John McCain May Acquire More Neoconservative Allies in 2015
by JBS President John F. McManus
When the 114th Congress convenes in January, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) will become chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Together with fellow neoconservative Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the two have always called for more uses of our nation’s military. They like the idea of a U.S. empire that, supposedly, would make the world a better place. But the rest of world doesn’t want the U.S. dictating its policies.
Neoconservatives have always liked war. They want U.S. forces to meddle militarily in a variety of spats between nations or among groups of nations. If some countries don’t like their plan, McCain and Graham try to figure out some way to insert America’s nose as well as bombs into the situation. Only a few years ago, McCain was actually heard singing “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!” in remarks he delivered at the Senate podium.
McCain and his neoconservative allies wanted U.S. forces in Libya in 2011. They didn’t prevail. They want deeper involvement in Syria and have only been partially successful. Lately, they want stepped-up U.S. meddling in Ukraine and against ISIS.
Washington watchers have suggested that the neocons are likely to increase their numbers as a result of newly elected Republican senators. Georgia’s Perdue, Alaska’s Sullivan, Iowa’s Ernst, Arkansas’s Cotton, North Carolina’s Tillis, and Louisiana’s Cassidy are potential allies of the McCain/Graham faction. We hope we’re wrong about some or all of these new senators. Other returning fence-sitters who might want to add more targets to battle America’s military arm may bow to McCain’s leadership when he takes over command of the Armed Services Committee.
Opponents of neoconservatism are regularly dubbed “isolationists” by the mainstream media. The use of that term is supposed to end the argument and force anyone who resists the urging for increased involvement to be considered an uncaring Neanderthal. Substitute “non-interventionist with sons, daughters and wallets” for the “isolationist” label and the intended stigma quickly evaporates.
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson suggested avoiding international squabbles. John Quincy Adams said America “goes not abroad searching for monsters to destroy.” This is timeless advice that should never have been abandoned.
The U.S. has troops stationed in well over 100 separate nations. It’s time to bring them home. Instead, current leaders are sending more back into Iraq while refusing to honor the pledge to have all American military forces out of Afghanistan by January 1, 2015. John McCain and Lindsey Graham must be delighted. Let’s hope that their numbers do not increase in the new GOP-led Senate.
Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.
Iraq Has a New President
by JBS President John F. McManus
On August 14th, Nouri Kamil Mohammed Hasan al-Maliki stepped down as the President of Iraq. He had held the post since May 20, 2006. After recent elections had seen his allies win the most seats in the nation’s parliament, he seemed poised to retain the office. But pressure for a change in the nation’s leadership came from influential Ayatollah Ali Sistani and others including neighboring Iran. Maliki originally intended to challenge the refusal to accept him for another four-year term but suddenly cancelled his protest. The post now falls to Haider al-Abadi, a fellow member of Iraq’s Islamic Dawa Party.
Both Maliki and Abadi are Shiite Muslims and Iraq’s population is largely Shiite. The two men have long held leadership posts in the Islamic Dawa Party. The Sunni minority held power during the long reign of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Muslim. After being captured by U.S. forces, Hussein was executed in December 2006, a mere seven months after Maliki has emerged as President. Fighting between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims, even while U.S. forces gained control of the nation, continued to plague Iraq and has not ceased. Now, the Sunni-led Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) has gained control of one-quarter of the nation, wreaked havoc wherever its forces seized control, and even threatened the capital city of Baghdad. No one believes that ISIS will simply go away.
Like Maliki, Abadi fled Iraq in the 1970s when Saddam Hussein’s regime outlawed the Dawa Party. His two brothers were not so fortunate and were slain. Abadi went to England where he received a doctorate in electrical engineering. Maliki lived for much of his self-imposed exile in Syria where he edited the Dawa Party’s newspaper. Both men returned to Iraq after U.S. forces ousted Hussein in 2003. The two formed a friendship and their cordial relationship figured in Maliki’s decision to step aside.
Abadi’s emergence as the nation’s leader will undoubtedly lead to more military assistance from the United States. A pleased President Obama immediately began referring to the new Iraq leader as “prime minister designate.” And U.S. fighter planes had already begun their attacks on ISIS in northern Iraq.
Abadi faces huge problems as he enters the office of president. The Shiite-Sunni division isn’t about to disappear and neither will the surging forces of Sunni-led ISIS fade away. Financial and military aid from the United States is absolutely necessary. The question now is how long it will continue in the face of rising opposition to further involvement in Iraq among the American people. Many now believe that the role of policeman for the world should stop and stopping it in Iraq would be a good place to begin.
