Category Archives: Iraq

Why Libertarians Should Shrug-Off Memo Mania

Democrats, Donald Trump, Iraq, libertarianism, Paleolibertarianism, Republicans

A NEW ESSAY, “Why Libertarians Should Shrug-Off Memo Mania,” is at the Mises Institute’s Power and Market blog. An excerpt:

First came the Republican memo, courtesy of the Republican House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes. Their memo detailed the surveillance abuses against one Carter Page, enabled by a kangaroo court which was strengthened immeasurably by the old Republican-Party boss, George Bush.

Bush II had fortified the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and the Stupid Party greased the skids for the expansion of FISA infractions. Following Barack Obama’s lead, Republicans have reauthorized the controversial Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which has resulted in the “incidental” collection of the communications of American citizens, and likely served as an impetus for prosecutions.

Enter Rep. Adam Schiff, Democrat from California. He and the other Democrats on the House intelligence committee have now presented their distillation of the counter case, namely that the “FISA warrant and repeated renewals to conduct temporary surveillance of Carter Page” were all justified. Well of course.

Media eminences—Republican Mark Steyn, for instance—have accused the Democrats of assaulting the rule of law. The libertarian, however, might wish to avoid wading into an intra-party fracas. Why intra-party? Because the Democrats and the Republicans of DC share most of their political DNA.

Am I saying libertarians have no dog in the fight over whether “Hillary Clinton and the DNC funded the [dodgy] dossier that was a basis for the Department of Justice’s FISA application”?

Do we not care that the “venerated” FBI “had abused its surveillance authority and relied improperly on politically motivated sources—namely former British spy Christopher Steele who had been paid by Fusion GPS, a private intelligence firm hired first by conservative underwriters and then retained by Democrats during the 2016 campaign”?

Precisely.

Put it this way: What libertarians should care about is that the “America’s political police”—the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its malignant offshoots—is being thoroughly discredited by its most enthusiastic advocates. This is of a piece with the creative destruction generated, inadvertently, by Donald Trump.

Moreover, the meta-perspective argued for here relies on a recognition that America is regularly convulsed by episodes of mass, hysterical contagion.

What is “hysterical contagion”?

Sociologists explain it as the spread of symptoms of an illness among a group, absent any physiological disease. It provides a way of coping with a situation that cannot be handled with the usual coping mechanism.

Arguably, the Trump-Russia “collusion,” “obstruction of justice” probe and the attendant frenzied behavior and belief-system it has engendered meets the definition of mass hysteria. With an exception: This particular form of mass madness involves a meme, a story-line that catches on and sticks. In particular, it is the emotional pitch with which the Trump-Russia collusion group-think is delivered, day in and day out, that has gripped and inflamed irrational, febrile minds. …

… READ THE REST.  Why Libertarians Should Shrug-Off Memo Mania” is at the Mises Institute’s Power and Market blog.

And at the Ron Paul Institute.

 

 

 

Yes, America Is Rome. And Yes, Americans Are Fiddling While Rome Burns

America, China, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East, Military, War

The political establishment on both sides is preoccupied, with, as Buchanan puts it, “Fear that a four-page memo worked up in the House Judiciary Committee may discredit Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia-gate.

All the while, the US, led by freewheeling Mad Generals—who else?—is wading deeper and deeper into conflict and war abroad.

Patrick J. Buchanan exposes a reality that has little to do with the mindless things that busy Big Media. Mindless because we are no longer a constitutional republic, which is by nature antithetical to empire. Pretending that we are comes at the cost of neglecting to prevent wars in which the US only loses.

If Turkey is not bluffing, U.S. troops in Manbij, Syria, could be under fire by week’s end, and NATO engulfed in the worst crisis in its history.

Turkish President Erdogan said Friday his troops will cleanse Manbij of Kurdish fighters, alongside whom U.S. troops are embedded.

Erdogan’s foreign minister demanded concrete steps by the U.S. to end its support of the Kurds, who control the Syrian border with Turkey east of the Euphrates, all the way to Iraq.

If the Turks attack Manbij, the U.S. will face a choice: Stand by our Kurdish allies and resist the Turks, or abandon the Kurds.

…. But to stand with the Kurds and oppose Erdogan’s forces could mean a crackup of NATO and loss of U.S. bases inside Turkey, including the air base at Incirlik.

Turkey also sits astride the Dardanelles entrance to the Black Sea….

Yet Syria is but one of many challenges to U.S. foreign policy.

The Winter Olympics in South Korea may have taken the threat of a North Korean ICBM that could hit the U.S. out of the news. But no one believes that threat is behind us.

Last week, China charged that the USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, a reef in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing, though it is far closer to Luzon in the Philippines. … If we continue to contest China’s territorial claims with U.S. warships, a clash is inevitable.

In a similar incident Monday, a Russian military jet came within five feet of a U.S. Navy EP-3 Orion surveillance plane in international airspace over the Black Sea, forcing the Navy plane to end its mission.

U.S. relations with Cold War ally Pakistan are at rock bottom. In his first tweet of 2018, President Trump charged Pakistan with being a duplicitous and false friend.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

As for America’s longest war, in Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, the end is nowhere on the horizon.

A week ago, the International Hotel in Kabul was attacked and held for 13 hours by Taliban gunmen who killed 40. Midweek, a Save the Children facility in Jalalabad was attacked by ISIS, creating panic among aid workers across the country.

Saturday, an ambulance exploded in Kabul, killing 103 people and wounding 235. Monday, Islamic State militants attacked Afghan soldiers guarding a military academy in Kabul. With the fighting season two months off, U.S. troops will not soon be departing.

