Scratch a Neo-Conservative, Find a Totalitarian

The American Conservative explains how today’s neo-conservatives have come to wholeheartedly embrace the tactics of Soviet Russia in “spreading democracy” to all corners of the world. As columnist Martin Sieff points out:

It is fitting that so many of the older generation of American neoconservatives started life as communist enthusiasts in the 1930s and ’40s. For today’s neocons are really neo-Trotskyites promoting the old, doomed enthusiasms under a new label.

This is the new conservatism but it is not genuine conservatism. In fact, it is radical leftism, seeking to force the ideals of the progressive West on the rest of the world through force of arms. What does it matter if we slaughter hundreds of thousands of Arabs as long as we carry the gift of Democracy on our swords? The similarities between America’s neo-conservatives and the Bolsheviks are striking. As one commenter put it: “As with all other left wing schemers, trying to bring heaven down to earth, they’ll succeed only in bringing hell up.”

It is only natural that we Americans should desire a free world. However, freedom cannot be delivered by the point of a sword. In fact, it cannot be forced at all. Freedom is a gift and, like all gifts it must be freely accepted. When other nations are ready for freedom then they will seek it on their own. As Martin Sieff points out:

Democracy works admirably in societies where it is allowed to develop organically. But when other governments try to accelerate its growth artificially or hasten its triumph from outside, especially when they resort to military force to do so, the result is almost always a fierce reaction against the forces of democracy. This reaction often generates extreme fascist, repressive, and intolerant forces. And these forces usually win and take power. Then they impose themselves on the societies in question, delaying any real democratic development for decades or generations.

If we are really interested in a free world then the best that we can do is lead by example and allow other countries the sovereignty that they are due, to follow their own way. If they like what they see here then they will try to emulate it. But if they do not like it then we can only push them towards fascism by trying to force democracy upon them.


But to Render, Spontaneously, Good for Evil – Such Belongs to a Perfect Spiritual Love

“To harbor no envy, no anger, no resentment against an offender is still not to have charity for him. It is possible, without any charity, to avoid rendering evil for evil. But to render, spontaneously, good for evil – such belongs to a perfect spiritual love.” – St. Maximus the Confessor

Today, our nation continues to return only more evil for the evil wrought unto us: we are still in Afghanistan even though we have no clear mission there, Guantanamo Bay is still open, we impose sanctions that serve only to strengthen the very national regimes we oppose while weakening private industry and uniting the people against us, we use lethal drone strikes indiscriminately to kill and terrorize our enemies, we avoid the guilt of killing civilians by defining any military age male killed by a drone strike as a combatant unless categorically proven otherwise postmortem or by making unsubstantiated claims refuted by our own military intelligence that Iranian scientists are making nuclear bombs to kill us, with overwhelming bipartisan support our congress granted the executive branch the power to indefinitely detain anyone, including American citizens, without trial based on nothing more than “suspicion,” and our president unilaterally decides who we kill and who gets to live.

If are to truly honor the victims of 9/11 then we can do so by eliminating the draconian foreign policies that caused that tragedy in the first place. We can start by bringing our troops home out of the Middle East and by establishing policies that respect human dignity and ensure due process to everyone. Revenge and hate does not honor their memories even when we phrase it nicely by saying we want to “bring democracy to the rest of the world” and that we will “not apologize for who we are and what we stand for.” Charity and forgiveness, however, do honor their memories and perhaps the honorable thing to do is indeed to apologize for what we have stood for when we stand here with blood on our hands. Because many of our actions over the last couple of decades don’t stand for “liberty and justice for all” in the least. Continuing to stubbornly refuse to apologize for the wrongs we have committed and to refuse to change undermines the good that we have also done. We do violence to the ideals of liberty and justice when we shout them at the top of our lungs and then blatantly contradict them with our actions, and we also do violence to the memories of everyone who lost their lives in this bitter war against terror.

For ourselves, for our fellow man around the world and for the loved ones we have lost it is imperative that we terminate once and for all our vengeful tactics of rendering evil for evil and instead start rendering some good in the world.

Terrorism by any Reasonable Definition

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it:

Terrorism by any Reasonable Definition

The only way to regard the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and so many other U.S. war campaigns, as anything other than state terrorism, is to define the concept in such an absurdly narrow way as to categorically exempt the U.S. from the definition out of pure convenience. If nuclear holocaust inflicted upon innocent civilians for the purpose of securing a diplomatic result is not terrorism, then there is no such thing.

I highly recommend reading the above article in its entirety. Its not long and sheds some light on the history of American war policy.

Today, we have two presidential candidates, both of whom have declared that they will “keep all options on the table” including nuclear annihilation in order to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Such a stance is completely void of all moral and strategic sense but both candidates seem to have such a penchant for their particular flavor of the culture of death that that does not matter.

Escaping Obama’s “Good War”

We’ve flooded more troops and more money into Afghanistan to the point that we’re spending 2 billion a week on what Obama has called the “good war.” Yet, the Taliban are stronger there today than they were before the troop surge. This is a classic example of how interventionism breeds opposition. We went to Afghanistan in 2001 to dismantle Al Qaeda. Now, its 11 years later and the Afghan war has mutated into a misguided nation building project that has costed the American people a fortune and thousands of lives and that the Afghanis don’t want. This is an un-winnable war, and its time for us to leave.

Romney and the Eternal Warfare State

Romney pledges to get serious about cutting federal spending but at the same time he promises to “reverse irresponsible Obama-era defense cuts.”

