Review: Foreign Follies–America’s New Global Empire

5 Star, Congress (Failure, Reform), Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason
Foreign Follies
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Statement on How Real Conservatives Despise Bush Lies and Cheney High Crimes,

August 11, 2007

Doug Bandow

Published in 2006, this collection of essays ranges from the late 1990's to its year of publication, and I was quite astonished to discover two things fairly quickly into the work:

First, the author is a conservative–a true conservative–and firmly opposed to what he calls “promiscuous intervention” or elective wars or global rampant empire-building. I was expecting a left of center diatribe against the follies of the Bush-Cheney Administration. Not so. The author is consistent–he railed against the follies of the Clinton-Clinton Administration first, and this followed over.

Second, as an estranged moderate Republican who believes in fiscal conservatism, a small government, and not supporting dictators or decadent despots like the debauched Saudi “royal” family of swindlers, pedophiles, and perverts, I was stunned to find my conservative roots reaffirmed, and the neo-conservatives, the false conservatives, soundly lambasted for their chicken-hawk enlargement of the military-industrial complex.

The author opens early with the statement that America is no longer a Republic, and I completely agree. The author, affiliated with the Cato Institute, has given me a new and deeper appreciation for that organization's intellectual and constitutional line of reasoning.

The early part of the book is a superb collection of varied arguments for completely avoiding foreign adventurism that enriches a few in the military-industrial complex, at three great costs:

1) Loss of lives and limbs among our brave troops;
2) Loss of natural treasure we cannot space on others
3) Loss of morality and rise of vulnerability to hatred occasioned by our foreign presence

The latter point merits special emphasis. The author's views are totally consistent with my own reading and world experience:

1) Morality, as Will and Ariel Durant tell us in their The Lessons of History, is a strategic asset of incalculable proportions. Others, such as Max Manwaring, in The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century tell us that security–long-term security, can only come from legitimacy, legitimacy in the eyes of both our own citizens and denizens in every clime and place where we venture.

2) Bin Laden is on solid ground to use terrorism against us, an asymmetric method that is necessary for smaller actors, and the author is clear in validating the degree to which we merit and invite such terrorist attacks by intervening and by supporting debauched dictators like the Saudis. The author states clearly: “We must reduce the sources of foreign hostility to the US.” The author quotes Pape, author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism among others on how suicidal terrorism is correlated with US occupations overseas, *not* with radical Islam per se. He goes on to say, as my colleague Robert Baer has documented in See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism and Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude, that “American commitment to the Saudi royal family is a moral blemish and a practical danger. See also Ambassador Mark Palmer's denunciation of our support for 42 of the 44 remaining dictators in Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025.

In 1999 the author penned this statement against the Clinton Administration that applies equally today to the Bush-Cheney Administration: “Indeed, where the President and his aides are arrogant, ignorant, and incompetent, others must lead.” I agree with this author of the strategic logic of terrorism against US misbehavior, and point the interested reader to Pape's book above.

I am heartened to read this conservative author's sensible denunciation of both the lies of Bush and Cheney to all Americans, and of the idiocy of the neo-conservatives in striving for increased unconstitutional executive power, and in believing in an “immaculate presidency” that can do no wrong. He clearly labels Bush as wrong and as owing all Americans an apology. He properly dismisses the “stay the course” propaganda by pointing out that when you are on the wrong road, you get off at the first available exit.

He segues from that to a proper denunciation of American support for a genocidal racist Israel and offers this lovely quote: “Crackpot theology is no substitute for thoughtful analysis is developing foreign policy.”

The author offers an elegant essay against conscription and the draft. As a taxpayer who now seems that 75% of my taxes are misspent on elective war, secret earmarks, and fraudulent procurements that benefit a small elite while destroying the working poor and the vanishing middle class, I am now all for eliminating federal taxes and forcing the federal government to apply to the states for funding of “common” needs. War is not in our common interest, and we should not have allowed our Congress and our Executive to become spendthrifts with out money–as Davy Crockett learned–it is not theirs to give!

I part with the author only on the subject of Taiwan–he is wrong to see Taiwan as a beacon of freedom. Chang Kai Sheik was one of the greatest war criminals and thieves on the planet in his time, and a cursory reading of the literature, for example, the books by Sterling and Peggy Seagraves, will quickly document that Taiwan is both an inherent part of China, and not at all a bastion of freedom as much as limpet fish sucking the blood from the American's so naïve as to believe these cheating miscreants.

Over-all I found this author to be inspiring. He neglects to address the war crimes of the extremist Republicans, nor does he venture to comment on the very high probability that Dick Cheney, Rudy Gulliani, and Larry Silverstein (and their insurance co-conspirators) are guilty along with Donald Rumsfeld of the mass murder of most of those who died on 9-11 to controlled demolitions in NYC and a missile into the Pentagon. Evidently there are some areas where “true blue” conservatives do not dare venture. For those interested in this aspect of the *other* neo-conservative crime of the century see my lists on 9-11 books and DVDs, and on evaluating Cheney, and most especially, Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency, where my review lists 23 of the 25 high crimes and misdemeanors of Dick Cheney that are documented in the public record (for the other two, see Ron Suskind's The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11)

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