Sullum:”Gary Johnson’s Refreshing Foreign Policy Skepticism”

One of the few appealing aspects of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been his criticism of Hillary Clinton’s reckless interventionism. But the bellicose billionaire combines that criticism with promises of a gratuitous military buildup, a casual attitude toward the use of American weapons, and a disturbing tendency to view trade and immigration as acts of war.

To get a sense of what a more disciplined, consistent, and thoughtful critique of Clintonian warmongering sounds like, listen to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for president. Notwithstanding the popular portrayal of Johnson as a foreign policy ignoramus based on his embarrassing “Aleppo moments,” the former New Mexico governor offers a bracing alternative to Clinton’s supposedly sophisticated yet consistently careless embrace of violence as a tool for reshaping the world.

Again and again as first lady, senator, and secretary of state, from Serbia to Syria, Clinton has supported military interventions that had nothing to do with national defense. Mindful of the damage done by the promiscuous use of America’s armed forces, Johnson promises a different approach: When in doubt, stay out.

“As president,” Johnson said in a recent speech at the University of Chicago, “I would not need to be talked out of dropping bombs and sending young men and women into harm’s way. I would be the president who would have to be convinced it is absolutely necessary to protect the American people or clear U.S. interests. I will be the skeptic in the room.”

Full column by Jacob Sullum @ Reason http://reason.com/archives/2016/10/19/gary-johnsons-refreshing-foreign-policy

Tim Kaine’s Bogus Antiwar Appeal

Recent polls show that most Americans don’t trust Donald Trump, and most Americans do not trust Hilary Clinton. A current ABC/Washington Post poll indicates that 64% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump, and 53% have an unfavorable view of Hilary Clinton.

Gary Johnson, Libertarian candidate, continues to hold the support of 8 to 10% of voters nationally, and polling 15% or more in 15 states. Polls show that former Gov. Johnson draws support from both Mr Trump and Secretary Clinton. Clinton supporters are worried; progressive websites and Democrat politicians are attacking Gary Johnson and The Libertarian Party in hopes of insuring a Clinton victory.

The Hill reports that Sen. Tim Kaine is telling people that they should not vote for a third party, because it might throw the election to Donald Trump. He brings up the 2000 election, claiming that votes for Nader in Florida led to the victory of George W Bush, and that resulted in the Iraq War.

I am glad Sen. Kaine understands the Iraq War is a disaster for America. His logic implies that Al Gore as President would have undertaken a foreign policy based on peace. This is at odds with the record of Al Gore in the Senate, and the record of the Clinton/Gore administration.

CLINTON, GORE AND THE FIRST IRAQ WAR

The Iraq War authorized in 2002 was a sequel to an earlier Iraq War in 1991, during the reign of George H W Bush. Sen Al Gore voted to authorize the first Iraq War, along with Joe Lieberman, Harry Reid and 7 more Democrats.

At the 2000 Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton explained that in 1992, he picked Al Gore as his candidate for Vice-President, because Sen. Gore had crossed party lines to support President Bush’s policy in Iraq.

The Clinton Gore Administration continued the policy of sanctions on Iraq, along with a “no fly zone” to keep the Iraq air force from flights over the Kurdish north of Iraq. The “no fly zone” was enforced by retaliatory bombing raids. President Clinton ordered hundreds of bombing raids in Iraq during his time in office.

President Clinton also ordered U.S. Bombers to take part in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia had not attacked the United States; the bombing was a “humanitarian intervention” with unclear military objectives and too many non-military targets.

At the 2000 Democratic National Convention, Al Gore explained that he chose Sen. Joe Lieberman as his running mate for Vice-President because Lieberman crossed party lines in 1991 to support President Bush’s policy in Iraq. Lieberman was re-elected to the Senate as the Gore/Lieberman ticket was defeated. In 2002 Sen. Joe Lieberman voted to authorize President George W Bush to undertake military action in Iraq.

His vote for the first Iraq War and his loyal support through eight years of the Clinton policy of bombing Iraq and Yugoslavia show Al Gore was not a peace candidate.

IS HILARY CLINTON A PEACE CANDIDATE?

