took care of him and talked to him for a while. We bring him back later on and to this day, there hasnâ€™t been an attack on that stretch of road. Understand, Iâ€™m not telling you stories because I like to wave my ego flag. Iâ€™m communicating a few things to you. I donâ€™t know if you have ever served in an infantry unit in combat or not. Iâ€™m just explaining to you my appreciation of certain issues and how it directly relates to the subject at hand.
â€“No, Iâ€™ve never been in the military. That is interesting, but, no offense intended, Iâ€™m afraid I donâ€™t really understand what youâ€™re getting at there.
Now, I have seen you write â€˜American Empireâ€™ in some form or another, a few times. Is that to say that you think that a forward deployed, operationally ready military force should be abandoned? Should we isolate ourselves and put blinders on to any injustices occurring in the outside world? That is the impression I get. Thatâ€™s alot like a â€˜itâ€™s none of my businessâ€™ attitude. Being the worldâ€™s truly, lone superpower I feel that we owe civilization a bit more than that. The United States as a whole probably throws away more food in one day than Africa eats! But Iâ€™m not interested in talking about Africa. So donâ€™t bring it up. It has nothing to do with me not caring.
â€“An operationally ready military force is fine with me. Forward deployed is not. I think the fact that we are the most powerful nation is all the more reason that we should lead by example and show the world that we believe empires are immoral and that we mean to keep our constitutional republic and that if they want to be badass like us, they should embrace liberty too. I also believe that private citizens should be allowed to intervene if they want – such as U.S. pilots who volunteered to fight the Germans for England before Pearl Harbor. If you want to be a peacekeeper in a humanitarian crisis, thatâ€™s fine, but I think it is a mistake to expect government to ever get these things right and wrong to tax your neighbor for any reason other than basic mutual defense.
â€“Like I was saying last night, here we are 90 years later still fighting Wilsonâ€™s War. Intervention just doesnâ€™t work. The worst humanitarian crisis in the world right now is Iraq – caused, not prevented, by U.S. intervention.
You are right that this war has been a massive financial drain on our economy. There is no disputing that. Money could be spent elsewhere. But you seem to be stuck in the past. Sure, we would be a lot better off financially if we didnâ€™t have to fund such an expensive campaign. But guess what? It happened. So now is the time to look towards the future and make the right choices.
â€“Well the past is only prologue, but it isnâ€™t that I want to go backwards so much as I want to get the lessons right so that as we go forward, we go in the right direction.
Mr. Horton, The only point that I want to dispute you on at this time is the issue of forward deployed forces. Iâ€™m not going to quote you because you know what you wrote. I understand your concept and agree that it would be an IDEAL function of our military. However, what you speak of is a utopian society that does not exist in this world. You have to realize that our military, especially the Navy and Marine Corps, our forward deployed to be used as a deterrent force at times. If we didnâ€™t have the presence in more volatile parts of the world, things would be far worse I assure you. We have treaties with nations who allow us to occupy small areas of their sovereignty in order to project their interests politically as well. Take Japan for example. The United States, most notably the Marines, have a major base on the island of Okinawa. But, we have to pay for it. This is the result of an agreement that was reached to promise the Japanese a lack of imperialism on our part. Imagine the lack of even the threat of a superior force in places like Somalia and Israel. This world would be in a frenzy if there wasnâ€™t some sort of balancing power. Iâ€™m sure you donâ€™t view our projected power as such but take a step back and imagine what the world would look like if we werenâ€™t here.
Scott Horton wrote:
â€“Why should the American people subsidize Japan? Seriously. You point out that we donâ€™t even make any money off our empire. We pay them to allow us the privilege of fighting for their sovereignty? Everything goes out, nothing comes back. Whoâ€™s going to attack Japan? Why should we believe for a minute that they would be in any worse position if we left? Little dudes nearly took over the whole pacific themselves back in the day, but now theyâ€™re helpless without us?
â€“What about Germany? Why are we still protecting Western Europe from the USSR? Why are we expanding NATO into Eastern Europe? They would all be at war now if we werenâ€™t? Come on. Most of this is just welfare for Lockheed.
