Only one senator voted against the resolution: Rand Paul.
Here is what he had to say on the resolution that passed 90-1:
Only one senator voted against the resolution: Rand Paul.
Here is what he had to say on the resolution that passed 90-1:
In response to all this Mark Shea points out the obvious:
Meanwhile, an opposition leader in Iran notes that Iranians, who are remarkably like human beings, have this bizarre tendency to solidify behind their leaders when foreigners start dropping bombs on them and that, because of this inexplicable patriotism and love of their homeland, an attack on Iran would be a “gift from God for the mullahs“. Me: I’d like to see the mullahs gone and their opposition, which seems to want out of the Bronze Age, take their place. Indeed, I even remember that, crazy as it sounds, something similar happened in our country after 9/11 with people like Rosie O’Donnell thanking God that George Bush and not Al Gore was president and getting in line to support their leadership in the face of huge violence done to their country.
Yup, Iranians are *gasp* human beings and, as such, fear the same things we fear, want the same things we want and generally behave much like we do. Out of the 73 million human beings living in Iran, turns out many of them want to be a part of the modern world and peacefully associate with other countries – yes, even America. Sure, their leadership is corrupt and responsible for human rights violations and political demagoguery but lets not shoot ourselves in the foot by herding the Iranian people to the wholehearted support of their tyrannical leaders, begging Ayatollah to defend them from the American military juggernaut. Short of Iran attacking us, we must restrain ourselves from using any kind of military intervention – either on our own initiative or in support of an Israeli strike. The answer is not sanctions, either, as this too breeds resentment among the common Iranian against the United States and leads private industries in Iran to fail, allowing the government to step in, take over, and further extend their power over the Iranian people. Instead, we must engage in free trade and cultural exchange to win over the populace and initiate genuine diplomacy.
Essentially, it comes down to upholding Just War Doctrine and treating people like people. Then maybe we’ll get somewhere. I’m not saying it’ll be easy but it sure beats Israel and Iran bombing each other to oblivion.
RT.com points out the corruption and hypocrisy of Washington politicians who contradict our own top brass and intelligence agencies on foreign policy in favor of serial warfare benefiting the military-industrial complex all at the expense of the very people they were elected to serve:
Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn), Lindsey Graham (R – SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) stick together through thick and thin. They are frequently seen side by side, both physically and politically, and the most common speech they seem to give has to do with the need for more war.
Brian Becker, National Coordinator for the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition, said, “These three haven’t met a war that they don’t like.”
Together, they led the charge to amp up the effort in Afghanistan.
“We need more troops there, American troops,” said Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn) at a Senate hearing on Afghanistan in 2009.
“IED attacks by the enemy have gone up by a thousand percent,” said Sen. Graham at the same hearing.
“In the words of Admiral Mullen,” Sen. McCain said, “time is not on our side.”
InAugust, 2009, the three of them met with Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi at a time when it was in the United States’ interests to call him friend.
Less than two years later, they called for him to be replaced.
“If you want Gaddafi to go,” said Sen. McCain, “then one of the steps among many would be to establish a no-fly zone.”
On CNN, Sen. Lieberman made the case for involvement to the American people.
“Will the world stand by and watch a leader like Qadhafi slaughter his own people?” he asked.
Perhaps the most constant target for the three senators is Iran.
“If we use military action against Iran, we should not only go after their nuclear facilities. We should destroy their ability to make conventional war,” said Sen Graham. “They should have no planes that can fly and no ships that can float.”
Even in 2010, Sen. McCain’s sense of urgency with Iran was immense.
“We keep pointing a gun and we haven’t pulled a single trigger and its time we did,” he said.
But two years later, that lack of immediate military action hasn’t resulted in Armageddon, or anything like it. Still the calls for action expand – now across the globe
“The Iranian nuclear program is a threat to the entire world,” said Sen Lieberman this week in his speech at AIPAC.
And on Monday on the Senate floor, Senator McCain made the case for airstrikes in Syria.
“Foreign military intervention is now the necessary factor to reinforce this option,” he said. “Assad needs to know that he will not win.”
Babka said it is a nearly identical debate to the ones in the past.
“Once again, almost with Pavlovian response, these guys come and say, well we gotta go to war,” he said
The mood of the American people may have shifted to ending the wars but the perpetual lobby for war does have its supporters, among them – defense contractors.
“They’re very popular with the military industrial complex which sees every new adventure, every new invasion, every new occupation, every new major bombing campaign as an investment,” Becker said.
