For the past several years I have been considering an article to address the issue which the media is constantly whining and wondering about; namely, the killing of journalists overseas in war zones and elsewhere. I have hesitated until today because I write with some directness, and did not want to seem to be endorsing such activity. But I really think that the question should be asked not as “Why are journalists being killed overseas?” but rather as “Why is it that more journalists are not being killed overseas and domestically?”
In recent days, there have been a number of straws in the wind claiming that the Trump administration is pondering whether to reinforce America’s utter defeat in Afghanistan by sending more U.S. troops there. The media report, for example, that the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, has asked for more ground troops, almost certainly for use in the now out-of-control southern Afghan provinces of Kandahar and Helmand. This kind of media report is generally the prelude to an official announcement that more troops will be sent. If sent, the reason for more troops will be something akin to “the general in charge on the ground in Afghanistan knows best, and we must support him to finish the job after all the war has cost America in blood and treasure.”
In an interview with FOX’s Bill O’Reilly on 5 February 2017, President Trump botched an exemplary opportunity to strike a major blow in favor of a durable America First foreign policy. But more such chances are sure to appear, and the President ought to be ready next time out.
In their conversation, O’Reilly referred to Russian President Putin as a thug and a killer. President Trump hit a home run with a pitch-perfect response, telling O’Reilly, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” (1) With this question, the president hit the factual core, but then lost track of his non-interventionist music and wandered into needlessly worrying about the number of foreign civilians that have been killed by U.S. forces in the conduct of the unnecessary, interventionist wars their commanders-in-chief start. Lots of civilians get killed in wars, and, though that is tough to stomach, it is tremendously more important to fight and win wars with the greatest possible speed, no matter what the toll on the civilians who are either supporting or, regrettably, living near the enemy requiring annihilation. Indeed, there are times when targeting civilian populations or facilities — like Mosul University, where IS built chemical weapons — could add speed to a war-winning campaign.
The past two weeks have been full of examples that demonstrate how difficult it is to defend the United States from its enemies — as the saying goes — foreign and domestic. The Trump administration’s first step toward improved U.S. national security — the travel ban — was opposed by multicultural and therefore brain-dead political, religious, media, and academic elites in North America and Europe. As long as these paragons of idiocy are addicted to the genuinely stupid idea that you can make a political entity stronger by adding ingredients that erode its unity and pits its citizens against each other, domestic security will remain far over the horizon.
Mr. President, I know that you know, as does every sane American, that the maintenance of sanctuary cities, counties, schools, or states is a direct and lethal threat to the nation’s security, the lives of ordinary citizens and their children, and a drain on the republic’s economy. You have said this repeatedly, and have announced that you and your administration will fix the problem. That is no more than those who voted for you expect.
So, get on with it, Mr. Trump. Withdraw the U.S. military from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and let Americans watch Russia writhe in the pain that is always produced by unnecessary foreign military intervention. And as that writhing worsens, use your twitter sermons to remind the citizenry that U.S. withdrawal has allowed the republic’s enemies to fight and kill each other, as well as to begin to re-school them on the republic-preserving nature of General Washington’s recipe for a foreign policy grounded in promoting trade, non-intervention, and neutrality.
The U.S. Intelligence Community’s (IC) public report on Russia’s Putin-ordered hacking of the computers of the Democratic National Committee reads like one of those papers that a lazy or doped-up freshman buys from an online research shop and submits in hopes of scoring a C or D. Anyone worth the title of intelligence officer — even a half-assed old bureaucrat like me — could have written a more compelling paper based exclusively on newspaper articles, conjectures, OpEds, and the hysterical fantasies about “the mortal threat” posed by Russia that have been concocted by Senators McCain and Graham, and sung by the one-note, Neocon choir they lead.
The U.S. abstention on the UN Security Council’s resolution condemning Israel’s building of settlements in the West Bank was absolutely the right action, but it was taken for wrong, sophomoric, and really rather dastardly reasons.
Mr. Trump, stop being played as a dumb ass by Jewish-Americans. Every American soldier, Marine, and U.S. civilian who has died or been wounded or maimed since Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States in 1996 has been the victim — in significant part — of the record of slavish and largely unquestioning U.S. support for Israel’s national security interests.
For both the individual and the nation, America’s Founders believed, it is necessary to regularly look around and ask why what is being done is being done, this to ensure that genuine interests are being addressed. For an individual such a review may lead to an assessment that all is well, or it may detect a need to change course, perhaps a decision to quit smoking, to recant support for the Boston Red Sox, or to refuse to hold your tongue for fear of hurting daintily effete sensibilities.
Because, Mr. Trump, you will set your own foreign policy, the main tasks for the next secretary of state will be to execute that policy and to purge the Department of State of those who have, for so many decades, championed the causes of foreign countries and have plied those foreigners with taxpayer money that should have been spent at home. In simple terms, if American taxpayer money is to be spent to make life better for people, those people can only be Americans.
In view of the foregoing budding reality, and the long string of disasters that have preceded it, there never has been a better time for the U.S. national government to make a clearly America-First decision to complete the Mosul operation and then withdraw all U.S. troops, aircraft, and private contractors from Syria and Iraq. That action will let the nations from Europe, the Levant, and the Arab Peninsula who have what America has not — genuine life-and-death national interests in the ultimate outcome there – continue the war until they are successful or until they perish.