Who Should Pay For The Syrian Refugees?

Last week, Congress dealt a blow to President Obama’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrians fleeing their war-torn homeland. On a vote of 289-137, including 47 Democrats, the House voted to require the FBI to closely vet any applicant from Syria and to guarantee that none of them pose a threat to the US. Effectively, this will shut down the program.

The House legislation was brought to the Floor after last week’s attacks in Paris that left more than 120 people dead, and for which ISIS claimed responsibility. With the year-long U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, there is a good deal of concern that among those 10,000 to be settled here, there might be some who wish to do us harm. Even though it looks as though the Paris attackers were all EU citizens, polling in the U.S. shows record opposition to allowing Syrian refugees entry.

I agree that we must be very careful about who is permitted to enter the United States, but I object to the president’s plan for a very different reason. I think it is a sign of Washington’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy that U.S. citizens are being forced to pay for those fleeing Washington’s foreign policy.

For the past ten years, the U.S. government has been planning and executing a regime change operation against the Syrian government. It is this policy that has produced the chaos in Syria, including the rise of ISIS and al-Qaeda in the country. After a decade of U.S. destabilization efforts, we are now told that Syria is totally destabilized, and we therefore must take in thousands of Syrians fleeing the destabilization that Washington caused.

Has there ever been a more foolish and wrong-headed foreign policy than this?

The American people have been forced to pay untold millions for a ten-year CIA and Pentagon program to undermine and overthrow the Syrian government, and now we are supposed to pay millions more to provide welfare for the refugees Obama created.

Who should pay for the millions fleeing the chaos that Washington helped create? How about the military-industrial complex, which makes a killing promoting killing? How about the Beltway neocon think-tanks that continue to churn out pro-war propaganda while receiving huge grants from defense contractors? How about President Obama’s national security advisors, who push him into one regime change disaster after another? How about Hillary Clinton, who came up with the bright idea that “Assad must go”? How about President Obama himself, a president elected to end wars, but who has ended up starting more wars than his predecessor?

It’s time those who start the wars start paying for the disasters they create. Then perhaps we might have some relief from an interventionist foreign policy that is destroying our financial and national security.

If Obama wants to take in refugees from the chaos in Syria, there are probably plenty of vacant rooms in the White House.

© Copyright 2015 Ron Paul

Here’s What Really Should Be Done In The Aftermath Of The Terror Attacks

The horrific attacks in Paris on Friday have, predictably, led to much overreaction and demands that we do more of the exact things that radicalize people and make them want to attack us.

The French military wasted no time bombing Syria in retaliation for the attacks, though it is not known where exactly the attackers were from. Thousands of ISIS fighters in Syria are not Syrian, but came to Syria to overthrow the Assad government from a number of foreign countries — including from France and the United States.

Ironically, the overthrow of Assad has also been the goal of both the U.S. and France since at least 2011.

Because the U.S. and its allies are essentially on the same side as ISIS and other groups — seeking the overthrow of Assad — many of the weapons they have sent to the more “moderate” factions also seeking Assad’s ouster have ended up in the hands of radicals. Moderate groups have joined more radical factions over and over, taking their U.S.-provided training and weapons with them. Other moderate groups have been captured or killed, their U.S.-provided weapons also going to the radicals. Thus, the more radical factions have become better equipped and better trained, while occasionally being attacked by U.S. or allied planes.

Does anyone not believe this is a recipe for the kind of disaster we have now seen in Paris? The French in particular have been very active in arming even the more radical groups in Syria, as they push for more political influence in the region. Why do they still refuse to believe in the concept of blowback? Is it because the explanation that, “they hate us because we are free,” makes it easier to escalate abroad and crack down at home?

It may not be popular to say this as emotions run high and calls ring out for more bombing in the Middle East, but there is another way to address the problem. There is an alternative to using more military intervention to address a problem that was caused by military intervention in the first place.

That solution is to reject the militarists and isolationists. It is to finally reject the policy of using “regime change” to further perceived U.S. and western foreign policy goals, whether in Iraq, Libya, Syria, or elsewhere. It is to reject the foolish idea that we can ship hundreds of millions of dollars worth of weapons to “moderates” in the Middle East and expect none of them to fall into the hands of radicals.

More bombs will not solve the problems in the Middle East. But a more promising approach to the Middle East is currently under fire from the isolationists in Washington.

