July 23, 2019

Obama administration makes Putin, Russians look like the good guys

putinTAMPA, September 10, 2013 – Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem said earlier today that his government would accept the proposal to surrender its chemical weapons for destruction by the international community, according to the Associated Press. The proposal was made by the Russian government in an attempt to avoid U.S. airstrikes in reprisal for alleged chemical weapons attacks by its Syrian counterpart against rebels and civilians on Aug. 21.

The Syrian government has consistently denied launching the attacks.

President Obama has now reportedly changed the goal of his meetings today with Congressmen from persuading them to approve his military strikes to participating in the diplomatic solution. This begs an obvious question.

Why was it Russia that proposed a diplomatic solution, while the Nobel Peace Prize-winning U.S. president would consider nothing but war?

Indeed, Russian president Vladimir Putin has consistently been a calm voice of restraint and caution during the entire crisis, while Obama has sounded more like Khrushchev than Kennedy.

Syria is a longtime Russian ally and the home to Russia’s only military base outside its borders. The U.S. threats of military action against Syria is only the latest in a long train of provocative actions by the U.S. government towards its former Cold War adversary. As Pat Buchanan wrote in the American Conservative,

“George W. Bush sought to put an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Neither country had requested it. We said it was aimed at Iran. When my late friend, columnist Tony Blankley, visited Russia in the Bush II era, he was astounded at the hostility he encountered from Russians who felt we had responded to their offer of friendship at the end of the Cold War by taking advantage of them.”

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, chiefly for economic reasons. That’s not the same as surrendering to an adversary in a hot war. Yet, the U.S. government has treated Russia more like Germany after the Treaty of Versailles than the major First World power that they remain.

Imagine how the U.S. government would react if Russia were talking about bombing Israel in response to some alleged misdeed?

Yet, Putin has avoided bellicosity in the face of the Obama administration’s refusal to consider anything but military action, asking only that the administration at least wait for all of the evidence to be presented and examined.

Yesterday, it was Putin who proposed a diplomatic solution to the crisis while Obama maintained his full court press for war. This isn’t the first time that Americans have been confronted with bizarre role reversals between their government and Russia’s. At a G20 conference in 2009, while the Obama administration was promoting its housing bailout bill, Putin lectured the administration about the evils of socialism.

“Excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence is another possible mistake…In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated,” said Putin.

For the past four and a half years, the Obama administration has pursued the very interventionist economic policies it had so vehemently criticized the Bush administration for, while the Russian government advised to let the market do more of the work.

During the Syrian chemical weapons crisis, the Obama administration has demonstrated the same eagerness for war, the same rush to judgment and the same disregard for the opinions of the international community and its own citizens that it criticized the Bush administration for in the lead-up to Iraq. It has managed to make the Russians look like the good guys.

That’s because in this case, they are.

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

 

<

Does anyone really believe Assad used chemical weapons in Syria?

does anyoneTAMPA, September 6, 2013 – Public opinion polls are virtually unanimous. The American people oppose military intervention in Syria, despite poll questions worded in a way that assumes the Syrian government perpetrated chemical weapons attacks against its own people. The Washington Post/ABC News poll asked:

The United States says it has determined that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in the civil war there. Given this, do you support or oppose the United States launching missile strikes against the Syrian government?”

 

Who could imagine the question being put in words more likely to elicit a favorable response? Nevertheless, Americans were resoundingly against military intervention. 59% said they opposed missile strikes. 36% said they favored them. 5% were undecided.

Results like that in a poll so obviously constructed to achieve the opposite begs the question:

Does anyone really believe the Assad government launched chemical weapons attacks against rebels and civilians?

That virtually every politician and pundit talks about the attacks as if it were proven they occurred and that Assad’s government perpetrated them is beyond surreal. U.N. weapons inspectors say that they won’t even be able to confirm that chemical weapons were used for two more weeks. Yet, the Obama administration says it is not only certain the attack occurred, but that Assad’s government launched it.

This despite strong suspicion that it was the rebels, not the Assad government that launched the chemical weapons attack earlier this year. As reported by Shaun Waterman in the Washington Times on May 6,

“Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent.”

The rebels stood to gain far more from last month’s chemical weapons attack than Assad. The government had the upper hand in the two-year-old revolution. The attack would increase the chances that an outside force like the U.S. would join the struggle on the rebels’ side. Judge Andrew Napolitano is skeptical that the attack occurred at all and, if it did, that Assad perpetrated it. Writing in the Washington Times, he says,

“Never mind that the photos shown by Mr. Obama’s folks of aid workers ministering to the supposed victims of government gassing show the workers without gas masks or gloves, and never mind that the Assad regime has permitted United Nations weapons inspectors unfettered access to its materiel, and never mind that the president wants to invade Syria before the weapons inspectors issue their report. The president wants us to think that the Assad regime intentionally gassed 1,000 Syrian innocents who were of no military value to the rebels or threat to the regime…”

 

That’s not the only circumstantial evidence questioning the official story. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told Ron Paul Monday on the Ron Paul Channel that the U.S. government has been waiting for an excuse to intervene in Syria since 2011.

