The Trump decision to pull troops out of Syria, which is a muddled situation because it’s not exactly clear what that means, is something he had promised for years, so the shock expressed by politicians and the news media is a bit of feigned drama we hardly need given all the other crises surrounding the President. I am all for getting out of this hell in the Middle East we created through our good intentions as it is just another example of America’s dissent into a Warfare State. However, for now let’s focus on how all this is just more of the same old war games.
Under the US Constitution, only Congress can declare war, making all the US wars in the Middle East, not to mention Bosnia, Africa and Southeast Asia, etc. unconstitutional. The precedent was the Korean War, the first waged without a Congressional declaration, under the absurd description of a “Police Action” with UN sanction, as if the UN now superseded Congress in our constitution.
The 1973 War Powers Act was passed with bipartisan support to curb the war powers of the President, invoking the constitutional requirement that only Congress can declare war, something that the Constitution actually already did. In large part this was a reaction to the Viet Nam War, and the absurd silence of the Supreme Court in refusing to hear cases brought against the Johnson administrations for waging war without a Congressional declaration.
Then we have the Afghanistan and two Iraq wars, and subsequent wars with insurgents such as ISIS, none of which was based on a Congressional declaration of war, all initiated and carried out by Presidents as if they had the powers expressly limited to Congress.
This is not to say that there have been wars we should not have had that did have Congressional declarations. Take the Spanish American War, whose declaration was based on the fabrication that Spain sank the Maine with a mine. After the war, investigations proved that the Maine sank from an explosion from a boiler malfunction. Then there’s the case of the Great War, or WW I, where the declaration was based on the German sinking of the Lusitania with loss of American lives. Ignored in that incident was that the Lusitania was a British ship known by her manifest to be carrying war munitions, and that in fact Wilson had authorized munition supplies via American merchantmen to Great Britain, and that Germany warned all neutral countries that supplying their enemies with war materials made them enemies of Germany, i.e. the friend of my enemy is my enemy.
But at least these two wars had the legitimacy of the Congressional powers under the Constitution. Not since the various war declarations of 1941 and 1942 has the US waged war in accordance with its constitution. In fact, at this time the US has military assets in approximately 150 foreign countries, and permanent bases in 38, at least that we know of.
Granted, Trump’s reasons and methods regarding the Syria withdrawal are suspect, but the reactions by both political parties and the press are little more than partisan politics and recycled examples of failed justifications; for example:
- If we don’t fight Jihadists in the Middle East, other countries will fall and eventually we will have to fight them at home! Really, the Domino Theory all over again? Have we learned nothing since Viet Nam? It has become painfully apparent that terrorism is not a territorial phenomenon, but one that travels across the world, an idea that can only be fought in the minds of people. The war against terrorism is just as much a war of ideas as it is to secure our safety here at home.
- We only have limited Special Forces in Syria who are there to train local militias and act as a buffer. That is exactly how we started in Viet Nam prior to the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin Incident to justify increased military action.
- Withdrawal in Syria is a betrayal of our Kurdish allies. This actually has some justification but only to the degree as to how we disengage, not a justification for the failed policy of interventionism.
- It’s America’s responsibility to bring stability and democracy to the region. Here we go again, nation building as a good intention but in reality just paving the road to hell. We have totally destabilized the region, killing thousands of civilians, causing the breakdown of entire societies with the resultant refugee crises and the very chaos out of which despotic regimes like ISIS are created.
- We need to counter the influence of bad actors like Iran and its terror proxies. This is a corollary to the nation building mentality, and it really has not worked, except to draw us in deeper to a regional power struggle between the Mullahs of Iran and the House of Saud, for which we’ve become a proxy.
I may have missed some other idiotic excuses for our never ending wars, but probably covered the main ones. These are the same myopic chants waged against people like Ron Paul who has courageously campaigned against these never ending wars. He is not new in this fight as people like Murray Rothbard before him rallied against the war mongering that plagues our society, and before him Garet Garrett (pen name) too with his “Hallmark of Empire” treatise about a republic’s decent into imperialism; it’s worth just mentioning his prerequisite features:
- Dominance of executive power.
- Foreign policy’s dominance over domestic policy.
- Military ascendancy.
- Evolution of satellite nations.
- Fear mongering and grandeur posturing.
- Trapped in historical failure.
I abridged the above and paraphrased to keep it simple; better that you read Rothbard and Garrett for better understanding.
The only moral justification for violence by an individual or a nation is self-defense. We don’t own or owe anything to the countries we are militarily involved with or against. The human and financial losses we have suffered and imposed on others are created by our very own government; in the interest of self-preservation if nothing else, we the people need to change that.
Start by not accepting and perhaps speaking out against our government’s and our compliant news media’s propaganda; the moment you hear about outrage against some foreign actor in some country you likely have hardly heard about let alone know anything beware, it’s more than likely the beginning of some foreign adventure that leads to more misery for some innocent people in some already impoverished and oppressed region, more American casualties, more deficits and more hatred of America, all in the name of democracy, a concept totally alien to the cause proposed.
May the New Year bring America peace, something we have not had for a very long time.