Sunday, March 7, 2021

Time To End "Endless War", Yesterday!

As the True Spirit of America Party has long said time and again, "endless war" is NOT a sustainable strategy.  In fact, it is not even a strategy at all, but a concept.  And now we're in the 20th year (!) of the war in Afghanistan, the 18th year of the Iraq War in some capacity, and several years into smaller ones like Yemen, Syria, and so on.  And the first two are now presided over by their FOURTH President of the United States, and these wars have continued to be waged as usual even during a global pandemic.

Quagmire Accomplished, basically.  And what have we as a nation actually accomplished during this relentless decades-long quagmire? Certainly nothing good on balance.  Any strategic victories that did occur were exclusively at the very beginning, followed only by losses at the margin going forward.  And a massive stack of dead bodies, of course.  ISIL was ultimately routed for the most part, but lest we forget, they would not have even existed had we not invaded and destabilized Iraq in the first place.  Thus the "cure" was much worse by than the disease.

As for Afghanistan, al-Qaeda was also routed and largely reduced to a nuisance, but then mission creep quickly set in.  We almost had Bin Laden then "lost" him in Pakistan, then finally got him in 2011.  Then we decided to stay there for some reason.  Then ISIL went to Afghanistan to take advantage of the destabilization (even with American troops still there), and so on. And in the meantime, we managed to create terrorists faster than we could kill them.

The only winners here are the oligarchs who profit from this whole racket, quite literally making a killing, as noted by Major General Smedley Butler all the way back in his insightful 1935 book, War Is A Racket.

Thus, it is LONG past time to withdraw our troops from all of these wars quickly and responsibly.  As Win Without War advocates, we need to combine our withdrawal with a commensurate humanitarian and diplomatic surge as well.  We will likely need to implement some sort of Marshall Plan for the affected nations, financed by Monetary Sovereignty and of course the massive savings from cutting war spending.  But withdraw we must, sooner or later.  And yesterday is NOT soon enough!

The open-ended AUMFs both need to be repealed, and the authority for making war needs to be rightfully restored to Congress as per the US Constitution (hey, remember that thingy?).  The War Powers Resolution needs to be greatly tightened in terms of its limits on the President to use military force, 1) only in true emergencies, 2) with an absolute hard limit of 90 days in the absence of Congressional authorization, and 3) strict liability for any consequences if the action turns out to be illegitimate.  And all Congressional authorizations for military force must be either 1) a formal declaration of war, generally done against nation-states, or 2) a much more limited "Letter of Marque and Reprisal" against, and only against, members of specific terrorist and criminal organizations and syndicates named in the letter, which may also be acted upon by private entities as well.  Both are explicitly authorized by the Constitution.  No more vague and open-ended AUMFs, no more unilateral "policing the world", and no more prolonged military occupations either.

All wars must follow Just War Theory criteria:  1) Just cause, 2) Right intention, 3) Proportionality of means, 4) Reasonable prospects of success, and 5) Last resort, among other criteria (but these are the core criteria).  The war in question must also be in America's national interest (not merely business interests!) as well.  And the moment any one of these criteria is no longer met, the war must end, period.   Spoiler alert:  very few wars in our nation's history have actually met all of these criteria. 

For the record, the TSAP is 100% against bringing back the draft.  One of the very few things that hippies, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan could all agree on was that the draft is a bad idea, period.  We believe that the all-volunteer military is superior in every way, and conscription is a Machiavellian form of slavery, violating both the 13th Amendment as well as Kant's categorical imperative.  And while we should certainly eradicate poverty, thus eliminating the "poverty draft" (i.e. economic coercion), we should at the same time also pay our (smaller number of) troops what they are actually worth (which is a LOT more than what they are paid now!) so we should never run short of volunteers.  Besides, as cynical as it sounds, a country that actually needs a draft to defend itself deserves to lose.

That said, if we really wanna smash this war racket for good, we would nonetheless support a form of "consensual conscription" in which any future war must be approved by a limited plebiscite (with a non-secret ballot!) of men and women of military age (which we define as 18-64) who are at least reasonably fit to serve and not obviously 4-F.  Those who vote "yes" would be eligible to be drafted as necessary should we run short of volunteers, those who vote "no" would be exempt, and those who abstain from voting would be drafted next after all the "yes" voters are picked.  Those who voted "yes" or abstained but then conveniently become "conscientious objectors" after being chosen will (if approved) then be assigned to do civilian service or perhaps join a "Human Shield Brigade" to protect civilians.  In other words, if you don't wanna be drafted, simply exercise your right and duty to vote "NO" to any military action that you personally find to be questionable, foolish, reckless, and/or immoral.  And the incentive to go to war will thus evaporate when enough people with "skin in the game" vote "NO", and we also ban war profiteering as well.

Thus, the Selective Service System should be placed back into "deep standby" with the registration requirement suspended indefinitely (like it was in 1975-1980) until it actually becomes necessary to reactivate registration in the event of a legitimately declared war.  That is quick and easy to do with today's technology, and in the meantime we have the Reserves and the National Guard as a temporary "bridge" in case God forbid an actual draft is needed.  Thus, such registration is superfluous nowadays.

In a nutshell, when we finally take the profit out of war, then unsurprisingly the odds of actually going to war will surely approach zero going forward.

As Major General Smedley Butler famously said, 


And let the planetary healing begin!