Monday, October 25, 2010

Regarding Henry - The Passing of Professor Henry Karlson

A lot of people in the legal, political, conservative and pro-liberty communities are pausing this evening to remember Professor of Law Emeritus of the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, Henry Karlson. Until a couple of years ago I had never met Professor Karlson or his wife Nancy despite being friends with his daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Chris.

Even though I had never met them, when my own father passed away in early 2009 I received a wonderful message of condolences from Nancy on behalf of her and Henry. It was wonderful to eventually get the opportunity to get acquainted with him by way of some common political interests. Over the years, anytime Professor Karlson's name was mentioned it was always with love and respect and not once did I ever hear an ill word spoken of him. That is a tremendous accomplishment that few people can claim.

Gary Welsh at Advance Indiana posted some wonderful notes about Professor Karlson, so let me just add that I always enjoyed talking with him and it seemed he never stopped sharing his tremendous knowledge with others. The world is a better place because Henry was here and my thoughts this evening are with my good friend Liz and the rest of her family. The bright, wonderful, caring and tenacious person he leaves behind in his daughter and the great love you can always tell is there for her father when she speaks of him is an ongoing testament to this giant among men in Indiana.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Message For Pro-Intervention Conservatives and Liberals

A lot of traditional pro-intervention conservatives and even some liberals don't seem to have much of a problem with America's foreign policy.  Non-interventionist conservatives, libertarians, many liberals, Ron and Rand Paul supporters and others like to point out the problems and repercussions, including what the CIA calls "blowback", that result from having a highly intrusive foreign policy that seeks to promote U.S. hegemony in parts of the globe.

I started to write a piece that focused on our Middle East interventions and finally realized on the third page that I was probably writing a chapter to a potential future book, not a BLOG post. So, let me put it in this perspective and I'm speaking mostly to (supposedly) small government conservatives.

Today, the U.S. apologized for using people in another nation as guinea pigs in unethical medical testing of sexually transmitted diseases. This took place in the 1940s.

In 1953, the U.S. and British overthrew the democratically elected, secular (non religious) government of Iran and replaced that government with a dictator (ref: Operation Ajax). Ultimately, this boiled down to helping British oil interests (the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, today we know it as British Petroleum).

After his failed assassination attempt on Qasim in Iraq (1959), Saddam Hussein became an asset of the CIA and the Ba'ath party was helped to power with the support of the CIA and British MI6.

In the late 70s it is widely believed that the Carter administration turned against the Shah of Iran (whom we had helped to power) because of human rights concerns and this helped his overthrow by the religious (Muslim) conservatives.

In the 1980s the U.S. assisted, funded or otherwise supported both sides of the Iran-Iraq war in which hundreds of thousands of Arabs died. All as part of a strategy to keep both sides weak and unable to develop into stronger nations less likely to be subject to the desires and designs of the West.

We fought a proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. We can glamorize it all we want with movies like "Charlie Wilson's War", but at the end of the day the Middle East was used repeatedly as a way to play tug of war with the Soviets without actually having to fight them.

The U.S. supports, funds and arms - nearly without question - the state of Israel which a One World Government organization carved out of Palestine and gave to what was then the minority population there. I know how much conservatives love the United Nations and one world government organizations!

The U.S. has a long standing policy of supporting the ruling royal family in Saudi Arabia. This is a country where women cannot vote or drive, where a woman may be killed or harshly punished for being raped and where they still practice amputation as a punishment against criminals. Nary a word is spoken by our government about this. We maintain friendly relations with this country while invading or manipulating the regimes in others in the name of "freedom" or "democracy".

We help fund the military dictatorship in Pakistan.

In the past couple of years the U.S. demanded that Swiss banks turn over their records related to U.S. account holders. Some foreign banks are starting to cease doing business in the U.S. because they, like many of us, don't want to deal with our Internal Revenue Service.

Certainly, all of these sorts of things for which I highlight only a very, very small handful examples cost us lots of money. Especially when we end up sending our brave and honorable soldiers to war to clean up the messes that the upper-class ivy league twits at the CIA get us into. Not sure how one can be "fiscally conservative" and support constant meddling in the affairs of other nations or never-ending states of warfare; but, I digress.

This is my question.

The traditional conservative line is frequently that they want the United States Government to stay out of their lives and their wallets. Does it ever occur to them that the rest of the world wants this too?

Addendum: 2016

After decades of military intervention and proxy war battles in the Middle East we have seen an increased rise in radicalized, violence-prone terrorists either encouraged by, trained, recruited or otherwise supported and weaponized by people with social, economic or religious goals.  It is far to easier to recruit people to a violent cause when all they've known their whole life is violence from bombs being dropped on their countries, foreign military troops occupying their cities and villages and when essentially not having been allowed to become more enlightened from a social, economic and technological growth.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia want to be the leading power in the Middle East. Religious zealots seek to bring about a one-world government under Islamic Sharia Law.  The existence of Israel and how it came to be in the modern world continues to be a contentious point among many of the people in that part of the world.  We have an entire generation of people growing up overseas with deep resentment of the West for our military interventions and political meddling in their part of the world - interventions that came with soldiers and bombs and meddling that often meant massive and reckless destabilization leading to power vacuums that warlords and terrorist organizations were quick to fill.

While the roots of many of our woes continue to be meddling, intervention and favoritism shown in that region of the world, it is quite possible that today we are now dealing with something that needs to be dealt with differently than than we might have a decade or two ago.