Resolution about US military spending, for Rep. Adam Smith

WHEREAS the United States spends more on its military — about $700 billion in 2018 — than the next 11 countries combined;

WHEREAS over 50% of federal discretionary spending goes to the military;

WHEREAS the 2018 attempt to audit the Pentagon was unsuccessful: the Pentagon could not account for $21 trillion in budget items, with Senator Charles Grassley (R) saying that the Pentagon’s “resistance to auditing the books runs deep”;

WHEREAS “the ridiculously huge plugs [fabrications] in the Defense Department’s budgets are never even questioned at Armed Services or Budget Committee hearings” (ibid);

WHEREAS the Pentagon buried evidence of about $125 billion in waste;

WHEREAS there is a revolving door between the Pentagon and defense contractors;

WHEREAS according to Politico, the United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad ;

WHEREAS U.S. wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Libya, Syria, South America and elsewhere killed millions of people, wasted trillions of dollars, created enemies, emboldened terrorists, and caused massive suffering, migration and consequent destabilization of societies;

WHEREAS President Trump plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and to upgrade U.S. nuclear weapons capability;

WHEREAS President Trump has slashed staff and funding for non-Pentagon federal agencies, including the State Department, which was already seriously under-staffed even before he took office and has gotten much worse since then;

WHEREAS a 2014 Gallup poll of 65 nations found that the United States was far and away the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world, and a Pew poll in 2017 found majorities in most countries polled viewing the United States as a threat;

WHEREAS Rep. Adam Smith (WA, 9th CD) is the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee;

WHEREAS Rep. Smith is coming under tremendous pressure from his campaign donors and from what Dwight Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex,” to increase military spending and to overlook accounting fraud and obsessive secrecy;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we Democrats of the _____ call on Rep. Adam Smith to oppose increases in the Defense Department budget and to aggressively hold hearings about Pentagon accounting practices.


Contact me ThinkerFeeler@gmail.com for a pdf or word version of the resolution, with hyperlinks as footnotes.

My taxes pay for Pentagon waste Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, by James Risen.

This issue is central for Democrats, progressives and all Americans. The fight against Trump must not be an excuse for neglecting the fight against permanent war. This is where the rubber meets the road. If we don’t act, who will?

It might be reasonable to edit the THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED to call for a decrease in defense spending.

“Those of us who love peace must organize as effectively as the war hawks. As they spread the propaganda of war, we must spread the propaganda of peace.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Relevant links

Rep. Adam Smith is called a progressive, and a great hope for pacifists, in this Politico article Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trumps arms buildup.

Adam Smith wrote an article in Defense One decrying Pentagon secrecy: The Pentagons Getting More Secretive and Its Hurting National Security.

The Risks of Permanent War by the RAND Corporation

Book review: How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything

New watchdog report decries revolving door between the Pentagon and defense contractors (from http://defensenews.com)

Americas Permanent-War Complex, from the American Conservative.
“Eisenhower’s worst nightmare has come true, as defense mega-contractors climb into the cockpit to ensure we stay overextended.”

Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, by James Risen.

See this related resolution by World Without War.

This article in The Atlantic, The Democrats Keep Capitulating on Defense Spending, discusses how Congressional Democrats agreed to increase defense spending in early 2018:

In the run-up to the deal, Nancy Pelosis office fired off an email to House Democrats proclaiming that, In our negotiations, Congressional Democrats have been fighting for increases in funding for defense. Chuck Schumers office announced that, We fully support President Trumps Defense Departments request. Not all congressional Democrats voted for the budget agreement: Thirty-eight percent of Democrats backed it in the House [Adam Smith opposed it.] and 76 percent did in the Senate. But even those who voted no mostly did so because they were upset about its lack of protection for immigrant dreamersnot because they oppose a higher defense budget. Last year, in fact, when Democrats were offered a standalone vote on big increases in military spendingin the form of House and Senate defense authorization billslarge majorities in both bodies voted yes.

What makes this so remarkable is that the arguments for a large increase in defense spending are extraordinarily weak.