So far, these cuts have amounted to 2% of the defense budget if we adjust for inflation and, not adjusting for inflation, the defense budget has increased every year of Obama’s term. Additionally, under Obama’s proposals spending would have increased in real terms but only through spending freezes enacted by Congress has the negligible 2% cuts taken place. Obama does intend to decrease military spending in the future by 8% over ten years. However, this is still a small cut over a decade-long time period in which Obama won’t even be president for most of that span.

So what’s Romney’s plan? Create a defense spending floor of 4% of the GDP. This constitutes a massive increase in military spending. Keep in mind that Romney wants to cap all federal spending at 20% GDP, meaning that, at the bare minimum, military “defense” spending is obligated to constitute 20% of all federal spending no matter what. Spending amounted to 24.3% of GDP last year. Romney’s plan seems to be to cut “spending” without touching any of our biggest expenditures: Social Security, Welfare, Medicare, and Medicaid. In fact, Romney’s biggest cut would be Obamacare, about 95 billion. Romney’s plan to increases military spending dwarfs Obamacare – to say nothing of the 2010 $700 billion Wall Street bailout which Romney thought was the “right thing to do”.

Romney’s promises to reduce our escalating debt and return us to fiscal responsibility are empty. He will do no such thing. So when Romney states, “Getting our fiscal house in order has become more than just an economic issue; it’s a moral imperative. Every dollar of deficit spending must be borrowed, with the bill sent to our children to pay back. As president, Mitt Romney will ask a simple question about every federal program: is it so important, so critical, that it is worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?” That’s just rhetoric. That should really come as no surprise since Romney believes that cutting spending, paying off our debt and returning that money to the American people causes depressions.

What we can expect from Mitt Romney is an eternal warfare state with a bloated military budget that the Pentagon will have to perpetually justify if they want to keep their funding. We already have 700 – 1000 military bases around the world, we have been in a constant state of war in the Middle East for well over a decade and, prior to Romney’s spending increase, nearly half of worldwide military spending comes from the US with second place going to China with a budget only 1/6 the size of ours.

With the incentive of even more money thrown at the problem we can expect even more aggressive military interventionism, sinking us into greater debt, with more war, more US casualties and the propagation of anti-America sentiments as we get even more involved and use even more force around the world in places where we’re not wanted.

We’re not fighting Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia any more. We’re fighting ragtag terrorists with no nation and no center of command. We cannot win with tanks or nuclear submarines or fighter jets that can land vertically. Bloated budgets and aggressive interventionist foreign policy are terrorists’ greatest ally: millions of otherwise ordinary Arabs hate us because of what we’ve done in the Middle East making us the best recruitment campaign the terrorists ever had.

If we want to beat the terrorists we will do so through discretion and cunning. If we want to help our friends in the military-industrial complex we can do so by making sure we have a constant supply of enemies to fight – and we can do that by increasing out “defense” capabilities so as to constantly meddle with the affairs of every country in the Middle East from now until Hell freezes over.

Republicans talk endlessly about how we need to have an active presence in the world. They are right, but that presence should not be defined by how many people we kill or by how many countries we occupy. Instead of responding to every whim with deadly force or the threat of deadly force, we need to bring our military home to defend our own borders and in its place open up free trade and diplomacy. That’s how you make allies. That’s how you foster peace. That’s how you change hearts and minds. Because no military can kill hate; guns and killing only perpetuate it. You kill hate by finding solidarity.

Troop Suicide Surge Surpasses Afghan War Deaths by 50%

Associated Press reports: Suicides are surging among America’s troops, averaging nearly one a day this year – the fastest pace in the nation’s decade of war.

This is just one of the tragic costs of the perpetual war on terror in which we repeatedly recycle soldiers, sending them on tour after tour in the same unnecessary wars extending over a decade, and then cut their veteran benefits while at the same time insisting that we cannot cut spending abroad because we must “support our troops” by perpetuating the warfare state indefinitely.

If we are really interested in supporting our troops then we must diligently work to ensure that we are putting them in harm’s way only when the liberties they are meant to protect are genuinely in jeopardy – not because we want to make the Middle East “safe” for democracy, not because Afghanistan supposedly needs us to build their nation in our image and not because Iran has issued bellicose statements and has a less-than-transparent nuclear program. None of these pet-projects of America’s political elite are worth the costs paid by the foot soldiers on the ground. America’s leaders chalk up our troops suffering to the fact that “war is hell.” My response, then, is that we must stop so eagerly pursuing Hell.

Israel may Strike Iran Before Election Day

While politicians continue to insist that Iran is a threat that requires military intervention it turns out that, for anyone not interested in yet another decade long war in the Middle East, Israel is who we need to worry about.

“There is no need to tell us what to do, and we have no reason to panic. Israel is very, very strong, but we do know that the Iranians are accomplished chess players and will try to achieve nuclear capabilities,” reads a translated statement from Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivered this week in Hebrew. “Our position has not changed. The world must stop Iran from becoming nuclear. All options remain on the table.”

“All options on the table,” for those who are unfamiliar, is political code for “preemptive military strike” which is an act of aggression and in direct violation of Christian just war doctrine. Many Catholic politicians have, unfortunately, attempted to circumvent the doctrine by stating that the prospect of Iran going nuclear justifies military intervention but, unfortunately for them, the USCCB has categorically shot down the notion that such justification is in any way in accord with just war doctrine:

“In Catholic teaching, the use of force must always be a last resort. Iran’s bellicose statements, its failure to be transparent about its nuclear program and its possible acquisition of nuclear weapons are serious matters, but in themselves they do not justify military action.”

“Discussing or promoting military options at this time is unwise and may be counterproductive. Actual or threatened military strikes are likely to strengthen the regime in power in Iran and would further marginalize those in Iran who want to abide by international norms. And, as the experience in Iraq teaches, the use of force can have many unintended consequences.”