Does Targeted Killing ‘Work’?

Christopher Mott makes the case for restoring normal relations with Venezuela:

Danielle Pletka wants you to know that she thinks targeted killing “works”:

Targeted killing has become a tool of statecraft because it works, in the sense that it achieves the limited goals prescribed: A key individual, critical to an enemy’s agenda, is gone. It will not end Iran’s nuclear weapons program, but it can slow it down. It will not end Iran’s missile program, but it will cause many Iranians who might have signed up to think twice about the risks.

As with anything a government does, when someone says that something “works” our first question should always be, “works to do what?” Do sanctions work? If the goal is to impoverish and starve people, then they work very well in their cruel, sadistic way. If it is to achieve constructive changes in policy or changes in regime, they usually never work. The same goes for assassinations, as our government’s practice of targeted killing with drones should have already taught us long ago. Killing someone at the top can temporarily disrupt a terrorist organization, but in practice it tends to make that organization more dangerous and radical. Leaders can be replaced, and others will step up to fill the role that the dead men had. Short-term “successes” often lead to long-term failure. The entire “war on terror” is a huge, bloody cautionary tale that you cannot kill your way out of these problems.

Can a government successfully target and kill specific individuals? Obviously, it can. Does that achieve anything beyond murdering those people? That is much less clear. In the case of Israeli assassinations of Iranian officials and scientists, these tactics backfire all the time. Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program, but today it is closer to having one than it was just a few years ago because of Israeli assassination and sabotage attacks. If Iran ever does build a nuclear weapon, it will have to send the Mossad a gift basket for helping to encourage them to go all the way.

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Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

Exorbitant Military Spending Sacrifices Public Well-Being

President Dwight Eisenhower gave his first major presidential speech, The Cross of Iron, on April 16, 1953. He laid out several important precepts guiding US conduct in world affairs as well pointing out the cost of military spending in very concrete terms. Eisenhower stated:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

“This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.”

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Biden: High Gas Prices for ‘As Long As It Takes’ To Defeat Russia

In a rare press conference after the Madrid NATO Summit today, President Biden was asked how long Americans should expect to pay high gas prices over the Ukraine conflict. Biden’s response was flippant: “for as long as it takes.” He also blamed high food prices on “Russia Russia Russia.” Are Americans buying it?

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Conflicts of Interest: White House Ignores Iranian Offer to Relieve Nuclear Deal Impasse

On COI #293, Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman cover the latest Iran nuclear deal news.

Connor discusses Tehran’s decision to formally drop their previous demand that the IRGC be removed from the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) blacklist.  Tehran has called Biden’s bluff. By removing what was ostensibly the final sticking point precluding a deal, Iran has placed the ball firmly in Washington’s court.

The U.S. has not yet responded to this major concession. However, the Treasury Department has added more sanctions and new reports are confirming Israel was behind the murder of Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei. Another new report reveals that, for years, Tel Aviv has been coordinating with the Pentagon over its myriad air strikes in Syria.

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Ray McGovern on Medvedev/Putin: Highly Unusual Threats to NATO

An interview with The Critical Hour yesterday provided an opportunity to add some important NATO-related reporting that has been pretty much overlooked in the corporate media. Some of that detail, with my comments, are offered below.

As NATO leaders (aka ‘The 30 Blind Mice) started their summit meeting yesterday in Brussels, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threw down a seemingly gratuitous gauntlet. Medevdev warned: “Any attempt to encroach on Crimea is a declaration of war on our country.” And that if such an attempt were made by a NATO country, “This is a conflict with the entire North American Alliance. Third World War. Total catastrophe.”

I checked the original Russian; the English translation (verbatim) is accurate. For those who read Russian, here is the original:

Любая попытка посягнуть на Крым – это объявление войны нашей стране, – напомнил политик. – И если это делает страна, входящая в НАТО, это конфликт со всем Североатлантическим альянсом. Третья мировая война. Тотальная катастрофа

“For us, Crimea is a part of Russia. And that means forever. Any attempt to encroach on Crimea is a declaration of war against our country,” Medvedev told a regional news site, as quoted in Reuters.

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