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Torpedoes Sink Ships May 10, 2017

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
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1 comment so far

Ships of State that is.

Once wars made presidents popular.  Think of Washington and the Revolution, Lincoln and the Civil War, McKinley and the Spanish American War, FDR and WW II.  Maybe that was because we used to win wars.

Korea ran Truman out of office.  Vietnam made LBJ decide not to run.  Before the Silent Coup, Nixon (who ended the war) was tarred with the Vietnam brush.  With America winning once again, George the First got a bump from the 100 day Gulf One before we all read his lips.  Then rounding out the results of quagmire wars George the Second after soaring in the aftermath of 9-11 ran aground on the sand bars of Iraq.

I am a non-interventionist.  I believe in America First.  I support the foreign policy of Thomas Jefferson, “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”

We don’t need to intervene in the wars of others.  We don’t need to fight proxy wars in foreign lands.  We don’t need to crusade our way into a religious war with over a billion people.

We have a war right here, the Culture War long ago defined by the prescient ideological father of the Trump Revolution, Pat Buchanan at the 1992 Republican Convention when he said, “There is a religious war going on in this country. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as was the Cold War itself, for this war is for the soul of America.”

The Progressives of the Obamanation, their Clintonian allies in New York’s Sixth Crime Family, and the Sandersnista Antifa Black Shirts have been stalled in their Long March to a socialist America by the Trump phenomenon.  Daily the ABCCBSNBCCNNMSNBCPBS Cartel hammers away in their effort to de-legitimize President Trump.  The low information voters who get their personal opinions from the Democrat stenographers in the Cartel repeat the talking points released by Schumer, Pelosi, and the Deep State.  The RINOs following McCain are yearning to stretch their hands across the aisles doing anything they can to embarrass or undermine President Trump.

The neo-con dream weavers are working day and night to lure Mr. Trump into a foreign adventure.  If they can somehow get a war started that they can hang around his neck the miracle election may fizzle into the counter-revolution of a midterm election debacle and the inevitable impeachment hearings that would bring.

Instead of following the McCain/Krauthammer/Crystal wing to war somewhere for something lets quit subsidizing the economies of over a hundred countries with our bases.  Bring our troops home let them build the wall and secure our own borders.  Build the most sophisticated and powerful defenses imagined and defend America First.

An American hero once said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”  The torpedoes of war often sink the ship of state.  Even the victorious often fall victim to the terminal bleeding of a Pyrrhic victory.  Look at Britain.  They lost two generations to win two world wars and the empire they fought to save died from the wounds.

Mr. President I know the pressure to go to war is mounting.  To take a battle cry from the dis-loyal opposition, “Resist!”  Defend us if we are attacked.  Build the Wall.  Secure the border.  Win the war at home don’t be sidetracked into the abyss that has swallowed other presidencies.  We won the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and then the protracted nation-building melted the consensus of world support we received after 9-11.  To many around the world and here at home we have become the aggressors.  Look what it did to the approval rating for George the Second.

War always leads to destruction.  It’s supposed to.  Since Truman invented the idea of limited war even the victories have felt more like defeats.  Look at Vietnam.  Mr. President you were elected by people who want secure borders, a rebirth of American industry, and a return to the fundamentals of the American Experiment; limited government, personal liberty, and economic opportunity.  Don’t fall into the trap of a foreign war.  Win the war at home instead.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

War Does Not Bring Peace April 26, 2017

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
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1 comment so far

I am a supporter of our troops.  I believe they are patriots and America’s best.  I don’t question the bravery or skill of our troops it’s the imperial foreign policy which sends them as sacrifices on the altar of political ambition that I question.

The cruel calculations of political elites using our service men and women as pawns on their partisan game board are shameful.  The most shocking example of this was President Obama announcing a surge in troops at the same time he announced the exit strategy for leaving the country.  What could be more counterproductive than telling an asymmetrical enemy, “If you hang on long enough we leave and you win.”

Look at Iraq.  We went to war to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction which even President Bush eventually admitted were never there.  We went to war because our leaders intimated that Iraq had a hand in the sneak attacks of 9-11 based on a rumored meeting between an Iraqi agent and Mohamed Atta another claim that has since been repudiated.  Did we go to war to correct the partial victory we gained in Gulf War I under George I?  Did we go to war as George II later claimed to make the Mideast safe for democracy?  Whatever the reason for invading Iraq, a nation we supported for years, a nation which had not and was not planning to attack us, what did we accomplish and what do we have now that we are gone?

What about Afghanistan?  After the sneak attacks on 9-11 we had every legal and moral right to attack the nation that harbored and protected Al-Qaeda.  The whole world supported our right to punish those who had so cruelly attacked us.

However, to keep faith with the Constitution a declaration of war should have been obtained.  Instead we followed the pattern of all military actions since WW II a guns and butter approach where war is waged off somewhere in the distance.  It is shielded by a compliant media and the fog of official pronouncements so our elites can keep the political landscape manageable at home.

Our armed forces waged a brilliant campaign that dismantled the Taliban regime in short order.  Then instead of saying, “If it happens again we’ll come back again,” and leaving we have stayed for more than a dozen years squandering hundreds of billions building a nation for people who don’t see themselves as a nation.  They are a collection of tribes grouped together by the necessities of international politics surrounded by a porous border and a history of ungovernable conflict.

Does anyone doubt that after we leave Kabul the Taliban will return?  Does anyone doubt that the training and weapons that we have given to our Afghan allies which are turned against us on a regular basis will form the bedrock of future Taliban strength?  Does anyone doubt that as we roll out the front door our Afghan puppets will be taking 747s filled with their plunder of American taxpayer cash on their way to a luxurious exile at our expense?

The Constitution gives Congress the exclusive right to declare war.  This limitation on the prerogative of our chief executive to commit America to war without the consent of the citizens was considered one of the most important strengths of the document.  The founders of our nation came from a society in which autocratic kings had often plunged their nations into wars based on their own desires, whims, and political machinations.  Those who wrote the Constitution to be the framework for a new type of nation determined that we should never go to war unless it was the expression of the people through their elected representatives.  They believed this would limit war to the defense of the Republic and its vital interests.

There hasn’t been a declared war since World War II and yet our sons and daughters have fought and died in countless battles around the world.  With the war in Afghanistan winding up and down the Neocons and Progressives are beating the war drums daily for intervention in North Korea, Syria, Iran, and even war with Russia and China.

The Obama Administration’s policy of supporting Islamic Radicals, supplied weapons to the Al-Qaeda led Syrian rebels for years.  I contend the Mission in Benghazi and its satellite CIA Safe-House was in reality a conduit for transferring untraceable weapons from the captured Libyan arsenal through Turkey to the rebels.  So when it comes to Syria we are already there and we have been since the beginning.  We have had special forces on the ground.  We have trained so-called moderate Islamists who to a man have taken the training and weapons to ISIS as quickly as they could.   Now our Neo-con cheerleaders want us to directly intervene.

The same goes for Iran.  There is a shadow war that has been raging for years between Israel with American support and Iran.  This shadow war consists of assassinations of nuclear scientists, bombing nuclear facilities and uploading computer viruses into computers used to control the cyclotrons used to enrich uranium on the part of the allies.  The response has been attacks against Israeli citizens around the world and even a bombing attempt in Washington D.C.

This was not enough.  America was been goaded into imposing draconian sanctions against Iran.  Sanctions which if imposed on us we would be consider acts of war.  Once again this was not enough.  The Neocons were working day and night to get us to deliver some shock and awe all over Iran all in the name of peace.  The Iran deal paying off the Ayatollahs may have pushed this brewing confrontation to the back burner but make no mistake McCain and Company still have their cross hairs trained on Tehran.

