The year was 2002. Our national intelligence agencies, national media and political leaders were creating a fervor of fear about something called WMDs, or weapons of mass destruction, in Iraq. We, as a nation, still aching from the trauma of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, were eager to get revenge or at least do what we had to do to prevent another attack. We fell in line to go to war in Iraq. Democrats and Republicans alike with almost no exceptions (check the congressional records) voted to give the Bush administration the blank check to go to war against terrorism, a tactic, not a tangible enemy. It wasn’t until 2005 that we, as a nation, realized that the invasion of Iraq had little to do with WMDs but rather was a war planned many years before the 9/11 attacks.
Fast forward to the present date in 2013. Scandals are rocking our governing administration. Drone bombings and killings of American citizens and thousands of others around the world have increased exponentially. Associated Press reporters have had their phones tapped and emails hacked by the National Security Agency. The IRS has been used as a political tool to harass and impede organizations with political philosophies contrary to the current administration. Cellphones, Internet and emails of American citizens have been accessed and archived by the NSA in defiance of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. In fact, the Patriot Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act courts, the NSA and the CIA, all of which are supposed to counter foreign espionage and threats, have turned their focus inward toward American citizens and potential “domestic terrorists.”
A provision in the approved 2012 National Defense Authorization Act has even given the president and military the right to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely without representation or habeas corpus just for being suspected of aiding, supporting or taking part in terrorist-related activity (subsections 1021-1022 of Title X, Subtitle D).
We are now hearing the war drums toward Syria, though muffled by Edward Snowden (a whistle-blowing former NSA contractor who has exposed the NSA’s domestic spying and data collection on innocent American civilians). The claim is that Syrian President Assad has used poison gas on the NATO-backed, -funded and -supplied Syrian rebels (largely al-Qaida-affiliated and loyal).
Many impartial journalists and international investigators suggest it was the rebels who used the gas on the government forces. It seems like our government is now supporting the terrorist group the CIA created and controlled to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, then in 2001 bombed the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. They don’t seem like the most solid and trustworthy of allies.
In any event, the poison gas (a form of WMD) is the justification for the United States and regional allies to lay economic sanctions on Syria, support and arm the rebels, and declare a “no fly zone,” which means we will shoot down any military air traffic that the Syrian government tries to use and bomb the country. All of these actions are acts of war. Isn’t that déjà vu? The same case presented by a corrupt intelligence community that tricked us into attacking Iraq is being used to justify a war with Syria and possibly Iran.
Many Americans don’t know that Syria has a mutual defense pact with Iran, another nation targeted by the Western powers for invasion. The alleged violation of Iran is that it possesses the desire to create nuclear weapons, another WMD. Recent attempts to provoke the war-weary U.S. population into aggression toward Iran have failed. If we do invade Syria and Iran assists its ally, our intelligence agencies will get what they have wanted for the last 10 years, war with Iran.
This is not a Democrat versus Republican issue or a conservative versus liberal issue. This is an issue of war or peace and life or death. I suggest that we must forget political party affiliation and philosophies and urge our politicians from both sides of the aisle to take power back from our intelligence agencies. We must stand for valuing human life, finding prosperity through peace and domestic enrichment, education and friendly international trade. Our young men and women serving our nation in the military should not be sacrificed for political or economic gain thousands of miles away.
The lives of thousands of innocent people within the nations of the Middle East should not be considered a small price to pay for dominion over that region. Our national economy is teetering on a debt collapse and won’t survive increased spending due to more pre-emptive, interventionist interference in foreign entanglements.
I think we as a free people could move toward solving the majority of our nation’s troubles by returning to local control of government, a non-interventionist and peaceful foreign policy and a return to a constitutional protection of civil liberties and individual rights.
Carl Parton lives in Berlin
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