I Wish Nobody Was Bombing Syria

The U.S. regime change policy for Syria has been a catastrophe. More than 200,000 killed and an entire country reduced to rubble at least partly because President Obama decided that “Assad has lost his legitimacy.”

How is it that the president of a country 6,000 miles away has the authority to decide whether another leader belongs in office or not? What if Rouhani in Iran decided that Obama had lost his legitimacy for killing a number of American citizens by drone without charge or trial? Would we accept that?

At least three years of U.S. efforts to train rebels to overthrow the Syrian government has produced, as General Lloyd Austin, Commander of U.S. Central Command, testified last month, “four or five” trained and vetted “moderates” in Syria. The $500 million appropriated for this purpose has disappeared.

The neocon solution to this failure to overthrow Assad and “degrade and destroy” ISIS is to increase the bombing and lead a ground invasion of Syria. The confusing policy of fighting Assad and also fighting his enemies does not seem to bother the neocons. They want us to forget all about their recent failures in Libya and Iraq and to try the same failed strategy one more time.

But something dramatic happened last week. Russian president Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the United Nations criticizing the U.S. policy of partnering with one set of extremists — al-Qaeda and its allies — to attack both ISIS and Assad. “Do you realize now what you have done?” asked Putin.

Shortly after Putin’s UN speech, he requested and was granted authority from the Russian parliament to use force in Syria in response to the Syrian government’s request for assistance against the rebels. Russian fighters and bombers began flying sorties over Syria almost immediately. In less than a week of Russian bombing, considerable damage appears to have been done to both ISIS and to al-Qaeda affiliates — some of which are considered allies by the U.S. and were actually trained by the CIA.

It may be tempting to cheer Russian military action in Syria, as it seems ISIS is finally suffering some considerable losses. Press reports suggest large numbers of desertions in their ranks after the Russian attacks. All of a sudden, what looked to be an inevitable ISIS takeover of Syria, once Assad was overthrown, seems far less likely with the Russians on the scene.

But I cannot cheer the bombs, whether they are Russian bombs or US bombs or French or British bombs. I do not believe a terrorist group created by foreign intervention in the region will be solved by more foreign intervention in the region. Bombs represent a total failure of policy. They destroy a country’s economy and infrastructure.

I wish the American people would finally demand that their government end its destructive policy of trying to change any regime that does not bow to Washington’s demands. I wish Congress respected our Constitution enough to demand that the president seek a declaration of war before attacking a foreign country. I wish President Bush and his neocon advisors had never decided to overthrow the Syrian government. I wish President Obama had fired the neocons who led him from one foolish intervention to another. I wish the CIA had not trained rebels to fight alongside al-Qaeda in Syria. I wish we would reject the shrill cries of the warmongers. I wish the U.S. media was more than just a propaganda arm of the U.S. government.

I am not thrilled that Russia is bombing Syria. I wish nobody was bombing Syria.

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

Congress And The Fed Refuse To Learn From Their Mistakes

This month marks the seventh anniversary of the bursting of the housing bubble and the subsequent economic meltdown. The mood in Congress following the meltdown resembled the panicked atmosphere that followed the September 11th attacks. As was the case after September 11th, Congress rushed to pass hastily written legislation that, instead of dealing with the real causes of the crisis, simply gave the government more power.

Just as few understood the role our interventionist foreign policy played in the September 11th attacks, few in Congress understood that the 2008 meltdown was caused by the Federal Reserve and Congress, not by unregulated capitalism. Not surprising to anyone familiar with economic history, the story of the 2008 meltdown starts with the bursting of the Fed-created tech bubble.

Following the collapse of the tech bubble, the Fed began aggressively pumping money into the economy. This money flooded into the housing market, creating the housing bubble. The Bush Administration and the Republican Congress also added fuel to the housing bubble. These so-called “free-market” conservatives expanded federal housing programs in hopes of creating an “ownership society.”

If Congress understood the Austrian theory of the business cycle, it would have allowed the recession that followed the housing bubble’s inevitable collapse to run its course. Recessions are the economy’s way of eliminating the distortions caused by the Federal Reserve. Attempts by Congress and the Fed to end a recession via inflation and government spending will only lead to future, and more severe, economic downturns.

The corporate bailouts, government spending, and money creation via quantitative easing that Congress and the Fed have engaged in since the fall of 2008 have failed to produce even the illusion of prosperity. The daily experience of most Americans shows that the government’s doctored statistics drastically understate both unemployment and inflation.