The Ever Dwindling Iraqi Christian Minority, Thanks to US Foreign Policy
by JBS President John F. McManus
Newspapers and television channels are full of pictures showing Iraq’s Yazidis fleeing from the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Thousands of helpless men, women, and children who have lived for centuries in Iraq’s Niniveh province have been uprooted by Islamic militants who demand conversion to their brand of Islam or face death.
President Obama has responded by sending war planes to attack the militants and air drops to provide food and water to the refugees. He has also responded to similar attacks aimed at the Kurds living in Northern Iraq. For them, it is military equipment to help them defend themselves. Known as tough fighters, the Kurds have fared well during the turmoil generated by ISIS.
There seems, however, to be little or no concern from the White House and Congress about the Christians who have been targeted continuously by militant Islamists and now by ISIS. In Mosul (also in Niniveh province), where thousands of Catholics have lived and worshiped since biblical times, Catholic Mass is no longer celebrated as it has been for almost two millennia. Priests have been slain and the people have been terrorized. For all the years when Catholics populated the region, they have withstood numerous threats, especially during the years since Mohammed started the Muslim religion in the Seventh century. But what has occurred since the U.S. invasion in 2003 has turned out to be their worst nightmare.
ISIS warriors have demanded conversion to Islam or death. When a 45-year-old Catholic retired army officer living in Mosul was told by ISIS marauders that he had to leave his home and business immediately or face death for not converting to Islam, he gathered his family and fled. So have most other Catholics. But there has been no outcry from President Obama about the Christian victims of ISIS. There were once 1.5 million Christians (mostly Catholics) living throughout Iraq. Ever since the U.S. invasion in 2003, they have been attacked ruthlessly by various branches of Islam. But, while concern is raised about the current plight of Yazidis and Kurds, the fate of remaining Christians has been ignored.
The Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking minority who number 200,000 worldwide. The Kurds are a breakaway sect from Islam which means that their ancestry does not reach back as far as does that of the first Iraqi Christians. Most of the 30 million Kurds worldwide live in northern Iraq and parts of neighboring Iran, Syria, and Turkey. They have long sought to become an independent country that they would call Kurdistan. The Christians who have fled will most likely never return. Those who haven’t fled face almost incomprehensible threats.
The devastation visited upon Yazidis, Kurds, and Christians is a consequence of the U.S. invasion, an attack on a country that supposedly possessed weapons of mass destruction and wouldn’t hesitate to use them. But the claim that they had such weapons was a lie. The devastation wreaked on Iraq by the invaders contributed to unleashing militant Islamists including the latest threat posed by ISIS. And recall that the Obama administration helped supply ISIS in Syria, but now fights them in Iraq. If peace is indeed possible in this region, the United States should follow a totally new course: vacate the area, cease policing the world, terminate the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz goal to build an American empire, and begin minding only the business of America.
Hillary Clinton’s Problem Now in the Open
by JBS President John F. McManus
On August 10 during an interview conducted by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”
Hillary Clinton criticizing Barack Obama! What’s going on here? The answer is simple. The public’s opinion of Obama’s performance continues to drop and she’s running for the office of President. How to be a candidate to succeed the increasingly unpopular president with whom she has had an extremely close relationship is not going to be easy. So, the first of what will likely be salvos aimed at the occupant of the White House will likely increase.
The “Don’t do stupid stuff” comment was actually stated by President Obama in his speech at West Point last May. Among other world problems, he was referring to the Syrian conflict, the continuing worry about Iran becoming a nuclear power, and the Israeli-Hamas struggle. Regarding Syria, Mrs. Clinton indicated that our nation should have sent military aid to Assad’s early opponents and, because we didn’t, Assad remains in power and the ISIS jihadists have risen to become a potent threat, not just to Syria but to Iraq and other portions of Asia Minor. She should have been asked if the aid she now says should have gone to Assad’s foes might have ended up in the hands of jihadists, a quite likely result. But that possibility wasn’t mentioned.
If the Obama approval ratings were high instead of dismally low (and getting lower), Hillary would never have sought to separate herself from the President, even slightly. She would have reminded everyone that she, as his Secretary of State, was the main architect of a “successful” foreign policy. But no one is labeling the Obama administration’s dealings with other nations a success. Libya is again in turmoil, Assad is still in power, Iran is still progressing toward nuclear weapon capability, Israel and Hamas are at war, the Benghazi tragedy still hangs over the president (and over Mrs. Clinton), and more.
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson urged avoiding involvement in foreign difficulties. Their advice is still the best course for our nation. But don’t expect Hillary Clinton to advocate what America’s Founders recommended. She knows she’s in a serious bind where she can neither divorce herself from Obama nor champion his performance. In the months ahead, the American voters will discover how capably she walks an increasingly difficult tight rope.
