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To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality

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Our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Atheists Use Christianity

Atheists Use Christianity


To beat Christianity.


Just some notes from a video by Paul VanderKlay (PVK): Mind, Matter, Math and Secularism as Amnesiac Christianity.  He analyzes a video of a discussion between William Lane Craig and Roger Penrose.  Penrose is the agnostic, with a view that mathematics can explain everything and is the basis of everything; Craig offers an interesting – and a bit frustrating for Penrose – counter.  The video closes with some worthwhile snippets from Rene Girard.
Penrose describes three realms: the physical; the mental; and the abstract – being the mathematical.  From these, there are three mysteries: all physics is explained by math; how can consciousness come when these physical circumstances arise; how do we use our conscious experience to understand math – as math is discovered, not invented.
Craig offers some thoughts: first, he commends Penrose, as he is different from many of the materialists – understanding that there are non-material realms also at work.  But this raises questions: what is underlying these three realms?  Which realm is the source?
It can’t be math – it is both abstract and discovered; it can’t be physics, as this doesn’t explain consciousness.  This leaves the mental: I can will to get up.  But no human mind can be the source of the physical or math – it suggests an infinite consciousness.
Penrose, trying to absorb the implications of his own worldview as logically examined by Craig, replies: “you have the mental world as necessary; I have the mathematical world as necessary.”  But Craig reminds: math is abstract – abstract can’t create anything; it has no causal powers: man uses the mental to then use math to build bridges, etc.  Math doesn’t build bridges.
It is here where Penrose stumbles – he might be able to work with this if Craig considers it in the realm of philosophy, but not if Craig is implying some sort of religion.  “It’s not that I am unhappy about it; I just don’t know what to do with it.”
PVK moves to an interview of Rene Girard – I will probably have more from this interview in the coming weeks, but one comment is worth touching on now: atheists use Christianity in order to then beat Christianity.  It is easy to point to medieval atrocities, etc.  But these are only atrocities to us today because we are viewing these through a Christian lens.
As Girard offers: if someone went to the Roman two-thousand years ago with some complaint of justice or past atrocity (e.g. the taking of native lands, demands for reparations, etc.), the response would be “Who are you?  You are not a citizen.”  After which, a death sentence would be proclaimed.
It reminds me of Gerard Casey’s examination of the history of slavery.  We look at slavery today with revulsion – like how could our ancestors have been so cruel?  But this is looking at history backwards – slavery was an improvement to being slaughtered after defeat in battle.
It is also applying a Christian lens to history (all men created in God’s image and all that this implies).  Absent the Christian lens, what is the argument?
Conclusion
We want math to be on the top of the pyramid, because then we are on top: math can’t control us.  We don’t want mind (religion) on top of the pyramid, because then we aren’t in control.  Of course, when math is on top and “we” are in control, just keep in mind: the “we” that is in control will never be “you.”  There will always be a stronger “we” that you will never get to be a part of.
Until a few hundred years ago, no one would have considered anything other than the mind (religion) in control – not believing in God (or the gods) would be like not believing in gravity.  Kind of silly once you start walking down the stairs.
The Enlightenment is an easy marker in this change, but obviously the switch was a transition and not an event.  The conversation happening today – and the root of the social-cultural divide so prominently on display in the West – is all driven by this transition and the empty hole it has left in meaning.
Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

Atheists Use Christianity


To beat Christianity.


Just some notes from a video by Paul VanderKlay (PVK): Mind, Matter, Math and Secularism as Amnesiac Christianity.  He analyzes a video of a discussion between William Lane Craig and Roger Penrose.  Penrose is the agnostic, with a view that mathematics can explain everything and is the basis of everything; Craig offers an interesting – and a bit frustrating for Penrose – counter.  The video closes with some worthwhile snippets from Rene Girard.
Penrose describes three realms: the physical; the mental; and the abstract – being the mathematical.  From these, there are three mysteries: all physics is explained by math; how can consciousness come when these physical circumstances arise; how do we use our conscious experience to understand math – as math is discovered, not invented.
Craig offers some thoughts: first, he commends Penrose, as he is different from many of the materialists – understanding that there are non-material realms also at work.  But this raises questions: what is underlying these three realms?  Which realm is the source?
It can’t be math – it is both abstract and discovered; it can’t be physics, as this doesn’t explain consciousness.  This leaves the mental: I can will to get up.  But no human mind can be the source of the physical or math – it suggests an infinite consciousness.
Penrose, trying to absorb the implications of his own worldview as logically examined by Craig, replies: “you have the mental world as necessary; I have the mathematical world as necessary.”  But Craig reminds: math is abstract – abstract can’t create anything; it has no causal powers: man uses the mental to then use math to build bridges, etc.  Math doesn’t build bridges.
It is here where Penrose stumbles – he might be able to work with this if Craig considers it in the realm of philosophy, but not if Craig is implying some sort of religion.  “It’s not that I am unhappy about it; I just don’t know what to do with it.”
PVK moves to an interview of Rene Girard – I will probably have more from this interview in the coming weeks, but one comment is worth touching on now: atheists use Christianity in order to then beat Christianity.  It is easy to point to medieval atrocities, etc.  But these are only atrocities to us today because we are viewing these through a Christian lens.
As Girard offers: if someone went to the Roman two-thousand years ago with some complaint of justice or past atrocity (e.g. the taking of native lands, demands for reparations, etc.), the response would be “Who are you?  You are not a citizen.”  After which, a death sentence would be proclaimed.
It reminds me of Gerard Casey’s examination of the history of slavery.  We look at slavery today with revulsion – like how could our ancestors have been so cruel?  But this is looking at history backwards – slavery was an improvement to being slaughtered after defeat in battle.
It is also applying a Christian lens to history (all men created in God’s image and all that this implies).  Absent the Christian lens, what is the argument?
Conclusion
We want math to be on the top of the pyramid, because then we are on top: math can’t control us.  We don’t want mind (religion) on top of the pyramid, because then we aren’t in control.  Of course, when math is on top and “we” are in control, just keep in mind: the “we” that is in control will never be “you.”  There will always be a stronger “we” that you will never get to be a part of.
Until a few hundred years ago, no one would have considered anything other than the mind (religion) in control – not believing in God (or the gods) would be like not believing in gravity.  Kind of silly once you start walking down the stairs.
The Enlightenment is an easy marker in this change, but obviously the switch was a transition and not an event.  The conversation happening today – and the root of the social-cultural divide so prominently on display in the West – is all driven by this transition and the empty hole it has left in meaning.
Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.