This is not to say that no Americans have benefited from Federal Reserve policies. Even Donald Trump has called quantitative easing “a great deal for guys like me.” Much of the growth of government over the past seven years, from the bailouts to the increases in military and domestic spending to Obamacare, has also benefited politically-connected crony capitalists.

The Federal Reserve’s continued delay of an interest rate increase suggests that, contrary to its public statements, the Fed understands that the economy has not recovered from the meltdown and is on the brink of another major recession. Fear that the Fed is not being fully forthcoming with its view of the economy is one reason the stock market declined following the Fed’s recent decision to once again postpone increasing interest rates.

Learning the full truth about how the Fed evaluates the economy and its plans to respond to another downturn are two reasons why it is important to pass the Audit the Fed bill.

A vote on Audit the Fed would probably be the only good thing to occur in Congress this year. A Congress that cannot defund Planned Parenthood is unlikely to make any serious cuts in spending. Instead of waiting for politicians to do the right thing, those who know the truth must spread the ideas of liberty as far and wide as possible. Only when the teachings of the Austrian school are embraced by a critical mass of Americans will Congress cut warfare spending, cut welfare spending, and audit, and 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.

Blame America? No, Blame Neocons!

Is the current refugee crisis gripping the European Union “all America’s fault”? That is how my critique of U.S. foreign policy was characterized in a recent interview on the Fox Business Channel. I do not blame the host for making this claim, but I think it is important to clarify the point.

It has become common to discount any criticism of U.S. foreign policy as “blaming America first.” It is a convenient way of avoiding a real discussion. If aggressive U.S. policy in the Middle East — for example in Iraq — results in the creation of terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda in Iraq, is pointing out the unintended consequences of bad policy blaming America? Is it “blaming America” to point out that blowback — like we saw on 9/11 — can be the result of unwise U.S. foreign policy actions like stationing U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia?

In the Fox interview, I pointed out that the current refugee crisis is largely caused by bad U.S. foreign policy actions. The U.S. government decides on regime change for a particular country — in this case, Syria — destabilizes the government, causes social chaos, and destroys the economy, and we are supposed to be surprised that so many people are desperate to leave? Is pointing this out blaming America, or is it blaming that part of the U.S. government that makes such foolish policies?

Accusing those who criticize U.S. foreign policy of “blaming America” is pretty selective, however. Such accusations are never leveled at those who criticize a U.S. pullback. For example, most neocons argue that the current crisis in Iraq is all Obama’s fault for pulling U.S. troops out of the country. Are they “blaming America first” for the mess? No one ever says that. Just like they never explain why the troops were removed from Iraq: the U.S. demanded complete immunity for troops and contractors, and the Iraqi government refused.

Iraq was not a stable country when the U.S. withdrew its troops anyway. As soon as the U.S. stopped paying the Sunnis not to attack the Iraqi government, they started attacking the Iraqi government. Why? Because the U.S. attack on Iraq led to a government that was closely allied to Iran, and the Sunnis could not live with that! It was not the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq that created the current instability, but the invasion. The same is true with U.S. regime change policy toward Syria. How many Syrians were streaming out of Syria before U.S. support for Islamist rebels there made the country unlivable? Is pointing out this consequence of bad U.S. policy also blaming America first?

Last year, I was asked by another Fox program whether I was not “blaming America” when I criticized the increasingly confrontational U.S. stand toward Russia. Here’s how I put it then:

“I don’t blame America. I am America, you are America. I don’t blame you. I blame bad policy. I blame the interventionists. I blame the neoconservatives who preach this stuff, who believe in it like a religion — that they have to promote American goodness even if you have to bomb and kill people.”

In short, I don’t blame America; I blame neocons.

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

Congress Fiddles While The Economy Burns

Reports that the official unemployment rate has fallen to 5.1 percent may appear to vindicate the policies of easy money, corporate bailouts, and increased government spending. However, even the mainstream media has acknowledged that the official numbers understate the true unemployment rate. This is because the government’s unemployment figures do not include the 94 million Americans who have given up looking for work or who have settled for part-time employment. John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics estimates the real unemployment rate is between 23 and 24 percent.

Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, few in Washington, D.C. acknowledge that America’s economic future is endangered by excessive spending, borrowing, taxing, and inflating. Instead, Congress continues to waste taxpayer money on futile attempts to run the economy, run our lives, and run the world.