Earlier, there were additional WHEREASs:

WHEREAS the $21 trillion in federal debt is being used as justification for calls to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare, despite our having paid for those programs out of our paychecks;

WHEREAS the debt was caused largely by tax cuts for rich people, bailouts for corporations, a for-profit health care system, and fraudulent, disastrous wars;

WHEREAS 121 retired U.S. generals have written a letter opposing cuts to foreign aid;

Book review: How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything

How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon by Rosa Brooks is a wonderfully-written, informative book about the bloated military, its mission creep, and the under-funding of other parts of the government such as the State Department.

The book comes with hearty recommendations from General James Mattis, General Stanley McChrystal, and Gen. David Patreus. This is despite the fact that the book  — at least until the last chapter –is  anti-war and is critical of military waste and secrecy.

She quotes polls that suggest that Americans have high regard for the military but low regard for other branches of government, and especially for Congress. Likewise, the Pentagon is lavishly funded, but other branches of government — including the State Department and the Internal Revenue Service — are starved for funds.

Our cynical political culture devalues social welfare programs and snickers at communitarian impluses, and most of us trust neither our neighbors nor the public institutions that are meant to serve us. The distrust is not unmerited; the more we the more we devalue public programs, the less we fund them — and and the less they can offer us, the less we trust them, and so on. The military is all that’s left: the last institution standing.

And so, too much is asked of the military.  Aside from being asked to fight unwinnable wars, it’s also asked to handle more and more tasks worldwide that used to be handled by civilian agencies: agricultural, medical, educational, elections, and, in general, nation building.  The book describes some of the turf wars between the State Department and the military — conflicts over who show do what.

In a way, this is great progress, because the military realizes that to avoid war and to maintain peace, it’s important to have stable nations overseas with working justice systems and economies.  Just bombing and destroying enemies doesn’t win many friends.

Of course, nation building  mostly fails.

Alas, while our own infrastructure and government agencies fall to pieces, we spend trillions of dollars trying to build nations overseas.

In many ways, America is a failing state, with massive tax evasion and fraud. But this is by choice, more than by incompetence: the GOP hates taxes and government, except for the military.

The book was published in 2016 — she doesn’t mention Trump at all.  Imagine how much worse things are now, since Trump and the Republicans have gutted federal agencies and even failed to appoint key staff. And today I saw headlines saying that Trump has issued an executive order to freeze federal pay in 2019.

How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything, by Rosa Brooks

Brooks gave a talk to a group of majors and lieutenant colonels at an Army school. She asked them what was the greatest security threat facing America in the next decade or two. Few of the soldiers thought that Islamic terrorism, North Korea or Iran posed the biggest threat. The biggest threats, they thought, would come from conflicts involving resource scarcity resulting from climate change, and from global economic collapse.

She tells the story of the murder of Chilean leftist Letelier in Washington D.C. by agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and of the murder of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London, apparently by Russian agents. But, in a similar way, the United States has been killing its enemies overseas with Predator and Reaper drones, or with special operation raids. Brooks says about 4000 such killings have occurred. She says she trusts her former colleagues in the military to do the right thing, but what about people in other countries who feel they have the right to launch targeted killings of their enemies all over the world? After pointing out the secrecy in which the targeted killings have been shrouded, she writes, “The legal precedents we are setting risk undermining the fragile norms of sovereignty and human rights that help keep our world stable. We should ask ourselves this: Do we want to live in a world in which every state considers itself to have a legal right to kill people in other states, secretly and with no public disclosure or due process, base on its own unilateral assertions of national security prerogatives?”

“If ‘imminent threat’ can mean ‘lack of evidence of the absence of imminent threat,’ it is impossible to know, with any clarity, the circumstances in which the United States will in fact decide that the use of military force is lawful.”

She tells horrifying and moving stories about cruelty and violence overseas — e.g., a story of school girls kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda and about suffering in Bosnia.  There are, rarely, just interventions.  Stopping the genocide in Rwanda, by sending in peace keepers, could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Her mind is so clear and analytical. She’s a law professor at Georgetown University. But she also manages to find humor or irony in various challenges.

For example, after telling about the gargantuan size of the military budget — more then the next fifteen biggest spenders combined — she goes onto talk about the fuzzy accounting at the Pentagon. “DoD’s a big place, and stuff gets lost: money, programs, people, organizations, weapon systems, the occasional small war.”

