“When it comes to foreign policy, if you like George W. Bush and Barack Obama, you’ll love Mitt Romney.” That was the unspoken theme of a speech the former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican presidential contender delivered Friday at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Inveighing against “crawl[ing] into an isolationist shell,” Romney offered instead a program of hyper-interventionism in which no problem anywhere in the world is too small or remote for Washington’s involvement.
Observers might think that the largest, most expensive embassy ever built — the $750 million, heavily fortified U.S. embassy in Baghdad — would be more than sufficient to sustain the diplomatic corps that will remain in Iraq after U.S. troops are withdrawn. In fact, however, that 1.5-square-mile walled complex is, according to the Huffington Post’s Dan Froomkin, “turning out to be too small for the swelling retinue of gunmen, gardeners and other workers the State Department considers necessary to provide security and ‘life support’ for the sizable group of diplomats, military advisers and other executive branch officials who will be taking shelter there once the troops withdraw from the country.”
“Gulags, concentration camps, torture centers — indeed, wars of aggression and domination — are not simply the creation of a few leaders at the top,” observes Chris Floyd. “They require the willing participation of multitudes of people, at every level.”
Although the Obama administration has made much of the fact that U.S. forces are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, it clearly has no intention of leaving that war-ravaged country to its own devices. In fact, plans are afoot to keep as many as 25,000 American troops in Afghanistan for at least a decade longer than the official deadline, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Most Americans are aware that U.S. forces are involved in missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Those who pay closer attention to the news may know that American troops are also active in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. But according to Nick Turse of TomDispatch.com, those six nations comprise only five percent of the total number of countries in which the Department of Defense is conducting operations. “A secret force within the U.S. military,” says Turse, “is undertaking operations in a majority of the world’s countries” — at a rate of 70 such operations per day.
With President Barack Obama having issued an executive order banning secret Central Intelligence Agency prisons and then-CIA Director Leon Panetta having stated that “CIA no longer operates detention facilities or black sites,” one might think a credible report that the CIA is still operating such a prison would make the front page of every newspaper in the country and be covered on all major television news programs. Alas, in 21st-century America, where the news media are the handmaidens of the state, the story has largely been ignored; and those outlets that have deemed it worthy of coverage have done so in such a way as to play down its revelations and play up the government’s denials.
Think U.S. troops will be leaving Iraq by the end of the year? Think again. CIA Director Leon Panetta, who has been nominated to succeed Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, says that the Iraqi government is probably going to request that some U.S. forces remain in the country and that Washington will almost certainly oblige.
U.S. taxpayers are being soaked to the tune of $2 million a day for President Barack Obama’s illegal war in Libya, according to a Defense Department memo obtained by the Financial Times. The document, entitled “United States Contribution to Operation Unified Protector,” says that the government is spending about $60 million a month on the mission and had spent $664 million by mid-May.
Nowhere on the planet is common sense a scarcer commodity than in Washington, D.C. The $14 trillion in federal debt — much of it held by foreign, and frequently unfriendly, countries — would seem to be sufficient evidence of that. As if that weren’t bad enough, it now emerges that many of those same creditor nations are also the recipients of U.S. foreign aid.
In the wake of the alleged killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces on May 2, some in Congress are beginning to question whether American aid to Pakistan, the country in which bin Laden was found, ought to be terminated. One of those, Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), is actually sponsoring legislation to cut off such aid. Unfortunately, Poe’s bill gives the Obama administration, which has already expressed its desire to continue sending billions of taxpayer dollars to Islamabad, enough leeway that even if the bill passes, the aid is likely to continue.