But it’s an investment fewer Americans want their country to make as they have already lived through the consequences of the previous military adventures.
Remember, these are the exact same individuals who gave us the NDAA, SOPA, the PATRIOT Act, Kill Switch and more. Neoconservatives like Lieberman, Graham and McCain leave no room in their despotic ideals for preserving the integrity of our constitution, defending the rights of Americans or respecting the authority entrusted to them. These cronies must go.
Russia Today sums up the American political climate concerning Iran:
“Iran could attack the United States in a much more fearsome way,” claims CNN. “We have to assume that Hezbollah would be the proxy for Iran and could well carry out the attack,” it specifies.
“Some believe that New York could eventually be on Iran’s hit list,” Fox News scares.
The American media might be exaggerating the Iranian threat as the US military officials say the contrary.
US intelligence, personified by Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, officially states that Iranian attack on America is unlikely, saying “The agency assesses that Iran is unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict” – unless the US attacks first, the general adds.
Moreover, America’s intelligence community hasruled out allegations that Iran is creating a nuclear bomb a long time ago. The Los Angeles Times reports that 16 special service agencies have all reached the same conclusion.
Sasan Fayazmanesh, from California State University, says similar reports a few years ago were ignored by Washington, because they did not sit well with its ultimate goal in Iran.
“It is an issue of regime change. The National Intelligence Estimate is many years old, it’s first came up in 2007, […] it judged with high confidence that as of fall 2003 Iran has halted its nuclear weapons program,”
“Nevertheless, when it first came out during the Bush administration, they’ve dismissed [it], obviously the Obama administration is not going by this report either.”
Actually, the US has had a political quarrel with Israel over Iran. Tel Aviv openly demands Washington support and participate in a military attack on Iranian nuclear objects, while the Obama administration has been reluctant on any military action against Iran, hoping sanctions and strong wording will do the same job.
US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey called the idea of an air strike on Iran “foolish”, “destabilizing” and “not prudent.”
For his intractability the general was ostracized by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused Dempsey of “serving the Iranians.”
However fantastic it might sound, two US Senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, sided with Netanyahu against the top brass of their own army.
The layout appears to be intriguing. The US government at the moment does not support a military operation against Iran. The US Army intelligence dissuades from harsh actions against the Islamic Republic.
But the US mass media and some agenda-driven lawmakers apparently know better what is good for America, and are actively sculpting an enemy image of the Tehran regime.
Both our military leaders and our intelligence agencies have repeatedly made it quite clear that there is a blatant lack of evidence that Iran poses any real threat to our national security. Yet, the mainstream media continues to whip up hysteria and politicians in Washington continue their call-to-arms – labeling Iran enemy #1 and demanding US military aggression against the Islamic Republic. My question to the citizens of America is this: whose claims should you allow to mold your views on American foreign policy and Iran? The US military’s top officials and intelligence agencies who have the authority and expertise to make statements regarding threats to our national defense and defensive strategies? Or armchair generals in Washington and the mass media who make decisions based on amassing votes and special-interest support and keeping their ratings high?
I’ve been benched from running track ever since I developed hamstring tendonitis a few weeks ago. I started, unknowingly, with a weak arch in my left foot which led to the tendonitis as well as pelvic rotation problems. Then, compensating for tendonitis got me into problems with my left knee. With physical therapy my hamstring has loosened up and my pelvic rotation is corrected but I’m still dealing with an unstable arch and a bum knee. In the meantime I’ve taken up training for . . . rock climbing.
I have very little experience with rock climbing or the types of exercise that the training requires but I’m excited to try something new. When I started training my max-out for pull-ups was only 5 and, while that’s more than many people can do, I also have a very light build (long-distance runner) so its not like I’m lifting very much.
My first excursion is in two weeks. Its gonna be legen – and I hope no one reading this is lactose intolerant because the second half of this word is – dairy! Legendary!
US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey made news this week by calling an Israeli-led attack on Iran in the near future “destabilizing” and “not prudent.” Which is great because its in our best interest and, probably the world’s at large, that we do not go to war with Iran – especially when Russia and China have both threatened to come to aid Iran against us. However, Israel denounced General Dempsey, calling him a servant of Iran. Unfortunately, this is too common a reaction, not just abroad but here at home, whenever anyone opposes Israel. Israel is a secular state and not the sacred God’s people that so many Americans make them out to be. We are all God’s people. Instead, Israel should be treated like any other sovereign ally. We should respect them and collaborate – but ultimately we need to do what is in our best interest and right now that means not instigating a war with Iran.
