Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What can Americans do to stop their interventionist wars?

How many countries did the USA intervene or attack in the post 9/11 era?

According to Ivan Eland who writes for the antiwar.com, "Since 9/11, the United States has flailed away and attacked or invaded at least seven Muslim countries. (I say "at least" because, in contravention of the U.S. Constitution, American presidents now run secret overseas conflicts, including the latest drone wars, without public knowledge or the consent of their representatives in Congress.) Since U.S. (non-Muslim) military presence or intervention in Muslim countries was the original motivator for the 9/11 attacks, doubling down on a failed policy seemed a poor bet among many expert analysts, even during the period of hysteria after the attacks on the Pentagon and twin towers."  
"The obvious place to start is Afghanistan. Instead of just blasting the central al Qaeda group, the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, in Afghanistan and Pakistan and calling it a day, the United States decided it was going to pacify (and democratize) Afghanistan with a nation-building occupation. Never mind that the British failed to do this three times and the Soviets once very recently and that the last successful occupation of untamed and xenophobic Afghanistan was accomplished centuries before Christ by Cyrus the Great of Persia. But somehow, American politicians thought, the U.S. experience would be different. Not really. 
Most of U.S. troops have now been withdrawn from Afghanistan, and the Afghan Taliban have just conducted multiple attacks on the capital of Kabul and have made inroads in the north – not a traditional Taliban area of strength. After more than a decade of fighting – costing more than 2,300 American lives, many more Afghan lives, and at least hundreds of billions of dollars – the United States lost the war and Afghanistan’s future still looks bleak. The U.S. war in Afghanistan also destabilized the neighboring nuclear-armed state of Pakistan – perhaps the most dangerous country in the world – leading to the rise of the Pakistani Taliban and that group’s attacking U.S. targets, including an attempted bombing of Times Square in New York, writes Eland.

He continues, "Learning nothing from Bush’s meddling in Iraq, Barack Obama decided to commit the same idiocy in Libya. Implying the false claim that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was massacring civilians, Obama, pressured by the French, overthrew Gaddafi using a bombing campaign. Like Iraq, Libya is an artificial country... Even worse, jihadists, using weapons from Gaddafi’s vast stockpiles and training received at terrorist bases in Libya, have attacked neighboring Tunisia and Mali.  
In Yemen, another artificial country in civil war where natural borders don’t match actual borders, empirical research has shown an increase in numbers of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters in the wake of U.S. air attacks on that country. When your group or country is attacked and civilians are killed (even if accidentally), a rally-around-the-flag effect usually occurs.
In Somalia, George W. Bush, encouraged and aided Ethiopia, perceived as a Christian country by the Somalis, in its invasion of the country. As a result, the al Shabaab Islamist group was formed, which took over most of the country. The United States then encouraged Kenya and the African Union to beat back al Shabaab. Al Shabaab has been weakened, but these insurgencies are rarely over."

So what can ordinary Americans do? Eland opines, "Yet the sickness of militarism and interventionism lies not with the politicians, but with the American people. In a democracy, the people can eventually stop stupid and counterproductive wars, as they did in Vietnam, but they first need to admit that their government is doing exactly what the Islamist terrorists want in its too public and excessively profligate military overreaction to terrorist provocation. Occasionally, a military response may be needed to terrorism, but it should be quick, surgical, and done in the shadows, so as not to be a recruiting poster for jihadists. However, the United States shouldn’t be needlessly making more enemies by doing useless meddling in the political systems of Islamic countries."

You can read the full text of his article by clicking here.

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