Iran has not attacked another country in the memory of anyone who is alive today.  Or in the lives of the ancestors going back hundreds of years.  America’s intelligence agencies unanimously tell us, Congress, and the Administration that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.  Iran is a signer of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, and as a part of that treaty it is guaranteed the right to develop nuclear power for peaceful means and we have no proof that they are doing anything else.  In other words we have paid them hundreds of billions to stop doing something our own intelligence services say they weren’t doing.

As far as Iran is concerned we were told “Containment is off the table.”  Now we are told “All options are on the table.”  Why was containment off the table?  It worked during the Cold war when we faced off with an enemy many times larger with thousands of nuclear weapons on delivery systems aimed at our cities.  Why won’t it work against a nation that at this point has no nuclear weapons?

Why was it acceptable for North Korea to have nuclear weapons but not Iran?  Does anyone think the Ayatollahs are crazier than the boy dictator of the Kim dynasty?  There is no doubt that the United States military has the ability to destroy Iran’s conventional defensive and offensive resources within a short time.

It is obvious we could, “Bomb them both back to the stone age” as the saying goes.  However that wouldn’t necessarily mean that some of the stones thrown later in the contest might not hurt.  Iran and North Korea both have unknown asymmetrical war capabilities.

It’s believed that their allies in Gaza and Lebanon would immediately attack Israel.  The Iranians would also do all they could to interrupt the supply of the oil upon which we continue to allow ourselves to depend.  They would attempt to attack the oil fields of their neighbors, to close the Straits of Hormuz, attack nearby American bases, and possible stir up rebellions in Sunni ruled countries with either sizable Shiite minorities or in some cases majorities.

North Korea would immediately shell Seoul and inflict per4haps millions of casualties.  Our troops, over 20,000 strong are right in the line of fire.  Their massive wall of artillery is protected by sophisticated SAM sites that would exact a high price from our Air Force.  And with a million man army of fanatic loyalists a land invasion would be daunting to say the least.

We might even face terrorist attacks here in the Homeland.  This war would not be a cake walk.  The military and economic consequences would be immediate and they would be dire.

However, as dire as these consequences would be these are not potentially the most troubling. War opens the door for domestic changes that would not be possible during normal times.  While we have been and are engaged in a multi-generational seemingly endless series of wars this war might be different.  While all our other wars have been fought over there the civilian population continued to live as if Americans were not in harm’s way even though they were.  In other words we managed to have both guns and butter, war overseas and peace at home.  In the case of a war with Iran, North Korea, Russia, or China we might face a situation that could bring the war home to America in multiple ways.

Economically gas could skyrocket causing dislocation in our fragile economy.  On the military front terror sleeper cells could be activated in America or terrorists could come in through our porous borders.  Both the economic impact and terrorist activities would open the door for drastic government action which could well negatively impact our lives.  Rights are often curtailed in times of emergency.   The cost of war is often seen in the growth of government power and the loss of freedom at home.  We might even have to institute a military draft.  Does anyone think the snowflake generation would meekly march off to boot camp?  Does anyone think they might melt at the first day in boot camp?  “Where are our safe zones?”  “I should be in the WACS!”  “The drill sergeant looked at me and now I feel threatened.”

Our worldwide military presence is not keeping us safe and in many ways it’s provocative.  Peace and equitable trade with all is the course recommended by our founders.  It was the foreign policy of every administration until McKinley and the default position until FDR.  Let us return to our traditions and reject these endless wars for peace.  Let us quit supporting other economies with our foreign bases.  Let us end the many entangling agreements that bind us to fight for others who should instead fight for themselves.

With real peace we could perhaps deal with the domestic issues that are tearing us apart and driving us into bankruptcy.  Every patriot should recognize the danger new fronts in our never-ending war will have on our current battle to maintain personal liberty, individual freedom, and economic opportunity here at home.  Consequently patriots should do everything in their power to stop the stampede to war.  Stand up for real peace and not for more wars for a peace that never comes.  No matter how they package it war does not bring peace.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

War What is it Good For March 29, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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4 comments

The President of Afghanistan, the man we installed and the leader of a land that is a nation in name only recently accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban to keep the war going. According to his spokesman, “The people of Afghanistan ask NATO to define the purpose and aim of the so-called war on terror… (They) consider this war as aimless and unwise to continue.”

I am a supporter of our troops.  I believe they are patriots and America’s best.  It is not the bravery or skill of our troops that I question; it is the imperial foreign policy which sends them as sacrifices on the altar of political ambition that I question.  The cruel calculations of political elites using our service men and women as pawns on their partisan game board are shameful.  The most shocking example of this is President Obama’s announcing a surge in troops at the same time he announced the exit strategy for leaving the country.  What could be more counterproductive than telling an asymmetrical partisan enemy that if they hang on long enough we leave and you win?

Look at Iraq.  We went to war to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction which even President Bush eventually admitted were never there.  We went to war because our leaders intimated that Iraq had a hand in the sneak attacks of 9-11 based on a rumored meeting between an Iraqi agent and Mohamed Atta another claim that has since been repudiated.  Did we go to war to correct the partial victory we gained in Gulf War I under George I?  Did we go to war as George II later claimed to make the Mideast safe for democracy?  Whatever the reason for invading Iraq, a nation we supported for years, a nation which had not and was not planning to attack us, what did we accomplish and what do we have now that we are gone?

What about Afghanistan?  After the sneak attacks on 9-11 we had every legal and moral right to attack the nation that harbored and protected Al-Qaeda.  However, to keep faith with the Constitution a declaration of war should have been obtained.  Our armed forces waged a brilliant campaign that dismantled the Taliban regime in short order.  Then instead of saying, if it happens again we will come back again, and leaving we have stayed for more than ten years squandering hundreds of billions building a nation for people who don’t see themselves as a nation.  They are a collection of tribes grouped together by the necessities of international politics surrounded by a porous border and a history of ungovernable conflict.

Does anyone doubt that after we leave Kabul the Taliban will return?  Does anyone doubt that the training and weapons that we have given to our Afghan allies which are turned against us on a regular basis will form the bedrock of future Taliban strength?

The Constitution gives Congress the exclusive right to declare war.  This limitation on the prerogative of our chief executive to commit America to war without the consent of the citizens was considered one of the most important strengths of the document.  The founders of our nation came from a society in which autocratic kings had often plunged their nations into wars based on their own desires, whims, and political machinations.  Those who wrote the Constitution to be the framework for a new type of nation were determined that we should never go to war unless it was the expression of the people through their elected representatives.

There hasn’t been a declared war since World War II and yet our sons and daughters have fought and died in countless battles around the world.  With the war in Afghanistan set to wind down the Neocons and Progressives are beating the war drums daily for intervention in Syria and war with Iran.

I believe once the truth is known America, in keeping with the Obama Administration’s on-going policy of supporting Islamic Radicals, has been supplying weapons to the Al-Qaeda led Syrian rebels for years.  I contend that the Mission in Benghazi and its satellite CIA Safe-House was in reality a conduit for transferring untraceable weapons from the captured Libyan arsenal through Turkey to the rebels.  So when it comes to Syria we are already there, and now our Neo-con cheerleaders want us to directly intervene.

The same goes for Iran.  There is a shadow war that has been raging for years between Israel with American support and Iran.  This shadow war consists of assassinations of nuclear scientists, bombing nuclear facilities and uploading computer viruses into computers used to control the cyclotrons used to enrich uranium on the part of the allies.  The response has been attacks against Israeli citizens around the world and even a bombing attempt in Washington D.C.

This is not enough.  America has been goaded into imposing draconian sanctions against Iran.  Sanctions which if imposed on us we would be consider acts of war.  Once again this is not enough.  The Neocons are working day and night to get us to deliver some shock and awe all over Iran all in the name of peace.