Israel disagrees, however, as their Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon explicitly called the Obama administration“hesitant” in their unwillingness to attack, which was followed by a warning only a day later by the nation’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in which he urged the US to “move from words to deeds.” Sorry, Israel, but America has enough war on its hands and, as a sovereign nation, you step over the line of authority when you demand that we fight your battles for you. I hope our leadership doesn’t cave to Israel’s demands, or their lobbyist arm, AIPAC, because we cannot afford another decade of war entrenched in the Middle East.
Ron Paul has a new ad slamming Santorum. It states, “Santorum voted to raise the debt ceiling five times, double the size of the Department of Education, then supported the biggest entitlement expansion since the ‘60s.” That, I was aware of. However, also in the ad, Santorum is alleged to have voted in favor of outfitting former North Korea leader Kim Jong Il with financial aid, as well as offering support to the government of Egypt. Elsewhere, the Senator is linked to okaying millions in funding for Planned Parenthood, despite openly opposing abortion. I’ve heard the Planned Parenthood allegations before but I haven’t seen proof (I also haven’t looked yet); if anyone knows more about this I’d be interested in hearing more.
I’m too tired and busy to come up with a 3 1/2 so Calvin will see you out.
Turns out that, according to US military intelligence, Iran will not attack us first. If there is to be an Iran-US war then our own intelligence believes that it will be us who initiates it – and with politicians like Gingrich and Santorum vowing to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program via any option necessary such a preemptive war on the part of the US does not seem unlikely.
However, conservative Catholics must accept that if our best intelligence views the likelihood of Iranian aggression as unlikely then we have no grounds upon which to justify any military action whatsoever as defensive without the threat of attack and therefore cannot abide by just war doctrine and attack Iran at the same time.
On the other hand, preemptive strikes against Iran will surely result in a war with foreseeably terrible consequences such as the closing of the Strait of Hormuz, missile strikes against US targets and our allies, possible terrorist mobilization, even nuclear launches if Iran were to have that technology. Not to mention that both China and Russia have pledged their support for Iran.
Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization states “What we are witnessing here is a build-up towards a military confrontation. These sanctions constitute the staging of a military agenda. In turn, we have massive deployment of US military hardware, troops going to Israel to be stationed in Israel, more troops go to Kuwait, [American] naval forces are entering the Persian Gulf.” Michel Chossudovsky continues, “This war has already started. There are drone attacks, there are special [American] forces inside Iran and there is financial warfare. The WWIII scenario is unthinkable. This war would extend from the Mediterranean to the Chinese border. It could possibly include Russia and China. We could find ourselves at a very critical crossroads.”
Apparently, not only is it okay for America to be the policemen of the world, but we have a responsibility to to do so. We, “must keep an eye on the entire world.” White man’s burden, anyone?
President Obama decides that its okay for wealthy corporations to contribute to his campaign when merely 16 months ago he called the very same super PACs a “threat to Democrats” and a “threat to democracy.”
Santorum says that as president he would demand Iran ”open your facilities, you begin to dismantle this nuclear program, or we will dismantle it for you.” Even though Iran has a far more transparent nuclear program than the United States and we retain the right to our own massive nuclear arsenal. Gingrich and Romney both complain that China is “cheating” in order to bolster their economy. Romney wants to take measures that could lead to sanctions against America’s biggest importer – never mind that China would almost certainly considered such measures an act of war.
We entered a war in Iraq declared unjust by two popes. So, should it comes as any surprise that after a decade of nation-building that Iraq is quite possibly worse off than before? Iraq’s Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, warned that US nation-building and the Iraq war will lead to “dividing Iraq and to rivers of blood.” We continue to meddle in Iraq even after full troop withdrawal in violation of Iraqi sovereignty and to their outrage. However, none of that matters because the Iraq war was about national security and not some limp-handed humanitarian mission. This was about destroying the terrorists who hate us because of our freedom and Christian values. Oh wait, we totally screwed over Iraq’s Christians in the name of defending Christian values. They’re Iraqis though so they must hate us; only American Christians are truly true Christians with, you know, actual rights and whatnot.
This is just a cross-section of that unjust war looks like. As Catholics we must not waver from just war doctrine again. America’s politicians are under heavy pressure from AIPAC to fight their enemies in Iran for them in what would be yet another unjust war. Lets not be duped again.