Indeed, the recent audit of the Pentagon failed. They were unable to account for a mind-boggling $21 trillion in spending (not all real money: accounting tricks). See Exclusive: The Pentagon’s Massive Accounting Fraud Exposed: How US military spending keeps rising even as the Pentagon flunks its audit.

Soldiers, even the generals, know that war is hell. It’s the darn hawkish politicians who are most responsible for pushing the nation into disastrous wars and for asking the military to engage in nation building.

She mentions that, contrary to what the public believes, military personnel are paid higher than non-military government workers, and have better benefits.  Health care is free. Groceries are discounted 30%. Higher education is largely free. Housing is free or subsidized.  Veterans can retire at age 40 with large pensions.  Health care spending for the military has grown at twice the rate as it has grown for civilian health care. “Anyone who thinks there’s no such thing as socialism has never spent time on a military base.”

Congress insists on giving the Pentagon money even for programs it doesn’t want. “[O]ne of the things that astounded me was hard it was to get Congress to stop funding stupid stuff.”

She writes, “[T]he whole idea of a secret war is deeply offensive to core principles of American democracy — in particular, to any notion of constitutional checks and balances.” But secret wars exist: drone wars and actions by U.S. special forces.”   “…. But it would be just as much a mistake to dismiss U.S. counterterrorism policy as the selfish, destructive flailing of an arrogant, damaged superpower. It is that, but not only that. Hegel famously defined tragedy as the conflict between two goods, each overly rigid in its claims.”

The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) granted the Bush administration Congressional approval for fighting Al Qaeda and related forces that were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. But since then, there’s been mission creep, and the AUMF has been applied to groups less and less related to Al Qaeda., such as the Al Shabaab militants in Somalia. Another example is the Islamic State, which is actually in conflict with the remnants of Al Qaeda.

She points out that the American Civil War killed 600,000 people, and World War Two killed 400,000 Americans. The 9/11 terrorists attacks killed a few thousand. Were they really justification, she asks, for throwing two centuries of American values out the window?

In particular, allowing the President to unilaterally and secretly kill Americans overseas, without judicial overview, violates fundamental doctrines of American separation of powers and concentration of power.

But drones aren’t all bad, she points out: isn’t it better to target a few dangerous individuals than to fight wars the old way with thousands of troops, heavy armor and bombing runs by the air force? Surely, there will be less collateral damage with high tech targeted strikes.

War has become more like policing, and policing has become more like war. Soldiers overseas often engage in police-like raids — rather than massive assaults like in the two world wars — as well as in counter-insurgency and nation building. And many police departments have adopted military equipment, tactics, and dress.

Progress towards a more peaceful world isn’t inevitable, she insists. And if we don’t make the effort to craft an international order that maintains peace and cooperation, “we could find ourselves, all too quickly, back in the era of domestic repression and bloody global conflict.”

One problematic part of her book is the last chapter, “Managing War’s Paradoxes,” where she considers but rejects pacifist arguments about the war on terror. Since 9/11, America has been in a constant state of war, and war has expanded to include multiple countries and multiple, non-traditional formats (cyber-terrorism, economic terrorism, fake news, bioterrorism, drone attacks, etc). Post 9/11 our privacy rights and civil rights have been degraded: extra-judicial killings of Americans by drones are the norm, as is indefinite detention. Some pacifists suggest that the problem is that we shouldn’t regard terrorist attacks as a war at all. Rather, we should view such attacks as criminal acts, or as social problems. We can, say the pacifists, put the genie back in the bottle.

To be specific, the genie is the blurring of lines between war and peace, and the militarization of all aspects of life.

In the last chapter Brooks rejects the pacifist view and says that expanded war is here to stay. In fact, she says, war has been the norm rather than the exception throughout human history.  She points to President Obama’s conflicting statements about war. While he acknowledged that perpetual war mustn’t become the norm, he repeatedly agreed to more war: escalating troops in Afghanistan, sending troops to Syria, and authorizing drone attacks. Even in his Nobel address, for the Peace Prize he didn’t deserve, he spoke of the necessity of war.

