[By Ben Noble]
Welcome to another installment of the Libertarian Starter Pack. My goal in this series is to let those not interested in voting for Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump know that there is another option. The Libertarian Party.
It is an investing coincidence that the day I planned on talking about foreign policy is also Memorial Day. Since the two subjects are closely related, I will address them both here.
YouTube video of this post [https://youtu.be/I2tclrH0oNs ]
I’ll start by reading a post I wrote for Memorial Day a year ago. It is a reflection on the foreign policy that has killed many of our service members and tragically a nearly uncountable number of people in the Middle East. If we are to honor the individuals that have been killed while on duty we must also consider if their sacrifice have borne any fruit. Surely it has, but it is the most rotten of harvests.
The following is the post I wrote:
May 25, 2015
As a veteran, Memorial Day has taken on a very different meaning than it did before I served in Kosovo and Afghanistan. It used to symbolize the great sacrifices that my brothers in arms made on behalf of the US and it’s citizens. I do not see it this way anymore. It is not my opinion of those serving in the armed forces that has changed. It is my option of our government that has seen a drastic shift.
Herein lies the problem of Memorial Day. It doesn’t make us consider the wars these soldiers were sent to die in and if the outcome was even worth it. I would say this is just as important as remembering the fallen. None of the conflicts or wars since WWII were entered into in actual defense of the nation. Think about it, none of them were conducted anywhere close to our borders and it has always been a preexisting conflict that had nothing to do with the US, but decided to get involved anyways. Vietnam, Korea, and many more (1) were preexisting conflicts that did not concern the US, but claimed the lives of thousands and thousands of US service members (2).
The War on Terror has been no different. The US government flung the armed services into two simultaneous wars on the flimsiest of justifications (3). Their only plan for success was to spend years and years pouring blood and treasure into the crater where we bombed these countries into pre-civilization.
2,977 Americans died in the September 11 attacks. In the War on Terror we have lost over 5,000 service members and had over 50,000 injured. It is estimated that more than 1.3 (4) million people have died in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Nothing good can come of all the death and destruction in the Middle East (5). It can only fuel hate against the US and as a result make us less safe (6).
Iraq and the surrounding region has been so destabilized by US occupation that right after our forces are pulled out of Iraq terrorist forces like ISIS fill the power vacuum. Saddam Hussein might have been evil to the core, but he was secular, maintained stability in the region, and did not tolerate Muslim extremists. The Christian population in Iraq, who were safe under Saddam (7), has suffered extensively at the hands of ISIS.
In light of all this, Memorial Day has become a perverse joke of the blackest comedy. The US government has used the men and women who volunteer to server as defenders of the country as expendable pawns in its enthusiastic desire to flex its military might. It then devotes one day a year encouraging its citizens to honor their dead. Hiding in plan sight its reckless foreign policy that creates so many dead and wounded. The final insult to our fallen is the utter chaos in the Middle East that renders their deaths meaningless and makes the US less safe. Memorial Day should be about remembering our fallen and honoring them by doing our best to not send anymore of them into the grave.
The 15 year experiment in the Middle East has failed at a huge cost in blood and treasure for both the US and the people of the Middle East. The US government has toppled their long time dictator allies in the area only to make the situation worse. The destabilization of the Middle East has brought two tragedies with it: ISIS and the refugee crisis. Not only is there so much more death and destruction, we are now seeing it flood into Europe. Europe is seeing an uptick in number of terrorist attacks and other cultural issues. Does anyone really thing that the refugees won’t be at least a little angry that their countries have been destroyed and are being forced to flee to the counties that did it? The west has done the equivalent of kicking a bee’s nest and then shoving it down their pants.
My time in Afghanistan taught me one thing at least. Our time is being wasted in the Middle East. The people there are not ready for democracy. Hell, they’re not ready to lead their own armies and won’t be for a long time. I sometimes would joke that the US should just annex Afghanistan and run their country like another state in the union. Our mission there was to help modernize a part of the Afghan Army, but we were also not supposed to force them into doing things our way. Needless to say nothing ever got done. They didn’t want to do the work and we had no authority to make them. The perfect recipe for shoving your thumbs up your ass for almost a year. That right there is what “nation building” is.
Recently the US government has shifted from large scale nation building to just bombing people they don’t like, with methods that are inaccurate, for reasons they don’t fully understand.
Libertarians support a strong defense of the home land and that’s it. We cannot do any good when there is no “good guy” in the conflict we’re trying to influence. Bring the troops home, free trade with those willing, and diplomacy. Let the Middle East sort out its own problems. Military intervention and nation building in cultures and conflicts that we’ll never fully understand can only make the world less safe. This is how we honor the fallen past, present, and future.
