Wars and Rumors of Wars

June 20, 2012

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Since the dawn of man the Middle East has been a hotbed of violence and hatred. In the dark ages Europeans entered into a foray in the region that didn’t end so well. You would think that world leaders would have learned from the crusades, but the opposite appears to be the case. The list of failed policies and military catastrophes in the Middle East that the US has been involved in seems to go on forever.

Much like most of our relations with Iran our recent saber rattling with them promises to create a firestorm that could plunge the region into chaos. The Obama administration’s policy seems to be; we already have troops everywhere else in the Middle East so why not Iran? This couples with America’s staunch support of Israel is a recipe for disaster.

The threat of violence in the Straight of Hormuz is making oil speculators very nervous. One fifth of the world’s oil supply flows through the straight. Currently Iranian and American naval forces are conducting operations within spitting distance of each other. We are already paying an arm and a leg for gasoline. If war breaks out with Iran what will happen to already soaring prices?

Israel continues to threaten Iran with attack. They fear that Iran’s nuclear program will lead to weaponization of fissiable materials. If our rivals wish to develop nuclear weapons I do not think we should sit back and allow it to happen, however we’ve heard the weapons of mass destruction song and dance before. If western powers wish to invade Iran we must have concrete evidence before we strike. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey has gone on record stating “It’s not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran.” The general went on to say that striking Iran would be “destabilizing and wouldn’t achieve long-term objectives.”

Unlike our failed counter insurgency operations in Iraq, an attack on Iran could lead to World War Three. Our leaders would do well to approach tensions between Iran and Israel cautiously. According to US Colonel Douglas Macgregor “After an Israeli strike, Tehran won’t need to build nuclear bombs – it will be given them.”

It’s hard to say if America will actually get involved in a war with Iran, however congress recently passed a resolution, H.Res.568 that would call for an attack if Iran developed nuclear weapons capability. According to former Chief of Staff for Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson “This resolution reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war, and could be the precursor for a war with Iran. It’s effectively a thinly-disguised effort to bless war.”

American forces and their allies seem to be gearing up for a new conflict in the region. An ongoing training operation, Eager Lion simulates a beach landing followed by an inland invasion of fortified bases. Amidst all of this the US has sent two air craft carriers to the gulf. The USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Enterprise have been deployed to the area, and. Gen. Mattis is requesting a third one.

Further increasing our presence in the Middle East are six F22 Raptors. The dubious fighters have been sent less that 200 miles away from the Iranian border.

After a decade of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq the American public has lost it’s taste for war. A recent poll conducted by the New York Times indicates that only 23% of respondents support the war. The Washington Post conducted a poll where 60% of respondents said they believe the war was not even worth fighting. It’s a sad commentary when it takes 10 years for the American people to grow weary of death and destruction.

All of this makes one wonder if anyone in charge remembers Vietnam. That war was started over false pretenses such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident. The cost in human life was staggering and yet our leadership saw fit to invade Afghanistan. Speaking of short memories didn’t anyone in charge take notice when the Russians failed to defeat Afghan insurgents in the 80s? At least that war only lasted 9 years. It doesn’t take an expert in Middle Eastern affairs to know that a war in Afghanistan would have failed.

Fortunately we have a chance not to make the same mistake with Iran. It’s an election year and the last thing Obama wants to do is to look soft on Iran, however deciding to invade would be the worst mistake the administration could make.

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Burn at the Wick

July 26, 2011

There was a time when Uncle Sam had money to burn.  There was also a time when the Roman Empire could wage wars and occupy territory all over the known world.  Sadly, the Romans went bankrupt.  When they disappeared, they took down the entire continent of Europe with them.  The American Empire is just as militarized as its Roman predecessor.  As stated many times on this blog, the U.S. has a military presence in over 100 nations across the globe.  Exacerbating the situation, we are currently embroiled in 5 active conflicts throughout the Middle East.  The question is; what will happen if the American Empire crumbles?  Will the world be plunged into another dark ages?

The current financial crisis in Washington is a good indicator of the fiscal cost of America’s military strength.  It is now painfully obvious to everyone that waging massive combat operations is cost prohibitive.  In lieu of raising the debt ceiling, we could scale back our military just a little.  Our leaders may find it necessary to withdraw troops and close bases overseas.  Regardless of how much we raise the debt ceiling, if we continue to amass debt and devalue our currency we will no longer be capable of paying the Military anyway.  If we don’t cut back on defense a little bit now, there may be no defense later.

We could bring our service members home and put them to work on our weakened and decaying infrastructures.  Imagine how much less it would cost to bring the military home and have them rebuild some bridges or roadways.  Rebuilding our transportation grid would dramatically lower the cost of shipping goods and could have a hand in revitalizing the economy.  Although it is easier to destroy than to create, we must stop being involved in deadly and costly conflict.  The time has come for us to band together as a people and build some bridges.


The War on Drugs has failed

June 14, 2011

Ever since prohibition began in America, the war on drugs has been a colossal failure.  Much like a recidivist most of our politicians have been repeating the same mistakes over and over again.  Fortunately not all of our leaders are on the same boat.  Regarding U.S. anti-drug efforts in Latin America, Sen. Claire McCaskill had this to say “We are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return”.  In the video posted below Ron Paul can be heard criticizing current drug policy.  He argues that prohibiting narcotics presents a very real threat to personal freedom.

Not only is the War on Drugs ineffective it is also a huge waste of resources.  According to the LA Times Counter-narcotics contract spending increased 32% between 2005 and 2009.  That is an increase from $482 million to $635 million.  In addition to these expenditures the Department of Defense has spent $6.1 billion since 2005 detecting planes and boats containing illegal drugs.  What exactly has this gotten us?  The drugs are still flowing into our country with no signs of stopping.

The enormous financial burden of the War on Drugs is staggering.  Far more worrisome is the human cost of this war.  Countless nonviolent drug offenders have been imprisoned for inordinate lengths of time.  According to the International Centre for Prison Studies The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world.  The report America’s One Million Nonviolent Prisoners states that the level of nonviolent offenders exceeds the combined populations of Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

The Blue Scholar Blog wants to know if any of you have been impacted by the War on Drugs.  Please feel free to share your experiences and opinions by leaving a comment.