Since the death of Osama bin Laden we have seen hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle about whether or not the photos of his dead body should be made public. I for one am glad he is dead and do think the photos should be shown. However, the beliefs of those on the right and the left contradict each other based on past statements about such information.
Many on the right have stated in the past that pictures or videos like these ought not to be shown as it will only enrage the terrorists and those sympathetic to them and thus endanger our troops. Many on the left have claimed in the past that this type information needs to be shown basically to illustrate the violations and/or brutality of our own government and/or troops thus making the moral argument that war is wrong because it gets results similar to this.
Case in point here is a video the right did not want released about the US Military killing innocent civilians in Iraq and the left did. Don’t get me wrong I support our troops, but that does not mean they are not wrong from time to time and that it should not be handled.
The best way to support our troops though is not to put them in a situation like this again, which I will attempt to make the argument for throughout this piece.
You will note that this information is from Wikileaks, now I have my concerns about Wikileaks and their motives as I think Julian Assange is being used by higher powers to stir things up. However, the sad commentary is that Wikileaks has to even exist in the first place. Course there is a Conservative Purpose for Wikileaks, if anyone cares to look in to that logic.
Now though the roles are pretty much reversed the right wants this information released and the left does not. What has changed? For those on the right, would this still not enrage the terrorists, to those on the left would this not justify your belief in the USA’s brutality? Sure there are exceptions on either side of the aisle but as a whole this is the accepted argument yet the roles are now reversed kinda. The left has taken the stance that this would only incite more violence and that the pictures are just too gruesome, on the right it is not that we are brutal, but to show that we are strong and not to be messed with and the fact that this president does not want to show that is a sign of weakness, despite the fact Obama did want Clinton never could, give the order to kill OBL. That’s just it though this is the only difference, the President. Sure one video is of civilians the other a terrorist. But in the world of the Middle East, does it really matter who it is, it’s the USA killing people in their eyes, one is of innocent civilians, the other is of a Terrorist….er…maybe to them a Freedom Fighter. Don’t get me wrong OBL was pure evil, but many over there don’t look at him that way. 9/11 was a result of Blowback as our own CIA points out due to our presence around the world. That may be a reason for it, but it is no excuse, 9/11 does not equate to our presence around the world, but it should make us wonder if we should be everywhere, especially if we are not wanted.
This begs the question, if he is pure evil, and he is, then why in the 80’s did we work with him and fund him and give him guns to fight the Soviets. Boils down to this, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Well we have seen how well that philosophy has worked instead of facing bad regimes head on we have picked sides, and it has come back to bite us in the rear. There are numerous examples I could go through but I will pick a few that should hit home for us Americans. Many in the USA have an allegiance to Israel for one reason or another, yet our own government is trying to slice up their lands, tie their hands and we have supplied money and guns to both sides. Wow what a friend we are, yet we still call this help. Another is the fact that before Libya turned into the mess it did we were about to give them some more military weapons, now we are “At Not War” with them as John Stewart likes to put it, as we have given the reigns over to NATO…oh wait that’s us.
There is also another little twist in this whole scenario, Ron Paul a Presidential Candidate for President in the Republican Primary has come under fire for saying that he would not have ordered the mission to kill OBL and even though I am glad he is dead, as is Ron Paul he has an interesting point to be made. Essentially we should have worked with the Pakistani government to get OBL, like we did KSM. Paul poses this question:
“What if he would have been in a hotel in London? If we wanted to keep it secret, would we have sent the helicopters into London because they were afraid the information would get out? No, you don’t want to do that,”
Put another way what if China wanted to get someone in the USA?….We probably would not take to kindly to it now would we?
However, many now question Pakistan’s status as an “ally” because of where OBL was and if we should cut off foreign aid to Pakistan. Well Paul says we should and he raises a very interesting point about that as well, why would they really “help” us If we are paying them Billions to find terrorists, would they not want to keep that game going. Now if we don’t they may just run to China instead of us, that’s not a good scenario for the USA now is it. All foreign aid is, is taking from the poor in a rich country and giving it to the rich in a poor country and solves nothing.
Paul’s original answer to all of this is a Constitutional solution; Letters of Marque and Reprisal, after all we are capitalists right, if we pay Mercs top dollar for OBL we very well may have had him sooner and taken down in a similar scenario as the Navy Seals Team did, small, quick, and deadly. Instead we have waged two wars, lost thousands of lives and wasted billions of dollars. We have 50K troops in Iraq nation building a country we obliterated, and we have 100K troops in Afghanistan hunting down 100 Al-Qaeda, yet OBL was not even in there.
OBL is dead, now what? Do we keep fighting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan even though they are worldwide? Do we find a new Boogey Man in say, Gaddafi, who was our enemy before he was our ally, but is now our enemy again? How do we fight a War on Terror with traditional armies? We don’t and our own history should prove that out. We won the American Revolution because we devised guerrilla tactics against the Traditional Army of the day, and the best at that in Great Britain. Both Great Britain and Russia saw the end of their empires in Afghanistan wasting money and lives, will we do the same? All these questions about our national security and we can’t even protect our own border and Obama makes jokes in Texas about it, how sad, kinda makes you think it’s all just a chess match and the innocent civilians of the world are just pawns.
What a complicated mess we have ourselves in. We have 900 Military Bases around the world (contributing those countries’ economies and not ours I might add) and troops in 135 countries, which is about 70% of the world. This sounds more like an American Empire and not a Constitutional Republic and as history shows all empires decline, and it’s not pretty because they can’t sustain it. They can’t sustain the military abroad, and they can’t sustain the paid distractions at home.
So I ask the question? When are we going to get back to the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson?
“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.”
Will this come too late or not?
There was an interesting point right at the beginning of the Republican Debate in South Carolina on May 5th that the moderators saw fit not to elaborate on. The question was should the pictures of OBL be released, all said yes except for Herman Cain. It would have been nice to know each candidate’s response; we might have learned a lot about who should be in the White House. But let’s imagine for a moment. Cain said not, probably taking the old Republican stance before it changed to we can gloat now, that it would hurt our troops. Pawlenty and Santorum said yes, probably to show what a great foreign policy we have, after all it took the US government 10 years to catch OBL…sounds like it is working pretty good to me, and Ron Paul and Gary Johnson said yes, but I am betting for a different reason, the government should not keep secrets from its people because the government is an agent of them and it serves them.Secrets ;however, is what the government wants, it wants whack conspiracies out there keeping the public guessing and this keeps us dependent upon them.
Given all this I certainly hope a Constitutional candidate is chosen, and not some typical left vs. right candidate that will only tweak what version of a Declining American Empire they think we might want.