Fred Reed vs. the Darwinists

Fred Reed vs. the Darwinists

How dare he ask questions.


A good bit more now than a decade ago I was a member of Steve Sailer’s HBD (Human Biodiversity) mailing list. This dealt with (who would have thought it’) human biodiversity, meaning such things as evolution, racial differences, evolutionary psychology, and genetics. It was a bright and usually congenial group, if doctrinaire, from which I was dropped for, I think, apostasy. My sin, as best I could tell, was expressing doubts about Darwinism. This is something that One Doesn’t Do.
Among the members were Greg Cochran, a physicist; John Derbyshire, a mathematician by training and political philosopher by preference; and Razib Khan, currently a brilliant geneticist. All seemed decent sorts. Of all it could be said that if self-assurance were oil, they could use Saudi Arabia as a doorstop.
The list tolerated my heterodoxy, barely, for a bit. Several said that I wanted to destroy science. I would have thought this beyond my powers, but perhaps I underestimate myself. Finally Razib exploded in fury at questions I asked, deleted everything by or about me on his website, Gnxp.com, did not answer my questions, and threatened to banish from Gnxp all of what he called “Fred Reed clones.”
This seemed excessive in response to a negligible blogger expressing curiosity about evolution. However I was made to understand that I had done the Darwinian equivalent of questioning the tripartite nature of Christ. I was, Razib said, arrogant.
This in particular surprised me. I had asked questions. A question is an admission of ignorance. How is that arrogant? I had made, and make, no claims to authority in genetics or related fields. I have none and pretend to none. That is why I asked simple questions. They were the only kind I could ask.
Well, all right, I thought. The web is a dark and savage place, rather like a biker bar though with higher syllabic density. And Razib wasn’t unique. There are in fact others on the web who dislike me.I find incomprehensible as I am sure that I am a splendid fellow.
Well and good. Then, a few months back, I found on the Unz Review a piece by John Derbyshire, in which he denounced Intelligent Design. This–ID–is the view that life looks more designed than accidental. Seething Darwinians equate doubts about evolutionary mechanisms with ID, and then with Biblical Creationism, and then with snake-handling primitive Baptists with three teeth in North Carolina. This chain has more of polemical convenience than of logical connection, but never mind.
Derbyshire’s article was more a credo than an argument, amounting to a long exhalation of haughty disdain (John is British) approximating: “ah, well, you know, these poor fools, what can you expect from such benighted, oh, ‘tis sad,” and the like.
Since he is quite bright, it is possible that he knows a great deal of the biological bases of doubts about Le Grand Chuck, but if so, he keeps it to himself.
Razib, however, is another matter. He certainly has the intelligence and training to dispel simple doubts about aspects of evolution. If he can’t, it is likely that nobody can. He is said not to suffer fools gladly, but perhaps he would suffer this one shortly.
But first, an apology to readers. Some of this requires more familiarity with matters evolutionary than constitutes a reasonable allocation of time for those with good sense. Providing background would require tens of thousands of words. I beg indulgence. Anyway, questions, some of which got me consigned to HBD perdition.
First, from what simpler coding system did the three-nucleotides-per-codon system arise by gradual and beneficial steps? Two nucleotides and a maximum of sixteen aminos? This seems to me a straightforward question about a simple and well-understood coding mechanism which, lacking a clear answer, would seem irreducibly complex.
Second, male homosexuality seems evolutionarily mysterious. It is not clear how one passes along one’s genes by not passing them along, or at least not to women, which would seem an evolutionarily necessary part of the transference. Greg Cochran solved this apparently intractable puzzle by postulating that a virus caused homosexuality. Has this virus been found? If not, might one suspect its nonexistence?
Third, can the evolution of Behe’s flagellum by gradual beneficial steps from earlier structures be explained? An answer, to be an answer, will require a chain of specific events and an explanation of the benefits that would keep them in existence while awaiting the next step.
The only answers I have seen to the foregoing questions have been that although we do not know the answer now, we do not doubt that answers will eventually be found. Yet while the assertion that answers will one day be found cannot be refuted, it is equally consistent with the possibility that there are no answers.
Fourth, if I may, a question more philosophical than technical regarding the chance beginning of life:
Molecular biology has existed for a considerable time and is now a mature science. How many more years, decades, or centuries must pass without the mechanism of abiogenesis being found before it becomes permissible to ask whether it actually happened? The simpler we posit the first life to have been, the harder to explain why millions of scientists have not found it, and the more complex we posit it to have been, the less likely that it happened at all.
The question has no specific answer, but brings to mind the Philosopher’s Stone, perpetual motion, phlogiston, and the luminiferous ether.
Fifth, evolution is said to retain the beneficial and discard the neutral or deleterious. An almost unlimited list of traits that seem to violate this principle can be adduced.
For example,nerve tissue in the kidneys makes kidney stones agonizing to the point of paralysis. Yet there was nothing at all the victim could do about kidney stones until recent times. What is the survival benefit of such nerves? Similarly, what is the benefit to survival of migraines? The victim can do nothing, and curling up on the ground and screaming seems of limited value.
Sixth, more a comment than a question: Just as Cochran’s Virus, for which there is no evidence, seems a desperate attempt to explain the evolutionarily embarrassing matter of male homosexuality; and the Multiverse, for which there is no evidence, to explain the appearance of Anthropic Principle; and Punctuated Equilibrium to explain the absence of desired fossils, so RNA World, for which as far as I know there is no convincing, much less persuasive, evidence, seems an unsupported attempt to avoid the apparently inexplicable disinclination of abiogenesis to have happened.
En fin, since the aforementioned men seem to want to vanquish doubters, and a large public interests itself in these matters, there would seem a chance to put paid to the doubts above. I cannot imagine that a geneticist would need more than half an hour.
Reprinted with permission from The Unz Review.

Fred Reed

Fred Reed vs. the Darwinists

How dare he ask questions.