Sen. Kaine is correct that the election of George W Bush resulted in a disastrous war in Iraq. Yet Al Gore supported the policy of military intervention in the Middle East.

Sen. Kaine does not acknowledge Democrat responsibility for the passage of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in 2002, legal basis for the second Iraq War.

The Senate in 2002 included 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and 1 Independent. The AUMF needed support from Democrats and Republicans. Blinded by party loyalty, 48 Republicans voted Yes; they needed 3 Democrat Senators to pass it. They got 29.

29 Democrat Senators voted for Bush’s war in Iraq. Sen. Hilary Clinton, Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards, Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Joe Lieberman all voted for the Iraq War.

In 2000 there were strong third party candidates for U.S. Senate in only 2 states. In California, a Green Party candidate, a Libertarian and 3 more candidates received a total of more than 851,000 votes; Sen. Feinstein was re-elected.

In Washington State, Maria Cantwell was elected with less than 49% of the vote; a Libertarian candidate received 65,000 votes, and was blamed for the Republican loss. Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Cantwell, both Democrats, voted for the Iraq War that George Bush wanted.

Sen. Jim Jeffords (Ind-VT) and Sen. Lincoln Chafee (Rep-R.I.) both voted No. If all 50 Democrats had voted No, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force would have lost, 52 to 48. Sen. Kaine invokes the disaster of the Iraq War, then asks you to vote for Hilary Clinton, who voted to authorize that war.

VOTE LIBERTARIAN FOR ANTIWAR POLICY

Hilary Clinton did not give up her support for interventionism when she became Secretary of State. Secretary Clinton ha supported intervention in Libya and Syria, with the best motives. Muamar Gaddafi was an oppressive dictator, and Bashar al-Assad has undertaken violent repression to maintain a hold on autocratic power.

In Libya, the aftermath of the revolution is chaos, replacement of everyday repression with everyday violence. The most likely end to chaos will come with the seizure of power by a new oppressive regime, probably allied with extremists in Libya and beyond.

In Syria the Assad regime backed by Russia has resorted to extreme levels of violence to suppress all opposition groups. The more extreme opposition groups have grown stronger and more violent. U.S. strategy includes supplying guns to “moderate” rebel groups, but our weapons have gone directly to allies of Al Qaida; ISIS gets our weapons indirectly, by defeating rebel groups that we supply, and taking what they have.

Gary Johnson does not have the answer for how to end the human tragedy in Aleppo, and in Syria as a whole. President Obama does not have the answer either, nor does Secretary of State John Kerry. Their answers in the past helped create the chaos and tragedy that we see today.

For the foresseable future, Syria will be engulfed in a civil war pitting extremist groups against a repressive regime. As the violence escalates, each side will blame the other. The winner will either maintain an oppressive regime, or institute a new repressive regime.

Gary Johnson and The Libertarian Party call for an end to the Bush/Clinton policy of intervention in the Middle East. If you agree with Sen. Kaine that the Iraq War was a disaster, vote against Hilary Clinton and the other bipartisan politicians that made it happen. Vote Libertarian for Gary Johnson if you don’t want to elect a supporter of Bush’s war of choice in Ir\aq.

For more information, go to www.JohnsonWeld2016.com

Hilary Clinton voted for the Iraq War. Does it Matter?

In October of 2002, right before off-year elections for Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives passed an Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq. Not a formal declaration of war as required by The Constitution, the AUMF was used as the legal basis for a massive WMD attack – 2700 Tomahawk missiles and 20,000 precision guided weapons – followed by an invasion by U.S. infantry and armored divisions.

President Bush, Vice-President Cheney and other Republican leaders pushed for war on Iraq, with claims that the Hussein regime provided support for Islamic terrorists, like those who carried out the attack on the World Trade Center. The Bush team also claimed that the Iraqi government possessed “weapons of mass destruction.” Administration spokesmen defined WMD to include atomic weapons, but also chemical and biological weapons. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, admitting uncertainty about whether Iraq had a nuclear weapons program, warned that “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

The U.S. invasion of Iraq resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians losing their lives, more being wounded, and the destruction of many neighborhoods and public facilities. More than 4000 American soldiers and contractors lost their lives, and more than 40,000 Americans sustained life-changing injuries. The cost of the war to American taxpayers continues to mount, along with interest on the money borrowed to cover the costs that exceed the tax revenues collected.