Iran has not attacked another country in the memory of anyone who is alive today.  Or in the lives of the ancestors going back hundreds of years.  America’s intelligence agencies unanimously tell us, Congress, and the Administration that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.  Iran is a signer of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, and as a part of that treaty it is guaranteed the right to develop nuclear power for peaceful means.

As part of the big push to get us into another war we are told “Containment is off the table.”  Usually soon after we are told “All options are on the table.”  Why is containment off the table?  It worked during the Cold war when we faced off with an enemy many times larger with thousands of nuclear weapons on delivery systems aimed at our cities.  Why won’t it work against a nation that at this point has no nuclear weapons?

Why is it acceptable for North Korea to have nuclear weapons but not Iran?  Does anyone think the Ayatollahs are crazier than the new boy dictator of the Kim dynasty?  There is no doubt that the United States military has the ability to destroy Iran’s conventional defensive and offensive resources within a short time.  It is obvious we could, “Bomb them back to the stone age” as the saying goes.  However that wouldn’t necessarily mean that some of the stones thrown later in the contest might not hurt.  Iran has an unknown asymmetrical war capability.

It is believed that their allies in Gaza and Lebanon would immediately attack Israel.  The Iranians would also do all they could to interrupt the supply of the oil upon which we continue to allow ourselves to need.  They would attempt to attack the oil fields of their neighbors, to close the Straits of Hormuz, attack nearby American bases, and possible stir up rebellions in Sunni ruled countries with either sizable Shiite minorities or in some cases majorities.  We might even face terrorist attacks here in the Homeland.  This war would not be a cake walk.  The military and economic consequences would be immediate and they would be dire.

However, as dire as these consequences would be these are not potentially the most troubling. War opens the door for domestic changes that would not be possible during normal times.  While we have been and are engaged in a multi-generational seemingly endless series of wars this war might be different.  While all our other wars have been fought over there the civilian population continued to live as if Americans were not in harm’s way even though they were.  In other words we managed to have both guns and butter, war overseas and peace at home.  In the case of a war with Iran we might face a situation that could bring the war home to America in multiple ways.

Economically gas could skyrocket causing dislocation in our fragile economy.  On the military front terror sleeper cells could be activated in America or terrorists could come in through our porous southern border.  Both the economic impact and terrorist activities would open the door for drastic government action which could well negatively impact our lives.  Rights are often curtailed in times of emergency.   The cost of war is often seen in the growth of government power and the loss of freedom at home.

Our worldwide military presence is not keeping us safe and in many ways it is provocative.  Peace and equitable trade with all is the course recommended by our founders.  It was the foreign policy of every administration until McKinley and the default position until FDR.  Let us return to our traditions and reject these endless wars for peace.  Let us quit supporting other economies with our foreign bases.  Let us end the many entangling agreements that bind us to fight for others who should instead fight for themselves.

With real peace we could perhaps deal with the domestic issues that are tearing us apart and driving us into bankruptcy.  Every patriot should recognize the danger new fronts in our never-ending war will have on our current battle to maintain personal liberty, individual freedom, and economic opportunity here at home.  Consequently patriots should do everything in their power to stop the stampede to war.  Stand up for real peace and not for more wars for a peace that never comes.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

Is America a Republic or an Empire? March 22, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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1 comment so far

Over the years in this column I have written about the American Empire.  I have advocated jettisoning the Empire to save the Republic.  This topic has sparked debate and controversy even among the most dedicated readers.  Usually the argument runs like this, “America is not an Empire, never has been and never will be,” or “America’s far-flung military deployments are not the garrisoning of an empire it is instead a forward defense of the homeland.”

In my most recent column along these lines, aptly entitled, “Republic or Empire?” in several publications there was spirited debate about whether or not America could be called an empire.  Some people seemed to take offense at the very idea.  Others who usually agree with my political stands find this and my other foreign policy positions such as bringing our troops home, concentrating on defending America, and equitable trade with all unacceptable.  I present and promote these foreign policy positions as requirements for restoring limited government. It is my belief that as long as we are involved in endless war there is no real possibility to re-gain control of our government, our budget, or our future.

What I propose to do in this column is examine the hallmarks of empire and ask my readers to honestly ask themselves, “Is America a republic or an empire?”

First, it makes no difference whether it is the President, the Paramount Chief, an Augustus, the First Citizen, the Dear Leader, the Great Helmsman or der Fuehrer.  It doesn’t matter if it is an executive branch, a Politburo, a Central Committee, the Cabinet, or the collective leadership.  Whatever form it takes, an empire is always dominated by a highly centralized executive power.

America was designed not to be an empire but instead to be a federal republic made up of a central government and state governments which were the precursors and creators of the central government.   This central government founded upon and constrained by a written constitution originally presented the world with something new, a national government made up of divided co-equal powers.  The Congress to make the laws, the executive to enforce the laws, and the judicial to judge if the laws conformed to the Constitution: the guiding light and touch-stone of American limited government.  This worked well to establish and maintain a republic but it would not foster nor perpetuate an empire.

Thus the Constitution established the framework of what became known as the system of checks and balances.  Only congress could make laws, but the President could veto them.  Congress could over-ride a president’s veto, but the Supreme Court could declare laws unconstitutional making them null and void.  The president is in charge of foreign policy and is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, but the Congress controlled the purse and could cut off funding.  Upon petition the Supreme Court could declare the actions of the president unconstitutional yet the president could appoint justices to the Supreme Court.

Did this work perfect?  No, there were always swings one way or another.  There have been powerful Supreme Courts such as under Chief Justices Marshall or Warren that changed the complexion of the country.  There have been powerful Congresses such as the one from 1865 to the mid 1870’s that virtually ignored presidents and set policy.  There were powerful presidents such as Jackson or Lincoln.  However the pendulum always swung back and forth.  If you examined all three institutions there was one thing missing.  Where was the sovereignty?  Who was the nation?

In the highly centralized state, which is an empire whether personal or national, the leader or leadership operates according to the sentiments of the Sun King, Louis XIV of France who said, “I am the State.”  During the birth of the American system, our Founders had spent more time debating this than any other aspect of the government, who would be the sovereign power.  They had just fought and defeated one tyrant and they did not want to exchange one for another.  They didn’t trust the sovereignty of the nation in the hands of an executive because of the long and bloody history of Europeans with absolutism and divine right.  They didn’t trust an assembly after their recent history with the tyranny of the British Parliament and their Stamp Act, Quartering Act and other attempts to bring the colonies to their knees.  They couldn’t place it in the hands of the Supreme Court for that body would be merely judicial.

Instead they came up with a new idea in the world.  They placed the sovereignty of the nation in the hands of We the People.

The Constitution is designed to empower the people not the government.  Though today it is stretched and interpreted to give the government the power to do whatever it wants whenever it wants originally it was constructed to limit government.

We the People could vote the Congress in or out, we could choose our own president, and if the Supreme Court said something was unconstitutional that we wanted we could change the Constitution using a mechanism embedded within the document itself.  For the first time no leader or oligarchy owned the state, instead the state belonged to the citizens.

What do we see in America today?  We have a president who says, “We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.”  When Congress after deliberation decides not to pass the Dream Act giving amnesty to millions, the President uses an executive order to make it law by decree.  When the Congress refuses to pass a cap-and-trade law that many believe will hamstring our industry and hobble us in the race with other nations, the president orders his EPA department to enforce it anyway.  Without consulting Congress the President takes us to war against Libya and deposes a government.

These are the actions of an executive out of control.  Under the original American system if anyone would have asked, “Who speaks for the people?” the answer would have been the House of Representatives because they were elected every two years and were thus closest to the people.  It wouldn’t have been the Congress as a whole because under the original system the senate was chosen by the various state legislatures and was designed to represent the states.  It was the House which spoke for the people.  Today it is the President who uses the bully pulpit magnified by a subservient press and a thousand government media pressure points and outlets saying in effect, I have a mandate from the people.  I am the embodiment of their will.  I am the state.

