Tag: Middle East

If I Broke into Your House

TJ Roberts | United States

If I broke into your house, I would not be justified. I would be a violent criminal with no respect for private property and personal sovereignty.

If I broke into your house, you would be justified in using force to remove me from your house. You would even be able to use lethal force.

If I broke into your house, I would not be justified in using violence against you when you attempt to remove me. You have the right to do what it takes.

If I broke into your house, everything I do in your house is a breach of your rights, no matter how kind I am about it.

If I broke into your house and you pulled a gun on me, I do not have the right to kill you. I do not have the right to kill your family either.

If my friend told me to break into your house, I still would not be justified. My friend would be inciting violence.

If I broke into your house and took everything you had, you’d want your stuff back. You’d want your family back. You’d want revenge.

If I Broke Into Your House and Called it War, Does That Change Your Mind?

Why is it that these principles are so universally accepted when it applies to you, but not for others? Americans as a whole condemn any person or group who would violently invade the property of another. This attitude, however, immediately changes when we transition to war. America is an empire; there is no existential threat to the U.S. Ultimately, every war the U.S. is engaged in is nothing more than an act of aggression against another sovereign nation.

War is the foundation of the modern state. So far, the U.S. has killed more than 20 million people since the end of World War II in pursuit of empire. In fact, America’s attempt at destabilizing and radicalizing the Middle East has killed at least 4 million people. If other any nation was responsible for so many deaths, the world would rally against it and burn its leaders like the witches in Salem.

Now that the U.S. is withdrawing from Syria, it is time to withdraw the military from the rest of the world and truly pursue non-interventionism. The Military Industrial Complex has not made us free or safe. Rather, U.S. intervention has led to massive debt, breaches of privacy, and a complete disregard for civil liberties on the domestic front. It is even worse for the inhabitants of foreign nations. If the Chinese government murdered your family, you would want revenge. If the Chinese government slaughtered your friends, it would radicalize you. American intervention has killed millions, destroyed the infrastructure, and radicalized the survivors.

Blowback

This, of course, leads to blowback in the US. If you want to know why 9/11 happened, ask yourself what you would do if the United Nations invaded your nation, flipped its regime, killed your family, destroyed your home, crippled your infrastructure, and oppressed your culture. Would you want revenge?

This is exactly what happened on September 11th. While war hawks (who would never enlist to fight the wars they are calling for) will say that ending the wars will pave a way to the next 9/11, the fact is that U.S. occupation of the Middle East in the 90s is what caused 9/11. It wasn’t a random attack. It was unjustified, but the U.S. nonetheless created the climate for such an attack.

A Foreign Policy of Freedom

Perhaps our foreign policy should resemble the golden rule. If you were invaded, you would use violence to repel the invader whether the invader is a military or a home intruder. Why do you expect something different from sovereign nations that the U.S. government sees as its colonies? If you don’t want to be invaded, don’t invade other nations. To avoid falling victim to economic warfare, don’t engage in economic warfare. If you don’t want nations to bomb you, don’t bomb other nations.

It is time that we reject war as the racket that it is. Too many people have suffered as a result of the American Empire’s attempt to destroy the sovereignty of any nation that did not bend its knee to the will of the U.S. War is nothing more than legalized mass murder. It is breaking into someone else’s house. Don’t be surprised when they respond with violence.


This article was originally published in LIFE.

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Christmas Withdrawal From Syria Exposes Trump’s Allies

By Mark West | United States

President Donald Trump gave Washington a Christmas surprise by announcing, via Twitter, that ISIS is defeated and that the United States will begin the withdrawal of approximately 2,000 troops that are stationed in the civil-war-ravaged nation of Syria. Reports and rumors are circulating that an imminent draw down of forces in Afghanistan is also on the President’s agenda. President Trump’s allies have been knocked off their footing by this move towards a demilitarized world.

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, who has become a more vocal supporter of the President in recent months, is a leading voice of criticism of Trump’s move labeling it “a stain on the honor of the United States.” Graham also pointed out that he believes the President is ignoring “sound military advice” in his move to withdraw our troops from Syria.

President Trump isn’t taking Graham’s critique lightly, firing back in a tweet that it was “hard to believe that Lindsey Graham would be against saving soldier lives & billions of $$$.”

Many Republicans in Washington and the media were openly critical of Trump’s decision before Defense Secretary James Mattis bombed the capitol with his resignation which appears to be directly impacted by his own dissension from the President’s decision on Syria. The most telling line in Mattis’ resignation letter reveals his reasoning as he says that Trump has, “the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects.”