In the lead-up to the vote on the AUMF, President Bush along with Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Sen. John McCain and others used the Republican Party to push for a pre-emptive attack on Iraq, a country which had not attacked the United States. When Congress passed the AUMF in October 2002, an overwhelming majority of Republicans voted in favor. Even so, Bush needed votes from Democrats to pass the bill.

At the time of the vote, the U.S. Senate included 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and 1 Independent. 48 Republican Senators voted for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force; without Democrat votes, it would have failed. Democrats split, with 29 voting yes, and 21 voting against war; 1 Republican and 1 Independent voted no, so the result was 77 yes, 23 no.

Democrats who voted for war with Iraq included Joseph Lieberman, Joe Biden, John Kerry, John Edwards and Sen. Hilary Clinton. If Senate Democrats had voted solidly in opposition to the AUMF, it would have stopped the military intervention in Iraq. Unless, of course, President Bush had authorized intervention with an unconstitutional executive order. By voting “Yes” Senator Clinton, Sen. Kerry, Sen. Biden and other Democrats provided the margin of victory for Ameican’s first pre-emptive war.

Senator Clinton’s vote for the Iraq War does matter. Clinton and other Senate Democrats provided votes needed for Bush to get his authorization for a pre-emptive attack, for a war that we continue to pay for.

Hilary Clinton’s support for the second war in Iraq is in line with Bill Clinton’s support for the first war against Iraq, undertaken in 1991 under leadership of President George H W Bush. Then Governor Bill Clinton was so committed to the Iraq War that he picked Sen. Al Gore for Vice-President specifically because he had voted for the war. After taking office as President, Bill Clinton maintained the policy of bombing Iraq to punish it for violations of the 1991 cease-fire; observors noted that when the media reported on Monica Lewinsky, President Clinton would order a bombing run over Iraq or Yugoslavia to divert people’s attention from his ongoing scandal.

Sen. Gore was so committed to the Iraq War that in 2000, as the nominee for President, he picked Sen. Joe Liebermann as his running mate because he too supported the Iraq War.

A vote for Hilary Clinton for President is a vote to continue the Bush/Clinton policy of military intervention in the Middle East. A vote for Gary Johnson, Libertarian for President, is a vote against international interventionism, and for a foreign policy of peace and free trade.

Maas:”Former Associates of Rand Paul and Charles Koch Launch Non-interventionist Think Tank”

A team of libertarian and constitutionalist foreign policy experts have joined a team led by political activist Edward King in forming the Defense Priorities Foundation — a non-interventionist foreign policy think tank. King was the former national youth director for former Representative Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) 2012 presidential campaign and the COO of Concerned American Voters, a PAC that supported Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) failed 2016 Republican presidential campaign.

“We are just getting started,” King was quoted by Politico. “But one of the main things we want to accomplish is to expand the debate on foreign policy, which we think has been sorely lacking, especially for the last 10 or 15 years.”

“We are seeking support,” King continued, signaling out William P. Ruger, the new group’s senior advisor and foreign policy scholar, as “a tremendous asset.” Ruger, who is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is the vice president of research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute.

Visitors to the Defense Priorities Foundation’s website are greeted by a bold headline that summarizes the new group’s goals: “A Strong Military to Ensure Security, Stability, and Peace.” The foundation’s mission statement reads:

To inform citizens, thought leaders, and policy makers of the importance of a strong, dynamic military — used more judiciously to protect America’s narrowly defined national interests — and promote a realistic grand strategy prioritizing restraint, diplomacy, and free trade to ensure American security.

Full article by Warren Maas @ The New American http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/23395-former-rand-paul-and-charles-koch-associates-launch-non-interventionist-think-tank

Shikha Dalmia:”Trump Is a Bellicose Fool Who’ll Make War, Not Love”

The world expected President Obama to bring peace. Instead, he made war. When this Nobel Peace Prize recipient leaves the Oval Office, he will have the dubious distinction of having served as the longest wartime president in the history of the United States.

Is it possible that the reverse would happen with Donald Trump if he gets elected? Would he bring peace when the world expects him to make war?