“Stratfor is a U.S. intelligence contractor based in Texas and we got hold of five million of their e-mails. They do consulting work for many different government organizations and private organizations. And one of those e-mails from late 2011, December 2011, is a report back from one of their agents meeting with the U.S. Air Force, members of the French military and British military, speaking about what the hopes and game plan was under various circumstances, essentially by the West, by the U.S. and NATO, if you like. And that they really felt that what they needed was for there to be some humanitarian outrage in Syria and that once they had that, that would legitimize going in with a big airstrike,” said Assange.

With no known evidence against the Assad government and strong circumstantial evidence against the rebels, the Obama administration still insists that they have conclusive proof against Assad, but cannot share the evidence. According to the Washington Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s replied,

“Claims that proof exists but is classified and cannot be shown are beneath criticism. “ He added, “If the U.S. says that the al-Assad regime is responsible for that attack and that they have proof, then let them submit it to the U.N. Security Council.”

The Obama administration hasn’t given the American public any more reason to believe it than Putin does. It’s been caught in one lie after another about its domestic spying programs, according to Forbes magazine. It’s also fighting the specter of a war in Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist.

The truth of what happened in Damascus last month will be known eventually. Until then, the Obama administration is trying to sell a dog that just won’t hunt to an American public that’s weary of war and has little reason to believe its government about anything.

If experience is any teacher, Americans would be wise to remain incredulous.

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

 

Dempsey’s Syria letter raises questions about entire Mideast policy

TAMPA, August 21, 2013 – Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. in an August 19 letter obtained by the Associated Press that the Obama administration is opposed to even limited military intervention in Syria because the rebels wouldn’t support American interests even if they won.

Dempsey said that the U.S. is capable of destroying President Assad’s air force, but that it would plunge the U.S. into another Mideast war with no strategy for peace.

 

Dempsey’s assessment has been criticized by Sen. John McCain, who called a previous letter to Sen. Carl Levin “disingenuous.” According to the Jerusalem Post, McCain said “No one is seriously talking about striking Assad’s naval forces as part of a limited campaign. And no one seriously thinks that degrading Assad’s air power would require hundreds of American military assets. The whole thing is completely misleading to the Congress and the American people, and it is shameful.”

 

It’s time to take a serious look at just who has misled the American people. For twelve years, neoconservatives and other war hawks have presented military intervention in the Middle East as the only way to fight terrorism, bring stability to the Middle East and champion democratic values.

 

Twelve years of active war has failed to achieve any of those goals. Neither has it advanced any U.S. interest in the region, even if that were a justifiable cause for war.

 

Dempsey’s assessment of intervention in Syria highlights lessons the U.S. should have learned by now

 

First, the conflict is not between two sides, one pro-democracy and one dictatorial. It is a many-sided conflict, involving longstanding ethnic and tribal differences, according to Dempsey. No side is pro-U.S.

 

This is much like Afghanistan, where the U.S. attempted to combine military action with bribes, coalition building and humanitarian efforts to “win hearts and minds.”

 

In the end, the government it backed has waffled on supporting U.S. interests. The security forces U.S. military personnel are training have taken to killing their trainers from time to time, restrained only by Afghan officers who discourage the practice because of the weapons the U.S. is providing them.

 

Last month, the Taliban opened an office in Dohar, Qatar to begin negotiating with the U.S. and others to end the war. What that means for stability, democracy or U.S. interests in Afghanistan remains to be seen. The original reason for invading Afghanistan was to remove the Taliban.

 

This after the U.S. left Iraq a nation in chaos, its infrastructure razed, two million refugees displaced, an ancient Christian community destroyed, and a government with strong ties to Iran.

 

U.S. intervention in Egypt has had similar results, where a military junta uses arms purchased with U.S. foreign aid to slaughter those who protest the recent overthrow of a democratically-elected government. That government was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, hardly a result the U.S. welcomed in terms of its own interests or those of its allies.

 

In addition, the Assad regime is a longstanding friend of Russia, which has a naval base in Syria. The Obama and Bush administrations have both unnecessarily strained relations with post-Soviet Russia. Military intervention in Syria could strain them further, with no discernible benefit to the United States.

 

Idealists look at the twelve year U.S. adventure in the Middle East as a righteous mission to bring democracy to the oppressed peoples under dictatorial or Islamic rule. From that perspective, the U.S. has been played for a sucker by a myriad of tribal factions that have cooperated temporarily and then turned on the U.S. the minute cooperation no longer served their interests. Wherever democratic elections have taken place, Islamic governments have been elected with dubious prospects for supporting the U.S. or Israel.

 

Cynics see the period as one of quasi-imperial conquest by the U.S. to remake the political landscape to better serve U.S. interests and secure access to oil and other natural resources. The project has been a disaster from that perspective as well, even if true.

 

It’s time to take a serious look at U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and in general. There are questions that need to be answered.

 

Based upon twelve years of experience, what do we expect to accomplish in the Middle East? How many decades are we willing to stay at war to accomplish it?

 

How much more money are we willing to borrow?

 

What evidence is there that we have accomplished anything? Why will next year be different?

 

If the U.S. is indeed waging “wars of liberation,” how did U.S. taxpayers become financially responsible for the liberty of every soul on the planet? When will this financial responsibility end?

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.