A good bit more now than a decade ago I was a member of Steve Sailer’s HBD (Human Biodiversity) mailing list. This dealt with (who would have thought it’) human biodiversity, meaning such things as evolution, racial differences, evolutionary psychology, and genetics. It was a bright and usually congenial group, if doctrinaire, from which I was dropped for, I think, apostasy. My sin, as best I could tell, was expressing doubts about Darwinism. This is something that One Doesn’t Do.
Among the members were Greg Cochran, a physicist; John Derbyshire, a mathematician by training and political philosopher by preference; and Razib Khan, currently a brilliant geneticist. All seemed decent sorts. Of all it could be said that if self-assurance were oil, they could use Saudi Arabia as a doorstop.
The list tolerated my heterodoxy, barely, for a bit. Several said that I wanted to destroy science. I would have thought this beyond my powers, but perhaps I underestimate myself. Finally Razib exploded in fury at questions I asked, deleted everything by or about me on his website, Gnxp.com, did not answer my questions, and threatened to banish from Gnxp all of what he called “Fred Reed clones.”
This seemed excessive in response to a negligible blogger expressing curiosity about evolution. However I was made to understand that I had done the Darwinian equivalent of questioning the tripartite nature of Christ. I was, Razib said, arrogant.
This in particular surprised me. I had asked questions. A question is an admission of ignorance. How is that arrogant? I had made, and make, no claims to authority in genetics or related fields. I have none and pretend to none. That is why I asked simple questions. They were the only kind I could ask.
Well, all right, I thought. The web is a dark and savage place, rather like a biker bar though with higher syllabic density. And Razib wasn’t unique. There are in fact others on the web who dislike me.I find incomprehensible as I am sure that I am a splendid fellow.
Well and good. Then, a few months back, I found on the Unz Review a piece by John Derbyshire, in which he denounced Intelligent Design. This–ID–is the view that life looks more designed than accidental. Seething Darwinians equate doubts about evolutionary mechanisms with ID, and then with Biblical Creationism, and then with snake-handling primitive Baptists with three teeth in North Carolina. This chain has more of polemical convenience than of logical connection, but never mind.
Derbyshire’s article was more a credo than an argument, amounting to a long exhalation of haughty disdain (John is British) approximating: “ah, well, you know, these poor fools, what can you expect from such benighted, oh, ‘tis sad,” and the like.
Since he is quite bright, it is possible that he knows a great deal of the biological bases of doubts about Le Grand Chuck, but if so, he keeps it to himself.
Razib, however, is another matter. He certainly has the intelligence and training to dispel simple doubts about aspects of evolution. If he can’t, it is likely that nobody can. He is said not to suffer fools gladly, but perhaps he would suffer this one shortly.
But first, an apology to readers. Some of this requires more familiarity with matters evolutionary than constitutes a reasonable allocation of time for those with good sense. Providing background would require tens of thousands of words. I beg indulgence. Anyway, questions, some of which got me consigned to HBD perdition.
First, from what simpler coding system did the three-nucleotides-per-codon system arise by gradual and beneficial steps? Two nucleotides and a maximum of sixteen aminos? This seems to me a straightforward question about a simple and well-understood coding mechanism which, lacking a clear answer, would seem irreducibly complex.
Second, male homosexuality seems evolutionarily mysterious. It is not clear how one passes along one’s genes by not passing them along, or at least not to women, which would seem an evolutionarily necessary part of the transference. Greg Cochran solved this apparently intractable puzzle by postulating that a virus caused homosexuality. Has this virus been found? If not, might one suspect its nonexistence?
Third, can the evolution of Behe’s flagellum by gradual beneficial steps from earlier structures be explained? An answer, to be an answer, will require a chain of specific events and an explanation of the benefits that would keep them in existence while awaiting the next step.
The only answers I have seen to the foregoing questions have been that although we do not know the answer now, we do not doubt that answers will eventually be found. Yet while the assertion that answers will one day be found cannot be refuted, it is equally consistent with the possibility that there are no answers.
Fourth, if I may, a question more philosophical than technical regarding the chance beginning of life:
Molecular biology has existed for a considerable time and is now a mature science. How many more years, decades, or centuries must pass without the mechanism of abiogenesis being found before it becomes permissible to ask whether it actually happened? The simpler we posit the first life to have been, the harder to explain why millions of scientists have not found it, and the more complex we posit it to have been, the less likely that it happened at all.
The question has no specific answer, but brings to mind the Philosopher’s Stone, perpetual motion, phlogiston, and the luminiferous ether.
Fifth, evolution is said to retain the beneficial and discard the neutral or deleterious. An almost unlimited list of traits that seem to violate this principle can be adduced.
For example,nerve tissue in the kidneys makes kidney stones agonizing to the point of paralysis. Yet there was nothing at all the victim could do about kidney stones until recent times. What is the survival benefit of such nerves? Similarly, what is the benefit to survival of migraines? The victim can do nothing, and curling up on the ground and screaming seems of limited value.
Sixth, more a comment than a question: Just as Cochran’s Virus, for which there is no evidence, seems a desperate attempt to explain the evolutionarily embarrassing matter of male homosexuality; and the Multiverse, for which there is no evidence, to explain the appearance of Anthropic Principle; and Punctuated Equilibrium to explain the absence of desired fossils, so RNA World, for which as far as I know there is no convincing, much less persuasive, evidence, seems an unsupported attempt to avoid the apparently inexplicable disinclination of abiogenesis to have happened.
En fin, since the aforementioned men seem to want to vanquish doubters, and a large public interests itself in these matters, there would seem a chance to put paid to the doubts above. I cannot imagine that a geneticist would need more than half an hour.
Reprinted with permission from The Unz Review.

Fred Reed


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Who Are the Real Friends of the Troops?

Who Are the Real Friends of the Troops?



Ever since the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, it has been an article of faith that Americans should thank the troops for their service in those two countries.
Yet, with the exception of libertarians and few leftists, the fact is that during the two decades of death, injury, suffering, destruction, and out of control federal spending and debt that threatens to send the government into bankruptcy, the overwhelming majority of Americans never openly demanded that the U.S. government bring the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq.
There certainly haven’t been any massive antiwar protests, like there was with the Vietnam War. Instead, this time around there has been a mindset of deference to the authority of the Pentagon and the CIA to protect national security, especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Through it all there has been this incessant desire to thank the troops for their service. You see it airports, where people go out of their way to thank the troops for their service. You see it at baseball games, where the public-address announcer asks people to stand and thank the troops for their service. You see it in churches all across America, where ministers exhort their congregations to pray for the brave troops who are serving our nation overseas.
This all seems very strange to me because the people who feel the need to thank the troops for their service never seem to ask what the service consists of? It’s almost like it doesn’t matter. One gets the distinct feeling that so long as an American thanks the troops for their service, their duty is done. Leave it to U.S. officials to decide what the service is and whether the service should continue. All that matters is that we thank the troops for their service.
Service in Iraq
Let’s examine Iraq. What exactly was the service that the troops performed in Iraq for which people thank them? Was it a meritorious service? For some reason, many people who thank the troops for their service never ask those questions. They consider them irrelevant. Those are matters for the Pentagon and the CIA to determine, they say. Regardless, we just need to keep thanking the troops for their service.
Nonetheless, there are two reasonable possibilities for what the service consisted of in Iraq: one, the troops were sacrificing themselves to protect the freedom of the American people, and, two, they were sacrificing themselves to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. I think most Americans who go out of their way to thank the troops for their service in Iraq subconsciously settle on one or both of these two rationales for thanking them.
Yet, both rationales for invading and occupying Iraq and wreaking death and destruction across the country have always false and fallacious, which is perhaps why people don’t like thinking about them.
It was undisputed that Iraq never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. That made the United States the aggressor power in the conflict, and it meant that Iraq was the defending nation. Under international law and the principles set forth at the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal, the United States was the nation that was involved in criminal conduct when it invaded and occupied Iraq, killing and injuring thousands of Iraqis in the process, none of whom had ever attacked the United States.
The illegality of the invasion was aggravated by the fact that President George W. Bush, who ordered the troops to invade Iraq, never secured the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war on Iraq. That made the war illegal not only under international law but also under our own system of government.
Thus, the service the troops performed in Iraq never had anything to do with protecting our freedoms here at home because our freedoms were never threatened by one single Iraqi or by the Iraqi government. Under international law and the law of the U.S. Constitution, the service in which the president had his troops engaged in Iraq was criminal in nature.
The Pentagon called its invasion and occupation of Iraq “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” which implied the second rationale for thanking the troops for their service — that they were bringing freedom to the Iraqi people. Once again, it needs to be pointed out that international law and the U.S. Constitution do not authorize the U.S. government to invade and occupy a country with the aim of bringing freedom to the citizenry, especially when lots of the citizenry are going to have to be killed and maimed in the process of bringing freedom to them.
Moreover, there was never a chance that the Iraqi people were going to be freed, given that the particular governmental structure that the Pentagon and the CIA were going to establish in Iraq after overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime. The type of government that the Pentagon and the CIA established was never going to be a limited-government republic, which is a type of governmental structure that is consistent with freedom. Instead, the plan was to establish a national-security state type of government, which is a totalitarian type of governmental structure. That necessary meant another crooked and corrupt dictatorial regime in Iraq, no different in principle from that of Saddam Hussein.
In other words, the U.S. government, operating through the troops, ousted one dictatorial regime and simply replaced it with another. The idea though was that since the new one would supposedly be pro-U.S., that would mean, by definition, that the Iraqi people would then be free — well, at least those who survived the invasion and occupation.
As we are now seeing in Iraq today, the Iraqi government is killing Iraqi citizens for protesting the crookedness and corruption of the dictatorial regime that the Pentagon and the CIA installed into power. That is not exactly the model for free society. Quite the contrary! The Iraqi government that the Pentagon and the CIA installed into power is nothing more than Saddam Hussein type of dictatorial regime.
Read this article, entitled Love and War, that appeared in the October 3, 2019, issue of the Washington Post. It’s a moving and emotional account by a widow whose husband lost in leg in Iraq owing to a bomb that exploded near him. He returned to the United States, got addicted to painkillers, suffered from PTSD, and later died of a drug overdose. His widow thinks, however, that what he really died of was “isolation and loneliness.” The article points out that since the start of the Iraq War in 2001, 52,000 American servicemen have been wounded in action, many of whom are too disabled to work.
What was their sacrifice for? For “freedom”? Don’t make me laugh. No matter how much people thank that widow and those 52,000 troops for their service, it cannot cover up the fact that their sacrifice was for nothing. That’s why we libertarians, who opposed the war from the start and continually demanded that the U.S. exit Iraq and bring the troops home, were always much better friends to the troops than those who mindlessly thanked them for their service while doing nothing to bring them home from the U.S. government’s deadly and destructive imperialist venture in Iraq.
*
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Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas.

Who Are the Real Friends of the Troops?



Ever since the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, it has been an article of faith that Americans should thank the troops for their service in those two countries.
Yet, with the exception of libertarians and few leftists, the fact is that during the two decades of death, injury, suffering, destruction, and out of control federal spending and debt that threatens to send the government into bankruptcy, the overwhelming majority of Americans never openly demanded that the U.S. government bring the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq.
There certainly haven’t been any massive antiwar protests, like there was with the Vietnam War. Instead, this time around there has been a mindset of deference to the authority of the Pentagon and the CIA to protect national security, especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Through it all there has been this incessant desire to thank the troops for their service. You see it airports, where people go out of their way to thank the troops for their service. You see it at baseball games, where the public-address announcer asks people to stand and thank the troops for their service. You see it in churches all across America, where ministers exhort their congregations to pray for the brave troops who are serving our nation overseas.
This all seems very strange to me because the people who feel the need to thank the troops for their service never seem to ask what the service consists of? It’s almost like it doesn’t matter. One gets the distinct feeling that so long as an American thanks the troops for their service, their duty is done. Leave it to U.S. officials to decide what the service is and whether the service should continue. All that matters is that we thank the troops for their service.
Service in Iraq
Let’s examine Iraq. What exactly was the service that the troops performed in Iraq for which people thank them? Was it a meritorious service? For some reason, many people who thank the troops for their service never ask those questions. They consider them irrelevant. Those are matters for the Pentagon and the CIA to determine, they say. Regardless, we just need to keep thanking the troops for their service.
Nonetheless, there are two reasonable possibilities for what the service consisted of in Iraq: one, the troops were sacrificing themselves to protect the freedom of the American people, and, two, they were sacrificing themselves to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. I think most Americans who go out of their way to thank the troops for their service in Iraq subconsciously settle on one or both of these two rationales for thanking them.
Yet, both rationales for invading and occupying Iraq and wreaking death and destruction across the country have always false and fallacious, which is perhaps why people don’t like thinking about them.
It was undisputed that Iraq never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. That made the United States the aggressor power in the conflict, and it meant that Iraq was the defending nation. Under international law and the principles set forth at the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal, the United States was the nation that was involved in criminal conduct when it invaded and occupied Iraq, killing and injuring thousands of Iraqis in the process, none of whom had ever attacked the United States.
The illegality of the invasion was aggravated by the fact that President George W. Bush, who ordered the troops to invade Iraq, never secured the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war on Iraq. That made the war illegal not only under international law but also under our own system of government.
Thus, the service the troops performed in Iraq never had anything to do with protecting our freedoms here at home because our freedoms were never threatened by one single Iraqi or by the Iraqi government. Under international law and the law of the U.S. Constitution, the service in which the president had his troops engaged in Iraq was criminal in nature.
The Pentagon called its invasion and occupation of Iraq “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” which implied the second rationale for thanking the troops for their service — that they were bringing freedom to the Iraqi people. Once again, it needs to be pointed out that international law and the U.S. Constitution do not authorize the U.S. government to invade and occupy a country with the aim of bringing freedom to the citizenry, especially when lots of the citizenry are going to have to be killed and maimed in the process of bringing freedom to them.
Moreover, there was never a chance that the Iraqi people were going to be freed, given that the particular governmental structure that the Pentagon and the CIA were going to establish in Iraq after overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime. The type of government that the Pentagon and the CIA established was never going to be a limited-government republic, which is a type of governmental structure that is consistent with freedom. Instead, the plan was to establish a national-security state type of government, which is a totalitarian type of governmental structure. That necessary meant another crooked and corrupt dictatorial regime in Iraq, no different in principle from that of Saddam Hussein.
In other words, the U.S. government, operating through the troops, ousted one dictatorial regime and simply replaced it with another. The idea though was that since the new one would supposedly be pro-U.S., that would mean, by definition, that the Iraqi people would then be free — well, at least those who survived the invasion and occupation.
As we are now seeing in Iraq today, the Iraqi government is killing Iraqi citizens for protesting the crookedness and corruption of the dictatorial regime that the Pentagon and the CIA installed into power. That is not exactly the model for free society. Quite the contrary! The Iraqi government that the Pentagon and the CIA installed into power is nothing more than Saddam Hussein type of dictatorial regime.
Read this article, entitled Love and War, that appeared in the October 3, 2019, issue of the Washington Post. It’s a moving and emotional account by a widow whose husband lost in leg in Iraq owing to a bomb that exploded near him. He returned to the United States, got addicted to painkillers, suffered from PTSD, and later died of a drug overdose. His widow thinks, however, that what he really died of was “isolation and loneliness.” The article points out that since the start of the Iraq War in 2001, 52,000 American servicemen have been wounded in action, many of whom are too disabled to work.
What was their sacrifice for? For “freedom”? Don’t make me laugh. No matter how much people thank that widow and those 52,000 troops for their service, it cannot cover up the fact that their sacrifice was for nothing. That’s why we libertarians, who opposed the war from the start and continually demanded that the U.S. exit Iraq and bring the troops home, were always much better friends to the troops than those who mindlessly thanked them for their service while doing nothing to bring them home from the U.S. government’s deadly and destructive imperialist venture in Iraq.
*
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Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas.


The Privatization of US Led Wars. The Pentagon’s Private Contractors

The Privatization of US Led Wars. The Pentagon’s Private Contractors




The economic logic has driven the increasing dependency on mercenaries and private contractors ever since the beginning of the “war on terror” in 2001.

First, a few statistical indicators:

75% of all western military personnel in Afghanistan are now private contractors. There are over 150,000 Pentagon-financed contractors in Afghanistan today.

2012 was the first year that more contractors than regular US Army personnel were killed in Afghanistan, and that trend has continued since then.

The Pentagon now spends over $300 billion annually on private contracts. That’s equivalent to 8% of all US federal expenditure, and over three and a half times the entire defence-budget of the United Kingdom, for example.

When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, of the $87 billion earmarked for the first year of the campaign, $30 billion was budgeted for private contractors. That’s 34% of the entire invasion-budget. Over the course of the 8-year US occupation of Iraq, the largest private recipient of Pentagon contracts was Kellogg Brown and Root, an engineering and construction company, which grossed $40.6 billion from the occupation. According to a 2011 report by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, at least $60 billion in Pentagon expenditure on private contractors over the period 2001-2011 could be classified as “fraud” or “waste.” This report estimated the level of “waste” at the time of publication at $12 million per day.

Also, as these statistics show, while US dependency on private contractors (including armed mercenaries) was quite pronounced during the occupation of Iraq, it is even more pronounced in the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan. However, we see a very similar pattern being repeated in every conflict-zone where the United States decides to establish a military presence, including in the conflict-zones of sub-Saharan Africa. US wars everywhere are now increasingly fought by mercenaries rather than regular army soldiers, and this pattern has steadily intensified ever since the beginning of the “war on terror” in 2001.

One of the reasons for using mercenaries instead of regular army is the maintenance of deniability. Mercenaries occupy a legal “grey zone” which positions them to perform the kinds of operations which governments must deny. Another factor is that fatalities among mercenaries are not counted in the US Army’s official casualty-figures, so the deployment of mercenaries is seen as less politically toxic.

However, when it comes to the issue of which activities the state does and does not assume exclusive responsibility for, the issue of criminal deniability in wartime is only the tip of the political iceberg. The existence of private entities which wage war, bankrolled by governments but still effectively unregulated by governments, in itself constitutes an erosion of “the state.”

Historically, not all states have built schools or hospitals.

Historically, not all states had a national bank.

Historically, not all states engaged in public works schemes or provided unemployment-insurance to their citizens.

Historically, there is one and only one characteristic which all hitherto “states” have had in common. It was for this historically grounded reason that Durkheim proposed his famous (and widely accepted) sociological definition of “the state”:

“The state” is that which asserts a monopoly on the use of violence.

So the deployment of mercenaries, by definition, hollows out the state.

The private military contractor occupies a quasi-legal grey-zone which is analogous to the “offshore” financial entity.

But this hollowing-out is not merely juridical or ideological. It is also a very practical and economic process of hollowing-out. Let’s take the war in Iraq as our illustrative example. Following the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, it quickly became widely understood that the looting of Iraq’s natural resources could not pay for the war. The invasion and military occupation were so astronomically expensive that Iraq could not possibly be “a profitable colony.”

Image result for Iraq flag transparent background?So what exactly was the purpose of invading Iraq?