The next few days and weeks will be full of expert opinions on what to do next on Syria. Senator Graham is already pushing for Congressional hearings to discuss the move. Debates will swirl around how the Kurds will be impacted and how this move empowers Russian dominance in the region.

President Trump’s surprise announcement exposes his allies. We see now the reality of the establishment Republican status quo in DC. Most military spending to support our interventionist international military presence is, in reality, a right-wing, big-government boondoggle. Neocons don’t want their base to see that they have been hoodwinked.

Trump’s allies continue the tired and flawed argument that ISIS will be fighting us in our streets if we aren’t fighting them in the streets of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, Senator Graham shared that same thought in his tweets of criticism against Trump.

This rhetorical fantasy is meant to disguise us from the reality that the party of small, limited government simply isn’t living up to the slogan when it comes to empire-building, international policing activities using our troops. Our national deficit might be $6 trillion dollars less if not for our state of war in the Middle East since 2001.

President Trump is making the right call on the Syrian withdrawal and with the drawdown in Afghanistan. He is exposing his limited government allies’ dark underbellies in a way that will help balance our budget and begin shrinking the national debt. Our invasions abroad have not ended the terrorist threat and may even be one contributing factor in its continuing existence and strength.

Former Congressman Ron Paul tweeted his case that eventually all of our troops will have to come home because the tendency toward empire-building is bankrupting our government. We’ve spent around $3 billion per year in military interventionism that has possibly been as provocative as it has been proactive. How many new terrorists do we create by our interloping interference for every terrorist we kill or capture? We can’t deny the fact that we are indeed in their country, on their land, and in their backyard. We shouldn’t be shocked that the effect we’ve caused is continuing terrorism aimed at our troops and our citizens at home and abroad.

While not a proponent of the “America First” version of “Make America Great Again” that President Trump is pushing, I am in supportive agreement with his call to withdraw our troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Putting America first should mean that it’s time to bring our troops home so that the money spent maintaining their presence abroad can instead be invested in American infrastructure, innovation, and in keeping American troops present for their families here at home.


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The Second Amendment is Still Working

Jack Shields | United States

A few weeks ago, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch tweeted an NBC article discussing the desire of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) to take Americans’ semi-automatic rifles from them and criminally prosecute those who refuse to turn in their guns. Swalwell proudly admitted on Twitter that Loesch wasn’t wrong about his intentions. This caused him to get into arguments with people on Twitter where he casually mentioned that if we defied the government and refused to turn in our guns, they could just nuke us into submission. He was, of course, being sarcastic, but it brings light to the fact that many on the Left consider the idea of the people using their guns to rise up and fight a tyrannical government as simply laughable. The government and more specifically the military it commands are just too powerful in their opinion for us to stand a chance. However, this is simply not true. The facts show that the second amendment remains just as adequate a tool for fighting tyranny today as it did when it was ratified in 1791.

A Fight Against Tyranny

The first way the second amendment functions as a tool to prevent tyranny isn’t even that we can use the guns to fight the government. It’s the fact that us having the guns will deter the government from doing anything that would warrant us having to rebel in the first place.  Recognizing that guns are an effective deterrent is just understanding human nature. If for some odd reason you were required to rob one of two houses that were identical in every aspect and each had a guy with almost identical characteristics in them, with the only difference being you knew the guy in House A was armed while the guy in House B was unarmed; then it’s an easy choice. You’re going to rob House B. The stats show that at an individual level this is true.

The book, Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms by James D. Wright and Peter D. Rossi, discusses a 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons which found that 34% were “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.” 40% decided against committing a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun.” And lastly, 69% had personally known other criminals who were “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.”  This reality was understood by both the men in government who have wanted to preserve the rights of the people and those who have wanted to impose tyranny on them.

James Madison, when talking about the threat of a federal government which wished to usurp state powers and encroach on individual liberties in The Federalist, No. 46, noted the unique “advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.” Madison knew that Americans would rise to defeat any federal government which wished to impose tyranny, and because of this, the federal government would be unlikely to attempt such things. It was a deterrent that the subjects of Europe did not have, and it showed as their kings trampled on their rights with little doubt that they could get away with it. Not only did Madison, the Father of the Constitution and one of the biggest leaders for freedom and liberty in the history of the world, understand this, but one of the most tyrannical, evil people in the world, Mao Zedong, understood this fact as well.

