It’s a helluva question: “Tell me how this ends.”
It was a good question in 2003 when then Major General David Petraeus asked it as the United States invaded Iraq, an ironic one in 2011 when the US withdrew, worth revisiting in 2014 when the US reinvaded Iraq, and again in 2017 as Islamic State appears to be on its way out. Problem is we still don’t have a good answer. It could be Groundhog Day all over again in Iraq, or it could be worse.
The Groundhog Day argument, that little has changed from 2003 until now, is quite persuasive. Just look at the headlines. A massive Ramadan car bomb exploded not just in Baghdad, but in Karada, its wealthiest neighborhood, during a holiday period of heightened security, and all just outside the Green Zone were the American Embassy remains hunkered down like a medieval castle. Islamic State, like al Qaeda before it, can penetrate the heart of the capital city, even after the fall of their home base in Fallujah (2004, 2016.) Meanwhile, Mosul is under siege (2004, 2017.) Iranian forces are on the ground supporting the Baghdad central government. The Kurds seek their own state. American troops are deep in the fighting and taking casualties. The Iraqi Prime Minister seems in control at best only of the Shia areas of his country. Groundhog Day.
But maybe this time around, in what some call Iraq War 3.0, we do know how it ends.
President Trump has reminded us of how the US government destroyed the liberty of the American people in the name of fighting tyranny abroad. Exercising the same dictatorial method that his predecessors have employed — executive decrees — he has made it illegal again for most Americans to travel to Cuba and spend money there.
Trump’s justification? The communist regime in Cuba is tyrannical and engages in human-rights abuses.
Think about that for a moment: A foreign regime is tyrannical and so what does a US president do? Through a decree-law, he imposes his own tyranny on his own citizenry by punishing Americans who travel to Cuba or do business there.
Let’s not forget, after all, that the US embargo on Cuba is, first and foremost, an attack on the freedom of the American people. That’s the way it has been since the very beginning of the embargo more than 50 years ago. If an American traveled to Cuba and spent money there, he didn’t need to fear the communists. He needed to fear federal investigators, prosecutors, and judges, who would have him indicted, prosecuted, convicted, and sent to federal jail for a long time.
Who’s the tyrant here?
After all, freedom of travel has always been considered one of the most fundamental natural, God-given rights of man. And as we libertarians have long held, so is economic liberty — the natural, God-given right of people to dispose of their own money any way they want.
Five Minutes Five Issues: Philando Castile, Edward Snowden, CIA Thieves, Yemen Torture, Free California
A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues posted on Saturday. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.
The World Is Going Down With Trump
On June 21 the editorial board of the Washington Post, long a propaganda instrument believed to be in cahoots with the CIA and the deep state, called for more sanctions and more pressure on Russia.
Ron Paul Interviews Snowden On 'The Rise Of The Deep State'
In a discussion with Edward Snowden on his “Liberty Report," Ron Paul and the former NSA contractor trace the genesis of the so-called Deep State, and discuss how the US intelligence community uses covert programs like those exposed by Snowden in 2013 to trample individual freedoms.
The CDC’s Vaping Spin
Jacob Sullum wrote Monday at Reason regarding the United States government’s spin on survey results regarding smoking and vaping by teenagers. Sullum relates that, while the results of the US government’s yearly National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) indicate that from 2011 to 2016 teenagers significantly substituted less-dangerous-to-health vaping for traditional cigarette smoking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests in the June 16 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that the substitution is of no health benefit.
America’s Real Loss of Prestige and Leadership Abroad
Because we traded the smooth talking guy for the clumsy boob with no manners, it is popular to bleat that America has given up its role as leader of the free world, to say other nations don’t respect us anymore, or look to us for moral guidance — in the extreme, that we are no longer that shining city on the hill we see ourselves as.