If Pakistan is indeed providing sanctuary for the terrorists of the Haqqani network, how does this war end successfully for the United States?

Last week, in a friendly fire incident, the U.S.-led coalition killed 10 Iraqi soldiers. The Iraq war began 15 years ago.

Yet another war, where the humanitarian crisis rivals Syria, continues on the Arabian Peninsula. There, a Saudi air, sea and land blockade that threatens the Yemeni people with starvation has failed to dislodge Houthi rebels who seized the capital Sanaa three years ago.

This weekend brought news that secessionist rebels, backed by the United Arab Emirates, have seized power in Yemen’s southern port of Aden, from the Saudi-backed Hadi regime fighting the Houthis.

These rebels seek to split the country, as it was before 1990.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE appear to be backing different horses in this tribal-civil-sectarian war into which America has been drawn.

There are other wars – Somalia, Libya, Ukraine – where the U.S. is taking sides, sending arms, training troops, flying missions.

Like the Romans, we have become an empire, committed to fight for scores of nations, with troops on every continent, and forces in combat operations of which the American people are only vaguely aware.


… As in all empires, power is passing to the generals.

And what causes the greatest angst today in the imperial city?

Fear that a four-page memo worked up in the House Judiciary Committee may discredit Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia-gate.

MORE: “Too Many Wars. Too Many Enemies”

RELATED: “How President Trump Normalized Neoconservatism.

NEW COLUMN updated (12/2): Making Sense Of The Russia Monomania

Donald Trump, Iraq, Journalism, Russia, War

Making Sense of The Russia Monomania” is the new column, now on WND.COM. An excerpt:

Periodically, America experiences episodes of mass, hysterical contagion.

What is “hysterical contagion”? A sociologist explains it as the spread of symptoms of an illness among a group, absent any physiological disease. It provides a way of coping with a situation that cannot be handled with the usual coping mechanism.

For example, in 1983, girls in the West Bank fell ill, one after the other. Soon, all the schools and finally the entire community was engulfed, affected with the same symptoms. Arab doctors implicated the Israelis. But of course. The Israeli Occupation had poisoned the girls by gas to reduce their fertility. When real doctors arrived on the scene to examine the neurotics; the girls were pronounced physically healthy.

The frenzied behavior known as mass hysteria or hysterical contagion is well documented. The Trump-Russia “collusion,” “obstruction of justice” probe qualifies, with an exception: This particular form of mass madness involves not physical symptoms such as those observed in the West Bank, but a meme, a story-line. Rumors for which no evidence can possibly be adduced are recounted as facts. Naturally licit behavior—such as diplomacy with Russia—is criminalized by a Federal Government that has enough laws on the books to indicts each one of us, if it so desired.

Indeed, the Establishment and opposition elites have poisoned the country’s collective consciousness. However, it’s the emotional pitch with which the Trump-Russia collusion group-think is delivered, day in and day out, that has gripped and inflamed irrational, febrile minds.

What sociology terms “a collective preoccupation” is fueled by organizational- and communication networks. Friendship networks and work organizations (think government departments infested with like-minded individuals) serve as nodes in a system that transmits faulty signals across the synapses of a collective, damaged brain.

The political storyline du jour is manufactured by America’s gilded elites. To this, DC operative Karl Rove confessed during the era of Bush II: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

When you’re the most powerful entity in the world, as the US government certainly is—you get to manufacture your own parallel universe with its unique rules of evidence and standards of proof. What’s more, as the mightiest rule-maker, you can coerce other earthlings into “sharing” your alternate reality. Or else.

The manufacturing of Fake News by the Deep State, circa 2017, is of a piece with the anatomy of the ramp-up to war in Iraq, in 2003. (Chronicled in achingly painful detail in Broad Sides: One Woman’s Clash With A Corrupt Culture.) Except that back then, Republicans, joined by diabolical Democrats like Hillary Clinton, played a lead role in dreaming up Homer Simpson’s Third Dimension.

Conscripted into America’s reality, Iraqis paid the price of this terrible American concoction. Hundreds of thousands of them were displaced and killed due to “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” …

… READ THE REST. The complete column is “Making Sense of The Russia Monomania.” It’s now on WND.COM.

UPDATE 12/2:

The Nicest Letter About The Worst Of Times: The Invasion Of Iraq

History, Ilana Mercer, Iraq, War, WMD

From: TK
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2017 7:28 AM
To: ilana@ilanamercer.com
Subject: Thank You

Ilana,

Years ago, in the early months of the Iraq War, I read my first one of your columns. You were against the war and pretty much predicted what would happen. I was so ignorant about what was really going on, and emailed you mistakenly calling you a liberal. You responded and called me a fool! It caused me to question my position, and was the beginning of my “red pilling”. As Tucker Carlson would say, “Thank you for that!”

Thanks again for keeping your foot on the pedal against this nonsense, insanity and, well, pure evil. I don’t even recognize our country anymore. This “thought crime” stuff is getting pretty scary.

Sincerely,
TK

***************************************

This is the nicest letter. It takes a strong man to have written it after all those years. I regret calling the reader a “fool.” He clearly is no fool. (I would never do it today. It was wrong. But look at what I was dealing with. The readers were constantly trying to get me fired.)

A recent column this writer wrote hearkens to the times the reader remembers. “Beware The Atavistic Dynamics Undergirding Two American Wars” connects the “mass contagion” of the Iraq years to the “hysterical contagion” ongoing.

Support for the work done in this space is always needed and appreciated (PayPal: ilana@ilanamercer.com). It remains a largely “excluded perspective.”