The point was that the invasion created business-opportunities for a wide range of American commercial interests, including private military contractors. This creates a new model of imperialism. According to geographer and geo-political scientist Manlio Dinucci, the defining characteristic of neoliberalism “is the privatization of profits and the socialization of costs.”

So the costs of the US war in Iraq were still socialized – the Pentagon paid for the war.

However, the war was still an entrepreneurial, profit-making enterprise.

Dinucci writes “The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Libya proved very costly to the States, for little return. Wars in this neoliberal era are not necessarily waged to appropriate foreign resources, but to siphon the wealth of the conquered populations towards the private military sector of the conquering nations.”

However, we can further extend this point, because the United States itself had to radically increase its level of public debt in order to sustain the costs of these wars. The US Treasury itself didn’t even come close to breaking even on its fiscal investment in these wars. That investment was not recouped in taxes.

Within our conventional, historically grounded understanding of how imperialism works, the imperialist country extracts wealth from the nations which it conquers or colonizes. So it’s a matter of the imperialist nation-state economically looting its colonies.

What is new about the neo-liberal model of imperialism is that the public finances of the imperialist nation-state itself are also being looted.

In 2001, we entered a new phase of economic history.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Padraig McGrath is a political analyst.


The Privatization of US Led Wars. The Pentagon’s Private Contractors




The economic logic has driven the increasing dependency on mercenaries and private contractors ever since the beginning of the “war on terror” in 2001.

First, a few statistical indicators:

75% of all western military personnel in Afghanistan are now private contractors. There are over 150,000 Pentagon-financed contractors in Afghanistan today.

2012 was the first year that more contractors than regular US Army personnel were killed in Afghanistan, and that trend has continued since then.

The Pentagon now spends over $300 billion annually on private contracts. That’s equivalent to 8% of all US federal expenditure, and over three and a half times the entire defence-budget of the United Kingdom, for example.

When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, of the $87 billion earmarked for the first year of the campaign, $30 billion was budgeted for private contractors. That’s 34% of the entire invasion-budget. Over the course of the 8-year US occupation of Iraq, the largest private recipient of Pentagon contracts was Kellogg Brown and Root, an engineering and construction company, which grossed $40.6 billion from the occupation. According to a 2011 report by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, at least $60 billion in Pentagon expenditure on private contractors over the period 2001-2011 could be classified as “fraud” or “waste.” This report estimated the level of “waste” at the time of publication at $12 million per day.

Also, as these statistics show, while US dependency on private contractors (including armed mercenaries) was quite pronounced during the occupation of Iraq, it is even more pronounced in the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan. However, we see a very similar pattern being repeated in every conflict-zone where the United States decides to establish a military presence, including in the conflict-zones of sub-Saharan Africa. US wars everywhere are now increasingly fought by mercenaries rather than regular army soldiers, and this pattern has steadily intensified ever since the beginning of the “war on terror” in 2001.

One of the reasons for using mercenaries instead of regular army is the maintenance of deniability. Mercenaries occupy a legal “grey zone” which positions them to perform the kinds of operations which governments must deny. Another factor is that fatalities among mercenaries are not counted in the US Army’s official casualty-figures, so the deployment of mercenaries is seen as less politically toxic.

However, when it comes to the issue of which activities the state does and does not assume exclusive responsibility for, the issue of criminal deniability in wartime is only the tip of the political iceberg. The existence of private entities which wage war, bankrolled by governments but still effectively unregulated by governments, in itself constitutes an erosion of “the state.”

Historically, not all states have built schools or hospitals.

Historically, not all states had a national bank.

Historically, not all states engaged in public works schemes or provided unemployment-insurance to their citizens.

Historically, there is one and only one characteristic which all hitherto “states” have had in common. It was for this historically grounded reason that Durkheim proposed his famous (and widely accepted) sociological definition of “the state”:

“The state” is that which asserts a monopoly on the use of violence.

So the deployment of mercenaries, by definition, hollows out the state.

The private military contractor occupies a quasi-legal grey-zone which is analogous to the “offshore” financial entity.

But this hollowing-out is not merely juridical or ideological. It is also a very practical and economic process of hollowing-out. Let’s take the war in Iraq as our illustrative example. Following the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, it quickly became widely understood that the looting of Iraq’s natural resources could not pay for the war. The invasion and military occupation were so astronomically expensive that Iraq could not possibly be “a profitable colony.”

Image result for Iraq flag transparent background?So what exactly was the purpose of invading Iraq?

The point was that the invasion created business-opportunities for a wide range of American commercial interests, including private military contractors. This creates a new model of imperialism. According to geographer and geo-political scientist Manlio Dinucci, the defining characteristic of neoliberalism “is the privatization of profits and the socialization of costs.”

So the costs of the US war in Iraq were still socialized – the Pentagon paid for the war.

However, the war was still an entrepreneurial, profit-making enterprise.

Dinucci writes “The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Libya proved very costly to the States, for little return. Wars in this neoliberal era are not necessarily waged to appropriate foreign resources, but to siphon the wealth of the conquered populations towards the private military sector of the conquering nations.”

However, we can further extend this point, because the United States itself had to radically increase its level of public debt in order to sustain the costs of these wars. The US Treasury itself didn’t even come close to breaking even on its fiscal investment in these wars. That investment was not recouped in taxes.

Within our conventional, historically grounded understanding of how imperialism works, the imperialist country extracts wealth from the nations which it conquers or colonizes. So it’s a matter of the imperialist nation-state economically looting its colonies.

What is new about the neo-liberal model of imperialism is that the public finances of the imperialist nation-state itself are also being looted.

In 2001, we entered a new phase of economic history.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Padraig McGrath is a political analyst.




Friday, October 11, 2019

President Trump Is a Choir Boy Compared to Other Recent Presidents

President Trump Is a Choir Boy Compared to Other Recent Presidents




Put in the context of recent presidential history, the media's objurgating of President Trump, because of his phone call to Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky, shows a remarkable lack of knowledge of recent American history or dishonesty---or both.

Laid next to the evil activities of other recent presidents, the Trump-Zelensky phone call is a nothing burger. At most, he asked for Zelensky to investigate what appears to be shady dealings by Hunter Biden in Ukraine at the time his father Joe Biden was vice president.

Compare this activity to most recent presidents.

Lyndon Baines Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson lied about an attack in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Pentagon Papers, the memoirs of Robert McNamara, and NSA publications from 2005, proved material misrepresentation by LBJ to justify an escalation of the war against Vietnam.