The next hallmark of an empire we will look at is that domestic policy becomes subordinate to foreign policy.  The American President is constitutionally in charge of foreign policy so there is no better place for the holder of that office to act without any restraint.  Treaties must be ratified, so our presidents began in the 1940’s to forge personal agreements with the leaders of other countries that had all the force of treaties with none of the messy Senate confirmation required.  Using their power as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces modern presidents have also used their authority to start wars as in Kosovo and Libya, to sign cease fires as in Korea, and to commit America to the support of dictators and tyrants through deployments and equipment transfers, all without any Congressional oversight.

If we ask ourselves, has domestic policy really become subordinate to foreign policy think about whose infrastructure are we being taxed to rebuild?  In Afghanistan and Iraq our money and our companies are building new schools while ours fall apart, we are building new roads in Afghanistan while we watch our own bridges crumbling.  We give billions to countries and governments that despise us.  We borrow money to give it away and then sometimes borrow it back all in a bizarre dance balancing foreign interests at the expense of We the People.

Another hallmark of an empire is that the military mindset becomes ascendant to the point that civilians are intimidated.  Think about the Defense budget.   In 2012 it was over 600 billion dollars.  Does anyone believe Congress or anyone else really knows where all that money is going?  The size, scope, and unbelievable waste in the defense budget stagger the imagination.  However, to even question the defense budget will immediately get someone labeled as an isolationist who wants to gut our defense and surrender to the enemy.

Many people will argue that we are in a war and that during war of course the defense budget will be bloated.  Can you remember any time since 1942 that we haven’t been in a war?  Yes, there were the brief days of the “Peace Dividend” under Clinton after the Soviet Union dissolved which actually became the rational for increased defense spending.  And during those brief days of peace back in the 1990’s we fought a war and enforced a decade long no-fly zone in Iraq, attacked Serbia, sent troops, planes or other assets to Zaire, Sierra Leone, Bosnia (numerous times), Herzegovina, Somalia, Macedonia, Haiti, Liberia, Central African Republic, Albania, Congo and Gabon, Cambodia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Afghanistan, and East Timor.  And this was our only decade of peace since the 1940’s, and to question any of this is considered tantamount to treason.  We must ask ourselves, “Has the military mindset become ascendant to the point that civilians are intimidated?”

Perpetual war for peace has led the peaceful American people to be ensnared in the clutches of the military-industrial complex as president Eisenhower warned it would in 1961.

All empires develop and maintain a system of satellite nations.  When we hear of this we immediately think of the old USSR and their slave states in Eastern Europe.  Advance the idea that America has satellite nations and people become irate.  “How could you say such a thing about America?”  Look at our so-called allies.  Do they fit the description as satellite nations?  A satellite nation is one that the empire deems is necessary for its own defense.  It is also one that feels it cannot stand alone and wants the empire’s protection.

That is the deal.  The empire commits to protect the satellite and the satellite agrees to stand with its back against the empire facing a common foe.  Add to that the fact that we supply money and material to build the national defenses of our satellite/allies as well as economic aid and a preferential trade system.  Think about these ideas and decide for yourself whether or not America has satellite nations ringing the heartland of the empire.

Another hallmark of empire is that a psychology or psychosis of pride, presumption, and arrogance overtakes the national consciousness.   We are all familiar with the twenty-first century incantation of “Too big to fail.”  That was applied by our bailout happy leaders to their pet banks and companies during the opening days of the Great Recession.  It is also an apt description for the way in which most Americans view our position as the most powerful nation on earth or as the silver tongued talking heads like to say, the world’s sole superpower.  Since the end of World War One the United States has been the unchallenged mega power among the western block of nations.  Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union we have towered like a colossus over the rest of the world.  In the memory of most people now alive it has always been this way.

To most people the way it has been is the way it shall be.  We speak of embracing change and of realizing that change is the only constant but few can really think that way.  The familiar seduces us into thinking that the momentary circumstances of today are the unshakable foundations of tomorrow.  To the children and grandchildren of the greatest generation the world will always gaze in awe at the great American eagle soaring above the world.  Our navies rule the waves, our masses of fighters, bombers, and drones can reach out and touch any corner of the globe, our troops are the best trained, best equipped, and best led armies the world has ever seen, so such a mega power could never fall.

So it seemed to the inhabitants of Rome the eternal empire.  So it seemed to the British when the sun never set upon the union jack.  And so it seems to us.  Even though a rag-tag group like Al Qaeda defies our attempts to destroy them and continues to grow and multiply around the world.  Even though the Taliban not only have withstood more than a decade of war they stand poised to reclaim their country as soon as we leave.  Even though our deficit spending and the national debt it creates is leading us to a financial collapse that our own military leaders have identified as the greatest threat to our security, and our leaders only answer is more spending.  This pride, presumption, and arrogance blinds us to the enduring truth of what comes before a fall.

Finally an empire is the prisoner of history.  A republic is not required to act upon the world stage.  It can pick and choose its own way seeking its own destiny as a commonwealth of citizens.  An empire must project its power for fear that if it doesn’t another leviathan will arise to take its place.  A free republic that has maintained its independence is able to decide where and when it will become involved.  An empire is always the leader of a center heavy coalition comprised of the imperial core and the associated or satellite nations.  As such it is the collective security against the barbarian, the other that drives the actions of the empire.

In the parlance of our day it is our turn.  It is our turn to be the policeman of the world, our turn to keep the peace, to guard civilization from the unwashed hordes who seek to turn back the clock and bring darkness into the world.  We are a vanguard of stability in a world beset by chaos, and so were the British and the Romans before them.

Other writers may say something has been left off these hallmarks while others may say some of these don’t apply.  To all I would recommend a study of former empires to see if they agree these properties are found in all of them.  Then ask ourselves, “Are these properties present in America today?”  Once we have completed this process we will be able to answer the question for ourselves, “Is America an Empire?”  If we decide, yes it is, we have to realize that there is a trajectory all empires follow: they rise and they fall.

We might decide that,we as the first empire that is not set-up to plunder wealth but instead to distribute wealth, are different, and therefore we will break the mold.  We will stand while others have fallen.  One look at our debt should persuade anyone that what we have built is as unsustainable as the British, the Roman, or any other empire we wish to use as a standard.

Do you say, “We can’t be an empire because our president is elected.”  So were the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, so were the kings of Poland. It is the empire that empowers our executive.  Do you say, “We can’t be an empire because we have a Congress.”  So did Athens, Rome, and Britain.  Do you say, “We can’t be an empire because we have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, why we even have the freedom to own weapons.”  So did Athens, so did Rome, and so did Britain.

While we are yet on the glory side of the fall let us abandon the empire to save our republic.  Let us resign from the great game of thrones, rebuild America, secure our own borders instead of those of Korea, or Afghanistan, and reaffirm our dedication to be the last best hope of mankind: a federal republic operating on democratic principles, securing our God given liberties, providing personal freedom, individual liberty, and economic opportunity to all its citizens.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Republic or Empire? March 1, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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2 comments

Historians spend their lives looking backwards.  Futurists spend their lives looking forward.  My goal has been to blend the two disciplines into one seamless panorama. For if you don’t know the past you have no context for the present, and if you have no context for the present the future appears to be whatever those who shape the present portray it to be.  Those who believed the Eternal Empire was truly eternal, those who believed the sun would never set on the British Empire, those who believed in a 1,000 year Reich, and those who believed the USSR was the vision of the future proved those who shape the present always project a future which shows their empire as the one that will never fall.

When I was studying to become a Historian I came to a point where I had to declare a field of special study. This is where my obsession with current events intersected with my love for History.  This is when I realized that current events are the forever unfolding always receding conveyor belt of reality.  This is when I first verbalized the perception that as the future slides into the present and the present slides into the past our lives are the history of the future.   Therefore in my writings I seek to frame the flow of today with knowledge of yesterday to create a window into tomorrow.

History tells us that Imperial Republics fall.  We have the examples of Athens and all the other grasping Greek republics that followed her.  We have Rome the example always deferred to of a republic that allowed an empire to stifle freedom.  The list however does not end there, we can look at Venice and the various republics of Renaissance Italy, and of course the First Republic of France which was birthed in blood and died in fire.  The siren song of empire has seduced republics down through history to trade in their freedom for power which eventually cost them both their freedom and the power.

It is time to re-think America’s international military commitments.

Though settled by European kingdoms seeking empires, the United States wasn’t founded to become an empire.  Individuals fought against the empire building tyrants until their determination and resolve won independence against all odds.  Then, although the world was filled with despotic kings, our Framers gave us a Republic.  However, it is worth remembering the exchange that took place between Ben Franklin, the elder statesman of the Constitutional Convention, and an unknown woman.  As he left Independence Hall he was asked, “Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy?”   Appealing to his legendary wit Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”   We and our ancestors have been blessed by the Republic for hundreds of years.  We’ve benefited from the liberty to live our lives and pursue our happiness.  Now we’ve arrived at the “if you can keep it” phase of our journey.

At the cost of hundreds of billions and thousands of lives we doubled-down in Afghanistan.  At the cost of over a trillion and thousands of lives we conquered Iraq and deposed Saddam.  We spearheaded the bombing campaign in Libya.  Our drones strike suspected enemies far and near including American citizens.  Troops have been dispatched to central Africa.  And the perennial war drums still beat at the very mention of Iran.  We are committed to treat any attack on dozens of countries from South Korea to Lithuania as an attack on our homeland.  In other wards we are committed to send American troops to fight and die for countries which in the case of South Korea are well able to defend themselves, and in the case of Lithuania and many others that are of no strategic importance to the United States.

We have sent our fellow citizens to fight long hard slogs in countries whose names are the very synonym for Quagmire.  As our economy was being outsourced, our debt monetized, and our infrastructure crumbled we meekly followed our leaders deeper into thankless nation-building campaigns in nation after nation including one that’s resisted and foiled every empire from Alexander to Moscow.

Instead of using our cruise missiles and stealth capabilities we fell into the trap announced and laid by Bin Laden.  Whose strategy was as Lawrence Wright told us in his seminal book Looming Towers to, “lure America into the same trap the Soviets had fallen into: Afghanistan.”  How did he plan to do it?  “To continually attack until the U.S. forces invaded; then the mujahedeen would swarm upon them and bleed them until the entire American empire fell from its wounds. It had happened to Great Britain and to the Soviet Union. He was certain it would happen to America.”

There were twists and turns on our journey from republic to empire.

George Washington warned us to avoid foreign entanglements.  Thomas Jefferson outlined the essential principles of our government which included this advice concerning foreign affairs, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.”

For more than one hundred years we concentrated on using our liberty to build a mighty nation.  Then the temptation of empire captured the American imagination in the 1890s, a time when Europe was rushing to gobble up the last places open for colonization or carving up those areas unsuited for colonies into spheres of influence.  Under President McKinley the United States entered the scramble for colonies in the Spanish-American War winning Puerto Pico and the Philippines

Teddy Roosevelt followed McKinley walking softly while carrying a big stick in the form of the Great White Fleet and multiple intrusions into the sovereignty of Latin American countries.  After being re-elected on the promise to keep America neutral President Wilson proclaimed America must fight World War I to “Make the World Safe for Democracy.”  An adventure which cost over 300, 000 casualties and which actually expanded the empires of England, France, and Japan.  After the war, the Congress of the United States re-asserted control by rejecting the international entanglements of the League of Nations Treaty returning to the traditional American foreign policy of freedom of trade and freedom of action.

Under FDR America fought an undeclared naval war against Germany in 1940 and 41 and imposed draconian embargoes against Japan prior to Pearl Harbor.  Once we were attacked we had to defend ourselves.  However, when World War II ended not with the defeat of totalitarianism but instead with the expansion of it in Eastern Europe the guiding light of American foreign policy seems to have been permanently extinguished.  As the British Empire sailed into the sunset we filled the void taking up the role of leader of the West in the Cold War.   For forty-six years we faced the Soviets until they collapsed under the weight of their own  empire  Then instead of coming home we spread our wings even further embracing Eastern Europe promising to send young Americans to fight for Estonia and Slovakia among others, and now the sun never sets upon the American Empire.

Not only is it against the founding principles of America to establish and maintain an empire of far-flung outposts, we cannot afford to be the Policeman of the world.  We cannot afford to build nations for people who don’t want them. How did a peaceful nation of free citizens become the advocate of pre-emptive attack and endless occupation?  How much blood and treasure did we invest in Iraq, and what is the result?  A Shi’a ally for Iran.  The war in Afghanistan was obviously defensive and retaliatory in nature given the Taliban’s support for Al Qaeda.  But ten years later what’s it all about?  Are we really dedicated to building a modern nation for tribal people who have no sense of nationhood?  Or have we walked into the same trap that brought the Soviets to their knees?

Currently the United States has armed forces in over 130 countries.  We’re committed to defend most of these countries against aggression.  Where were all these allies on 9-11?  Where are they in Afghanistan?   Why do we have treaties binding us to go to war to defend those who refuse to support us when we’re attacked?  If these policies are counter-productive are there any alternatives?

Close the foreign bases and bring our troops home.  Station them on the border to protect us from the on-going invasion of illegal immigrants who’re overloading our systems.  We can seal and secure the mountainous border between the Koreas and we can secure our own borders if we have the wisdom and the will.  If we need to project American power use the carrier battle-groups designed for that purpose.  Protect America and rebuild our infrastructure instead of everyone else’s.  When asked what to do with the American Military after World War I Will Rogers said, “Get ’em all home, add to their number, add to their training, then just sit tight with a great feeling of security and just read about foreign wars. That’s the best thing in the world to do with them.”

If we want to save the Republic we need to lose the empire, or we can cling to the empire and lose both.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

Praetorian Progressives and Their Imperial Dreams March 15, 2012

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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1 comment so far

Under President Obama we doubled-down in Afghanistan?  We sent more of our fellow citizens to a long hard slog in a country whose synonym is Quagmire while announcing the eventual date of their withdrawal at the same time.  In an unprecedented action Mr. Obama announced our attack as he heralded our retreat in a calculated political decision that has cost lives, squandered treasure and told the Taliban to wait in the wings for the second act.

 

As our economy was being outsourced, our debt monetized, and our infrastructure crumbled we meekly followed the leader deeper into a thankless nation-building campaign in the Little Bighorn of nations.  A nation that is more of a Western construct than an actual nation-state, and the tribes which inhabit this mountainous waste have resisted and foiled every empire from Alexander to Moscow.

 

There is a fundamental difference between a republic and an empire.  Republics are based upon the consent of the governed.  Empires are imposed from above.  Republics foster a community of equals each with the opportunity to achieve.  Empires exalt the ruling class at the expensive of everyone else.  Though settled by European kingdoms seeking empires the United States wasn’t founded to become an empire.  Individuals fought against the empire building tyrants until their determination and resolve won independence against all odds.

 

It is time to re-think America’s international military commitments.  It is our world wide web of foreign commitments and entanglements that has been used by the self-righteous Progressives and their cronies in the military industrial complex in their efforts to transform the United States from republic to empire.  They have used the never ending wars for peace to regiment our society and create a centrally-planned bureaucratic mega government.