For example, Congress spent the majority of last week trying to void the Iranian nuclear agreement. This effort was spearheaded by those who think the U.S. should waste trillions of dollars on another no-win Middle East war. Congressional war hawks ignore how America’s hyper-interventionist foreign policy feeds the growing rebellion against the dollar’s world reserve currency status. Of course, the main reason many are seeking an alternative to the dollar is their concern that, unless Congress stops creating — and the Federal Reserve stops monetizing — massive deficits, the U.S. will experience a Greek-like economic crisis.

Despite the clear need to reduce federal spending, many Republicans are trying to cut a deal with the Democrats to increase spending. These alleged conservatives are willing to lift the “sequestration” limits on welfare spending if President Obama and congressional Democrats support lifting the “sequestration” limits on warfare spending. Even sequestration’s miniscule, and largely phony, cuts are unbearable for the military-industrial complex and the rest of the special interests that control our government.

The only positive step toward addressing our economic crisis that the Senate may take this year is finally holding a roll call vote on the Audit the Fed legislation. Even if the audit legislation lacks sufficient support to overcome an expected presidential veto, just having a Senate vote will be a major step forward.

Passage of the Audit the Fed bill would finally allow the American people to know the full truth about the Fed’s operations, including its deals with foreign central banks and Wall Street firms. Revealing the full truth about the Fed will likely increase the number of Americans demanding that Congress end the Fed’s monetary monopoly. This suspicion is confirmed by the hysterical attacks on and outright lies about the audit legislation spread by the Fed and its apologists.

Every day, the American people see evidence that, despite the phony statistics and propaganda emanating from Washington, high unemployment and rising inflation plague the economy. Economic anxiety has led many Americans to support an avowed socialist’s presidential campaign. Perhaps more disturbingly, many other Americans are supporting the campaign of an authoritarian crony capitalist. If there is a major economic collapse, many more Americans — perhaps even a majority — will embrace authoritarianism. An economic crisis could also lead to mob violence and widespread civil unrest, which will be used to justify new police state measures and crackdowns on civil liberties.

Unless the people demand an end to the warfare state, the welfare state, and fiat money, our economy will continue to deteriorate until we are faced with a major crisis. This crisis can only be avoided by rejecting the warfare state, the welfare state, and fiat money. Those of us who know the truth must redouble our efforts to spread the ideas of liberty.

© 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.

The Real Refugee Problem – And How To Solve It

Last week, Europe saw one of its worst crises in decades. Tens of thousands of migrants entered the European Union via Hungary, demanding passage to their hoped-for final destination, Germany.

While the media focuses on the human tragedy of so many people uprooted and traveling in dangerous circumstances, there is very little attention given to the events that led them to leave their countries. Certainly we all feel for the displaced people, especially the children; but let’s not forget that this is a man-made crisis and it is a government-made crisis.

The reason so many are fleeing places like Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq is that US and European interventionist foreign policy has left these countries destabilized with no hopes of economic recovery. This mass migration from the Middle East and beyond is a direct result of the neocon foreign policy of regime change, invasion, and pushing “democracy” at the barrel of a gun.

Even when they successfully change the regime, as in Iraq, what is left behind is an almost uninhabitable country. It reminds me of the saying attributed to a US major in the Vietnam War, discussing the bombing of Ben Tre: “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.”

The Europeans share a good deal of blame as well. France and the UK were enthusiastic supporters of the attack on Libya, and they were early backers of the “Assad must go” policy. Assad may not be a nice guy, but the forces that have been unleashed to overthrow him seem to be much worse and far more dangerous. No wonder people are so desperate to leave Syria.

Most of us have seen the heartbreaking photo of the young Syrian boy lying drowned on a Turkish beach. While the interventionists are exploiting this tragedy to call for direct US attacks on the Syrian government, in fact the little boy was from a Kurdish family fleeing ISIS in Kobane. And as we know, there was no ISIS in either Iraq or Syria before the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

As often happens when there is blowback from bad foreign policy, the same people who created the problem think they have a right to tell us how to fix it – while never admitting their fault in the first place.

Thus, we see the disgraced General David Petraeus in the news last week offering his solution to the problem in Syria: make an alliance with al-Qaeda against ISIS! Petraeus was head of the CIA when the US launched its covert regime-change policy in Syria, and he was in charge of the “surge” in Iraq that contributed to the creation of al-Qaeda and ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The idea that the US can salvage its disastrous Syria policy by making an alliance with al-Qaeda is horrific. Does anyone think the refugee problem in Syria will not be worse if either al-Qaeda or ISIS takes over the country?

Here is the real solution to the refugee problem: stop meddling in the affairs of other countries. Embrace the prosperity that comes with a peaceful foreign policy, not the poverty that goes with running an empire. End the Empire!

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

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth