It’s rare that Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) impresses me favorably, but I’m grateful (overall) for his recently published op-ed. With regard to several points he makes, I couldn’t agree more. For instance:
“President Trump is receiving an onslaught of criticism for his decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Congressional Democrats should not pile on without offering an alternative vision.”
“Trump’s Syria decision… is in compliance with U.S. and international law. The presence of U.S. troops in the Syrian civil war was never authorized by Congress. We are also violating international law by invading Syria without the approval of the United Nations.”
Well said, Congressman!
But it’s worth noting that we’re also “violating international law” by bombing Syria — murdering hundreds of civilians at a time, as the U.S. did in Raqqa. Furthermore, it was a violation of international law when our rogue nation flooded Syria with Salafist militants keen to overthrow Assad from without (I’m referring to the Bush/Bandar-birthed Mujaheddin 2.0 — responsible for scores of WMD attacks and scores, if not hundreds of thousands of deaths).
Sadly, Rep. Khanna also covers for the neocons when he refers to the invasion of Syria as a “civil war.” That is some serious propaganda there — and on whose behalf? Only the worst mass-murderers since the Nazis.
From its very inception, the catastrophically destructive war in Syria has been a proxy war between the United States (coordinating with the Saudis, Turkey, and Israel) and Iran — and ultimately between the West and the Sino-Russian alliance, with Russia presently backed into a corner.
And that proxy war was initiated by Washington, DC, and Riyad with suicide bombings and the violent co-option of Syria’s Arab Spring. The West sidelined Syria’s indigenous resistance and flooded the country with al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, CIA/MI5-recruited Wahhabi radicals who would soon be purging whole Syrian towns of minorities, including Kurds, Christians, Shi’ites, Alawites, Yazidis…
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But Rep. Khanna is on point when he writes that “Trump… deserves credit for standing up to the war hawks within his own administration who started inventing rationales for remaining in the country: countering Iran and seeing an end to the Assad regime. That is the definition of mission creep.”
Well said, Congressman! (Even though you’ve deliberately obscured the fact that it was your party’s president who invaded Syria and greenlit that “mission creep” in the first place — resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and some 10 million refugees.)
Here is where Khanna shamelessly signals his support for a continuation of the neocons’ appalling agenda:
“One alternative to an immediate withdrawal in Syria… would give us time to prepare local forces and to deploy intelligence platforms and networks…”
Let’s just break that down, shall we: 1) “Deploy intelligence platforms” likely means expanding U.S. covert CIA/JSOC/drone-surveillance operations and outsourcing yet more military operations to unaccountable, mass-murdering privateers like Erik Prince; and 2) “prepare local forces” almost certainly means re-arming the genocidal terrorists whose lives the Syrian government has repeatedly spared… at Washington’s behest (we can’t have Assad killing our covertly-created proxies, can we?).
Apparently, Rep. Khanna is determined to breathe new life into the neocons’ failed regime-change policy in Syria!
And what does that ethnic-cleansing, suicide-bombing, WMD-employing policy look like from outside of the American bubble? Absurd. Filled with contradictions (Washington has gone from officially supporting al-Nusra, which turned out to be al Qaeda, to officially supporting the “White Helmets,” who turned out to be al Qaeda, to officially supporting al-Sham, which turns out to be al Qaeda… The U.S.A.F. has repeatedly bombed soldiers fighting ISIS and helped the terrorists acquire strategically important ground.
Just as the 1980s Mujaheddin were a U.S. creation, so, too, is the 21st-century Mujaheddin — again, with the Saudis as our partners.
(It is a very sad commentary on the U.S. political class that Donald “Birther” Trump was the only presidential candidate in 2016 — in a very crowded field — to acknowledge that the U.S. is back in the business of creating and deploying genocidal armies.)
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Here, Rep. Khanna is back on track:
“We have spent more money in Afghanistan than we did in the Marshall Plan and continue to spend more than $40 billion each year. Our military approach has not worked. After the 2008 surge, the Taliban now exerts influence or maintains control over 70 percent of Afghan territory instead of just 40 percent.
“There should be a short timeline for bringing home our troops to allow for a smooth transition. We should engage in direct talks with the Taliban and seek a negotiated settlement, involving regional actors such as Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China and India.”
Absolutely brilliant! I agree with every word!
But then Khanna backslides, abysmally, into reaffirming the Bush/Cheney/Obama (Nixon) view of presidential power and American “exceptionalism” (i.e., “If the President does it, then it’s not illegal.”):
“We should also retain the right to strike terrorist cells that directly threaten our homeland…”
Rep. Khanna has signaled his willingness to further cement into U.S. practice the radical powers claimed by Bush/Cheney (expanded later by Pres. Obama) — including rendition, torture, indefinite detention, drone warfare, including signature strikes and “Kill Lists.”
Khanna is fundamentally agreeing that international law, including the Geneva Conventions, has indeed been rendered “quaint” and “obsolete” by this “new (GWOT) paradigm” (paraphrasing the “torture memo” authored by John Yoo).
The “Justice Democrat” is vouching for a radical interpretation of presidential authority that first Nixon, then Bush/Cheney asserted publicly — in both instances, met with a chorus of derision and outrage.
(But that was before President Obama officially retired the rule of law. Now, when “some folks” are “tortured,” we simply “look forward” — to yet more neo-fascism.)
I’ll add that it’s a nice touch that Ro has also adopted the “homeland” phraseology of the Bush administration — which GWB’s speechwriters unwittingly appropriated from… Adolf somebody.
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Here’s another instance of Rep. Ro Khanna speaking out of both sides of his mouth: “…we will pass the War Powers Resolution, which would remove U.S. forces from hostilities in Yemen except to fight terrorism as allowed by the 2001 war authorization.”
Let me get that right: We’re to remove U.S. forces… except whatever forces are allowed by the 2001 AUMF!??
– Would that be the same 2001 AUMF that’s already been used to justify mass-slaughter across the globe (millions of dead, 70-90% of whom have been women and children)?
– Would that be the same 2001 AUMF that’s excused every Congress-free war crime that any “Commander in Chief” (even Trump) deems necessary?
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Since ‘tis the season to be jolly, I’ll do my best to end on a positive note.
THANK YOU, Rep. Khanna, for your closing words of wisdom: “let us… find common ground in a foreign policy of greater restraint, one that would entail responsibly extricating ourselves from bad wars.”
Yes! Let us!
Trump is so rarely right about anything. When he is, it’s up to the few remaining sane people in the country to support those policies.
Doing so does not amount to supporting the current resident of the Oval Office. In the present instance, it simply amounts to opposing the bloody neocon agenda… at long last!
Also, now that Trump has successfully cajoled Congress into repealing some of the more draconian “tough on crime” laws from the 1990s, including “three strikes you’re out,” we on the left shouldn’t reflexively begin strenuously defending the New Jim Crow laws passed by “tough on crime” Bill Clinton.
That would be foolish… RussiaGate foolish (neocon agenda-supporting foolish).