 

George Washington warned us to avoid foreign entanglements telling us, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world…”  He warned us about allowing the military to grow to big, “Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.”

 

Thomas Jefferson outlined the essential principles of our government which included this advice concerning foreign affairs, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.”

 

For the first 100 years of our existence we followed Washington’s great rule, “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.”

 

The temptation to empire captured the American imagination in the 1890s: the beginning of the Progressive Era.  This was a time when Europe was rushing to gobble up the last places open for colonization or carving up those areas unsuited for colonies into spheres of influence.

 

Under President McKinley the United States entered the scramble for colonies in the Spanish-American War winning Puerto Pico and the Philippines as well as a long war against those in the Philippines who wanted the independence they had expected when liberated from the Spanish Empire by the American Republic.

 

Teddy Roosevelt the great grandfather of the Progressives followed McKinley walking softly while carrying a big stick in the form of the Great White Fleet.  He used America’s new found industrial might and military power for multiple intrusions into the sovereignty of Latin American countries.  While better known for his war against business, or trust busting as it was then called, the first President Roosevelt extolled war as a means to national greatness, “No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumph of war”

 

After being re-elected on the promise to keep America neutral President Wilson proclaimed America must fight to “Make the World Safe for Democracy.”  An adventure which cost over 300,000 casualties and which actually expanded the empires of England, France, and Japan while sowing the seeds of an even greater war.

 

After Wilson’s war the Congress of the United States re-asserted control by rejecting the international entanglements of the League of Nations Treaty returning to the traditional American foreign policy of freedom of trade and freedom of action.

 

Under FDR America fought an undeclared naval war against Germany in 1940 and 41 and imposed draconian embargoes against Japan prior to Pearl Harbor.  Once we were attacked we had to defend ourselves.  However, when World War II ended with the defeat of German, Italian, and Japanese totalitarianism and the vast expansion of Soviet totalitarianism, the guiding light of America foreign policy seems to have been permanently extinguished.

 

As the British Empire sailed into the sunset we filled the void taking up the role of leader of the West in the Cold War. For forty-six years we faced the Soviets until they collapsed.  Then instead of coming home we spread our wings even further embracing Eastern Europe.  We made a vain promise to send young Americans to fight for Estonia and Slovakia.  We coaxed color-coded revolutions all around Russia while our allies moved the EU to the East.  All of this rebuffed the hand of the Russians and made them instead of friends bitter foes who realized America had exploited their weakness and attempted to surround them with enemies.  This is the exact scenario which has haunted Russian paranoid dreams for centuries.

 

It is against the traditional principles of American foreign policy to establish and maintain an empire of far-flung outposts.  Doing so has broken the bank and we cannot afford to be the Policeman of the world.  We cannot afford to build nations for people who don’t want them while allowing our own infrastructure to decay.  How did a peaceful nation of free citizens become the advocate of pre-emptive attack and endless occupation?  How much blood and treasure did we invest in Iraq and what will be the result: a precipitous pull-out resulting in a Shi’a ally for Iran.

 

The war in Afghanistan was obviously defensive and retaliatory in nature given the Taliban’s support and collusion with Al Qaeda.  But ten years later what’s it all about?  Are we really dedicated to building a modern nation for tribal people who have no sense of nationhood?  Have we blundered into the same trap that brought the Soviets to their knees?

 

And it isn’t only our current hot deployment that is problematic.

 

The United States has armed forces in over 130 countries.  We’re committed to defend most of these countries against aggression.  Where were these allies on 9-11?  Where are they in Afghanistan?  Why do we have treaties binding us to go to war to defend those who refuse to support us when we’re attacked?  If these policies are counter-productive are there any alternatives?

 

Close the foreign bases and bring our troops home.  Sell the bases and save the money.  Station our troops on the borders to protect us from the on-going invasion of illegal immigrants who are overloading our systems. Let the maintenance of the bases and the spending of the troops contribute to our domestic economy instead of the economies of other countries.  If we need to project American power, use the carrier battle-groups designed for that purpose.  Protect America and rebuild our infrastructure.

 

When asked what to do with the American Military after World War I Will Rogers said, “Get ’em all home, add to their number, add to their training, then just sit tight with a great feeling of security and just read about foreign wars. That’s the best thing in the world to do with them.”

 

We must jettison the Empire to save the Republic!  If we don’t the imperial power will swamp the republican nature.  We will retain the forms our Founders gave us as we find ourselves under the jackbooted heel of the Praetorian Progressives and their imperial dreams.

 

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

Imperial Republics Fall October 21, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
4 comments

Historians spend their life looking backwards.  Futurists spend their life looking forward.  My goal has been to blend the two disciplines into one seamless endeavor.

When I was studying to become a Historian I came to a point where I had to declare a field of special study. This is where my obsession with current events intersected with my love for History.  This is when I realized that current events are the forever unfolding always receding conveyor belt of reality.  This is when I first verbalized the perception that as the future slides into the present and the present slides into the past our lives are the history of the future.   Therefore in my writings I seek to frame the flow of today with knowledge of yesterday to create a window into tomorrow.

History tells us that Imperial Republics fall.  We have the examples of Athens and all the other grasping Greek republics that followed her.  We have Rome the example always deferred to of a republic that allowed empire to stifle freedom.  The list however does not end there, we can look at Venice and the various republics of Renaissance Italy and of course the First Republic of France which was birthed in blood and died in fire.  The siren song of empire has seduced republics down through history to trade in their freedom for power which eventually cost them both their freedom and the power.

Is it time to re-think America’s international military commitments?  Though settled by European kingdoms seeking empires the United States wasn’t founded to become an empire.  Individuals fought against the empire building tyrants until their determination and resolve won independence against all odds.  Then, although the world was filled with despotic kings, our Framers gave us a Republic.  However, it is worth remembering the exchange that took place between Ben Franklin, the elder statesman of the Constitutional Convention and an unknown woman.  As he left Independence Hall he was asked, “Well Doctor what we have got a republic or a monarchy?”   Appealing to his legendary wit Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”   We and our ancestors have been blessed by the Republic for hundreds of years.  We’ve benefited from the liberty to live our lives and pursue our happiness.  Now we’ve arrived at the “if you can keep it” phase of our journey.

At the cost of hundreds of billions and thousands of lives we doubled-down in Afghanistan.  At the cost of over a trillion and thousands of lives we conquered Iraq and deposed Saddam.  We spearheaded the bombing campaign in Libya.  Our drones strike suspected enemies far and near.  Troops have been dispatched to central Africa.  And the perennial war drums still beat at the very mention of Iran.

We have sent our fellow citizens to fight long hard slogs in countries whose names are the very synonym for Quagmire.  As our economy was being outsourced, our debt monetized, and our infrastructure crumbled we meekly followed our leaders deeper into thankless nation-building campaigns in nation after nation including one that’s resisted and foiled every empire from Alexander to Moscow.

Instead of using our cruise missiles and stealth capabilities we fell into the trap announced and laid by Bin Laden.  Whose strategy was as Lawrence Wright told us in his seminal book Looming Towers to, “lure America into the same trap the Soviets had fallen into: Afghanistan.”  How did he plan to do it?  “To continually attack until the U.S. forces invaded; then the mujahedeen would swarm upon them and bleed them until the entire American empire fell from its wounds. It had happened to Great Britain and to the Soviet Union. He was certain it would happen to America.”

There were twists and turns on our journey from republic to empire.

George Washington warned us to avoid foreign entanglements.  Thomas Jefferson outlined the essential principles of our government which included this advice concerning foreign affairs, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.”