She writes, “The changes that have blurred the lines between war and peace are real, not just figments of militaristic American imaginations.” War is no longer a matter of massed troops between nation states. Now it’s dispersed and disorganized. She acknowledges that the changes in the nature of war create fundamental challenges to international law and human rights. War and peace aren’t binary opposites but exist on a continuum, she says.

“It’s time to stop relying on lines drawn in the sand: the wind and waves are washing them away.” Instead, she says, we should realize that war is a constant companion and that we need to develop frameworks for managing it in a way that protects human rights and human dignity. In particular, we need international rules that make room for targeted killings, via, say, the Security Council of the United Nations. Brooks says the U.S. must be willing to give up some sovereignty, lest our actions come back to haunt us when other nations perform targeted killings of Americans.

In the past, she says, the Declaration of Independence, the Geneva Conventions, and the United Nations Charter brought progress towards peace and human rights. “Today, as the boundaries around war grow indistinct and war’s toxins begin to bleed into daily life, it’s time to try again.” That is, try to build laws to constrain the new kinds of war that we now face.

Likewise, she acknowledges that in an ideal world civilian agencies would be given the resources to do the many activities of nation building and development that currently fall to the military (and that the military often lacks the skills to perform). But, she asks, “is it remotely realistic to imagine that this will happen any time in the next few decades, given current political realities?” Her answer is, no.

She doesn’t mention the GOP by name, but that’s her implication: Republicans do not want government to work, except for the military.

Since, she says, we are stuck with just the military, let’s admit that the military’s role is wider than just killing. Hiring rules should be changed to downplay physical strength and youth and to emphasize more intellectual skills, such as linguistic ability and coding skills. Moreover, “we’ll need to knock down the walls we’ve created between our civilian agencies and the military.” After all, national security depends on more than just violence: education, transportation, health care, and environmental stewardship, for example.

Heck, she sounds like a progressive!

What she fails to adequately address is the extent to which U.S. foreign policy created terrorism, by our meddling in and invasions of other countries. It is largely the USA that let the genie out of the bottle! Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq in 2001, but they sure are there now. Similar stories can be told about Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, Syria, Indonesia, and South America. And now American forces are in many countries in Africa.

Moreover, the inability of Congress to adequately fund civilian agencies could change substantially in two years, if the Democrats win back control of the U.S. Senate and the White House, and if progressives in the Democratic Party are able to beat hawkish, neoliberal Democrats. And if the public can, somehow, be educated about how they’re being cheated by neoliberal ideology.

The biggest danger to our well-being is the Republican Party and its obsession with lowering taxes and de-funding government agencies, while building up the military.

Finally, resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute in a just way would have gone a long way towards lessening Islamic terrorism. Why didn’t Brooks mention that?

The Nation article on the Pentagon’s massive fraud and waste

See The Nation article Exclusive: The Pentagon’s Massive Accounting Fraud Exposed: How US military spending keeps rising even as the Pentagon flunks its audit. or download and listen to this audio Inside the Pentagon: First-Ever Audit Exposes Massive Accounting Fraud.

For exampe:

[T]here were no ledger entries or receipts to back up how that $6.5 trillion supposedly was spent. Indeed, more than 16,000 records that might reveal either the source or the destination of some of that $6.5 trillion had been “removed,” the inspector general’s office reported.

“In all, at least a mind-boggling $21 trillion of Pentagon financial transactions between 1998 and 2015 could not be traced, documented, or explained, concluded Skidmore. ”

As one congressional staffer with long experience investigating Pentagon budgets, speaking on background because of the need to continue working with DoD officials, told The Nation, “We don’t know how the Pentagon’s money is being spent. We know what the total appropriated funding is for each year, but we don’t know how much of that funding gets spent on the intended programs, what things actually cost, whether payments are going to the proper accounts. If this kind of stuff were happening in the private sector, people would be fired and prosecuted.”

“The absurdly huge plugs never even get asked about at Armed Services and Budget Committee hearings. ”

I wonder what Rep. Adam Smith will do about this. He’s the incoming chair of the House Armed Services Committee.  At recent debates and town hall meetings he often mentioned the upcoming audit (and wistfully hoped it would actually happen).

Related article: America’s Post-9/11 Wars Have Cost $5.9 Trillion “Not to mention 240,000 civilian deaths and 21 million displaced. And yet a congressional commission is urging yet more money for a bloated Pentagon.”

Can Rep. Adam Smith move the needle on military spending, secrecy, and adventurism?

Starting in January, Rep. Adam Smith (WA, D, 9th CD) will be the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

Rep. Adam Smith is called a progressive, and a great hope for pacifists, in this Politico article Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trump’s arms buildup. (The title they chose for the article is rather unfortunate.)

Adam Smith also wrote an article in Defense One decrying Pentagon secrecy: The Pentagon’s Getting More Secretive — and It’s Hurting National Security.

Though Adam Smith is not as progressive as his opponent Sarah Smith, he is a smart, reasonable guy who “gets it” about military waste, secrecy, and adventurism.

Adam Smith is mentioned, more critically, in this Counterpunch article Will the new House Dems take on the War Lobby?. The article points out that Adam Smith received $261,450 in campaign cash from the arms industry in the 2018 election cycle.

Given the power of the Blob (military industrial complex) reining it in is a formidable task. But Smith gets it. He has been moving to the left with his district.

This is an issue where we can move the needle.  Of course, we need to do this responsibly!

I know Smith personally.  I often ask questions at his town hall meetings, and he must know about this website. I told him many times that the country needs to rein in military spending and close some of the 800 military bases in more than 70 countries. The majority of military interventions in the last 75 years have had negative outcomes for the U.S. and the world — aside from the outrageous cost in lives, suffering, and money.

Smith phoned me during the campaign to solicit my support, so this issue is something I care deeply about.  I would even consider quitting my job to work on this full time if I knew I can make progress.

BTW, Trump ran to the left of Hillary on both the economy and military affairs.

U.S. Has Spent Six Trillion Dollars on Wars That Killed Half a Million People Since 9/11, Report Says “In sum, high costs in war and war-related spending pose a national security concern because they are unsustainable,” the report concluded. “The public would be better served by increased transparency and by the development of a comprehensive strategy to end the wars and deal with other urgent national security priorities.”

Was the Noble Savage noble? Or savage?

There has been a debate in the press recently about whether the state (nation) is fundamentally a source of exploitation and war, or whether it’s a civilizing influence on humans’ natural brutal nature. The debate has echoes of Jean-Jacque Rousseau versus Thomas Hobbes, as well as echos of FDR versus the Koch brothers.

In short, was the Noble Savage noble or savage?

Anarchist and Yale political scientist James Scott has written a series of books critical of the state and nostalgic for the supposed peaceful and cooperative hunter-gatherer past. In a piece published in The Nation, political scientist and legal scholar Samuel Moyn reviews Scott’s work and concludes that Scott both ignores the brutality of pre-state humans and understates the benefits of states and civilization. The very qualities of equality and freedom that Scott bestows are a product of states.

Some other references suggesting that hunter-gatherers were relatively peaceful and egalitarian include:

Human Nature May Not Be So Warlike After All

Warfare was uncommon among hunter-gatherers: study

“Warfare was uncommon among hunter-gatherers, and killings among nomadic groups were often due to competition for women or interpersonal disputes, researchers in Finland said Thursday.” (Is it really war or just an interpersonal feud? Several researchers point out that organized war, with masses of troops probably required states, but feuds and minor killings sill occurred in hunter-gatherer society.)

But there are many scholars who think hunter-gatherers were war-like and treated woman poorly.

Hunter-gatherers were brutal and we have the state to thank for a decrease in violence and an increase in equality

Review of the book Violence and Warfare among Hunter-Gatherers, Journal of Anthropological Research. “LeBlanc develops a set of features common to hunter-gatherer warfare cross-culturally and argues that overwhelming ethnographic evidence shows intergroup violence was frequently dangerous but likely tied to resource stress between human populations.” “The reader finishes the book with an understanding that interpersonal violence and warfare occurred at all levels of sociopolitical complexity, predated colonization, and were widely variable in intensity and frequency.”

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined is a 2011 book by Steven Pinker.

[Pinker] argues that violence in the world has declined both in the long run and in the short run and suggests explanations as to why this has occurred.The book contains a wealth of data simply documenting violence across time and geography. This paints a picture of massive declines in violence of all forms, from war, to improved treatment of children. He highlights the role of nation-state monopolies on force, of commerce (making “other people become more valuable alive than dead”), of increased literacy and communication (promoting empathy), as well as a rise in a rational problem-solving orientation as possible causes of this decline in violence. He notes that, paradoxically, our impression of violence has not tracked this decline, perhaps because of increased communication,[2] and that further decline is not inevitable, but is contingent on forces harnessing our better motivations such as empathy and increases in reason. (Source)

No, hunter gatherers were not peaceful paragons of gender equality Lots of graphs. Violence is decreasing over time.

10,000-year-old massacre suggests hunter-gatherers went to war

Prehistoric Massacre Hints at War Among Hunter-Gatherers

Finding a hunter-gatherer massacre scene that may change history of human warfare “We have discovered the oldest known case of violence between two groups of hunter gatherers took place there, with ten excavated skeletons showing evidence of having been killed with both sharp and blunt weapons.” “[M]any scholars have argued that warfare must have emerged after farming and more complex political systems arose.” But these findings challenge that view.

Noble or Savage? “The era of the hunter-gatherer was not the social and environmental Eden that some suggest.”
 

My concern with this is that many anarchists and bottom-up proponents on the Left are (perhaps unwittingly) aiding libertarians who want to destroy the New Deal and regulatory state crafted by progressive politics of the last 100 years. Yes, the state is often corrupted and used to harm people. Our task is to fix it so that it serves the many.

Sports as an opiate for the masses

Sports are like religion: an opiate for the masses. They distract people from political engagement.

I don’t understand why people “root” for a team. Why should Seattle’s team be better than any other city’s team? And why should residents here take pride in victories? Sports must exploit some deep-seated need of humans to belong and to have an “us versus them” mentality.

Also, sports reinforce the glorification of war, competition and capitalism, instead of cooperation.

Maybe political parties exploit that mentality too, as do religions.

Luke Held responded:

Clearly you don’t like sports. Many people do. You seem to see only the negative aspects of sports. 600,000 people were on the streets to welcome the Seahawks super bowl home. You can see that negatively, or positively, it’s up to you. Sports bring people of many cultures and classes together in support of something. I don’t really hate people from San Francisco, but it’s fun to pretend and give them crap about their team. I can also talk to nearly anyone, anywhere about sports, across generation, race, whatever. Good luck going up to anyone and talking about health care reform without a fight. You might as well take away music too. It’s obviously only distraction, right? Movies? Art? Take it all away because its only distraction?

There is a limit though. ESPN is the most lucrative businesses in the media realm. It exploits people’s love of sports. It also provides crappy non-substantive coverage of sports, but people are desperate for distraction in these times of insecurity and stress. Sports provides a much needed outlet, but the line between over saturation is far too distorted towards the distraction side. Sports in general though are critical to a culture. Balance is key.

David Markham said “Competitive sports are ideal for controlled and healthy aggression – which isn’t going away anytime soon.

I wonder if there is a correlation between sports fandom and religiosity or conservatism.

Indeed, this Forbes article from 2010 is relevant: Study: Sports Fans Skew Republican.

Progressives oppose Islamic extremism but oppose war even more

In the video Winning the War of Ideas, Sam Harris interviews author Sam Harris.  Both agree that progressives are making a serious error by failing to oppose Islamic violence and misogyny.

Harris and Maher don’t sufficiently acknowledge that progressives are indeed critical of Islamic repression.  But progressives are even more concerned with stopping a Holy War against Islam.  War lovers in both major parties are using the threat of terrorism to justify military spending and endless war.

After all, Muslim radicalism is largely a result of decades of war waged by the West against Muslim countries, and by U.S. meddling in the Middle East.   The U.S. created Al Qadea in Afghanistan in an effort to eject Russia.

The U.S. waged war against secular Iraq but has protected theocratic Saudi Arabia. Mostly, the U.S. should stop trying to be the policeman of the world. In reality, the motivation isn’t to save them from repression. The motivation is to get their oil.