Sources for Memorial Day – Honoring the fallen and not sending anymore to join them
- List of wars involving the Unites States [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_the_United_States ]
- United States military casualties of war [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war ]
- How they lied us into war in Iraq [https://medium.com/dan-sanchez-blog/16-articles-that-expose-how-they-lied-us-into-war-in-iraq-bedf2e47c0bc ]
- Report: At least 1.3 million people killed in US war on terror [http://truthinmedia.com/report-at-least-1-3-million-people-killed-in-us-war-on-terror/ ]
- Iraq: A decade of hell [https://youtu.be/rtuk08E09cw ]
- How drones create more terrorists [http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/08/how-drones-create-more-terrorists/278743/ ]
- The west was wrong in Iraq and Christians are paying the price [http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3258/the_west_was_wrong_in_iraqand_christians_are_paying_the_price.aspx ]
Body Count [http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/body-count.pdf ]
War on Terror / Casualties [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Terror#Casualties ]
The Obama Administration’s Drone Strike Disassembling [http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/the-obama-administrations-drone-strike-dissembling/473541/ ]
Cologne attacks: What happened after 1,000 women were sexually assaulted? [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/cologne-attacks-what-happened-after-1000-women-were-sexually-assaulted-a6867071.html ]
Brussels Attacks Fuel Debate Over Migrants in a Fractured Europe [http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/world/europe/belgium-attacks-migrants.html?_r=0 ]
German swimming pool where two migrant sex attacks have been carried out says it has been forced to segregate men and women [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3476426/German-swimming-pool-two-migrant-sex-attacks-carried-says-forced-segregate-men-women.html ]
Tomb of the unknown [https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonythemisfit/3557345656/in/photolist-6qmjVN-4Qvv3R-MFc4H-kL1BF-oEWjZw-ocCvTZ-eseRWW-6C5ers-6xTnPq-6WLp6v-6spyBR-86K9iX-86z5yC-7eKXWM-tgtAHr-6r6xSo-6qQMiE-6qoPvu-HAoRvT-c6sLoo-9Njohw-6tXdsV-nEFk8b-fLhx7-tbhBaQ-c6bPrY-eZ7oY-H8egP4-nVi3qQ-c6SEom-7WRKSr-6wjAAb-j5DY11-nJ1N7q-e8zkAw-8A1rf5-6qKsWZ-wbwQKr-gAmC1Z-6vTVfn-6tNw5w-c5Trob-Gs7J9e-nJRQ3C-6sQXsf-CCToun-nsyfbq-hSJpmx-8PhPP8-579yv9 ]
Cemetery [https://www.flickr.com/photos/lens-cap/27197188952/in/photolist-HrjGJU-gAmSSk-eHfbDo-c7MomG-4QzpCw-4z5B84-4z9NVY-9bpCS-2rnqF-GJCrJz-tvZafY-nHtW1o-euuwxL-47UtEo-Hg1t2s-tzk53d-nH21Gm-e9FmE4-c7feCL-c79Ycf-Wpy1u-eU44n-3ikvb-HA9dNo-owsGJu-nsYcM8-c3ZVF3-9WgAmp-87q597-JCKK2-Hfw4oG-HBwz1s-c6G7Xs-2tj6i-nMzGQX-nJ3t9g-ev6BxT-edLav9-6reiwH-4z9Q9d-4z5xaM-5qjR3-HybKkP-tqD331-c5meib-86wAfD-6hEvps-4z9SCb-4z9LEf-47UtiS ]
World Trade Center Lights [https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcelamcgreal/21845469596/in/photolist-zhpK2w-yXH5KA-xEKhck-yyb2yP-xxsFPr-xuLay9-dicGB6-aqEpDb-a5oF29-a4Fs3w-8XTTDF-7XApuC-7aG8wk-6XEArD-5nEoGn-5mKRsy-5kRG7F-5kMVAP-5kNxW3-4cuQZj-5n183x-AV3XQM-yfGA6U-da8ywD-8zXLdZ-5S1Uun-5tu8x9-A4vT2g-yzPJwF-yxCkhK-94dP6i-Ap8DTC-zzAPYb-yzFnjn-yv3BRw-ysiLVG-ys6bad-ycBN1d-4wu5G3-zuR5X5-xwWYi9-gNiYFD-aqTnAW-ajiNgC-a6uHC8-a2EtRj-a1EtMz-a18rPA-9KHamK-9ahxwo ]