â€“The last time the U.S. military did anything in Africa to their benefit was back when they defeated the Nazis. Ever since Bush had the formerly Soviet dictator of Ethiopia invade Somalia for regime change a year ago, there have been hundreds of thousands killed and hundreds of thousands of refugees. For what? To install some UN-created â€œgovernmentâ€ over those people for their own good? That same UN now admits that the crisis in Somalia is worse than in Darfur.
â€“By what right have we done this to these people who have never so much as threatened us?
â€“There is nothing whatsoever that is utopian about my view. If anything, you are the one who is choosing to ignore 100 years of chaos spread by American intervention in your belief that somehow there will come a point where things are great. This is simply not true. We back dictatorships all over the world and those bases you talk about – more than 750 of them in more than 130 countries – are what causes people to hijack planes and kill Americans, as weâ€™ve already established.
â€“Think of it this way. If they had given us a choice at the end of the Cold War: â€œOkay folks, weâ€™re going to go be the police man of the world, solving everyone elseâ€™s problems and every once in a while people are going to come here and kill thousands of American civilians by way of showing their gratitude,â€ would we have taken them up on their offer?
â€“What about when people hate their government and want to get rid of it – democratically or otherwise – but their government is on the U.S. payroll, its security forces trained by you guys and thus cannot be overthrown?
â€“Sorta like when the Chinese government paid for Clintonâ€™s election campaigns in 1992 and 1996 – pissed me off man. Maybe pissed you off too. Now what if the Chinese had funded and trained our cops and soldiers for use against us? Had military bases and combat troops in our counties?
â€“We would want to kill them, right?
â€“We are trying to make a unipolar world at a time when power is spreading out all over. We are trying to impose an empire. Itâ€™s morally wrong. It costs way too much. It does not create peace but more conflict. It costs us our liberty and our republican form of government. It creates enemies for regular Americans who want nothing to do with empire at all.
â€“And another thing. If this imperial policy is really being carried out for the good, why do they lie about every single freaking word out of their mouths?
â€“Kosovo 99: Hundreds of thousands of Kosovar Albanians massacred by the Serbs. Lie.
â€“Iraq: has reconstituted nuclear weapons they had never constituted in the first place, mobile bio weapons labs, uranium from Niger, aluminum tubes, friends with Osama, remote control planes that can fly across Jordan, Israel, the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean to spray germs and chemicals on the U.S. east coast (remember that one?), threat to his neighbors, refused UN inspectors, still holding Scott Speicher, want us to invade themâ€¦ All lies.
â€“Iran: building nukes, openly declared theyâ€™re building nukes, secret nuke program, refuse to negotiate with us, support our enemies in Iraq, friends with Osama, threatened to â€œwipe Israel off the map,â€ support the Taliban, want us to bomb themâ€¦ All lies.
â€“North Korea: secretly enriching uranium and so they broke the Warren Christopher deal, not us. Lie.
â€“Syria: Got Saddamâ€™s missing weapons, secret nuclear weapons program, friends with Osama. Lies.
â€“Georgia: Osamaâ€™s friends are there. Lie.
â€“Somalia: Osamaâ€™s friends in power. Lie.
â€“Ukraine: FSB poisoned heroic candidate. Lie.
â€“This is empire. Not some stabilizing force of love.
â€“And even another thing: The people whoâ€™ve come up with this doctrine of â€œbenevolent global hegemony,â€ the neoconservatives at the American Enterprise Institute, for example, are a bunch of sissy-pants, draft doging, soft handed, air conditioned â€œtheoristsâ€ of a doctrine that has been alien to America. It is the will to dominate and export revolution along the lines of the French Jacobins and Trotskyite communists. It is Washington and Jefferson turned upside down.
â€“If youâ€™d like I could recommend some interesting reading about these neocons, their origins on the communist left, and how they took the conservatism of Robert Taft http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/rp-mr-republican.html
â€“And turned it into the â€œconservatismâ€ of Rudy Giuliani.
â€“Well, thereâ€™s a couple.
â€“Would you mind if I posted our discussion on my blog? I would omit your name and rank, of course.
â€“Either way, Merry Christmas to you and be careful.
No worries. Iâ€™ve been really busy latelyâ€¦ It may be a few weeks before you here from me again. But the discussion isnâ€™t closed yet. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.