Much Ado About Nothing (of Real Importance)
by JBS President John F. McManus
Youngsters by the thousands have crossed into the United States in a new wave, invading our nation. They are being given food, shelter, and medical treatment courtesy of the American taxpayer. The federal government, supposedly the guardian and policeman of the border, has actually stimulated the massive crossing and is actually encouraging more to come with the generosity given to those already here.
In Iraq, the country that the U.S. tore apart because of non-existent weapons of mass destruction and false claims that its leaders had ties to Al Qaeda plus complicity in the 9/11 attack, is now being besieged by a new wave of militant Islamists. Those who continue to advocate U.S. policing of the world want our forces to reenter the country, flex a few muscles, kill a few more, and undoubtedly add to the already achieved list of U.S. casualties.
The U.S. government continues to deepen the nation’s indebtedness while scorn gets heaped upon any attempt or even any advocacy of cutting spending for numerous completely unconstitutional programs (e.g. foreign aid, housing, education, medicine, etc.).
But instead of dealing properly and constitutionally with the above problems and many more, attention is focused on the name of the Washington Redskins. Described as a “racial slur” that is offensive to some, the “Redskin” part of the name is the target although one wag suggested that the “Washington” portion of the team’s name is more loathed by many Americans because of the deficiencies and outrages consistently being emanating from the nation’s capital. According to RedState columnist Eric Erickson, school teams on several Indian reservations proudly call themselves the “Redskins.” It’s clearly not offensive to them and, if so, why is there a growing demand for ditching the name?
On June 18th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled that use of the term is “disparaging” to many American Indians. Some Indians agree. But this federal bureaucratic decision doesn’t force the hand of team owner Dan Snyder to make any change. He has adamantly informed all that there will be no change. Even so, he has appealed the ruling. Meanwhile, U.S. Representative Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) outspokenly called for the Redskins to ditch their name. And other liberals, including the likes of TV sports announcer Bob Costas, have ginned up the cry for altering the name.
Several years ago, a North Dakota university caught the wrath of the nation’s busybodies because its teams had for years been known as the “Fighting Sioux.” Sioux spokesmen came to the school’s defense telling all who would listen that they liked the name, were even proud of it, and hoped it would remain. It didn’t. A similar campaign targeted Florida State University whose teams are known as the Seminoles. But Seminole support for the name has so far kept change from occurring there.
If the Redskins cave in, what of the Atlanta Braves whose fans wave their arms in tomahawk fashion and chant an Indian war hoop during games? Isn’t that displaying a form of racism and maybe even a love for reinstituting war? What of the Cleveland Indians? Think for a moment about the Pittsburgh Pirates and their audacity in adoption of the name of criminals who killed and pillaged for centuries?
It’s well past the time that all Americans ought to focus more on real problems. News headlines should be focusing on foreign policy and the U.S. involvement in the Middle East, the current influx of illegal immigrants and the action our government is taking to accommodate them, stopping the free trade agenda, and much more. Count me as one in the camp of those who say the Redskins should be left to win or lose on the football field, not having to satisfy a minority that thinks a mere molehill is a huge mountain.
Iraq’s Agony Based on Gross Deception
by JBS President John F. McManus
The entire Iraq nation appears now to be vulnerable to takeover by hardline Islamists determined to impose strict Islamic law on that unhappy land. But Iraq’s agony, largely brought on by U.S. diplomacy, actually began many years before. The American role started with the 1990 absorption of Kuwait by Iraq.
Months before Saddam Hussein’s forces marched into its southeastern neighbor, U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie met with Saddam in Baghdad. She pointedly asked him why he was massing 30,000 troops on the Iraq-Kuwait border. The Iraqi dictator reminded her that Iraq considered Kuwait part of Iraq as it had been prior to 1918. And he mentioned the current disputes over the actual border between the two countries as well as jurisdiction over the strategic waterway known as the Shatt al Arab. He then asked Glaspie for the U.S. position on these matters.
Glaspie promptly assured Hussein that the U.S. had “no opinion” and even stated that she had been directed by Secretary of State James Baker to emphasize that stand. Within days, State Department spokesperson Margaret Tutweiler backed up what Glaspie had said in a DC press conference and Assistant Secretary of State John Kelly did likewise in testimony before a congressional panel. Less than a week later, while believing a green light for such action had been given by Washington, Saddam ordered his troops into Kuwait to take control of the country. Immediately, President George H.W. Bush went ballistic and sought authorization from the UN to reverse Saddam’s action with a military coalition he would assemble and lead. He emphasized repeatedly that the forthcoming attack on Iraq would usher in the “New World Order.”
One month later, April Glaspie was recalled to Washington and silenced by her State Department superiors. Several months later, in answers she provided to queries posed by a Senate panel, she claimed that she was the victim of “deliberate deception on a massive scale.” Eventually shipped off to South Africa and posted to a minor assignment, she retired in 2002. The Desert Storm (1991) conflict was over in several days as hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops and allied contingents forced Saddam’s forces out of Kuwait. But President Bush continued even after the short-lived triumph to refer to it as the ushering in of the “New World Order.” In other words, there were motives for that engagement far beyond anything related to Kuwait or Iraq.
