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

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

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

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

Chris Christie:”I will shoot down that plane!”

At the Republican debate on National Security, Wednesday December 15, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called for a no-fly zone over Syria, and committed to enforcing it with brutal force. Wolf Blitzer posed the question: if a Russian plane is flying over Syria, would you want to shoot it down? Governor Christie gave an emphatic response:”I would shoot down that plane!”

To clarify, Governor Christie is not likely to fly a combat plane and actually shoot the plane down himself. Like all the other Republican candidates on the debate stage, Governor Christie has no experience of military service. He does not know how to fly a combat plane, and it is not clear that any American combat planes can support that much weight in the cockpit. Governor Christie just wants to sound tough.

Christie did not explain why America is authorized to order a no-fly zone over Syria. Congress has not declared war on Syria, and no one is advocating a declaration of war on Syria, even as they talk of declaring war on ISIS. As Sen. Rand Paul pointed out, Russian planes are flying over Syria at the request of the Syrian government and at the request of the Iraqi government which was installed after American troops overthrew the Saddam Hussein regime. Shooting down a Russian plane is a recipe for a new world war.

During the Cold War, America never shot down a Russian combat plane. Even after Soviet aircraft shot down Korean Airliner KAL 007, neither the United States nor the Republic of Korea responded with military action. Making such a pledge amounts to more chickenhawk droppings, the like of which littered the debate stage on Wednesday.

Sen. Marco Rubio talked of asserting American leadership, apparently through political interventionism backed by threat of military force. His baby face has probably never seen combat, except maybe the Bush/Gore recount battle of 2000.

Sen. Ted Cruz talked about “carpet bombing Isis” and making sand glow in the dark. In the 1960s there was a rash of airplane hijackings by people who wanted to go to revolutionary Cuba. Does Senator Cruz think that a proper response would have been to make Cuba glow in the dark?

Governor Kasich wants to “give Russia a punch in the nose.” Is he going to take a leave of absence from running Ohio’s government to go fight Russia? Probably not.

And Carly Fiorina wants to “bring back the warrior class” including Gen. McChrystal and Gen. Petreaus. Apparently she thinks the Jihadis don’t have enough weapons. The biggest accomplish of Gen, Betray-us when he was in charge of security in Iraq was to lose track of 157,000 guns. Not sure how that made Iraq safer, or why Carly Fiorina thinks these people knew what they were doing. McChrystal, Petreaus and the others she mentioned created the mess in Iraq that has led to the rise of the Islamic State. But Ms Fiorina wanted to sound tough – a chickhawk among the chickenhawks.

If the Republicans cared about America, they would take the clowns who were on stage Wednesday night, put them on a bus, and send it to the George Washington Bridge – and we can hope that Christie’s underlings have learned from him how to close down that bridge till the election is over and these people cannot do as much harm.

Chapman:”Hillary’s Appetite for War”

The United States has been at war every day since October 2001, when we invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. Never in our history have we engaged in hostilities abroad without interruption for so long. But if Americans are weary of it, you can’t tell it from our politics.

If they were, Republicans would not be vying to show their willingness to use force against Russia or Syria or the Islamic State. More pertinent still, Hillary Clinton would not be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Democrats were proud to nominate Barack Obama in 2008 on the strength of his opposition to the Iraq War. But anti-war credentials no longer count for anything in Obama’s party.

The president himself is partly to blame, having inured his followers to the notion that the United States can’t extricate itself from foreign conflicts (see: Afghanistan). But Obama has also refused to be panicked into reckless military action against Syria, Russia or Iran. Compared with what his critics demand, his steps against the Islamic State have been cautious and small-scale.
Full column by Steve Chapman @ Reason

Paternity Test for an Orphan War

by Gene Berkman
Many years ago President John F Kennedy observed that “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.”

The relevance of this view was brought home to former Governor Jeb Bush. During an interview on Fox News, he was asked if the Iraq War was the right thing to do, given the information that we have now. He initially responded that invading Iraq was the right policy, then decided that he had new information on the meaning of the question. With new information, he still gave an answer midway between fudging and fumbling. If anyone needed a reason to oppose Jeb Bush’s campaign for President, a reminder of the disaster that his brother bequeathed the country should be more than adequate.

More than a dozen years after President George W Bush unleashed 20,000 precision guided weapons of mass destruction on Iraq, and occupied the country with more than 130,000 American troops, no weapons of mass destruction belonging to the Hussein regime have been found. George W Bush himself has admitted that the WMD threat turned up missing. But the cost, in lives and money, has been much easier to find. Trillions of dollars in tax money and new government debt, thousands of Americans dead, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties, destabilization and continuing violence in the Middle East, and new threats against Israel – these are the bitter fruits of George W Bush’s pre-emptive war.

Except for Sen. Marco Rubio, who continues to defend the failed policy of the Bush administration, Jeb Bush has been on his own, with Ohio Governor John Kasich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie both making clear that they now believe that the invasion of Iraq was “a mistake.”

Some Republicans have gone farther. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a vocal supporter of the war who actively backed the re-election of President Bush in 2004, is now saying that he opposed the war all along. More soberly, William F Buckley Jr in 2006 came to view the Iraq war as a failure; with the failure to find WMD in Iraq he noted that the Hussein regime had not posed “an existential threat to the United States” that would necessitate military action.