The outcome of this false claim, along with another true claim, was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by "communist aggression". The resolution served as Johnson's legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.

According to Raymond McGovern, a retired CIA officer (CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, and in the 1980s, chairman of the National Intelligence Estimates), the CIA, "not to mention President Lyndon Johnson, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy all knew full well that the evidence of any armed attack on the evening of Aug. 4, 1964, the so-called 'second' Tonkin Gulf incident, was highly dubious. ... During the summer of 1964, President Johnson and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were eager to widen the war in Vietnam. They stepped up sabotage and hit-and-run attacks on the coast of North Vietnam."

Here is Johnson lying to the American people:

  


Ronald Reagan

One of the leading national issues during 1980 was the release of 52 Americans being held hostage in Iran since November 4, 1979. Many historians believe that representatives of Reagan's presidential campaign had conspired with Iran to delay the release until after the election to thwart President Carter from pulling off an "October surprise".

Reagan won the election. On the day of his inauguration— 20 minutes after he concluded his inaugural address—the Islamic Republic of Iran announced the release of the hostages.

It is believed the Reagan Administration subsequently rewarded Iran for its participation in the plot by supplying Iran with weapons via Israel and by unblocking Iranian government monetary assets in U.S. banks.

Several high ranking officials support these allegations, most notably former Iranian President Abulhassan Banisadr, former naval intelligence officer and U.S. National Security Council member Gary Sick, and former Reagan/Bush campaign staffer and White House analyst Barbara Honegger

George H.W. Bush

Here is The New York Times explaining how the George H.W. Bush administration encouraged Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait, which ultimately led to the first US attack on Iraq.

In the two weeks before Iraq's seizure of Kuwait, the Bush Administration on the advice of Arab leaders gave President Saddam Hussein little reason to fear a forceful American response if his troops invaded the country.
The Administration's message to Baghdad, articulated in public statements in Washington by senior policy makers and delivered directly to Mr. Hussein by the United States Ambassador, April C. Glaspie, was this: The United States was concerned about Iraq's military buildup on its border with Kuwait, but did not intend to take sides in what it perceived as a no-win border dispute between Arab neighbors.
In a meeting with Mr. Hussein in Baghdad on July 25, eight days before the invasion, Ms. Glaspie urged the Iraqi leader to settle his differences with Kuwait peacefully but added, ''We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait,'' according to an Iraqi document described as a transcript of their conversation.
This is viewed by scholars as the US giving Saddam a green light to attack Kuwait, which was then used as cover to attack Iraq.

Bill Clinton

On August 20, 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered American cruise missile strikes on al-Qaeda bases in Khost, Afghanistan, and the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, Sudan.

The missiles were launched three days after Clinton testified on the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and some countries, media outlets, protesters, and Republicans accused Clinton of ordering the attacks as a diversion from the Lewinsky scandal.

George W. Bush

Vox reports:

The best estimates available suggest that more than 250,000 people have died as a result of George W. Bush and Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq in 2003. A newly released investigative report from the UK government suggests that intelligence officials knew ahead of time that the war would cause massive instability and societal collapse and make the problem of terrorism worse — and that Blair and Bush went ahead with the effort anyway...
The Bush administration on numerous occasions exaggerated or outright fabricated conclusions from intelligence in its public statements. Bush really did lie, and people really did die as a result of the war those lies were meant to build a case for. Those are the facts.
The failure of Iraq was not merely a case of well-meaning but incompetent policymakers rushing into what they should’ve known would be a disaster. It’s the story of those policymakers repeatedly misleading the public about why, exactly, the war started.

From Mother Jones:

  • In October 2002, Bush said that Saddam Hussein had a "massive stockpile" of biological weapons. But as CIA Director George Tenet noted in early 2004, the CIA had informed policymakers it had "no specific information on the types or quantities of weapons agent or stockpiles at Baghdad's disposal." The "massive stockpile" was just literally made up.
  • In December 2002, Bush declared, "We do not know whether or not [Iraq] has a nuclear weapon." That was not what the National Intelligence Estimate said. As Tenet would later testify, "We said that Saddam did not have a nuclear weapon and probably would have been unable to make one until 2007 to 2009." Bush did know whether or not Iraq had a nuclear weapon — and lied and said he didn’t know to hype the threat.
  • On CNN in September 2002, Condoleezza Rice claimed that aluminum tubes purchased by Iraq were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs." This was precisely the opposite of what nuclear experts at the Energy Department were saying; they argue that not only was it very possible the tubes were for nonnuclear purposes but that it was very likely they were too. Even more dire assessments about the tubes from other agencies were exaggerated by administration officials — and in any case, the claim that they’re "only really suited" for nuclear weapons is just false.
  • On numerous occasions, Dick Cheney cited a report that 9/11 conspirator Mohammed Atta had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer. He said this after the CIA and FBI concluded that this meeting never took place.
  • More generally on the question of Iraq and al-Qaeda, on September 18, 2001, Rice received a memo summarizing intelligence on the relationship, which concluded there was little evidence of links. Nonetheless Bush continued to claim that Hussein was "a threat because he’s dealing with al-Qaeda" more than a year later.
  • In August 2002, Dick Cheney declared, "Simply stated, there's no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." But as Corn notes, at that time there was "no confirmed intelligence at this point establishing that Saddam had revived a major WMD operation." Gen. Anthony Zinni, who had heard the same intelligence and attended Cheney’s speech, would later say in a documentary, "It was a total shock. I couldn't believe the vice president was saying this, you know? In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD, through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program."
In some cases, there were investigations into some of these activities but there was never an impeachment for these activities.

Yet, Trump is under an impeachment inquiry for asking a foreign leader to investigate possible wrongdoing that might have impacted the United States. How is this even a crime, even if he did gain personal benefit?

Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff should be embarrassed for their hypocrisy in calling for an inquiry into Trump, knowing full well how his phone call stacks up against true pure evil. And mainstream media is revealing whose side they are playing on, and it is not the side of truth and justice.


Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher

President Trump Is a Choir Boy Compared to Other Recent Presidents




Put in the context of recent presidential history, the media's objurgating of President Trump, because of his phone call to Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky, shows a remarkable lack of knowledge of recent American history or dishonesty---or both.