For more than one hundred years we concentrated on using our liberty to build a mighty nation.  Then the temptation of empire captured the American imagination in the 1890s, a time when Europe was rushing to gobble up the last places open for colonization or carving up those areas unsuited for colonies into spheres of influence.  Under President McKinley the United States entered the scramble for colonies in the Spanish-American War winning Puerto Pico and the Philippines

Teddy Roosevelt followed McKinley walking softly while carrying a big stick in the form of the Great White Fleet and multiple intrusions into the sovereignty of Latin American countries.  After being re-elected on the promise to keep America neutral President Wilson proclaimed America must fight World War I to “Make the World Safe for Democracy.”  An adventure which cost over 300, 000 casualties and which actually expanded the empires of England, France, and Japan.  After the war, the Congress of the United States re-asserted control by rejecting the international entanglements of the League of Nations Treaty returning to the traditional American foreign policy of freedom of trade and freedom of action.

Under FDR America fought an undeclared naval war against Germany in 1940 and 41 and imposed draconian embargoes against Japan prior to Pearl Harbor.  Once we were attacked we had to defend ourselves.  However, when World War II ended not with the defeat of totalitarianism but instead with the expansion of it in Eastern Europe the guiding light of American foreign policy seems to have been permanently extinguished.  As the British Empire sailed into the sunset we filled the void taking up the role of leader of the West in the Cold War.   For forty-six years we faced the Soviets until they collapsed.  Then instead of coming home we spread our wings even further embracing Eastern Europe promising to send young Americans to fight for Estonia and Slovakia among others, and so the sun never set upon the American Empire.

Not only is it against the founding principles of America to establish and maintain an empire of far-flung outposts, we cannot afford to be the Policeman of the world.  We cannot afford to build nations for people who don’t want them. How did a peaceful nation of free citizens become the advocate of pre-emptive attack and endless occupation?  How much blood and treasure will we invest in Iraq, and what will be the result?  A Shi’a ally for Iran.  The war in Afghanistan was obviously defensive and retaliatory in nature given the Taliban’s support for Al Qaeda.  But ten years later what’s it all about?  Are we really dedicated to building a modern nation for tribal people who have no sense of nationhood?  Or have we walked into the same trap that brought the Soviets to their knees?

Currently the United States has armed forces in over 130 countries.  We’re committed to defend most of these countries against aggression.  Where were all these allies on 9-11?  Where are they in Afghanistan?   Why do we have treaties binding us to go to war to defend those who refuse to support us when we’re attacked?  If these policies are counter-productive are there any alternatives?

Close the foreign bases and bring our troops home.  Station them on the border to protect us from the on-going invasion of illegal immigrants who’re overloading our systems.  We can seal and secure the mountainous border between the Koreas and we can secure our own borders if we have the wisdom and the will.  If we need to project American power use the carrier battle-groups designed for that purpose.  Protect America and rebuild our infrastructure instead of everyone else’s.  When asked what to do with the American Military after World War I Will Rogers said, “Get ’em all home, add to their number, add to their training, then just sit tight with a great feeling of security and just read about foreign wars. That’s the best thing in the world to do with them.”

If we want to save the Republic we need to lose the empire or we can cling to the empire and lose both.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

Ride to the Sound of the Guns September 2, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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2 comments

He graduated with the highest number of demerits and at the bottom of his class. He was the poster child for graduating by the skin of your teeth. Yet he also became the youngest Major General in American History and the man General Sheridan believed did more than any other to win the Civil War. He was a fighting commander whose standing order in combat was, “Ride to the sound of the guns!” Perhaps it flowed from the fact that while at West Point George Armstrong Custer didn’t study very much, that he had only one strategy, and only one tactic. The strategy was victory, and the tactic was charge.

Although our current crop of military leaders are made up of politicians who have learned how to pull the levers and work the system in a way they resemble the always ready for action Custer. They appear to be a one trick pony. Unfortunately that trick is kowtowing to the political leadership telling them exactly what they want to hear when what they need to hear might be the exact opposite.

For a decade between 1979 and 1989 the United States military and Intelligence establishments were intimately involved in supporting the Mujahedeen insurgents of Afghanistan battle against the invading Soviets. We supplied weapons, training, Intel, and logistical support. We had many field operatives, soldiers, and analysts who were deeply conversant with all the nuances of the military and political realities in Afghanistan.

Yet when our leaders decided to invade the country to flush out Al Qaeda and punish the Taliban for sheltering them, military leaders who should have known better presented and approved plans that even a layman could see would lead to a new insurgency against America as the next invaders. These leaders bowed to the dictates of modern America post-Vietnam strategy delivering a campaign with minimum casualties and victory in name not in fact. Instead of using the expert professional American forces needed to produce a real victory they relied on mercenary indigenous warriors who with the help of our firepower pushed the Taliban to the wall and then let them walk out the back door.

What is the result? Ten years later we are still fighting and taking casualties in a war scheduled to end like a bad movie in 2011 or 2014 or…? Having never sealed the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan we are fighting an enemy that can not only melt into the civilian population it can rest and regroup in safe havens attacking our isolated and exposed garrisons almost at will.

Even at this point, after President Obama’s surge, an army of less than two hundred thousand trying to pacify a nation the size of Texas with the most forbidding terrain on the planet isn’t going to work. After the investment of half a trillion dollars and more lives, limbs, and blood this mission teeters on the brink of failure. Our only allies in the country are hopelessly compromised and corrupt characters who have little relevance outside their palaces and little interest beyond funneling our money out of the country for their post-war retirement.

Where are the military leaders with the courage of Custer? Where are the ones who will hazard their career to speak truth to power? If an untutored armchair general with no more information than is commercially available can see that if we don’t seal the border and provide enough troops to hold the territory we capture we will never win why can’t military experts? Where are the generals who demand what they really need to win and ready to resign if they don’t get it? If General Petraeus had done this he would have had a lock on the Republican nomination and the White House in 2012.

What about our fearless media? Where are the nightly counts of the fallen that graced the network newscast when Bush the Younger was in office? Where are the anti-war demonstrators who stood guard outside his Texas ranch and dogged his speeches? Where are the American people? Why is no one asking how can it take more than a decade to train an Afghan army to protect their own country from their own people? In WWII we trained and deployed more than ten million soldiers, sailors and marines. We equipped armies, air forces, and navies and defeated all comers. Now we cannot secure one country in ten years?

I am not saying that after the sneak attack of 9-11 we shouldn’t have responded. We should have immediately devastated our enemies and their allies telling the Taliban if it happened again it would happen again. Al Qaeda had been attacking us for a decade, and we knew exactly where they were. With B-2s and cruise missiles we had the capability to decapitate them without the necessity of boots on the ground. We needed to strike hard and fast. We should have had the political and military leadership to take them out within twenty-four hours. Instead we dithered around until Al Qaeda and their Taliban hosts were dispersed and disappeared. We didn’t do what we should have done and instead did do what we shouldn’t have done producing a decade long occupation in a land that has defeated or outlasted every invader.

How should we have dealt with the on-going threat of Al Qaeda: a non-state enemy? Instead of fighting undeclared wars we should have followed the Constitution and granted Letters of Marque and Reprisal which would have granted compensation and legal authority to private firms or individuals to exact retribution upon the perpetrators of the attack. Such action is not only authorized by the Constitution it is recognized by International Law. Send in the military equivalent of Dog the Bounty Hunter.  Let Blackwater do the job, and see what free enterprise can accomplish.

What we need are military officers with the bravado of Custer. We need military leaders willing to hazard all, even their careers. Officers who are willing to walk into the Oval Office and say we’re fighting the wrong war, the wrong way, in the wrong place, and at the wrong time. We need officers who remember that they have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States not an administration, not a career, and not a pension.

What we need is another Custer. Without one what we may get is another Little Bighorn.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens.

 

It’s Not Over Till It’s Over May 6, 2011

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The Civil War didn’t end at the First Battle of Bull Run or at the Second for that matter. World War I didn’t end at the First Battle of the Marne or at the Second.  World War II didn’t end at Midway.

After what we now knowingly call Gulf War I we celebrated with ticker-tape parades and fireworks as if we had defeated Hitler, Tojo, and Stalin all wrapped up in one.  Yet a little more than ten years later we had to go back into Iraq to finish the job, and we’re still trying to finish it today.  What should have been an incursion into Afghanistan has lingered on for more than a decade. The sad result of our nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan will end with Iraq as Iran’s most powerful ally and the Taliban back in power in Kabul.

One persistent question after politically directed wars is, “How do you win every battle and lose a war?”  After sending the brave into Harm’s Way the generalissimos of the home front drag the fighting out by hamstringing the warriors than when war is no longer a vote getter they throw the victory away through peace-at-any-price diplomacy.

I deeply appreciate the heroic scarifies of our troops, and I’m thankful they’ve provided a life of peace and safety for myself and my family.  I celebrate the victories just as I mourn the losses in this long war.  The death of an enemy leader can have momentous impact upon a war.  The death of Attila ended his empire; the death of Hitler would have ended World War II earlier and did end it when it came.  But the death of FDR did not end the war or change the strategy, and the death of Osama Bin Laden will not bring the end to this undeclared war.

The history of irregular warfare didn’t begin with Al-Qaeda.  It didn’t begin with the Viet Cong.  Irregular warfare has existed as long as there has been ill-equipped resistance to far-flung empires.  The United States has battled irregular forces at home and in the far corners of the world since the Indian Wars. We fought irregular forces the first time we faced Islamic terrorists on the shores of Tripoli.  After we conquered the Philippines from Spain we fought irregulars for years finally winning a war the Spanish never could.  We’ve faced irregular forces in Lebanon, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  In some places we’ve prevailed in others we’ve withdrawn.  At times we’ve even used irregular tactics ourselves such as the 3000 volunteers of Merrill’s Marauders who fought behind Japanese lines in Burma during World War II.

A traditional military organization fighting irregular forces is more like trying to herd snakes than nail Jell-o to the wall, it may be hard but it isn’t impossible.  However, the initiative is on the side of the irregulars because they can strike here, there, and everywhere while the regular forces must protect important components of the infrastructure.  Revolutionaries and other disaffected groups using irregular tactics have instinctively followed the advice  of Sun Tzu, “The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue.”  As the regular forces move into an area the irregulars melt into the population.  The disruptions in the lives of civilians create recruits for the irregulars.  This is the force multiplier of the irregulars.  Every action at suppression brings fresh resources to circumvent future actions.

This will be the inevitable result of the death of Osama Bin Laden.  The immediate aftermath was wild jubilation on the part of a segment of our population, electioneering on the part of the administration, and a gross overestimation of the military significance.  One man does not make a movement and one leader does not encompass the enemy in an irregular war.

This is especially true in the case of Bin Laden and his brain child Al-Qaeda.   This organization is post-modern or perhaps pre-modern in style.  It doesn’t have a pyramid shaped flow-chart.  It doesn’t have a top-down command structure.  In many ways it’s more like a pyramid scheme where every franchise spins off new franchises and they spread out subdividing like amoebas into multiple places and shapes. These autonomous groups and rogue individuals are tied together by beliefs and ideology, united by tactics and strategy but each independent, separated and, anonymous.  No leader knows all the followers and few followers are connected directly to any leader.  These international conspirators are not united by personal contacts or unified by strategic planning; instead they’re forged into an inter-active whole by solidarity of purpose and continuity of world-view.  In such a structure the death of any one person no matter how highly placed or inspirational will not have more than a marginal impact.

As omnipresent and as faceless as the internet and as private and personal as family relations the tenuous filaments of the interlocking terror networks will prove more resilient than expected and more tenuous than imagined.  One man’s life can make a difference in the world, one man’s death rarely does.  Grave yards are filled with indispensable people.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

Obama’s War (s) May 31, 2010

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A war here, a war there, everywhere it’s war, war, war. General Douglas MacArthur wanted to invade China because they offered a safe haven for our enemies during the Korean War. In testimony before the Senate the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Omar Bradley said, “It would be the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Today we face endless wars for elusive peace when we can’t secure our own borders. We’re committed to war in Iraq and Afghanistan; we’ve been rattling sabers in Iran’s direction for years and there’s one more war just for good measure.
The Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media have stopped covering the war in Iraq. Our Progressive leaders are throwing away the peace accomplished by the surge Senator Obama opposed. Our brave troops are withdrawing from hard-won positions as violence creates havoc and Al Qaeda seeks to spark a sectarian civil war. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, our strong man in Baghdad, seeks to steal an election he lost and Iraq is selling their oil to China. Candidate Obama promised that he would immediately begin bringing the troops home at the rate of one to two brigades a month. Obama also stated he’d call for a second constitutional convention in Iraq, this one run by his friends at the United Nations, which he wouldn’t allow to adjourn until Iraq’s leaders reached a new agreement on political reconciliation. The fruits of the surge thrown aside, the same people running the Iraqi government in the same way and endless garrison duty in Iraq look likely.
Then there’s Afghanistan, the war Candidate Obama told us was the right war in the right place, and the one we need to win, which we can only assume means there’re some wars we don’t need to win. While life goes on as normal here heroic volunteers are in harm’s way.
Since taking office, President Obama, after agonizing past recent election deadlines, has done what he opposed in Iraq: sending in a surge of troops to rescue a deteriorating situation. And for the first time in American history, or maybe in any history, he announced the surge while at the same time announcing the date of our withdrawal scheduled for July 2011? So as hard as our forces are fighting, as many victories as they gain since our leader has already announced we’re leaving on a date certain, do you think maybe the Taliban is waiting in the wings? Do you think anyone in Kandahar or Kabul might think about what the Taliban might do once we leave? Saying we’re going to persevere and not quit means little when we’ve already announced the date we’re going to quit. If we send them to fight we need to let them fight to win or bring them home. They aren’t chips in games played by diplomats over Champaign glasses. They are the cream-of-the-crop, and the best America has to offer.
To top off this no-win strategy, Afghan President Hamid Karzai the man we installed and continue to prop-up with dollars we don’t have and heroes we do honors the leader of Iran and says he might join the Taliban. He’s doing this either to save face since we’ve acknowledged he’s basically the Mayor of Kabul and at least related to the biggest drug dealer in the country, or he’s doing it to wring concessions from his handlers. The tragedy is we’re sending troops to fight and die for a surrender that’s already been announced.
Iran has offered to ship half their low-enriched uranium to Turkey. True, the deal wasn’t brokered or imposed by Hilary and her crew at State it was negotiated by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazilian President Lula da Silva, and though it lacks the Obama Imprimatur it’s basically the same deal he’s demanded. If President Obama doesn’t accept this deal he’s signaling to the rest of the world that it’s his administration seeking confrontation with Iran, it’s he who refuses to throttle back the avalanche to war. Are the neo-cons who stampeded Bush to war against an Iraq that never attacked us on track to lead us to war against an Iran that hasn’t attacked anyone in centuries?
Then there’s the war for good measure, the one against free enterprise, federalism and the traditional America we’ve known waged by a president who promised (or threatened) to fundamentally transform our nation. Those of us still clinging to our God and our traditions cannot ignore the one campaign our national community organizer seems intent on winning: the one against us. From Soros-backed front groups to pandering pundits of the captured media, from union bosses to academics and bureaucrats who’ve never held a regular job in their lives, day-by-day traditional America is being transformed before our eyes. The battle may seem long, the way may seem dark, but if we keep the faith and keep the peace we shall overcome.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

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