If every major Republican today except for Jeb Bush realizes that George Bush’s war was a disaster for America, why did Congress approve the authorization for the use of military force? In 2002, Republicans in Congress were almost unanimous in support of the war. Rep Ron Paul spoke out against the war, but only 5 other Republicans in the House of Representatives joined him in voting against the AUMF. In the Senate, closely divided between Democrats and Republicans, only one Republican and one Independent joined with 21 Democrats to vote no; 29 Democrats joined with 48 Republicans in support of Bush’s war.

Except for Sen. Rand Paul and the confused former Governor of Florida, the field of Republican candidates for President consists of politicians who were for the war before they were against it.

The Iraq War has a Republican brand, but plenty of Democrats have joined in as belligerent bipartisans. In 2004, the Democrats nominated John Kerry for President and John Edwards for Vice-President – both had voted for the war. In 2008, Sen. Hilary Clinton was defeated for the Democratic nomination at least partly because of her vote for the war, but Sen. Obama picked prowar Sen. Joe Biden for Vice-President. And now, Sen. Hilary Clinton, who now describes her vote for the war as “a mistake” is the leading candidate for the Democrat nomination.

Bipartisan belligerence has been the norm in American politics for many years. Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats got America into the Vietnam War, and Republicans went along with that war. Even as the Vietnam war became unpopular among wider segments of the American population, the Republicans failed to run an antiwar candidate for President. Among Democrats, the 1972 nomination of Sen. George McGovern – who had voted for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution but came to oppose the war – was a fluke. In 1976 the Democrats nominated Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, who had loyally supported Lyndon Johnson’s war.

In 1992, as Democrats sought to take back the White House, they nominated Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, who had voiced support for President George H W Bush’s war in Iraq. Gov. Clinton stated at the Democrat convention that he picked Sen. Al Gore for Vice-President because Sen. Gore was one of 10 Democrats in the Senate that supported the (first) war in Iraq. In 2000, after Al Gore was nominated for President, he picked Sen Joe Lieberman of Connecticut because he too was one of the 10 Democrat Senators that voted in support of the first President Bush’s war.

As America faces a world in chaos in the aftermath of the Iraq War that nobody wants to be blamed for, we face two parties that will offer up support for continued military intervention as the only choice. But if we understand the paternity of our orphan war, many Americans will seek another choice as a foreign policy prophylactic.

Kelly Vlahos:”The Military-Industrial Candidate”

Analysts were right to say that the Republican takeover of Congress bodes well for the war machine: already we see the levers of power slowly shifting in reverse, eager to get back to salad days of post-9/11 wartime spending.

But waiting in the wings, Hillary Clinton just may prove to be what the defense establishment has been waiting for, and more. Superior to all in money, name recognition, and influence, she is poised to compete aggressively for the Democratic nomination for president. She might just win the Oval Office. And by most measures she would be the most formidable hawk this country has seen in a generation.

“It is clear that she is behind the use of force in anything that has gone on in this cabinet. She is a Democratic hawk and that is her track record. That’s the flag she’s planted,” said Gordon Adams, a national security budget expert who was an associate director in President Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget.

Kelly Vlahos examines the record of Hilary Clinton, poised to be the next war President, @ The American Conservative

Bandow:”Republicans Take Senate, Likely to Push for More War”

Washington is at war in the Middle East. So what is new? Unfortunately, pressure for military intervention will grow with Republican control of the Senate. That body’s most war-happy members, such as John McCain, will enjoy increased influence.

The result of any new conflicts likely will be similar as before. America will be intervening again in a few years to try to clean up the mess it is creating today. And then going to war a few years after that for the same reason.

The U.S. is not bombing the Islamic State out of necessity. Rather, Washington is acting in response to past mistakes. ISIL exists only because the Bush administration invaded Iraq in 2003. That action grew out of George H.W. Bush’s first war against Baghdad. Which was tied to American support for Saddam Hussein against Iran the previous decade. Which grew out of the Iranian revolution, whose victors targeted Washington because of its backing for the ousted Shah of Iran.

Thus, Americans are paying the price for decisions to meddle in the Middle East made decades ago. Yet a Greek Chorus of those most responsible for today’s failed policies loudly demands that the U.S. again intervene.

Doug Bandow analyses the new influence of the Republican interventionists @ Cato

Hunter:”What was the most damaging conspiracy theory in U.S. history?”

Few people dumb down our discourse worse than conspiracy theorists. For these constant internet trolls, there has never been a terrorist attack, a school or movie theater shooting or even a legitimate election. Ever. In their paranoid minds, every tragedy or human action is always a government-orchestrated plot to further the mind-controlling agenda of our global overlords, or something…

These types of conspiracy theorists are annoying, but that’s about it. Most of the damage they do is to themselves, their careers, reputations and their characteristic inability to have normal conservations with normal people.

But there have been conspiracy theorists of a different sort who’ve done real damage.

In 2003, a majority of Americans supported the United States invasion of Iraq, due in large part to a widely held belief that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. Why would they believe this?

Because our government led them to believe it.

Jack Hunter takes down the Bush league conspiracy theory that claimed Saddam Hussein was behind Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attack @
Read more at“>