|Putin at the UN, September 28, 2015. Entire speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q13yzl6k6w0|
Compiled by Tom Winter, December 22, 2015
There is a growing list of US politicians who could answer the question that V. V. Putin posed in the UN back in September. Surprisingly, they are across the political spectrum, from the far right to the far left. Here, in a translation in CNBC is President Putin’s question: “Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster — and nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life,” Putin said through a translator. “I cannot help asking those who have forced that situation: Do you realize what you have done?”
The growing list of US politicians who do realize what we have done includes: Tulsi Gabbard, Ted Cruz, Dennis Kucinich, Donald Trump, Pat Buchanan, Dana Rohrabacher, Ron Paul…
I give pride of place to former member of Congress Dennis Kucinich. Consider his words from back in 2011: “Let us make no mistake about it, dropping 2000 lb bombs and unleashing the massive firepower of our air force on the capital of a sovereign state is in fact an act of war and no amount of legal acrobatics can make it otherwise.” It’s from his speech in Congress on the war in Libya. Entire speech can be read here. I add an except from his September 23 essay “The real reason we are bombing Syria:
“Nothing better illustrates the bankruptcy of the Obama administration’s foreign policy than funding groups that turn on the U.S. again and again, a neo-con fueled cycle of profits for war makers and destruction of ever-shifting “enemies.”
“The fact can’t be refuted: ISIS was born of Western intervention in Iraq and covert action in Syria.
This Frankenstein-like experiment of arming the alleged freedom-seeking Syrian opposition created the monster that roams the region. ISIS and the U.S. have a curious relationship — mortal enemies that, at the same time, benefit from some of the same events:
a) Ousting former Iraqi President Nouri al Maliki for his refusal to consent to the continued presence of U.S. troops in his country.
b) Regime change in Syria.
c) Arming the Kurds so they can separate from Iraq, a preliminary move to partitioning Iraq.
“What a coincidence for war-profiteering neo-cons and the war industry, which has seen its stock rise since last week’s congressional vote to fund the rapid expansion of war. We have met the enemy and he isn’t only ISIS, he is us.
“Phase two of the war against Syria is the introduction of 5,000 “moderate” mercenaries (as opposed to immoderate ones), who were trained in Saudi Arabia, the hotbed of Wahhabism, at an initial installment cost of $15 billion. These new “moderates” will replace the old “moderates,” who became ISIS, just in time for Halloween.
“The administration, in the belief that you can buy, rent, or lease friends where they otherwise do not exist, labor under the vain assumption that our newfound comrades-in-arms will remain in place during their three-year employment period, ignoring the inevitability that those “friends” you hire today could be firing at you tomorrow.
“One wonders if Saudi training of these moderate mercenaries will include methods of beheading which were popularized by the Saudi government long before their ISIS progeny took up the grisly practice.
Hard to think of anyone farther left than Kucinich, and until recent lights in the Republican landscape, Pat Buchanan was counted extreme right. But he is on the same page with his far left counterpart. Consider an except from his essay that directly addresses Putin’s question:
“Do you realize now what you have done?”
So Vladimir Putin in his U.N. address summarized his indictment of a U.S. foreign policy that has produced a series of disasters in the Middle East that we did not need the Russian leader to describe for us.
“Fourteen years after we invaded Afghanistan, Afghan troops are once again fighting Taliban forces for control of Kunduz. Only 10,000 U.S. troops still in that ravaged country prevent the Taliban’s triumphal return to power.
“A dozen years after George W. Bush invaded Iraq, ISIS occupies its second city, Mosul, controls its largest province, Anbar, and holds Anbar’s capital, Ramadi, as Baghdad turns away from us — to Tehran.
The cost to Iraqis of their “liberation”? A hundred thousand dead, half a million widows and fatherless children, millions gone from the country and, still, unending war.
How has Libya fared since we “liberated” that land? A failed state, it is torn apart by a civil war between an Islamist “Libya Dawn” in Tripoli and a Tobruk regime backed by Egypt’s dictator.