After 9/11, the second President Bush insisted that his reasons for targeting Iraq included Saddam’s reported possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), his country’s ties to Al Qaeda, and Iraq’s complicity in the 9/11 attack. But after Scott Ritter had spent seven years as the UN’s chief inspector searching all over Iraq for WMDs, he repeatedly stated prior to the second war against Iraq that none had ever been found. Nor had anyone uncovered evidence linking Saddam’s government to Al Qaeda or to the 9/11 attack. In England, an Iraqi defector from his homeland known as “Curveball” later confessed that he was the chief supplier of phony claims about WMDs. He stated publicly that the second war against Iraq was based on “lies.” But the U.S. invaded again in 2003 and our nation’s casualties over the next seven years totaled more than 4,000 dead and over 30,000 wounded.
The number of dead and wounded Iraqis has been much greater. Of the 1.5 million Christians living peacefully in Iraq’s formerly placid and multicultural society, there are now fewer than 400,000. Many have been killed and more than a million have fled. Those who remain are now in militant Islam’s crosshairs. So much for being “liberated” by U.S. forces.
Today, there are cries for the U.S. to conduct new military actions to save Iraq from its latest scourge. We can only wonder what new lies are being spread.
Issues concerning foreign policy and America’s role in the affairs of other countries can be found on The John Birch Society’s website.
The Inconsequential G-7 Snub of Russia: Some History of the Ukrainians
by JBS President John F. McManus
Over many centuries, the country now known as Ukraine has for a time been considered part of Lithuania, Poland, Russia, or even Austria. Modern Ukraine became independent during a war that lasted from 1917 to 1921. No sooner had independence been won than communist Russia took control and Ukraine became the first of the many totally dominated nations in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The Soviet-induced famine of 1932-33 then killed somewhere between six and eight million persons and certainly resulted in hatred of Russian dominance among many.During World War II, Nazi forces were greeted as liberators by Ukranians, especially in the country’s west. But there was always a desire on the part of many to reject both German and Russian dominance. Nevertheless, by the end of WWII, the Soviet Union acquired total dominance and Ukraine, along with nearby Belarus, was awarded a seat in the United Nations where both unfailingly followed USSR dictates.
When the USSR dissolved in 1991, Ukraine once again began to function as an independent nation. More than 90 percent of the people voted for complete autonomy in a 1991 referendum, but, in Crimea, the desire to separate from Russia won support from only 56 percent. That number in Crimea has eroded because a large proportion of those living in the peninsula are ethnically Russia and speak the Russian language. From then until now, Ukranians have been split over whether to look westward toward the European Union, or look to the east to Russia for their commerce and friendship. Only recently, as is well-known, Vladimir Putin’s Russia decided to retake the Crimean peninsula and Russian military forces backed up the move with a show of force. Many Crimeans seem happy about the development while those in other parts of Ukraine are not. A recent plebiscite in Crimea resulted in the residents choosing to be part of Russia, but the plebiscite’s result has been deemed rigged and a violation of the nation’s constitution.
To register their disapproval of Russia’s move into Ukraine, leaders of the economically powerful G-7 nations (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States) disinvited Russia to their latest gathering, which, in reality, had become the G-8 group that has more recently included Russia. Meeting in The Hague on March 24th, the G-7 leaders canceled their scheduled plan to meet with Russia for a June G-8 session in Sochi, Russia. This step, along with sanctions imposed by several nations to protest Russia’s Crimean takeover, was supposed to influence Putin. But expecting Russia to withdraw from Crimea seems improbable even though UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon condemned Russia’s action.
Now, the G-20 group consisting of the G-8 plus a dozen more emerging economic powers has entered the fray. Representatives of these 20 nations are scheduled to meet in Australia next November. When the possibility of excluding Russia from the G-20 summit was announced by an Australian official, G-20 members Brazil, China, India and South Africa immediately denounced the idea. They claimed that “hostile language, sanctions, and counter-sanctions” won’t lead to a peaceful resolution to the incident. Peace, it seems, will exist if the Putin takeover isn’t reversed. That is unlikely.
Incidents like what has occurred in Ukraine have the potential for starting world conflagrations. But chances that this will be an outcome are remote. Other nations might not like Putin’s retaking of Crimea, but it’s possible that the people who live there like what he has just done. If so, the rest of the world, especially the already overstretched United States, should mind its own business. We should hearken to the wise words of President George Washington given during his farewell address in 1796:
The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible …. It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.
Ukraine-related articles at The New American: