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Iraq and American Sniper

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Last January the movie American Sniper was breaking box-office records and generating a national debate over the nature of war and how the movie depicts war. The movie revolved around Chris Kyle, a real-life US soldier who had four tours in Iraq as a sniper and, in the process, set a record for the number of people killed by a US sniper.

The Left criticized the movie for glorifying war and for celebrating Kyle’s heroics. Clint Eastwood, who directed the movie and who is a conservative, responded that the movie made “the biggest anti-war statement any film” can make.

Both the Left and the Right, however, miss the central issue with respect to Iraq, one that I believe is the principal reason that Kyle and so many other American troops came back from the war psychologically disturbed: In this conflict, the United States was the aggressor nation and Iraq was the defending nation.

Why is that important? Because it means that US soldiers, including Kyle, had no right, morally or legally, to kill even one Iraqi. It means that the soldiers who did kill Iraqis did so wrongfully. It means they murdered them. And murder is not something anyone should be glorifying or celebrating.
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Understanding Why the Clinton Emails Matter

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In the world of handling America’s secrets, words – classified, secure, retroactive – have special meanings. I held a Top Secret clearance at the State Department for 24 years and was regularly trained in protecting information as part of that privilege. Here is what some of those words mean in the context of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The Inspectors General for the State Department and the intelligence community issued a statement saying Clinton’s personal email system contained classified information. This information, they said, “should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system.” The same statement voiced concern that a thumb drive held by Clinton’s lawyer also contains this same secret data.
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The Aspen War Games—No Place For Old Peaceniks

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ASPEN. This fair summer camp for the (very) fortunate got double-whammy’d by the War Party on Sunday.

First there was a “debate” about whether ISIS should be “contained” or “defeated”. That was followed by a glowing progress report from General John Allen. He is President Obama’s Special Envoy for the Global Coalition of the Unwilling and Unable (to fight ISIS), and the gist of his speech was that 6,000 airstrikes since last August have been winning droves of hearts and minds in the Upper Euphrates valley.

This was all for the edification of the pooh bahs of the foreign policy establishment who were in town for the annual Aspen Strategy Group conclave. The latter bills itself as “a bipartisan foreign policy group that includes legislators, experts, journalists, policy practitioners, members of academia, and business leaders”.

No it’s not. It’s an off-campus exercise in mendacity, vapid group-think and narcissistic self-glorification by the perpetrators of Washington’s endless foreign policy catastrophes. Once a year they come to admire each other and split hairs about pointless tactical differences.

The debate about “containing” versus “defeating” ISIS proved that in spades. In fact, the “exterminate ISIS” team embodied an exact caricature of the bipartisan folly which has congealed in the Washington War Party.
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Don’t Be Fooled by the Political Game: The Illusion of Freedom in America

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Being a citizen in the American corporate state is much like playing against a stacked deck: you’re always going to lose.


The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, most stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that their luck will change.

The problem, of course, is that luck will not save us. As I make clear in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the people dealing the cards—the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc.—have only one prevailing concern, and that is to maintain their power and control over the citizenry, while milking us of our money and possessions.

It really doesn’t matter what you call them—Republicans, Democrats, the one percent, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that while they are dealing the cards, the deck will always be stacked in their favor.
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ISIS Winning? Will Trump's Plan Work?

Donald Trump wants to hit ISIS hard, to "put a ring around them" and take their oil, presumably with US troops on the ground. But according to former CIA expert Michael Scheuer, attempting to defeat ISIS militarily would only help them grow in power. The best US “weapon,” writes Scheuer, is non-intervention in the Middle East. Who’s right?
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The Return of Ron Paul

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Ron Paul changed American politics in a way that no single individual can claim: it was Paul, a congressman from a rural district in Texas, who put libertarianism on the political map. It was the movement he inspired – a movement driven largely by young people – that has challenged the War Party like no other. Not even the antiwar movement of the 1960s has done so much to change the American consciousness when it comes to our interventionist foreign policy – and Paul’s new book, Swords Into Plowshares: A Life in Wartime and a Future of Peace and Prosperity, encapsulates the spirit of the man and the seed he has planted. 