Mao once said, “Every communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Mao knew that in order to take away his subjects ability to resist as he trampled over their liberties; he needed to be the one in control of the guns. And the results of the two nations Mao and Madison built could not be more different. Madison’s country is the freest, most powerful nation in the history of humanity. Mao murdered 45 million of his own people as he built a nightmare today where the people have little to no rights and China is one of the most evil and dangerous countries in the world. It’s not just the Chinese that were oppressed. The Jews in Nazi Germany, the women in Iran, and even the black people in the United States for most of its history were helpless as their rights were stripped from them because they did not have access to the deterrent we as Americans take for granted or mock today.

While it’s clear having guns is a successful deterrent against government tyranny if, God forbid, we ever had to rebel against our own government, would we be able to put up a fight? Are the liberals right when they say the government would slaughter us? Wars both now and throughout history show us that Rep. Swalwell and his fellow progressives are just wrong and that we could actually put up a fight.

Conservatives often remark when debating the issue of guns that George Washington did not talk with the British. He shot them. And at the time the British had by far the most powerful military in the world. The colonies had farmers and boys in disorganized militias and the ill-equipped Continental Army. Yet the United States won using the ordinary firearms they had at home against the greatest military force of the time.  The Civil War also disproves several points made by the Progressives.

The History of Resistance

The first is that Progressives seem to believe that a war now would be the full might of the military striking down a bunch of rebellious civilians, but that’s just not true. In the event of a civil war, it’s reasonable to believe a sizable portion of the military will fight for the rebellion, bringing weapons, tech, and military knowledge and strategy to the rebels. This is seen best by General Robert E. Lee, who was offered the command of the United States Army but chose instead to align himself with the Confederacy. And while the Confederacy lost, it was in no way an easy victory for the Union, as it looked like for a long time the Confederacy may win and, in order to turn the tide of the war, President Lincoln had to play politics at a level no President has yet to equal; General Grant had to use all the resources and men at his disposal, and General Sherman had to light the South on fire with his total war strategy to get them to finally surrender, and it barely worked. But that was before nukes, drones, helicopters, MOABs, chemical weapons, and all the other tools of destruction the government now has at its disposal. But when looking at wars in the modern era, you get the same results.

Since the United States dropped the atomic bomb in 1945, ushering in a new era of warfare in which it reigns supreme, it has been involved in three major wars. The Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the War on Terror. The Korean War was essentially a tie, with the United States-backed South Korea and Soviet-backed North Korea dividing their respective nations at the 39th parallel. But it’s important to understand just why it was a tie rather than a victory for the United States. President Truman fired General MacArthur and did not allow him to pursue more aggressive means of winning the war which included bombing the Chinese. The same President Truman that ordered the atomic bombings of Japan.

The United States held back its power, and it did the same in Vietnam. This was done for a plethora of reasons, mainly to keep up our image at home and abroad. And if nuking communist trying to kill your troops isn’t something most leaders would do, it’s unlikely they’d nuke us. Nukes, if used at all, would be the last result. And the results of such an action would be truly detrimental to the government.

The dictator of Syria, Bashar al Assad, used chemical weapons on his own people and was condemned internationally and now has the most powerful country in the world firing missiles and putting troops into his country. If the United States were to nuke us as Rep. Swalwell said, they would immediately lose international support, and the rebels would pick up lots of support from other countries. Not only that, those on the fence in America about siding with the rebels would be more inclined to join them after watching the government commit such a horrific act. And realistically, even if we did end up getting a Mad King type President in charge who wanted to nuke some rebels, there would likely be more than a few Jaime Lannisters willing to strike him down.

The fighting would likely be contained to traditional warfare, and that’s where we look at the results of the War on Terror. The Middle East had already repelled the Soviet Union, the second most powerful country of the 20th century, and is now taking on the United States. And unfortunately, they have done quite well. It’s been 17 years since 9/11, and al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS still exist, and while perhaps it could be argued we’ve limited their power and made progress, no one thought it would take this long or go this poorly. They are attempting to outlast us until we give up, and although not certain it seems like they have a chance to win with their inferior weapons and resources.

Looking at history or just the world today we can clearly see the marked effect civilians having or using guns has on governments wishing to impose their power on them, and it is clear Rep. Swalwell and his fellow progressives’ philosophy and agenda on this issue should be rejected, and the second amendment should be preserved.


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The Last Thoughts of Delavan, Killed by an American Bomb

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

I did not yet know that Delavan was going to die today. On the scorching March morning, the young hustler and I had taken to the burning streets with our bare feet, hustling towards the center of town.

