I have a modest ten-part proposal for the federal government, although some people undoubtedly will consider it radical.
1. Immediately vacate Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. government has had 8-9 years to do as much killing, injuring, maiming, and destroying as it wants in those two countries.
Time’s up. Enough is enough.
After all, let’s not forget that neither the Iraqi people nor their government ever attacked the United States. That makes the United States the aggressor and Iraq the defending power. When you add the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who died as a result of the 1991-2003 sanctions to the countless Iraqis who have been killed, maimed, tortured, and destroyed during the past 8 years, that adds up to a lot of misery inflicted on the Iraqi people.
And for what? Democracy? Where was devotion to democracy when the U.S. government supported such unelected dictators as the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Augusto Pinochet, Pervez Musharraf, and many, many more? Anyway, everyone knows that the Saddam Hussein regime has been replaced by nothing more than a kleptocracy — a crooked, corrupt, brutal, radical Islamic regime. That’s what American soldiers are killing and dying for.
It’s really no different in Afghanistan, the so-called good war. Interventionists continue to justify that invasion on the basis that because Osama bin Laden was presumably living in Afghanistan on 9/11, that meant that the Taliban government was complicit in the 9/11 attacks. “They harbored him,” has been the standard cry justifying 9 years of killing, maiming, torture, arbitrary arrests, and secret prisons.
Yet, U.S. officials have never provided one iota of proof that the Taliban had any participation in or even any foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. In fact, the circumstantial evidence establishes the contrary.
Would President Bush have demanded that the Taliban extradite bin Laden if the Taliban had conspired to commit the attacks? Would Bush have gone to the United Nations seeking authorization to use military force against Afghanistan?
Of course not. Bush would have simply ordered an attack (or properly sought a congressional declaration of war) under the concept of self-defense.
Fifteen out of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. Did that make the Saudi government complicit in the 9/11 attacks? Why didn’t the U.S. government invade Saudi Arabia after 9/11? The reason is that the Saudi government wasn’t involved in the attacks notwithstanding the fact that some of the suspected terrorists were living in Saudi Arabia.
Why did Bush attack Afghanistan? Because the Taliban refused to unconditionally comply with his extradition demand for bin Laden, notwithstanding the fact that there was no extradition agreement between Afghanistan and the United States.
Today, American troops continue to kill and die in Afghanistan to preserve another kleptocracy — a crooked, corrupt, fraudulent, unelected regime that is doing nothing more than trying to preserve its power and line its pockets with U.S. taxpayer money. That’s nothing to kill or die for.
Interventionists say the U.S. government must continue to indefinitely occupy Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from regaining power. The idea is that even though the Taliban didn’t conspire to commit the 9/11 attacks, it is now so angry as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation that it will surely now provide a sanctuary for al Qaeda if it regains power.
But that’s sheer speculation, and speculation is no reason to continue killing, maiming, injuring, torturing, and destroying people. It’s just as possible that once the United States vacates Afghanistan, the Taliban will simply revert back to trying to establish its control over the country and leave the United States alone.
In fact, given that the reason that foreigners, including bin Laden, wish to commit terrorist acts against the United States is the U.S. government’s interventionist foreign policy, once the interventionism comes to an end, the anger that motivates Middle Easterners to become terrorists will evaporate.
2. Dismantle the sanctions and end the threats against Iran. Leave the Iranian people alone.
3. Bring all the troops home from Europe. Leave Russia alone. Cold War is over.
4. Bring all the troops home from Korea, Japan, and the rest of Asia. Leave them alone.
5. End the drug war and bring all the troops home from Latin America. Leave them alone.
6. Bring all the troops home from everywhere else. Leave the world alone.
7. Discharge all those returning troops into the private sector.
8. Close unnecessary military bases all across America and discharge those troops into the private sector.
9. Liberate the American people — the private sector — to freely travel and trade with the people of the world. Start by immediately lifting all travel and trade restrictions with Cuba. The 50-year old embargo has caused enough suffering.
10. Leave the American people alone too.