The GOP is chafing at the bit for war with Iran even when it is opposed to our own best interests. Could it have anything to do with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) being the singularly largest lobbying group in the nation? Nah, politicians pandering to special-interest groups in order to get elected? That’s just silly.
Maybe we should put American interests first and stop granting Israel special privileges. Just a thought.
“Move beyond the prophesying of a smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Today I would like to take the time to approach the issue of US foreign policy from a different perspective and that is by focusing on the actual, gritty real-world effects that our wars have – both on the civilians of the countries we invade or threaten and on our own servicemen and women.
If you want a background as to my perspective in order to better grasp what I have to say below and where I am coming from then you can read my views on the war on terror at large here and on the targeting of civilians here. Also, let me preface the following by stating, so that there is no confusion, that I do not trust Iran or any other country unfriendly towards the United States and in no way view them as the “good guys”. Furthermore, in no way do I support isolationist policies; if America’s national security is under imminent threat and no other method can be reasonably employed than I believe that military intervention against the offending party is licit as long as Catholic just war doctrine is not violated. A brief overview of Catholic just war doctrine is given below as a reference; more information can be found here:
The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
Now, with that said, I believe that our current foreign policy under Obama and in continuation of the Bush legacy, does violate just war doctrine as evidenced in part by the unnecessary and disproportional hardship faced by millions of people around the world as a direct result of our unjust actions, only a few of which are outlined below.
First, let me address the issue of depleted uranium: It is a byproduct of uranium refinement for nuclear power. Depleted uranium is much less radioactive than other uranium isotopes, and its high density – twice that of lead – makes it useful for armor and armor piercing shells. It has been used in conflicts including Bosnia, Kosovo, Lebanon, the Gaza strip, Afghanistan and Iraq and there have been increasing concerns about the health effects of DU dust left on the battlefield. Specifically, birth defects and cancer rates have skyrocketed among the civilian population in these regions following conflicts involving DU and many researchers now believe that there is a direct link between DU used by the US military and cancer and birth defects to the point that many now want to define DU as an indiscriminate weapon – specifically banned by Catholic just war doctrine. However, any conclusive evidence on the effects of DU is lacking due to refusal by the US to cooperate with researchers. Without the exact information of when, where and in what quantity our military has used DU its adverse health effects can only be guessed at. However, with literally tons upon tons of the radioactive waste littering past conflict zones it would be irrational not to suspect a cause and effect between DU and the sudden escalation in birth defects and cancer rates. More information on depleted uranium is available here (Warning: disturbing images). The below two quotes are taken from the above link on DU. Concerning birth defects in Iraq:
In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital, Iraq, had 170 new born babies, 24% of whom were dead within the first seven days, a staggering 75% of the dead babies were classified as deformed.
This can be compared with data from the month of August in 2002 where there were 530 new born babies of whom six were dead within the first seven days and only one birth defect was reported.
Doctors in Fallujah have specifically pointed out that not only are they witnessing unprecedented numbers of birth defects but what is more alarming is: “a significant number of babies that do survive begin to develop severe disabilities at a later stage.”
Suspected effects of DU on our own personnel:
Terry Jemison of the Department of Veterans Affairs reported this week to the American Free Press that “Gulf-era veterans” now on medical disability since 1991 number 518,739, with only 7,035 reported wounded in Iraq in that same 14-year period.
Soldiers developing malignancies so quickly since 2003 can be expected to develop multiple cancers from independent causes.
This phenomenon has been reported by doctors in hospitals treating civilians following NATO bombing with DU in Yugoslavia in 1998-1999 and the U.S. military invasion of Iraq using DU for the first time in 1991.
Medical experts report that this phenomenon of multiple malignancies from unrelated causes has been unknown until now and is a new syndrome associated with internal DU exposure.
Just 467 U.S. personnel were wounded in the three-week Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991.
Out of 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are dead, and by 2000 there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability.
This astounding number of disabled vets means that a decade later, 56 percent of those soldiers who served now have medical problems.
The number of disabled vets reported up to 2000 has been increasing by 43,000 every year.
Brad Flohr of the Department of Veterans Affairs told American Free Press that he believes there are more disabled vets now than even after World War II.
Our military has been using depleted uranium for over twenty years now and yet we still have no way of knowing definitively if a link exists between DU and the staggering increases in deformities and malignancies listed above because not only have we refused to fund research in order to determine the moral licitness of our tactics, but our military also categorically refuses to share any information of DU use with researchers – necessary information if the truth is ever to be established on the effects of DU. In the meantime, if we really cared about following just war doctrine we would cease the use of DU under suspicion of indiscriminate effect on civilians; yet, we continue to use DU unreservedly because, apparently, DU’s usefulness as a bunker buster and anti-armor is more important to our military than the lives of civilians or even our own troops.
Next, I’d like to address the Iraq war, specifically. Blessed John Paul II condemned the Iraq war as a violation of Catholic just war doctrine, stating:
War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity… War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations War cannot be decided upon except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict conditions, without ignoring the consequences for the civilian population both during and after the military operations (Address to Diplomatic Corps, Jan. 13, 2003).
However, we went to war anyway under the pretext of national defense based on “intelligence” that stated Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs. Our “evidence” however consisted of a single eyewitness report and thus was faulty at best. Furthermore, U.N. weapons inspectors presented evidence they said disproved those claims. Despite, the tenuous grounds of our allegations against Hussein we continued with our plan to bomb and invade Iraq. According to CNN, “Subsequent U.S. investigations into the intelligence failure around the claims found that German intelligence considered the defector “crazy” and “out of control,” while friends said he was a “liar.” And, it turned out, the CIA not only never spoke with him, it never even saw transcripts of the German interviews, only the Germans’ analysis of the interviews.” The cost of this unnecessary and unjust war are staggering. Opinion Business Research, estimated that the death toll of Iraqi citizens between March 2003 and August 2007 was 1,033,000. Furthermore, over 4 million people were displaced in one of the largest refugee crises in history and over 140,000 new cancer cases have been reported (depleted uranium being the suspected cause). Finally, the Iraq war has resulted in 4,484 American military casualties and 33,186 wounded. Additionally, the economic hardships and continued adverse health effects inflicted upon the Iraqi populace can be expected to continue for decades to come. So, what did the Iraq war accomplish in light of all this? Well, considering that our national security was never actually in jeopardy and that we killed more Iraqis than Hussein’s despotic regime ever did its hard to argue that we accomplished anything at all.
But the Iraq war is now essentially in our past. It is a cautionary tale, however, that we must heed in the future to avoid similar calamity – the soul of America is in jeopardy in light of such evil, another atrocity like Iraq and we may lose it forever. With US-Iran relations heating up another war seems probable, but we must approach Iran with a prudence that our foreign policy has lacked up to this point. With the publication of the November IAEA report, which claims evidence illustrating the existence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran, we must be cautious of the same kind of faulty evidence that lead us into the Iraq war nearly a decade ago. It is paramount that we return to Catholic just war doctrine as the guiding principles underlying our foreign policy.
In addition to the US insistence that Iran not pursue a nuclear weapon, many US leaders are vehemently opposed to Iran’s entire nuclear program, some going so far as to threaten preemptive missile strikes against Iran’s nuclear reactors for fear that Iran’s nuclear power program is a facade and actually the groundwork for nuclear weapons. Furthermore, leaders like Rick Santorum and Barack Obama have refused to take preemptive nuclear strikes off of the table. However, while it is true that the nuclear power capabilities of Iran do bring them one step closer to achieving nuclear weapons than they would otherwise be, using this as justification for preemptive war is wrong for a plurality of reasons. First, Iran’s nuclear program according to experts in the field poses no imminent threat making any military action by the US unjust under Catholic doctrine. Secondly, Iran has met its obligations under the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has a right to peaceful use of nuclear energy under the treaty. Third, Iran’s need for nuclear power generation is real. Even when Iran ‘s population was one-third of what it is today, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, negotiating on behalf of President Gerald Ford, persuaded the former Shah that Iran needed over twenty nuclear reactors. With Iran ‘s population of 74 million and its oil resources fast depleting, Iran may be a net importer of oil in less than a decade from now. Nuclear energy is thus a realistic and viable solution for electricity generation in the country. To demand that Iran shut down their nuclear reactors thus forcing its 74 million inhabitants to rely on nonrenewable and fast-depleting oil for their livelihood is draconian. Worse, preemptive nuclear strikes against Iran’s nuclear reactors would result in an estimated 3 million civilian deaths and compromise the well-being of another 71 million people.
In terms of sheer numbers, the United States is perhaps the greatest violator of human rights on the world stage. We need to completely throw out our current, militaristic foreign policy and establish a military strategy based in Catholic just war doctrine. By doing so we can preserve the lives of millions and perhaps even begin healing the deep wounds between the West and Middle East. Its a long and hard road ahead of us, but to quote one source at the Vatican, “The vase had been broken, and we have to try to find a way to mend it.”