We traveled through slums far worse than our own, where cardboard shacks endlessly lined the streets. A powerful enough gust of wind blew them apart, crinkling the doors made of only newspaper. While we struggled for clean clothing and education, the people here sought shade and water.

All of a sudden, not a mile from town, Delavan stops on a dime. A girl with faded rags and a dust-caked face sits on the side of the road, tears streaming down her gentle face. She looked no more than six, but lived through horrors that even Delavan, the son of a poor baker, would never have to experience for himself.

With a kind smile, he approaches the girl, who points and wails at the flaming shelter behind her. Beyond the ruins, two men are in combat, one holding a box of matches. The second man is badly burned on one side, with hair singed off his head and face. Perhaps the other, the defendant, is the girl’s brother or father. Each time the attacker lands a blow, the terrifyingly real thud sends the man and the little girl into further agony.

Delavan, nearly always gleeful despite his own poverty, distracts the girl. He opens the large leather bag around his shoulder and pulls out a loaf of bread. Though she does not speak as he places it in her tiny hands, her widened pupils reveal she has seldom, if ever, held this volume of food at once. She gives him a weak hug and begins to eat, as Delavan smiles and continues his journey.

I don’t think I would have noticed the girl, let alone stopped for her. Coming from a poorer area than Delavan, though only slightly, the travesties of everyday life fail to faze me.

As we approach the center of town, time passes in a blur. It often occurs this way, in the beautiful agora that forms every weekend morning. The rich set up stands with umbrellas and patchwork tarps, forming beautifully-faded rainbows that lined the busy streets. Those with a little bit of money, such as Delavan and I, carry as much as we have in bags and begin the routine shouting and selling, trying to avoid competitors who can sell for less. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, we usually arrive with bags full of bread, and leave with bags full of dough.

All the while, the poor lay on the outskirts, begging for money, for food, for anything to stretch their tragic lives another day. The most polite of those with money make no notice of the poorest of the poor. Those without dignity call them leeches and spit in their faces, kicking them away from their entitled path.

Delavan, of course, gives nearly half of what he has to this ever-struggling class in a land of ever-struggling classes. Today, though, the world did not bless him with that opportunity. For as soon as he approached his first buyer, a bomb fell on him, blowing them both to pieces.

I believe that his last thoughts were of how he could further help the poor girl from the journey. But the bomb ensured that she would suffer alongside him.

The blast threw me backwards, and before long, many more came behind it. Though the agora differed greatly in class, we were now all the same, caught under merciless missile fire from above.

As a child, my mother told me of the world’s unfortunate reality, that below the breathtaking skies and beautiful rainbows lived a world of death, hatred, and destruction. I had laughed her off then. I could not possibly imagine breathtaking skies or beautiful rainbows, only endless heat.

Now, as the destruction came from above the rainbows, destroying them on impact, I felt my world truly turn upside down.

As the missiles rained down around me, I fled, faster than humanly possible. Racing through the streets, putting as much distance between myself and the town as I could, I failed to notice the little girl, still eating Delavan’s last gift to the world.

I remember collapsing in the street somewhere, losing my voice, screaming his name until my throat was raw. I pounded the pavement with my fists in fury, cursing whoever was responsible for the attack. The blood that ran from them was inconsequential, and meant nothing next to the suffering of so many that day. Of Delavan.

Tears ran down my face, as they had the girl’s, and as bomb after bomb rained down from afar, I felt about as old, and about as strong.

In the days and weeks that passed, I did not return to the market. When I finally did, some months later, I heard word of a faulty bomb with an American flag on its side. I knew little about America, but now I learned that they were part of a war against us. They killed my best friend, and whether intentional or not, there was nothing in the world that could bring him back.

I began to wonder if it was about the color of my skin. If for some reason, America hated us for who we are, for our differences. But as I later realized, the very man Delavan was about to trade with was American. A tourist from a far away place called Virginia, he had only wanted to taste local bread, before his own country slaughtered him along with my own people.

I do not take a great deal of pride in my own life. Though my family survives and has shelter and food, abject poverty strikes us relentlessly, almost like the bomb struck Delavan. But, unlike Delavan, our lives will continue. I wonder if, back in America, they know about the lives of those who survive, and of those who don’t. I don’t know who makes the decisions in America, but I wonder if they know that they are responsible for his death. They should know Delavan’s story, should hear it before sending more instruments of death to plague us again. But until that day, we all sit under the bombs, waiting for our turn, never knowing when they may come.


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End the Wars: The Only Way to Support the Troops

By TJ Roberts | United States

“Support the Troops”: A Siren Song for Warmongers

“Support the Troops” is a mantra by which the neoconservatives pray to their God, the Military Industrial Complex. As the war machine turns its eye toward Iran (and inevitably Russia), you can already hear the same old nonsense from the propagandists for endless war. According to the propagandists, sending young men and women to be maimed, murdered, and traumatized by people who have never wronged them is supporting the troops. But anyone with any hint of common sense would know that this is the polar opposite of supporting the troops.

The True Nature of War

War is nothing more than legalized mass murder, and sending young people to kill and to be killed is not support. War has cost America almost $6 trillion since 9/11. Selling out the entirety of our future into debt slavery is not supporting the troops. It is enslaving them and their children. War is also traumatizing to the brain. It is believed that up to 20% of all veterans have PTSD in some form. We see this in our daily life. 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Opting to subject young Americans to atrocities that will torment their psyche for the rest of their lives is evil. In no way is this supporting the troops.

The impacts of war go beyond this as well. Nearly 40,000 veterans are homeless or were homeless in their lifetime. This is because the military does not prepare you for the real world. It prepares you to take orders and not think for yourself. The military strips you of your individuality. It makes you a slave of the State, literal property to the United States Federal Government.

Rather than advocating for war, or the death, injury, and destruction of our troops, you should Support the Troops… by bringing them home. 1.3 million American soldiers are deployed around the world. That is 1.3 million people who have left their homes and families because the government deceived them into believing that propping up the American Empire will keep us free and safe. But if the Patriot Act doesn’t give it away, war makes us less safe and less free.

So many American soldiers have died for nothing more than government propaganda. When one takes a closer look at reality, we realize that the government has funneled trillions into legal mass murder. The military is no longer used for defense. It is now used as a means to impose the will of America’s ruling elite upon the rest of the world. For America to be free, this must end. For us to truly honor our soldiers, we must bring them home and stop making more of them. If Americans truly support the troops, they would call for an end to the wars.

No matter how the government frames it, war is nothing more than legalized mass murder. Perhaps this is best expressed by the sentiments of Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton’s second Secretary of State. On May 12, 1996, Albright claimed that the 500,000 children killed by US foreign policy in Iraq were “worth it.” The blood of half a million children is a high price to pay. But what did the people receive for that? Control. The US government is willing to kill millions in the pursuit of power throughout the world. Soldiers are no exception. If you are a soldier, the government sees you as nothing more than cannon fodder. You are more than this, but they don’t care.

The government hypnotizes soldiers by claiming that they will spread democracy around the world. This goal is neither honest nor noble nor possible. To spread mob rule to the rest of the world is to destabilize the world, but that isn’t the true intentions of the neocons in power. It is clear that the true goal is domination. When the US military “liberates” a nation, often sacrificing thousands of soldiers in the meantime, they do not allow self-rule. They implement puppet governments. The US expands its hegemony, dominating the world through the war machine. All dissenters meet their end, and it costs the American people hundreds of billions every year.

It is impossible to support war and not support big government. War amounts to the second largest expenditure of the federal government, with welfare in first place. Since 9/11, the war machine has cost more than $6 trillion to the US taxpayer. There is no opting out of this. Either you pay for the government’s organized mass violence, or they throw you in a cage. For one to have a war system as massive as the United States, the government needs to centralized, massive, and authoritarian. This is not freedom. If soldiers were truly fighting for freedom, they would defend America from its government.

Ultimately, war is the health of the State. Without war, the government would not be able to expand in the way it currently does. Defense would largely be private, and there would be no propagandist inducing fear into the hears of the public. The warfare State devastates the economy through inflation, opening the gates to the welfare state. The warfare state leads to the loss of millions of people throughout the world. In the last century alone, government has killed more than 200 million people in acts of war, democide, or genocide. If we are to truly honor the dedication to freedom that a soldier should hold, we would eliminate that occupation from this world. To honor the soldiers that lost their lives, we must stop creating new soldiers. No more should another person kill or be killed for the will of the government.

If you want to Support the Troops, oppose war, empire, and interventionism in all of its manifestations. This is your duty. If the State still chooses to go to war, it is the duty of any decent human being to encourage the people not to enlist and to resist the war effort in every way possible. And to the neoconservatives that claim this is hatred of the troops, answer this question. Which plan will kill more people: your plan, in which soldiers are sent into a battlefield to kill and be killed; or my plan, where war is a thing of the past and we support the troops by not sending them to die? It’s time. End the wars and bring them home now.


Originally published on freedomandeconomics.org.

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