Then there is Yemen. …”
“Thousands are desperate to escape from a Libya that is increasingly in the hands of ISIS and other murderous gangs. This past week more than a thousand drowned in the Mediterranean on rickety boats. The mainstream media will never report the real cause of this mass exodus, the 2011 NATO attack on Libya.“
TAPPER: You also recently said that the Middle East would be better off with Gadhafi, Saddam Hussein and Assad in power. How does –
TRUMP: I didn’t say Assad. But we certainly have not gained anything with Gadhafi. And you look at what happened. I mean, look at Libya. Look at Iraq. Iraq used to be no terrorists. He would kill the terrorists immediately, which is like now it’s the Harvard of terrorism. If you look at Iraq from years ago, I’m not saying he was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now. Right now, Iraq is a training ground for terrorists. Right now
Libya, nobody even knows Libya, frankly there is no Iraq and there is no Libya. It’s all broken up. They have no control. Nobody knows what’s going on.
TAPPER: The world would be better off with Saddam Hussein –
TRUMP: 100 percent.
TAPPER: — and Gadhafi in power?
TRUMP: 100 percent.
TAPPER: What about human rights abuses?
TRUMP: You don’t think they’re happening now? They’re worse now than they ever were. People are getting their heads chopped off, they’re being drowned. Right now they are far worse than they were, ever, under Saddam Hussein or Gadhafi. I mean, look what happened. Libya is a catastrophe. If you look at our ambassador, as an example, OK? Libya is a disaster. Iraq is a disaster. Syria is a disaster. The whole of Middle East. And it all blew up around Hillary Clinton and around Barack Obama. It all blew up.
BLITZER: You served in Iraq. You fought there. Has the U.S. learned lessons from that experience, looking forward? [a reprise of Putin’s question!]
GABBARD: I wish the answer was yes, Wolf, but the answer’s no, and this is my greatest concern.
And the reason for this is because, after Iraq, the United States went ahead and did the very same thing in Libya, overthrowing Gadhafi. Now ISIS is growing in strength, has a stronghold in Libya today, with plans to continue to expand.
And what’s even crazier is that now the United States policy is looking to do the very same thing once again in Syria, with this focus and determination on overthrowing the Syrian government to Assad, which will only serve to make ISIS stronger in Syria, taking over that territory in Syria, providing a greater threat to the region and to the world.
GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz said Thursday that the Middle East was more secure when key dictators were still in power, and said too many Democrats and Republicans have supported toppling Middle Eastern governments to the benefit of the United States’ enemies.
“Was the world, in fact, in the Middle East, a more secure place when Saddam Hussein was in power, when Moammar Gadhafi was in power, and when [Bashar] Assad wasn’t fighting for his life in Syria?” asked MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough.
“Of course it was,” Cruz answered. “That’s not even a close call.”
Cruz said Gadhafi did bad things but had worked with the United States and “was actively cooperating in hunting down and stopping radical Islamic terrorists.” The Texas senator said Gadhafi’s ouster has turned Libya into a “chaotic warzone ruled by radical Islamic terrorists.”
“We need to focus on killing bad guys,” Cruz said. “What has been a mistake, and we’ve seen a consistent mistake in foreign policy is far too often, we’ve seen Democrats and a lot of establishment Republicans in Washington get involved in toppling Middle Eastern governments. And it ends up benefiting the bad guys. It ends up handing them over to radical Islamic terrorists.”
I conclude this essay of compilation with the sitting MC Dana Rohrabacher, who calls out the representative of the US State Department. Why save him for the conclusion? to point out, with Assistant Secretary Patterson’s reply, how lame and deliberately blind the US State Department is in persisting with such a failure of policy:
Rohrabacher: Pointing out that the US overthrew the Gaddafi government in Libya, only to see half the country fall to radical Muslims who want to kill Americans, the lawmaker asked Assistant Secretary Patterson how the State Department intends to avoid the same outcome in Syria.
“There is a broad consensus in the international community that the institutions in Syria would remain intact,” Patterson replied. “The goal is to remove Assad and his closest advisers, and have this political process that would lead to a new government, not destroy the institutional structure.”
*Cf also the Reality Check follow-up