Some anti-war activists on both the right and the left hope so. They are kidding themselves.

Make no mistake: Trump’s bellicosity, hair-trigger temperament, disturbing tendency to see the world as “us versus them,” and, above all, his militant protectionism will mean more war, not less.

Full commentary by Shikha Dalmia @ Reason http://reason.com/archives/2016/06/07/trump-is-a-bellicose-fool-wholl-make-war

Eric Margolis:”Bush Haunts The GOP”

“The evil that men do lives after them,” wrote Shakespeare. A prime example, former US President George W. Bush who appeared last week campaigning in South Carolina for his amiable younger brother, Jeb.

George W. continues to haunt the Republican Party and damage its electoral chances. At home, Bush has been staying out of public gaze; abroad, he is widely hated and limits overseas travel due to fear of war crimes arrest for his 2003 invasions of Iraq.

Republican spin doctors and the rightwing US media has been trying to soft soap Bush and his mentor, Dick Cheney, for years and slowly expunge their disastrous Iraq and Afghanistan Wars that opened a Pandora’s Box of horrors across the Muslim world. Democrats who cheered the war have equally sought to dodge responsibility. However, Hillary Clinton can’t seem to escape her tawdry war record.

The US, claim the Bush/Cheney amen chorus, was “misled” into invading Iraq by “faulty intelligence,” misled by the hope to promote democracy among the benighted Muslims; on a noble quest to remove a frightful dictator Saddam; and, of course, the famous missing “weapons of mass destruction.”

As candidate Donald Trump said last week, these were all bare-faced lies. These spurious allegations had one purpose: to mislead Americans into believing that Bush’s aggression in Iraq was a crusade for justice rather than a crude attempt to turn Iraq, with the world’s second biggest oil reserves, into an American vassal petrostate.

Unfortunately, mainstream America has not yet understood the enormity of the crimes that were committed in Afghanistan and Iraq. These include some one million civilians, cities destroyed, death squads, drone wars, kidnapping, torture and turning the US into a Stasi-like police state. And destruction of Iraq’s water and sewage treatment plants by US air attacks, spreading disease and pestilence across the nation.

Full commentary by Eric Margolis @ The Ron Paul Institute http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2016/february/21/bush-haunts-the-gop/

Ed Krayewski asks “Where have all the anti-war candidates gone?”

I have a student in one of my classes who told me the other day he had to finish the semester early because he was being deployed to Afghanistan for a second time. The class is about the history of American journalism, so the final lectures cover the media’s role in pushing wars like the Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan, and even the war on drugs. I hope I get to cover that with him before he leaves.

The war to which the student is being sent ended in 2014, according to President Obama, who said the Afghanistan effort was over even though he had left 10,000 U.S. troops there. The withdrawal of those troops has been postponed a number of times, often at the behest of the weak Afghan government.

In 2008, Barack Obama campaigned on the idea that he would end the unpopular Iraq War and focus on prosecuting the war in Afghanistan, which he argued President Bush had ignored by starting a second war in Iraq. Today, the Obama administration has been engaged in the war in Afghanistan longer than the Bush administration prosecuted the Iraq War. There are few pronouncements anymore explaining why the U.S. is in Afghanistan, other than to train Afghan troops and support counterterrorism operations, the mission for many years now.

Obama launched his presidential campaign as one of the few candidates who had opposed the Iraq war from the beginning (he was a state senator representing Hyde Park in Chicago in 2003). The introduction of positions on the war in Afghanistan complicated the anti-war narrative, but did not dispel all his supporters of it, as Obama apologists argued when President Obama’s Afghanistan surge was being announced.

Of course there were authentically anti-war candidates in 2008, on the Democratic and Republican side. The most successful of them was Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R), who also ran in 2012, winning six state primaries. The anti-war candidates on the 2008 Democratic side, like Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, were relegated to the fringes quickly.

Paul’s position on non-intervention and war was unique among Republicans, whose foreign policy platform was captured in the 2000s entirely by philosophies of interventionism.

Full commentary by Ed Krayewski @ Reason http://reason.com/blog/2016/02/19/death-of-the-anti-war-candidate