Written in the form of a memoir, Swords Into Plowshares tells the story of how Paul’s philosophical and political development made him into one of the foremost champions of peace in the history of this country. Born in a small farming community in Pennsylvania, young Ron grew up during the early years of World War II and he relates that experience – the rationing, the war propaganda, the deaths that impacted his friends and family – from the perspective that only wisdom and distance can grant. No, he wasn’t born a libertarian – that came later – but he instinctively recoiled at the tragedy and regimentation that wartime America engendered. Through the Korean “police action” and then into the Vietnam era – when Paul, by then a medical doctor, served in the Air Force – the author recalls his growing alienation from the rah-rah “patriotism” and unthinking belligerence expected of all “good” Americans during that era. 

By the time Paul was elected to Congress as a Republican, in 1976, he had become convinced that the foreign policy of the Founders – friendly relations with all, entangling alliances with none – was the best prescription for peace and prosperity. Unfortunately, not many of his colleagues agreed with him.
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Islamic State is Winning, America Must Soon Use Its One Remaining Option

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Three of the US national government’s self-imposed and surely lethal handicaps in dealing with the Islamist threat are (a) a fixation on looking at the problem in a state-by-state manner; that is, what do we do in Iraq? what do we do in Afghanistan? what do we do in Libya? etc.; (b) an enduring but long-disproved assumption that in its war with Islam the West has time its side; and (c) an addiction to an unwise, unnecessary, and bankrupting interventionism that is the main motivator of the international Islamist movement, a phenomenon which was fathered and is still nurtured by the West’s so-called “allies and friends,” Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, etc.

By forming and implementing interventionist policies for each nation-state where an Islamist threat is identified as needing to be addressed, Washington and its NATO allies miss the point that their main Islamist enemies — the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda, and especially the former – think in a regional manner and then design and execute policies meant to establish bases from which they can further expand in a way that advances their ultimate goal of driving the West from the Muslim world and creating an unitary and worldwide Islamic state or caliphate. Whether or not such a state can be created is an open question, but for the time being the subject can be left for academics to endlessly, theoretically, and inconclusively debate, thereby leaving the sane to try to defend the United States.

What is important, at the moment, lies in the quite inexplicable inability of US and NATO policymakers to see what the Islamic State is up to in terms of its regional planning, or how that planning is not only immune to but fueled by the relentless, seriatim intervention of the West in each Muslim country that displeases it – excepting, of course, the Muslim tyrannies the West fawns over, protects, and is bribed by. (NB: This is not to argue that a multi-Muslim-nation intervention by US-NATO forces is needed.
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Real Education Reform Leaves the Government Behind

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Among the items awaiting Congress when it returns from its August break is reconciling competing House and Senate bills reauthorizing No Child Left Behind. These bills passed early this spring. Each bill is being marketed as a huge step toward restoring state and local control over education. However, an examination of both bills shows that both provide local schools with only limited relief from a few federal mandates.

The biggest problem with these so-called reform bills is that they do not significantly reduce federal education spending. Congress and the executive branch use the promise of “free” money — which they have taken from the American taxpayer — to convince state and local governments to allow the federal government to control the classrooms. The only way to protect American schoolchildren from schemes like Common Core is to repeal, not replace, the federal Department of Education.
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Why Do We Lament A-Bombs But Not Firebombs?

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All war is a crime. There is no such thing as a “good war.” As the great Benjamin Franklin said, “there is no good war; and no bad peace.”

We are now in the midst of the annual debate over the atomic bombing of Japan by the United States. Seventy years ago this week, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, killing or injuring some 140,000 people. A few days later, a second atomic weapon was dropped on Nagasaki, causing 80,000 casualties.  Most of the dead in both cities were civilians.

Passionate debate has raged ever since between those who condemn the nuclear bombing of almost defenceless Japan as a war crime, and those who insist the attacks spared the US and its allies having to invade fight-to-the-death Japan.

I don’t know the answer to this question.
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US Intelligence Confirms US Support for ISIS

Former Defense Intelligence Agency head Gen. Michael Flynn is not backing down from his claims that elements of the US government were aware of and supported the rise of jihadists in Syria as a means by which to overthrow its president, Bashar Assad. As the US moves ever closer to a full-out invasion of Syria the lack of media interest in Flynn's story is reminiscent of the one-sided (pro-war) coverage of the run up to the 2003 Iraq War. More on the disturbing new revelations in a special edition of the Ron Paul Liberty Report...
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