It should be clear that the Global War on Terror (GWOT) launched by George W. Bush and perpetuated by Barack Obama is a bust. It is now the longest war in US history; it is now the second most expensive war in US history; and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Yet despite the GWOT’s astronomical cost, forces deployed and combat tempos are minuscule when compared the those of the far lower cost Viet Nam War. Nevertheless, the top uniformed and civilian officials in the Pentagon are whining to Congress that these tepid tempos have created a looming readiness crisis. They assert the relatively small cutbacks in the future growth implied by the budget caps of Budget Control Act of 2011 to what is by far the largest defense budget in the world is now the “gravest strategic danger” facing the United States!
A logical person, living in a sane world, would think that the GWOT, its high cost, its clearly broken nature, and the huge size of the defense budget would be major issues in the 2016 Presidential election. But the presidential candidates and the mainstream media, like the Pentagon, are silent on this surreal travesty. Indeed, the pathologies of the Military - Industrial - Congressional Complex (MICC) are as much off limits in contemporary political discourse as is foul language is at holy communion.
Shouldn’t the days of European leaders enlisting the help of American presidents to sell unpopular ideas to their citizens be long over? They should. But evidently, they are not.
Barack Obama arrived in Europe last week, bursting with words of wisdom and friendly advice. He was welcomed enthusiastically by the leaders of the United Kingdom and Germany. Less enthusiastic, however, was the reception from the citizens of those countries.
Trouble in paradise?
In Germany, Obama arrived to tens of thousands protesting the hugely unpopular TTIP trade deal between the US and Europe, which is currently going through its 13th round of negotiations — negotiations which, by and large, have been carried out in secret between Brussels and Washington. TTIP is being sold as a vehicle to reduce tariffs and remove regulatory barriers to trade between the US and Europe — but protesters in Germany and elsewhere see the deal as a Trojan horse. They are worried that the jobs, growth and prosperity promised by its proponents will fail to materialize and that the arrangement will leave Europe at the mercy of wealthy multinationals who will degrade environmental and food standards to have them fall in line with the more lax approaches favored by the US. Essentially, they are justifiably unhappy with a deal which would give the US and big business greater control over EU regulatory laws.
In Syria, US Rejects Russia Call to Name al-Qaeda Allies 'Terrorist'
The total muddle that is US policy toward Syria continues to astonish. This week we saw the spectacle of a State Department Spokesman telling us that President Obama's promise to not put US boots on the ground in Syria, was never a promise not to put boots on the ground in Syria. Yes, it was funny to see him squirm, but there is nothing funny about the past five years of disastrous policy in Syria. Particularly considering the thousands killed once the US decided that "Assad must go" and began sending in fighters to make that happen.
State Department Jokesman: 'Obama Never Said No Boots on Ground in Syria!'
Watching State Department Spokesman John Kirby spar with one of Washington's last real journalists, AP diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee, is one of the best tickets in town. From his claims that "the entire international community" is demanding that Syria's Assad step down -- which earned a guffaw from Lee -- to his claim that the Syrian people have the right to live any way they choose as long as Washington agrees with their choice, John Kirby is the absolute epitome of the clueless Washington foreign policy establishment. He is the Baghdad Bob of the US State Department.
Breaking: Obama to Announce Major US Escalation in Syria
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that tomorrow (Monday) President Obama will announce that he is quintupling the number of US troops inside Syria. From the current 50 troops the US admits are operating in Syria, the US will raise the total to 300 under the guise of increasing efforts against ISIS in the country.
Five Minutes Five Issues: War Escalation, Canada Marijuana, FBI Hack, EU Regime, Senate Snoopers
A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues posted today. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.
'How the War Party Works': RPI's Daniel McAdams on Mises Weekends
Washington, D.C. is a foreign policy bubble, where big money rules and coloring outside the interventionist lines is forbidden. Does the rest of the country buy into the idea that we must run the world? RPI Director Daniel McAdams speaks with his former colleague in Ron Paul's Congressional office, now President of the Mises Institute, Jeff Deist on just how war rules the roost among the Beltway powerbrokers. What happens to young and idealistic newly-elected Members of Congress to turn them into parrots war party propaganda? How are the sucked into the machine? They are sucked in by the "deep state" -- the permanent government. How do the neocons like Bill Kristol continue to dominate the airwaves when they are so consistently wrong? Listen to the whole interview here.