The nuclear deal with Iran ends UN sanctions and opens that country to international trade. Just last week, the presidents of France and Iran met to discuss a number of trade deals. Other countries have followed. Trade and respect for national sovereignty trumps violence, but Washington still doesn’t seem to get it. Most presidential candidates compete to thump the table loudest against any deal with Iran. They will use this attack to propagandize against approving trade with Iran even though Iran has condemned the attack and is also in the crosshairs of ISIS.

Here is the alternative: Focus on trade and friendly relations, stop shipping weapons, abandon “regime change” and other manipulations, respect national sovereignty, and maintain a strong defense at home including protecting the borders from those who may seek to do us harm.

We should abandon the failed policies of the past, before it’s too late.

© Copyright 2015 Ron Paul

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

Does The Bell Toll For The Fed?

Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen hinted that the Federal Reserve Board will increase interest rates at the board’s December meeting. The positive jobs report that was released following Yellen’s remarks caused many observers to say that the Federal Reserve’s first interest rate increase in almost a decade is practically inevitable.

However, there are several reasons to doubt that the Fed will increase rates anytime in the near future. One reason is that the official unemployment rate understates unemployment by ignoring the over 94 million Americans who have either withdrawn from the labor force or settled for part-time work. Presumably the Federal Reserve Board has access to the real unemployment numbers and is thus aware that the economy is actually far from full employment.

The decline in the stock market following Friday’s jobs report was attributed to many investors’ fears over the impact of the predicted interest rate increase. Wall Street’s jitters about the effects of a rate increase is another reason to doubt that the Fed will soon increase rates. After all, according to former Federal Reserve official Andrew Huszar, protecting Wall Street was the main goal of “quantitative easing,” so why would the Fed now risk a Christmastime downturn in the stock markets?

Donald Trump made headlines last week by accusing Janet Yellen of keeping interest rates low because she does not want to risk another economic downturn in President Obama’s last year in office. I have many disagreements with Mr. Trump, but I do agree with him that the Federal Reserve’s polices may be influenced by partisan politics.

Janet Yellen would hardly be the first Fed chair to allow politics to influence decision-making. Almost all Fed chairs have felt pressure to “adjust” monetary policy to suit the incumbent administration, and almost all have bowed to the pressure. Economists refer to the Fed’s propensity to tailor monetary policy to suit the needs of incumbent presidents as the “political” business cycle.

Presidents of both parties, and all ideologies, have interfered with the Federal Reserve’s conduct of monetary policy. President Dwight D. Eisenhower actually threatened to force the Fed chair to resign if he did not give in to Ike’s demands for easy money, while then-Federal Reserve Chair Arthur Burns was taped joking about Fed independence with President Richard Nixon.

The failure of the Fed’s policies of massive money creation, corporate bailouts, and quantitative easing to produce economic growth is a sign that the fiat money system’s day of reckoning is near. The only way to prevent the monetary system’s inevitable crash from causing a major economic crisis is the restoration of a free-market monetary policy.

One positive step Congress may take this year is passing the Audit the Fed bill. Fortunately, Senator Rand Paul is using Senate rules to force the Senate to hold a roll-call vote on Audit the Fed. The vote is expected to take place in the next two-to-three weeks. If Audit the Fed passes, the American people can finally learn the full truth about the Fed’s operations. If it fails, the American people will at least know which senators side with them and which ones side with the Federal Reserve.

Allowing a secretive central bank to control monetary policy has resulting in an ever-expanding government, growing income inequality, a series of ever-worsening economic crises, and a steady erosion of the dollar’s purchasing power. Unless this system is changed, America, and the world, will soon experience a major economic crisis. It is time to finally audit, then end, the Fed.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

Save The Apologies, Tony Blair; Just Stop Promoting War!

Usually when politicians apologize, it’s because they have been caught doing something wrong, or they are about to be caught. Such was likely the case with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who recently offered an “apology” for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Blair faces the release of a potentially damning report on his government’s conduct in the run-up to the 2003 US/UK invasion of Iraq.

Similarly, a batch of emails released from the private server of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton show Blair pledging support for US military action against Iraq a full year before the decision to attack had supposedly been made. While Prime Minister Blair was assuring his constituents that he was dedicated to diplomacy in the Iraq crisis, he was communicating through back channels that he was ready for war whenever Bush decided on it.

A careful observer of public opinion, Blair took the surprising step of “apologizing” for the Iraq war during an interview on CNN last month.

However, there are two other characteristics of politicians’ apologies: they rarely take personal blame for a misdeed, and rarely do they atone for those misdeeds.

Thus, Tony Blair did not apologize for his role in pushing the disastrous Iraq war. He did not apologize for having, as former head UN Iraq inspector Hans Blix claimed, “misrepresented intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to gain approval for the Iraq War.”

No, Tony Blair “apologized” for “the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong,” on Iraq. He apologized for “mistakes in planning” for post-Saddam Iraq. He boldly refused to apologize for removing Saddam from power.

In other words, he apologized that the intelligence manipulated by his cronies to look like Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to the UK turned out to not be the case. For Blair, it was someone else’s fault.

But if we are waiting for any kind of apology from George W. Bush for Iraq, we shouldn’t hold our breath. Likewise, if we are looking for any kind of apology from President Obama for a similarly disastrous war on false pretext against Libya, we shouldn’t bother waiting.

If they ever did apologize, we can be sure that like Blair, they would never really confess to their own manipulations; nor would they seek to atone for the destruction their manipulations caused.

In fact, far from apologizing for leading the United States into the Libya war based on a false pretext, President Obama is taking US ground troops into Syria on a false pretext. Let’s not forget, this US military action was sold as a limited operation to save a small religious minority stranded on a hilltop in northern Iraq. After one year and thousands of bombing runs against Iraq and Syria, Obama announced last week he is sending US ground troops into Syria after promising no fewer than seven times that he would not do so.

Here’s an idea: instead of apologies and non-apologies from politicians, how about an actual debate on the policies that led to such disasters? Why not discuss why the US keeps being drawn into wars on false pretexts? But that is a discussion we will not have, because both parties are in favor of these wars. They are ready to spend us into Third World status to continue their empire. When we get there, we will never hear their apologies.

Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

House Benghazi Hearings: Too Much Too Late

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to appear before a select committee looking into the attack on a US facility in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. The attack left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.

As might be expected, however, the “Benghazi Committee” hearings have proven not much more than a means for each party to grandstand for political points.

In fact, I would call these Congressional hearings “too much, too late.”

Four years after the U.S.-led overthrow of the Libyan government — which left the country a wasteland controlled by competing Islamist gangs and militias — the committee wants to know whether Hillary Clinton had enough guards at the facility in Benghazi on the night of the attack? The most important thing to look into about Libya is Hillary Clinton’s e-mails or management style while Secretary of State?

Why no House Committee hearing before President Obama launched his war on Libya? Why no vote on whether to authorize the use of force? Why no hearing after the President violated the Constitution by sending the military into Libya with UN authorization rather than Congressional authorization? There are Constitutional tools available to Congress when a president takes the country to war without a declaration or authorization. At the time, President Obama claimed he did not need authorization from Congress because the U.S. was not engaged in “hostilities.” It didn’t pass the laugh test, but Congress did next to nothing about it.

When the Obama Administration decided to attack Libya, I joined Rep. Dennis Kucinich and others in an attempt to force a vote on the president’s war. I introduced my own legislation warning the administration that, “the President is required to obtain in advance specific statutory authorization for the use of United States Armed Forces in response to civil unrest in Libya.”

We even initiated a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking the courts to rule on whether the president broke the law in attacking Libya.

Unfortunately, we got nowhere with our efforts. When it looked like we had the votes to pass a resolution introduced by Rep. Kucinich to invoke War Powers Resolution requirements on the president for the use of force in Libya, Speaker Boehner cancelled the vote.

Why were there no hearings at the time to discuss this very important Constitutional matter? Because the leadership of both parties wanted the war. Both parties — with few exceptions — agree with the ideology of U.S. interventionism worldwide.

Secretary Clinton defended the State Department’s handling of security at the Benghazi facility by pointing out that there are plenty of diplomatic posts in war zones and that danger in these circumstances is to be expected. However, she never mentioned why Benghazi remained a “war zone” a year after the U.S. had “liberated” Libya from Gaddafi.

Why was Libya still a war zone? Because the U.S. intervention left Libya in far worse shape than it was under Gaddafi. We don’t need to endorse Gaddafi to recognize that today’s Libya, controlled by al-Qaeda and ISIS militias, is far worse off — and more of a threat to the U.S. — than it was before the bombs started falling.

The problem is the ideology of interventionism, not the management of a particular intervention. Interventionism has a terrible track record, from 1953 in Iran, to Vietnam, to 2003 in Iraq, to 2011 in Libya and Syria. A real Congressional hearing should focus on the crimes and mistakes of the interventionists!

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.