American foreign policy

Summed up in a single piece of (probably illegal) public art:

Soldiers raising the golden arches

Billions served!

The rotten political center

In my short lifespan, I’ve heard a lot of talk and celebration for this concept of bipartisanship. With the possible exception of Fox News, most media outlets will applaud a so-called “moderate” politician for ignoring their platforms or the wishes of their constituents in the name of compromise.

So who are the idols of the “independent center?” We hear a lot of talk about people like McCain and Lieberman when it comes to this myth of bipartisan moderation – but check out this bill they are currently trying to sneak through Congress:

Whenever within the United States, its territories, and possessions, or outside the territorial limits of the United States, an individual is captured or otherwise comes into the custody or under the effective control of the United States who is suspected of engaging in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners through an act of terrorism, or by other means in violation of the laws of war, or of purposely and materially supporting such hostilities, and who may be an unprivileged enemy belligerent, the individual shall be placed in military custody for purposes of initial interrogation and determination of status in accordance with the provisions of this Act.


An individual, including a citizen of the United States, determined to be an unprivileged enemy belligerent under section 3(c)(2) in a manner which satisfies Article 5 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War may be detained without criminal charges and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners in which the individual has engaged, or which the individual has purposely and materially supported, consistent with the law of war and any authorization for the use of military force provided by Congress pertaining to such hostilities.

We’ve come a long way in this country, when the center of our political debate is owned by people like these – people who don’t believe in the fundamental values of our nation or the rules of the constitution that they have sworn to uphold.

If this is the middle then, I am proud to be in the fringe element: left or right, wherever there are people who believe in freedom and justice, I will be there.

Judge Jim Gray: The War on Drugs Must End

A conservative judge explains his conversion from drug warrior to social reformer and champion of liberty:

Basically, he nails the problem with the war on drugs by explaining exactly who benefits from the laws and who pays for the negative consequences of our outdated policies.

Prohibition has always failed and always will – it is contrary to the very spirit of American liberity. Until these issues are fixed though, we can expect lots of money flowing in to the gangs and prisons and police departments. Luckily, its a shortage of cash that might have us evaluate the moral wrongs being carried out in the name of zero tolerance and drug-free dreaming.

Huge Budget Feeds War Machine

The President has unveiled his proposal for next year’s federal budget, and the results point to a further escalation in military actions and spending.  Despite campaign promises to reign in the military machine, the numbers presented will be a significant boost over last year’s already inflated numbers.

Now, Obama didn’t exactly run as a dove, but he was branding himself as the “least hawkish” of the hawks we could have otherwise chosen from.

Will America reward Obama for expanding our military actions and spending a billion on airport scanner machines that don’t actually detect the bombs they’re supposed to be protecting us from?

Bin Laden’s stated goal was to bankrupt the United States in an unwinnable war on Islamic soil.  So far, we seem to be playing right in to his plans.

Keep an Eye on Pakistan…

The so-called “War on Terror” is hardly over now that Bush has left office – in fact, it is intensifying and spreading across the borders from its original locations.

In Iraq, all eyes are on the Iranian border, especially as Iranian forces appear to have seized a lucrative oil field near the often-disputed national boundaries.  Turkey has made a few moves and is posturing to influence the Kurdish north, but they’re also a bit more interested in maintaining amicable relations with the U.S.

In Afghanistan, the problems of terrorism and fundamentalism don’t stop where the border with Pakistan was drawn.  Tribal influences don’t always respect political or cartographic lines.

As such, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to hear that the U.S. military has been increasingly active in Pakistan, Yemen, and possibly even inside Iran as well (in relation to the protests against the latest elections).

Instead of spreading democracy and building stability, the military interventions have disrupted a delicate and vulnerable balance of powers across the Middle East.  Yet while the pre-existing order was somewhat stable, prior to meddling, it was a fragile situation that forced conflicting cultural ideologies into a single political unit.

As the war continues in search of some new order, it will increasingly ignore the arbitrary borders of the Middle East, and more nations will come to be involved.  Intended or not, the ultimate result of our actions abroad may lead to a new united Islamic super-state – a sort of regional power not unlike the European Union or the United States.

War & Politics – Like a Bad Dream

Reading through the political news is something like reliving a bad dream. Crowned thugs demand loyalty and obedience.  Thieves lurk in every shadow and armored beasts spew dragon fire.  A flying monster drops bombs – death from an unseen above.

Except you don’t wake up.  The next day’s news shows you another scene with all the same players and brand new deaths.

The nightmare goes on and on, with never and end in sight.

Quietly Invading Africa

America is quickly and quietly advancing the militarized front from the Middle East to Africa.

With the exception of Iran, the entire Middle East Region has pretty much become dominated by the massive US military presence.  I can’t say exactly what good it does us, but from a strategy perspective its hard to argue that any nation has as much power and influence in the area.

Since the Middle East imperial adventure was such a “success,” we’ve decided to direct our attentions to the west and south:  Particularly into the horn of Africa.

Keep an ear out for AFRICOM – its our latest overseas focus even if we aren’t talking about it too much.

Oh noes, we’re losing Afghanistan!

Today’s political meme: If we don’t do something to heat up our war effort, we’ll lose in Afghanistan!

A few significant attacks go off, and suddenly the spin-masters are trying to make it sound like our honor is at stake unless we authorize some huge, expensive counter-offensive that kills a whole bunch of bad guys. Of course, its inevitable and conveniently left out that any such attack would almost certainly include killing some not so bad guys. Ok, completely innocent people.

But forget that and focus on the real issue, America! You donn’t want to lose at something, do you?