Laid next to the evil activities of other recent presidents, the Trump-Zelensky phone call is a nothing burger. At most, he asked for Zelensky to investigate what appears to be shady dealings by Hunter Biden in Ukraine at the time his father Joe Biden was vice president.

Compare this activity to most recent presidents.

Lyndon Baines Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson lied about an attack in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Pentagon Papers, the memoirs of Robert McNamara, and NSA publications from 2005, proved material misrepresentation by LBJ to justify an escalation of the war against Vietnam.

The outcome of this false claim, along with another true claim, was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by "communist aggression". The resolution served as Johnson's legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.

According to Raymond McGovern, a retired CIA officer (CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, and in the 1980s, chairman of the National Intelligence Estimates), the CIA, "not to mention President Lyndon Johnson, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy all knew full well that the evidence of any armed attack on the evening of Aug. 4, 1964, the so-called 'second' Tonkin Gulf incident, was highly dubious. ... During the summer of 1964, President Johnson and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were eager to widen the war in Vietnam. They stepped up sabotage and hit-and-run attacks on the coast of North Vietnam."

Here is Johnson lying to the American people:

  


Ronald Reagan

One of the leading national issues during 1980 was the release of 52 Americans being held hostage in Iran since November 4, 1979. Many historians believe that representatives of Reagan's presidential campaign had conspired with Iran to delay the release until after the election to thwart President Carter from pulling off an "October surprise".

Reagan won the election. On the day of his inauguration— 20 minutes after he concluded his inaugural address—the Islamic Republic of Iran announced the release of the hostages.

It is believed the Reagan Administration subsequently rewarded Iran for its participation in the plot by supplying Iran with weapons via Israel and by unblocking Iranian government monetary assets in U.S. banks.

Several high ranking officials support these allegations, most notably former Iranian President Abulhassan Banisadr, former naval intelligence officer and U.S. National Security Council member Gary Sick, and former Reagan/Bush campaign staffer and White House analyst Barbara Honegger

George H.W. Bush

Here is The New York Times explaining how the George H.W. Bush administration encouraged Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait, which ultimately led to the first US attack on Iraq.

In the two weeks before Iraq's seizure of Kuwait, the Bush Administration on the advice of Arab leaders gave President Saddam Hussein little reason to fear a forceful American response if his troops invaded the country.
The Administration's message to Baghdad, articulated in public statements in Washington by senior policy makers and delivered directly to Mr. Hussein by the United States Ambassador, April C. Glaspie, was this: The United States was concerned about Iraq's military buildup on its border with Kuwait, but did not intend to take sides in what it perceived as a no-win border dispute between Arab neighbors.
In a meeting with Mr. Hussein in Baghdad on July 25, eight days before the invasion, Ms. Glaspie urged the Iraqi leader to settle his differences with Kuwait peacefully but added, ''We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait,'' according to an Iraqi document described as a transcript of their conversation.
This is viewed by scholars as the US giving Saddam a green light to attack Kuwait, which was then used as cover to attack Iraq.

Bill Clinton

On August 20, 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered American cruise missile strikes on al-Qaeda bases in Khost, Afghanistan, and the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, Sudan.

The missiles were launched three days after Clinton testified on the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and some countries, media outlets, protesters, and Republicans accused Clinton of ordering the attacks as a diversion from the Lewinsky scandal.

George W. Bush

Vox reports:

The best estimates available suggest that more than 250,000 people have died as a result of George W. Bush and Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq in 2003. A newly released investigative report from the UK government suggests that intelligence officials knew ahead of time that the war would cause massive instability and societal collapse and make the problem of terrorism worse — and that Blair and Bush went ahead with the effort anyway...
The Bush administration on numerous occasions exaggerated or outright fabricated conclusions from intelligence in its public statements. Bush really did lie, and people really did die as a result of the war those lies were meant to build a case for. Those are the facts.
The failure of Iraq was not merely a case of well-meaning but incompetent policymakers rushing into what they should’ve known would be a disaster. It’s the story of those policymakers repeatedly misleading the public about why, exactly, the war started.

From Mother Jones:

  • In October 2002, Bush said that Saddam Hussein had a "massive stockpile" of biological weapons. But as CIA Director George Tenet noted in early 2004, the CIA had informed policymakers it had "no specific information on the types or quantities of weapons agent or stockpiles at Baghdad's disposal." The "massive stockpile" was just literally made up.
  • In December 2002, Bush declared, "We do not know whether or not [Iraq] has a nuclear weapon." That was not what the National Intelligence Estimate said. As Tenet would later testify, "We said that Saddam did not have a nuclear weapon and probably would have been unable to make one until 2007 to 2009." Bush did know whether or not Iraq had a nuclear weapon — and lied and said he didn’t know to hype the threat.
  • On CNN in September 2002, Condoleezza Rice claimed that aluminum tubes purchased by Iraq were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs." This was precisely the opposite of what nuclear experts at the Energy Department were saying; they argue that not only was it very possible the tubes were for nonnuclear purposes but that it was very likely they were too. Even more dire assessments about the tubes from other agencies were exaggerated by administration officials — and in any case, the claim that they’re "only really suited" for nuclear weapons is just false.
  • On numerous occasions, Dick Cheney cited a report that 9/11 conspirator Mohammed Atta had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer. He said this after the CIA and FBI concluded that this meeting never took place.
  • More generally on the question of Iraq and al-Qaeda, on September 18, 2001, Rice received a memo summarizing intelligence on the relationship, which concluded there was little evidence of links. Nonetheless Bush continued to claim that Hussein was "a threat because he’s dealing with al-Qaeda" more than a year later.
  • In August 2002, Dick Cheney declared, "Simply stated, there's no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." But as Corn notes, at that time there was "no confirmed intelligence at this point establishing that Saddam had revived a major WMD operation." Gen. Anthony Zinni, who had heard the same intelligence and attended Cheney’s speech, would later say in a documentary, "It was a total shock. I couldn't believe the vice president was saying this, you know? In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD, through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program."
In some cases, there were investigations into some of these activities but there was never an impeachment for these activities.

Yet, Trump is under an impeachment inquiry for asking a foreign leader to investigate possible wrongdoing that might have impacted the United States. How is this even a crime, even if he did gain personal benefit?

Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff should be embarrassed for their hypocrisy in calling for an inquiry into Trump, knowing full well how his phone call stacks up against true pure evil. And mainstream media is revealing whose side they are playing on, and it is not the side of truth and justice.


Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher