On the ‘New Cold War’: Part I

Essay One: A Very Brief History of Russian, British, and American Relations

Today’s tension between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, and the respective governments they head, has been dubbed by some as a “New Cold War”. Although things have come to a fever pitch not previously reached before the Ukrainian crisis, this New Cold War has precedents going all the way back to Russia’s brief war with Georgia in August of 2008.

The recent and current events of the Ukrainian crisis will be discussed in the second installment of this series, but it is important to first examine the deep historical roots of this present conflict between what is collectively call the West (particularly the U.S. and her NATO allies) and the modern-day Russian Federation.

- Russia Removed from the West -

Russia, the most powerful nation of Eastern Europe, has always maintained a degree of independence from her Western neighbors. While she is close to Europe in some respects, she also exists very much apart from other European nations, which have historically been much more integrated with one another. She is a Eurasian nation–a crossroads between East and West. She is historically an Orthodox Christian country, and developed as a nation beyond the political and religious influence of the Roman Papacy. From the Teutonic Crusaders, to Napoleonic France, to Nazi Germany, Western powers have made numerous attempts to conquer Russia, yet she has resisted each time. The effects of these characteristics has persisted throughout the lifespans of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, and still persist today in the Russian Federation.1

Peter the Great (1672-1725) was the first Tsar of the modern Russian Empire, and made overtures to establish closer relations between Russia and Western Europe.

Peter the Great (1672-1725) was the first Tsar of the modern Russian Empire, and made overtures to establish closer relations between Russia and Western Europe.

However, Russia’s semi-isolation from Western Europe also meant that she did not immediately reap many of the benefits of the European Renaissance which fostered many of the modern advancements in science, the arts, and statecraft. In fact, it was not until the 18th century, that Russia, under the reign of Emperor Peter I (“Peter the Great”), began to open up to receiving some of the lessons that the West had to teach her. As a result, it was also during this period that she emerged as an industrial and imperial power, expanding into the second largest empire in the world. As such, her rise as a global player also guaranteed that the Western powers would seek to have influence with or over Russia, and obviously not always for reasons in her best interest. Thus from the late 1700s onward to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Russia was in a near-perpetual geopolitical chess game with the powers of Western Europe–especially the only empire larger than hers: Britain’s.2

- The Russian Empire versus the British Empire -

From approximately the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, onward to the eve of the First World War in the early 20th century, Russia was essentially Britain’s only significant rival in the Eastern Hemisphere. When Russia was expanding into Central Asia, and frequently warring with the Ottoman Empire, Britain took close notice, as Russian expansion was a potential threat to British dominance in South Asia and its considerable influence in Ottoman Southwest Asia; thus, the British Empire put great effort into maintaining a policy of containing Russia’s further rise. During much of the 19th century, the two great empires were in a geopolitical tug-of-war for control over the Eurasian Heartland that historians have dubbed “The Great Game”.

In discussing this geopolitical duel, a key difference between the British and Russian empires must be emphasized:

A map of the rail lines on the Africa continent, the great majority of which were built during the colonial era when most of Africa was controlled by British, French, Belgian, and other European powers.  As such, many of the railways are not designed to facilitate national economic development, and instead are there primarily to transport raw materials from their source to the ports.

A map of the rail lines on the African continent, the great majority of which were built during the colonial era when most of Africa was controlled by British, French, Belgian, and other European powers. As such, many of the railways are not designed to facilitate national economic development, and instead are there primarily to transport raw materials from their source to the ports.

The British Empire expanded as a maritime empire for the purpose of dominating and controlling the global trade of materials extracted from its many colonies around the world. As such, the British system, with its reach all across the globe, and dedication to so-called “free trade”, needs to prevent its subjugated peoples from organizing into strong, sovereign nation-states. Thus industry and infrastructure in the colonies are kept only at the bare-bones level necessary for looting and exporting.3

Additionally, the British Empire rarely resorts to overt military conquest, and instead established control over territory by infiltrating and subverting resistant nations from within, thereby orchestrating social and political discord. (Many of the nations targeted by this method were Russia’s neighbors in Southwest and Central Asia, of which were organized as proxy forces the British recruited against Russia, creating destabilization all along Russia’s southern border.)

Unlike its British counterpart, the Russian Empire expanded through force of arms to become a continental empire across the vast landscape of Eurasia.4 Although it conquered a multitude of ethnic groups, it can be argued that the Russian Empire still functioned much more like an unified nation when compared to the multi-tentacled global colonial empire of Great Britain. Thus Russia’s economic growth depended upon the very same kind of inland development and internal improvements that were suppressed in the British colonies. Therefore, as an empire straddling a supercontinent, Russia was more poised to evolve from an empire into a nation-state, whereas Britain could only continue upon its current trajectory of growing into an ever-larger parasite, victimizing decaying nations.

- Russia and the U.S.: Once Close Allies -

It is probably for these differences that Russia developed close ties with the British Empire’s former colony and chief rival in the Western Hemisphere: the United States of America (although this is largely a forgotten history since the events of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Cold War). It is somewhat ironic to reflect upon the fact that Russia and the U.S. shared a “special relationship”–in which they were unified against Britain–long before the Anglo-American special relationship established at the end of World War II, which was an alignment against Russia.

During the American War for Independence (1775-83), the U.S. earned the sympathy of Empress Catherine II (“Catherine the Great”) and her government; thus the fledgling republic was being supplied by Russia and her allies—the League of Armed Neutrality—during the war. During the Second Anglo-American War (1812-15), the Russians pressured Britain to sue for peace with the U.S. During Russia’s Crimean War (1853-56) against the British, French, and Ottomans, the U.S. returned Russia’s favor from 80 years prior by supplying her with war materiel. And during the U.S. Civil War (1861-65), Russia intervened directly to deter Britain from formally allying with the Confederate States of America.5

A statue in Moscow of U.S.  President Lincoln (left) and Russian Tsar Alexander II (right) commemorating not only the close relationship the U.S. and Russia shared during the time of the two leaders, but also the fact that they both freed their countrymen from bondage: Lincoln, who emancipated the American slaves in 1863, and Alexander, who liberated the Russian serfs in 1861.  These twin acts also ended an era of agrarian backwardness and put both countries on a fast track to industrial expansion and development which threatened the British Empire's global power.

A statue in Moscow of U.S. President Lincoln (left) and Russian Tsar Alexander II (right) commemorating not only the close relationship the U.S. and Russia shared during the time of the two leaders, but also the fact that they both freed their countrymen from bondage: Lincoln, who emancipated the American slaves in 1863, and Alexander, who liberated the Russian serfs in 1861. These twin acts also ended an era of agrarian backwardness and put both countries on a fast track to industrial expansion and development which threatened the British Empire’s global power.

But this alignment between the U.S. and Russia did not merely apply during wartime. Russia, as a transcontinental nation, was eager to adopt methods of the “American System of Political Economy”.6 American economic nationalists exchanged their ideas with Russian counterparts to help further Russia’s development into a modern nation-state. The U.S. gave Russia the materiel needed to establish modern industry and railroads—including the famous Trans-Siberian. By the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. and Russia were one another’s largest trading partners.

But the rapid development of both Russia and the United States as strong, sovereign, national economies was something that the British Empire could not tolerate. The fruitful alliance between the two nations was not to last.

- The Anglo-American Special Relationship and the Cold War -

In 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution overthrew Russia’s imperial monarchy, and the creation of the Soviet Union soon followed. This, of course, created a giant rift in U.S.-Russian relations, which had already been waning since the retirement of Prime Minister Sergei Witte–a strong advocate of American System-style development–in 1906.

The twilight of World War II saw a potential return to something approaching the relationship the U.S. and Russia enjoyed during the latter half of the 19th century. But the untimely death of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, the main torch-bearer for such an approach to U.S.-Russian relations, meant it would never come to pass.

In the aftermath of World War II, instead of rekindling things with Russia, the U.S. established a “special relationship” with the British Empire, and was thus initiated as a full-fledged, major player in the game of imperialist geopolitics.7 Almost immediately after Roosevelt’s death, the Anglo-American Establishment moved quickly to exploit what were workable differences between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and usher in the Cold War.

Much happened during this period, but the most important feature to mention for our purposes here is to mention that the Cold War was largely governed by a doctrine of “Mutually Assured Destruction”, appropriately acronymed as MAD. MAD meant that since the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. each had thousands of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, war between them would mean the destruction of them both—and probably most, if not all, of the human race, as well. Thus the promise of MAD meant that the only way to deter the one side or the other from instigating war was for the two of them to continually one-up each other through arms-race, intrigue, and geopolitical maneuvering.

In the waning days of that Cold War, the U.S. would assure the disintegrating U.S.S.R. that the coming new era would mean an end to Cold War relations, most specifically the surcease of the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an anti-Russian military alliance of Western countries.

- Yeltsin and Putin -

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Anglo-Americans pounced on the heavily-weakened superpower by installing their puppet Boris Yeltsin as President of the new Russian Federation. Under Yeltsin, Russia was eager to transition from a state-controlled economy into a free market one. Western “economists” advised the new government to implement economic “shock therapy”—i.e., the overnight privatization of most sectors of the Russian economy. This allowed the rise of a new class of Russian “oligarchs” who looted the country. By the end of the 1990s, Russia was on the verge of becoming a Third World country.8 By the end of his presidency, the bumbling, corrupt Yeltsin enjoyed single-digit approval ratings.

As the Saker, an analyst of Russian affairs, has pointed out, the juxtapostion of these two pictures of Yeltsin with Clinton and Obama with Putin really says volumes about the 180 degree change in U.S.-Russian relations.

As the Saker, an analyst of Russian affairs, has pointed out, the juxtaposition of these two pictures of Yeltsin with Clinton and Obama with Putin really says volumes about the 180 degree change in U.S.-Russian relations.

Yeltsin resigned on New Year’s Eve, 1999. His successor was his prime minister, Vladimir Putin. Putin immediately began an enterprise to turn Russia around. He reigned in the oligarchs and reversed the privatization schemes. The presidencies of Putin and his collaborator, Dmitry Medvedev, launched national initiatives to improve public health, education, housing, and agriculture; promote the flourishing of useful domestic industries; and promote the development of modern technologies.

In his fifteen years in high office (ten years as president, five as prime minister), Putin has managed to bring Russia back from poverty and social discord, and turn it back into a strong, sovereign nation-state. Whatever his flaws, Putin is surely not deserving the vilification now being incessantly hurled at him by Western pundits and politicians.9 Putin is hated simply because he is a nationalist who dares to defy the Anglo-American Establishment.10 As one popular Russian analyst has said of him:11 As a world leader, Putin represents a vision of a pluralistic world order of sovereign nation-states that adhere to international law. Unlike Yeltsin, he has not sat idly by and allowed his country to become a de facto colony of the Anglo-American system, and stands firm against its efforts to create a unipolar empire of might-makes-right.

Just as Lincoln and Roosevelt were circumspect of the British Empire, and therefore willing to cooperate with Russia in creating such a pluralistic and peaceful world order, so too must the present government of the United States break off the Special Relationship and engage Putin in his present mission.

Forthcoming: Essay Two: “What is the Actual Significance of the Ukrainian Crisis?”

__________

- Notes -

1. The differences between Russia and the West are not so irreconcilable that they condemn the two sides to an eternal “clash of civilizations” which must inevitably lead to one side destroying the other, as some fanatics–both Russian and Western–have argued. Nonetheless, the differences in culture, religion, and history must be recognized and taken into account by both parties if they are to have any cooperation in building a better future for mankind.

2. Although my knowledge of Russian history and its relationship to the West is admittedly rather sophomoric, I nonetheless have found that Russia’s volatile relationship with my native United States actually has its historical roots in Russia’s problems with the British Empire, which go back to the 18th century, and continue today.

3. I use the present tense in describing the system of British Imperialism, because it does, in actuality, persist as today’s Anglo-American “neocolonial” system. I have written on this elsewhere in “The Philippines: Underdeveloped, But Not Overpopulated” and “For Independence from Empire: The Spirit of ’76 and Pan-Asian Nationalism”. I also recommend other reading material, particularly from the ground-breaking historiography of Executive Intelligence Review, such as Treason in America: From Aaron Burr to Averell Harriman by Anton Chaitkin (1999, Sec. ed. E.I.R. Washington.); and L.Wolfe, “The Other War: FDR’s Battle Against Churchill and the British Empire”, The American Almanac, Aug. 28, 1995. Also see As He Saw It by Elliot Roosevelt (Duell, Sloan, and Pearce. New York, 1946).

4. Russian Imperialism, although in part motivated by practical reasons such as the need to acquire resources and to secure access to warm water ports, has its roots in a “Third Rome” ideology, where Russia was the successor to the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire (which is why the title of the Russian Emperor– “Tsar”–is Russian for “Caesar”). At least some of Russia’s recurring conflicts with the Ottoman Turks were inspired by a Romantic fantasy of “liberating” Istanbul (formerly Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium) from the Muslims and reestablishing the old empire. Third Rome ideology does persist to this very day in some quarters of the old Russian elite.

5. See George Konstantin, “The U.S.-Russian Entente That Saved the Union,” Executive Intelligence Review, Jun. 26, 1992 (reprint); William Jones, “Britain’s Surrogate War Against the Union, 1861-65″, Executive Intelligence Review, Aug. 12, 2011; and Konstantin Cheremnykh and Rachel Douglas, “Russians Look at Strategic Meaning of Historical Alliance with U.S.A.”, Executive Intelligence Review, Jun. 8, 2007.

6. The American System of Political Economy was considered by its proponents–which included Alexander Hamilton, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Henry C. Carey, and Abraham Lincoln, among others–as the antithesis to the “British” system of free trade and imperialism. It is a form of economic nationalism: i.e. a political economy that fosters a society of producers, where high-technology industry and infrastructure are applied for the greatest possible benefit of the living standards of the general population. For more on this and related topics, see Anton Chaitkin, “How Ben Franklin Organized Our Economic Independence”, Executive Intelligence Review, Oct. 21, 2011, “The Fraud of Andrew Jackson: Think Like an American–Restore Hamilton’s Bank!”, Executive Intelligence Review, Feb. 10, 2012, and “The American Industrial Revolution that Andrew Jackson Sought to Destroy”, Executive Intelligence Review, Jun. 22, 2012. The article for “The American School (Economics)” on Wikipedia also presents a useful overview.

7. For insight into actual nature of the Anglo-American “Special Relationship” scrutinize Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech on Mar. 5, 1946 to Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri where he publicly announces that the U.S. must align with the British Empire (it is of special note that he emphasizes the Empire, over the nation of United Kingdom) against the Soviet Union and work toward establishing the United Nations as a kind-of supranational government. View Churchill’s words in the context of Henry Kissinger’s May 10, 1982 speech to the Royal Institute for International Affairs. Kissinger shamelessly confesses that he “kept the British Foreign Office better informed and more closely engaged than…the American State Department,” and that his allegiances lie with the historical outlook of imperialists like Churchill, rather than those of patriotic and “moralistic idealists” like Roosevelt and John Quincy Adams.

8. See Dan Josefsson, “Shock Therapy: The Art of Ruining a Country”, Dan Josefsson’s Articles and Blog, Apr. 1, 1999; and The Saker, “Is the twenty years long “pas de deux” of Russia and the USA coming to an end?”, Vineyard of the Saker (blog), Oct. 12, 2013.

9. Knowing what sources to put one’s faith in when it comes to sorting through information on Vladimir Putin and his presidency can be quite difficult. The Russian President is undoubtedly a major thorn in the side of the Anglo-American Empire, and therefore the great majority of the English-language news media cannot be trusted for any honest reporting on Putin or Russia. Even good journalists who might be sincere in their reporting can misrepresent the facts about the state of affairs in Putin’s Russia if they unwittingly rely upon sources that are disinformation and/or are uneducated on the larger context on the issues in question.

Russian sources, on the other hand, particularly the increasingly-popular, Russian government-funded, English-language news outlet Russia Today (RT) are likely guilty of being overly bias toward the current Russian government, but are still valuable for presenting Russia’s side of the story and for reporting important stories that run contrary to the narrative the Anglo-American Establishment wishes to promote (both of which the mainstream media in the West will never do).

Two of the best English-language sources I have come across for intelligence on Russia are The Vineyard of the Saker—a blog written by a Soviet dissident and former military analyst—and Lyndon LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review.

As for my own opinion of President Putin, I will say that while the man is certainly no saint, and is perhaps guilty of some of the objectionable actions he is accused of, he is nonetheless a master statesman (quite possibly the greatest Russia has had since Witte) who has no contemporary peers among other world leaders. I believe his motivation to lead is derived more so from a desire to serve for the good of Russia and her people, than from selfishness and narcissism.  I could be wrong in this assessment, but I have yet to be presented with any convincing evidence that I am.

10. The connotation of the term “nationalist” I refer to is not that which is often synonymous with fascism, and refers to a xenophobic, isolationist, racialist idea of national identity (a connotation which is probably better expressed by the term ultranationalism, a term used to describe the extremist, fascistic contingent apparently in charge of the new Ukrainian government right now), but the idea that the general welfare and interests of the nation must be protected from destructive foreign influences, whether covert or overt, and that a sovereign nation has a right to her development.

11. The Saker, “Today every free person in the world has won!” The Vineyard of the Saker (blog), Oct. 12, 2013.

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Some Reflections Upon Sexual Morality in General, and the Homosexual Question in Particular: Part III

Please see Essays One and Two in this series.

Essay Three: The Grand Cultural Experiment of Same-Sex Parenting

In the previous installment to this series, which addresses same-sex marriage, I explained that since a marriage is a foundation of a new family, and the family is the most basic human social unit, the state has the legitimate authority to sanction marriage. Marriages typically produce new members of the human race and thus must provide stable, loving, nurturing environments for those new members.

The Disney Channel recently aired an episode of its children's sitcom, Good Luck Charlie, which depicted same-sex parents as "no big deal".

The Disney Channel recently aired an episode of its children’s sitcom, Good Luck, Charlie, which depicted same-sex parents as “no big deal”.

As the term “marriage equality” implies, the sanctioning of homosexual unions as “marriages” means that they will be equal under the law in every way to traditional, heterosexual marriages. This includes the option to become legal guardians of minors. In other words, “gay households” do not only include two consenting partners, but also adopted or biological children–individuals much too young to consent to being brought into this atypical household.

The general “consensus” on this matter seems to be that there is little, if any difference, between children raised by heterosexual couples, and children raised by homosexual couples. Even the American Psychological Association has affirmed this, and there is at least one Australian study that produced results showing that children of homosexual parents have better “general health” and share greater “family cohesion” than children of heterosexual parents!1

Though it is fair to question if such conclusions are free of deliberate bias and/or fallacies of composition, if we take them at face value, we still must ask if such results alone really justify legalizing and normalizing same-sex parenting.

- A Right to a Mother and Father -

One of the most vocal opponents to same-sex parenting is columnist and author Robert O. Lopez. He argues that the results from such studies, even if true, do not, in and of themselves, justify same-sex parenting. Lopez speaks from experience: he was raised by his mother and her lesbian partner, and identifies as bisexual. The core of his argument is that such household environments deny the children their natural, human rights:

Children have a right to a mom and a dad. You don’t ask sociologists to prove to us that free speech and liberty from slavery are justifiable because you can prove the negative impacts of being denied those rights. You can’t do that when it comes to a child’s right to a mom and a dad.

Such a right follows from the tenets of the Declaration of Independence, which is based on (1) self-evident truths, (2) inalienable rights, and (3) people being created equal.

(1) It is a self-evident truth that every baby comes into the world with a mom and a dad. (2) The tie linking that baby to its mom and dad is inalienable. If a man impregnates a woman and then absconds, the courts can track him down and force him to pay for child support. This isn’t based on the adult’s rights–it is based on the child’s right to a mom and a dad. In adoptions necessitated by hard times, the logic goes that you must fulfill the child’s rights by providing a new mom and dad to replace the mom and dad with which the child was born. If a child grows up without a dad, unless the dad died, the absence of the dad is the malfeasance of adults and a violation of the child’s right. (3) All people are created equal. Notice the role of “creation.” We all come from a mom and a dad and must have a mom and a dad, even if one is dead and only remembered, for us to be respected by the state formed by the Declaration of Independence. Same-sex parenting flagrantly violates children’s rights, deprives them of inalienable rights, and risks inflicting grievous emotional distress on them, with no justification whatsoever, other than the whims of adults. It is abuse.2

Elsewhere, in a column for Public Discourse, Lopez wrote:

This holds true not only for same-sex parenting, but for any choice to parent a child in a less-than-ideal setting for a less-than-grave reason. It’s abuse, for example, for a single parent to adopt a child when many other equally good two-parent homes are available. It’s abuse for parents to divorce simply for reasons related to their own emotional happiness. It’s abuse for LGBT couples to create children through IVF and then deprive them of a mother or father.3

Lopez has unsurprisingly incurred a fair amount of wrath from the pansexualist lobby. But, despite all the disagreements that one may have with him, whether civil or hostile, his central point remains indisputable: Everyone has quite literally a “birthright” to a loving and responsible mother and father. This birthright is derived from the natural state–we all come from a mother and a father, thus we all deserve a mother and a father. For two homosexuals who are by their very nature incapable of reproduction to demand that they have a right to children that trumps the rights of children is perpetrating an injustice toward the child.

Granted, if there are scenarios where a child taken from an abusive mother-father family and has the only remaining option of being raised by a benign male-male or female-female couple, he is, in most respects, better off in the latter case; it is the “lesser evil”. And it is indeed possible that the child will grow up to seem quite normal depending on what standards one uses to define “normal” for a particular society. Indeed, it has never been unheard for children to overcome the obstacles created by the absence of one or both parents, and nonetheless become healthy, upstanding individuals (although statistics show that this is typically not what happens). But simply because a child has the potential avoid being a victim of growing up fatherless and/or motherless does not justify willfully thrusting him into such circumstances; it does not justify the acceptance of such scenarios as preferable or even normal substitutes for a stable household under the child’s biological mother and father.4 Living biological parents should only be excluded from immediate household if their inclusion makes a stable, loving household virtually impossible. And in those circumstances where either one or both of the biological parents are unable or unfit to adequately act in the role of a proper mother or father, or if one or both parents are deceased, then the closest approximation of that stable family environment must be sought. The child must have suitable substitutes for what was lost (mother, father, or both).5

- Parenting and Gender Roles -

The fictional school mascot from the sitcom Community: the genderless, raceless, colorless Greendale Human Being. The concept not only pokes fun at extreme political correctness, but also shows the irony and absurdity that denying gender differences will ultimately create something bizarre and unnatural.

To accept same-sex parenting as socially desirable and normal is to imply that all children have no essential need for mothers or fathers. At the core of this notion lies the assumption that gender does not matter because it is purely an arbitrary social construct. Originally regarded as a fringe belief associated with radical feminists and other extreme ideologues, this view has nevertheless slipped into the realms of mainstream legal theory and popular opinion by hiding inside the Trojan Horse of “social equality”.

Indeed, with the growing acceptance of “transgender” and/or “transsexual” identities comes the presumption that one can just change gender back-and-forth according to what feels the most “comfortable”. Thus a woman can decide that she wants to become a “father” by “transitioning” into a “man”, and vice versa for a man who wants to become a “mother”. Although these scenarios are not just hypothetical–the legal recognition of same-sex marriage has given rise to similar, real-life examples–there has been little attention given to them in the mainstream debate over the same-sex marriage issue. As one blogger from Lopez’s site put it, “[I]t seems that supporting the seemingly modest demands of the LGBT movement–such as same-sex marriage–necessitates accepting a whole host of existential changes that were neither presented to the public in good faith, nor scrutinized closely for their potential collateral damage.”6 The well-meaning supporters of same-sex marriage who are not radical ideologues–i.e., the majority of supporters–must have these matters posed to them and decide if the creation of such family environments is truly something they wish to condone.

Despite the insistence on much of feminist and related ideologues, it is probably quite safe to say that the overwhelming majority of the U.S. and other populations do not accept society’s gender constructs as purely arbitrary. And they are indeed correct. Changing social constructs cannot change the biological differences between male and female. Those biological differences do indeed play a role in shaping the immeasurable intricacies of each person’s sense of identity; you cannot separate the sex from the person, and vice versa. It is those biological gender differences that serve as a kind-of template for dictating what the social roles of the members of each sex will be. Some of these social roles are surely more arbitrary than others, and some may not be in concordance with social justice, and are therefore subject to being abolished or modified. But this does not mean that the need for human society to create gender roles is in itself arbitrary, unnatural, and superfluous. In fact, it seems more likely that the “genderlessness” that the ideologues wish to bring about is what is truly a purely arbitrary social construct.7 It should be quite obvious that, while man and woman are surely equal–particularly in the sense that we should both be equally free to make profound and unique contributions to universal history to the best of our abilities and according to our individual life circumstances–we are by our respective natures, just as surely not–and can never be–the same.

Therefore, it has been and will always be that men are designed to be fathers, and women designed to be mothers. The differences between father and mother, as man and woman, complement one another in a family dynamic that only a father-mother relationship can create. Children of both sexes are uniquely shaped by that relationship. Thus the argument that two men or two women raising a child together is as good as or even better than a man and a woman is as much an offense to common sense as it is a rejection of the natural state of human life.

These are some of the reasons why, as I have stated many times before in this series of essays, sanctioning same-sex marriage radically redefines the institutions of marriage, the family, and parenthood and separates them for their basis in natural law. This is a fact that I believe all voices from all sides of the issue can recognize. Thus, at minimum, to sanction same-sex marriage is to conduct a radical social experiment never conducted before. Many of its most profound empirical effects (whether positive or negative) may not be evident for a generation or more. The guinea pigs in this social experiment will be the children of same-sex (and transgender/transsexual, and other atypical) households. We of the present adult generation owe it to them to—at the very least—rigorously and sincerely deliberate upon what kind of brave new world we are entering if we continue to facilitate such extreme changes in sexuality, reproduction, and the family.

__________

- Notes -

1. See “Gay parents have ‘healthier and less argumentative children‘” by Emma Innes. The Daily Mail. June 6, 2013.

2. See “Do social scientists get to have a ‘consensus’ on our right to free speech? Why do they get to tell us whether we have a right to a mom and a dad?” by R.O. Lopez. English Manif. July 17, 2013.3.

3. See Robert Oscar Lopez, “Same-Sex Parenting: Child Abuse?Public Discourse, July 8, 2013.

Lopez mentions in-virto fertilization (IVF) here. There is a growing trend amongst homosexual couples to resort to artificial reproduction technologies in order to have offspring that are related to one of the couple. Although these procedures are sought by heterosexual couples as well, regardless of who avails of them, they at best create an entirely new set of ethical problems, and at worst constitute crimes against humanity. Among the problems created by artificial reproduction, is that they often prevent the exercise of the right of every person to know who his or her biological parents are, and if he or she wishes, to seek to establish a relationship with those parents regardless if he or she was raised by one or either of those parents or not.

Yet, these serious concerns are almost completely snuffed out from the mainstream media. For example, a piece in People magazine provided a flattering profile of Jenna Wolfe, correspondent for the Today Show, showcasing the infant daughter she is raising with her lesbian lover. The child’s father is an anonymous sperm donor. On this matter, Wolfe remarked: “We want the child to be raised with two parents and never [hear] the question of ‘Is there a third?’” In making such an admission, Wolfe comes off as an outrageously selfish woman who cares nothing for her daughter’s human rights. (See Charlotte Triggs, “Today’s Jenna Wolfe and NBC News’ Stephanie Gosk We’re in Love—and Having a Baby!“, People, Apr. 8, 2013.)

Some more insights into the mess that results from artificial reproduction can be gained by reading the essays of Alana Newman (who was herself donor-conceived) at Public Discourse.

4. To argue that there is nothing inherently wrong with same-sex parenting because some kids end up just fine is analogous to saying there is nothing inherently wrong with slavery because some slaves ended up living pretty decent lives. Lopez frequently cites the case of Phillis Wheatley, a woman born in West African who was enslaved and eventually sold to the Wheatley family of Boston. She was well-treated and well-educated by her masters, and eventually became a great poet. As such, she expressed a great deal of gratitude for how her life turned out, stating that she was better off in America with the Wheatleys, than remaining free in Africa.

The point here is not to imply moral equivalence between slavery and same-sex parenting, but to show that although much good can be accomplished under both systems, they still both deny fundamental human rights.

5. There are admittedly some complex questions that arise in present situations where children are already being raised in same-sex, and other atypical household environments. I am not necessarily advocating that the family life of these households be violently disrupted. However, solving these problems must always be approached from the standpoint where the rights and best interests of the child are being sought as far as possible, and are not subordinated to the irrational demands of the adults involved.

6. See “Why Same-Sex Marriage Is Like Opening Pandora’s Box” by Andre Jenkins. English Manif. Nov. 23, 2013.

7. One of the strangest manifestations of this belief that “gender doesn’t matter” can be seen in how many juristictions that have same-sex marriage permit the homosexual couple to both be listed as the natural parents on the birth certificates of children the couples purchased through artificial reproduction.

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Some Reflections Upon Sexual Morality in General, and the Homosexual Question in Particular: Part II

See the Introductory Essay to this series here.

NOTE: Some of the following subject matter might make some readers blush.

Essay Two: A Defense of Natural Law’s Decree for Sexual Morality and Marriage

It should be well-known to most readers that traditional Judeo-Christian sexual morality preaches that the only truly chaste sexual activity is vaginal coitus between a loving husband and wife. All sexual activity outside of this is considered sinful.1 Christian theologians assert that the reasons for marital coitus being the only proper expression of human sexuality comes not only from Biblical teaching, but also from natural law, as all morality does.

Of course, arguing for a secular legal code for sex and marriage that is based on or concordant with Judeo-Christian sexual morality cannot be sufficiently done if one merely appeals only to the authority of the Bible. Indeed, neither believers nor nonbelievers should allow the norms of their society to be dictated by the last word of a religious text without subjecting that word to close, critical scrutiny. Thus if we leave appeals to religious traditions mostly aside, and appeal only to natural law, what can we infer about proper sexual morality, and how it shapes the definition of the institution of marriage?

- Marriage’s Legitimacy as Derived from Biology -

The values of today’s narcissistic culture parade sensual pleasure as the ultimate goal of all sex. Procreation, on the other hand, becomes relegated to the status of an inconvenient side effect, for which the remedies of contraception and abortion society has made available on demand. This emphasis on pleasure at the expense of procreation has given rise to our current sexual norms, which say little more than, “If it gets you off, do it!”

But, in truth, worshipping the instant gratification that sex brings while attempting to ward off the enduring (yet to many, rewarding) responsibilities that accompany creating and rearing a new member of the human race is, at best, putting the proverbial cart before the horse.

The sex drive is among the most powerful of instincts that we humans, like all creatures that reproduce sexually, are naturally compelled to comply with. It is also quite apparent that nature designed sex as a highly sensually-gratifying activity primarily in order to incentivize us to engage in it frequently, ensuring that the species will continue to “be fruitful and multiply”. Although the sensual gratification that sex grants us can be achieved through a vast set of means that do not result in reproduction, it is only coitus that fulfills nature’s primary purpose for the sex drive, since it is the only sexual act that has the potential to further the existence of the human race.2 All other forms of sexual activity are by their very nature, misapplications of the drive to procreate, and therefore by definition, sexual perversions.

Although stating these facts does not imply that all sexual acts must be specifically performed only for the purpose of procreation, it does establish that there is something qualitatively unique about coitus that separates it in substance from all other sexual activity.

Although a bit crude...

Although slightly vulgar, this cartoon still keenly makes a very simple point which ought to be common sense: True marriage can only be based on sexual complementarity.

The bodily mechanics of the human reproductive system exist for no other purpose but reproduction. Thus only man and woman, by engaging in coitus, organically unite in a way that no other sexual act can achieve. By their very nature, male exists for female, and female for male. Whether or not conception is or can be achieved, that organic union of the bodies of male and female still occurs. The ability or inability to procreate does not alter the fact that male and female are naturally designed to be biologically complementary. All other sexual acts, such as anal sodomy, for example, cannot achieve that complementarity; they cannot unite two human beings in that substantially unique way.

Here we have found the biological source that justifies the particular prominence of male-female sexual relations that all other perversions of the sex drive do not deserve. But our task is only partially completed, as we have not yet examined some of the aspects that make human sexuality unique from that of other creatures, and what about this uniqueness helps us derive from it a code of sexual morality, of which coitus between husband and wife is at the center.

- Human Nature and Sexual Morality -

While the fabled “meaning of life” for mankind is elusive, it can still be confidently said that man interacts with his universe in ways that are qualitatively apart from those of all other creatures. Judeo-Christian tradition identifies man as made in the image of his Creator—a being called to willfully pursue both the mastery of himself and of nature. This demands that godliness and virtue—the Imitation of Christ—must be pursued as close to perfection as possible by each individual and thus by society. With these ends in sight—to which even the good-willed secularist should find himself largely in agreement—it becomes clear why human sexuality must be judged with standards different from those of the beasts (whose behavior is purely governed by immediate pleasures and pains). The need for man to discover and apply those standards thus gives rise to sexual morality.

Of course, the need for moral regulation does not mean that the human sex drive is intrinsically evil, it only means that it is a powerful force of nature. Indeed, in the realm of human relations, sexuality and the attitudes toward it create complex impressions on the individual psyche, with effects more profound and intricate than we currently understand. The way in which we treat sex has underlying consequences on how we relate both to those in our immediate lives, and to humanity as a whole. Sexuality has important ramifications for us in our ability to fulfill our roles individually as human beings, collectively as a species, and socially in our relations with other people. Who you have sex with (or even fantasize about having sex with) does indeed matter to what kind of person you become.3 This is among the reasons why the great thinkers throughout the ages have long warned of the power the sex drive has to subvert reason, and therefore open it to grave misuse.4 This characteristic makes it all the more crucial for the drive to be bridled for the ends of serving the Common Good; in sum, the sex drive must be tamed precisely because it is so strong.

regulation of the sex drive (and other sensual desires as well) is considered a virtue (i.e., chastity) not only in the Abrahamic traditions, but by sages ranging from Socrates to Gandhi, as well.

Regulation of the sex drive (and other sensual desires as well) is considered a virtue (i.e., chastity) not only in the Abrahamic traditions, but by sages ranging from Socrates to Gandhi, as well.

- Marriage’s Legitimacy as Derived from Reason -

These are all factors our prehistoric ancestors would have realized, as they became more aware of their distinction from animals. Part of that distinction was learning how to bring their emotions into greater concordance with their reason, and thereby finding it necessary to discipline the purely instinctual passions toward ends more suitable for the establishment of what would eventually become civilized society. They would have realized that sex cannot be done as many animals do it—anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. Males could not go about impregnating whatever mates they chose to force themselves upon with little to no investment in the raising of the offspring. As creatures that can willfully create a better future for our species, it became necessary for them to restrain their selfish and bestial desires for the sake of ensuring a better living for themselves and their posterity.

The natural outcome of this is the creation of an institution that binds the two sexes together to ensure the healthy development of a stable, domestic environment comprised of the spouses, and any children that may result from the spouses’ union. The interrelated, interdependent institutions of marriage and the family were created out of a need to “civilize” sexual behavior—to mold what can be a powerful, animalistic force into something more conducive to the needs of human civilization.

Marriage thereby civilizes what nature has already decreed: the relationship created through coitus. Marital coitus serves as a proper end of the sex drive by channeling the desires of the participants toward recognizing each other as persons, rather than as instruments of gratification (as premarital and extramarital sex typically do), since they are more likely to be intimately invested in each other’s life in many other aspects outside of sex.

Although the generative act can be performed between any male and female, what sets marital coitus apart, is that only it is specifically designed to be performed by two mature, committed adults who are open to the possibility of conception and birth. It is therefore the only sexual act that connects its participants to posterity. And it is man and woman, as father and mother, who each have a unique role to play in raising those members of posterity into upstanding members of human civilization.5 This makes marriage the symbiosis of erotic, familial, and agapic love.6

- There Is No Such Thing as a Same-Sex Marriage -

As has just been discussed, marriage is much more than a romantic union between two individuals who simply decide to commit exclusively to each other. Yet many of the arguments in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage are based on the idea that the essence of marriage is that of a mere contract between two adults who wish to enter a sanctioned (civil, religious, or both), monogamous, romantic union. As such—the argument goes—there is no reason why two persons of the opposite sex are more entitled to have a right to choose whomever they wish to commit themselves to than those of the same sex.

The idea of "marriage equality" implies that gay, lesbian, and other sexual relations are equal to male-female sexual relations.

The notion of “marriage equality” implies that gay, lesbian, and other sexual relations are equal to male-female sexual relations.

Although this notion does not arise from a sufficient definition of what marriage is, it is nonetheless the prevailing view harbored by most in the Christianized world. This should not be surprising, since the sexual revolution has confused popular understanding of these matters long before same-sex marriage ever entered the public consciousness. Since a strong culture of family values was eroded by developments such as liberalized divorce laws, the spike in fatherless households, et cetera, we have had for some time a society that does not even take traditional marriage seriously, so the popular acceptance of same-sex marriage should not be all that surprising.

But popular opinion does not equal truth, and based on a rigorous, comprehensive definition of marriage along the lines of what I outlined above, same-sex unions cannot be marriages by their very nature. Stating this does not unjustly discriminate against homosexuals any more than denying a driver’s license to a blind man unjustly discriminates against him, since he is incapable of effectively doing that which the license grants him the privilege to do. Two men or two women cannot join in penile-vaginal coitus; therefore they cannot form a true marriage.7

- Marriage, the State, and Natural Law

“But what is the harm? How does it affect you or your marriage?” often go many objections to not including same-sex unions in civil society’s definition of marriage. The answer to such objections lies in recognizing that a marriage is a foundation of a new family, and the family is the most basic human social unit; thus radically redefining marriage means radically redefining the family, which in turn creates radical, long-term ramifications for society.

As this present discussion of this topic has shown, marriage is an institution that serves both a private, and a public good. Authors Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George argued in their 2010 essay (eventually expanded into a 2012 book), What Is Marriage?8, that it is marriage’s essential role in promoting the public good that gives the state the legitimate authority to sanction marriages in the first place. As the foundation of the family, marriages produce children, and children both require, and have a right to, a stable, loving household with a mother and father in order to grow up into happy, upstanding members of society.

However, many of today’s legal authorities are either ignorant of, confused about, or apathetic toward marriage as defined by natural law. In the Supreme Court and other proceedings on the U.S. Federal Government’s recognition of same-sex marriage, the arguments in favor of that recognition more or less boil down to the following: Since all U.S. citizens are equal before the law, there is no reason why two men or two women who wish to become legally-sanctioned as a married couple should not be able to do so. Since the U.S. Constitution says nothing about marriage being between a man and a woman, short of a constitutional amendment explicitly defining it as such, the Federal Government cannot define marriage, and it must therefore grant state-sanctioned same-sex unions everything traditional marriages are granted. Therefore, legally speaking, the distinction that sets apart male-female unions from male-male or female-female are completely arbitrary.

Girgis, Anderson, and George have thoroughly established that, based on the reasoning just summarized, if it is arbitrary to define marriage as a male-female relationship, it is also just as arbitrary to define it as both a monogamous relationship,9 and a sexual relationship. The same line of reasoning for the arguments of “marriage equality” also lead us to conclude that, in the absence of a constitutional definition of marriage, there is no reason for the law not to recognize a union between three or more people who all feel intense romantic attachment to one another as a marriage. Likewise, there is no reason not to recognize two or more cohabitating (same- or opposite-sex) individuals who feel an intense platonic attachment to one another as a marriage.10 Thus the only reason marriage is recognized as monogamous, sexual relationship is because it is derived from the conjugal union of man and woman.11 If the institution is redefined to be anything but a male-female relationship, there is no reason for it to maintain its attributes of being monogamous or sexual.

Thus the marriage revisionists who believe that the institution can be redefined to include same-sex unions because the U.S. Constitution does not explicitly define marriage, miss the point of not only the Constitution, but of lawmaking itself. To paraphrase Martin Luther King’s reference to St. Augustine, all Laws of Man must defer to the Laws of Nature. Where they do not, they are in discordance with the universe itself, and are therefore illegitimate. As King said, they are “no law at all”.12 Both the United States’ Declaration of Independence and the Constitution defer to the Laws of Nature.13 The distinction between a heterosexual union and homosexual union cannot be a legally-arbitrary one, if it is not arbitrary biologically, socially, psychologically. Thus the Laws of Nature clearly show us that marriage can never be anything but a union between man and woman. Man can make laws that defy nature—indeed, he has probably been doing so since the concept of civil law was first introduced—but he does so at the hazard of rejecting objective reality.14 Declaring that same-sex relationships (or other non-traditional unions) are substantially the same as the conjugal, male-female union is to essentially say that we will define nature only as what we say it is. It is no different a folly from legislating that snow is black.

Continue on to Essay Two: “The Grand Cultural Experiment of Same-Sex Parenting”.

___________

- Notes -

1. Loving is a key word here. The existence of a marriage between two individuals does not somehow magically make all sexual activity within it perfect and holy. For example, a man who rapes a woman commits a sin regardless if his victim is his wife or not.

2. While there are technologies that make human reproduction possible through artificial means, these means nonetheless require a male’s sperm, and a female’s egg.

Furthermore, these procedures at best create an entirely new set of ethical problems, and at worst should constitute crimes against humanity. Although this is a loaded topic that is well beyond the scope of this essay, some insights into the mess that results from artificial reproduction can be gained by reading the essays of Alana Newman (who was herself donor-conceived) at Public Discourse.

3. An individual’s sexual identity is quite sacred—and for many, quite fragile. This is why we have such strict laws that penalize even relatively minor offenses of a sexual nature.

4. Although I don’t often agree with theologian and commentator Dennis Prager on most issues, his essay, “Judaism’s Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism Rejected Homosexuality” (Crisis magazine, September 1993), provides some useful context for understanding why Judeo-Christian sexual morality was needed for the advancement of civilization, and is relevant for the discussion at hand. The following excerpt from the introduction is particularly relevant for the current discussion:

It is probably impossible for us, who live thousands of years after Judaism began [the] process [of civilizing the human sex drive], to perceive the extent to which undisciplined sex can dominate man’s life and the life of society. Throughout the ancient world, and up to the recent past in many parts of the world, sexuality infused virtually all of society.

Human sexuality, especially male sexuality, is polymorphous, or utterly wild (far more so than animal sexuality). Men have had sex with women and with men; with little girls and young boys; with a single partner and in large groups; with total strangers and immediate family members; and with a variety of domesticated animals. They have achieved orgasm with inanimate objects such as leather, shoes, and other pieces of clothing, through urinating and defecating on each other (interested readers can see a photograph of the former at select art museums exhibiting the works of the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe); by dressing in women’s garments; by watching other human beings being tortured; by fondling children of either sex; by listening to a woman’s disembodied voice (e.g., “phone sex”); and, of course, by looking at pictures of bodies or parts of bodies. There is little, animate or inanimate, that has not excited some men to orgasm. Of course, not all of these practices have been condoned by societies — parent-child incest and seducing another’s man’s wife have rarely been countenanced — but many have, and all illustrate what the unchanneled, or in Freudian terms, the “un-sublimated,” sex drive can lead to.

5. A very common, and very popular counterargument against maintaining marriage as an exclusively heterosexual union goes something like this: If marriage is based on procreation, it is hypocritical for society to allow infertile heterosexual couples to marry and not homosexual couples.

The truth is, however, is that the many male-female couples in which one or both parties are infertile are not disqualified from from forming true marriages. While procreation is the product of coitus, coitus is nevertheless an end in itself, in that is it the natural goal of the sex drive. Thus, as long as a man and woman are capable of uniting both personally and biologically, they are able to unite in marriage. Additionally, as other voices in this debate have argued, the essential issue is not whether an individual man and woman can or cannot procreate, but that it is man and woman “in principle” that matters.

6. In regards to the larger, social function of marriage, it must be emphasized that the institution is not merely a union of two individuals, but also a union of two families, united in a commitment to produce emotionally, morally and intellectually sound members of the present and future generations. My aim in this essay is to define the essence of marriage in principle, and even though many real-life examples of marriages do not always approach this essence in practice, they should strive to approximate it as much as possible.

7. Indeed, like same-sex unions, unconsummated male-female unions cannot be considered true marriages, either. For example, traditions such as that of the Catholic Church will not recognize an unmarried man who is rendered permanently impotent as a party to any future marriage due to his inability to consummate it.

8. What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense by Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George. (Encounter. New York: 2012) The shorter, 2010 version can be read here.

9. It is no longer merely hypothetical to argue that sanctioning same-sex marriage leads down a slippery slope toward other redefinitions of marriage, as well. Recently, a United States District Court judge recently struck down Utah’s ban on polygamy as unconstitutional. The polygamist’s attorney in the case, Jonathan Turley, cited the “right” of homosexual couples to marry as a precedent. See his Dec. 13, 2013 blog entry, “Federal Court Strikes Down Criminalization of Polygamy In Utah”, here.

Furthermore, even pansexualists openly admit that same-sex marriage will radically change traditional marriage. The infamous Dan Savage, for example, has argued that the social acceptance of homosexual marriage will lead to a wider acceptance of the values of homosexual culture. Among these values are the openness of homosexual couples to allow their partners to “swing” (i.e., be promiscuous), more typically than heterosexual couples. If these values become more mainstream, it will make it more socially-permissible for heterosexual couples to become “monogamish”, as Savage puts it, i.e., open to extramarital adventures.

10. Although same-sex couples cannot be married, there are perhaps sound reasons why some sort of civil partnership should be legally available. However, if there is valid reason to create such a civil category, should they also not be made available to relationships that are not romantic and/or sexual?

While such partnerships should permit many of the civil and legal benefits of a marriage such as next-of-kin status for the partners, and so forth, what should differentiate them from civilly-recognized marriages is that, unlike marriage, they should not be recognized as the foundation of new family units. Thus the unique role of marriage in society would still be maintained and upheld. (The most significant of these differences is that for civil unions, custody over children would not be permitted in most cases. The controversy over same-sex child-rearing is addressed in the following installment.)

11. While it is true that in the scope of world history, monogamous marriage has not been the only norm, it has been the norm in the Western tradition, from which the United States was born. Additionally, there are reasons for our civil society to continue to exclude practices of polygamy and polyamory that are more substantial than simply adhering to long-held traditions, (among them being to ensure healthy family environment for children) but this is an extensive topic for another essay.

12. It is somewhat ironic that the voices of the pansexualist movement choose to tout their cause as being in the same tradition of African-Americans fighting for their civil rights since that movement’s most revered leader, Martin Luther King—a PhD in theology and Baptist minister—probably held firm beliefs in traditional Judeo-Christian sexual morality and therefore would likely not approve of the analogy.

For more on this debate, see Irene Monroe, “Did Martin Luther King Have an LGBTQ Dream, Too?“, HuffingtonPost.com, Jan. 18, 2013; and Matt Barber, “MLK: Homosexuality a ‘Problem’ with a ‘Solution’“, BarbWire.com, Jan. 29, 2014.

13. The Declaration famously states that rights come from “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God”. The Constitution makes no such explicit reference, but its Preamble does mention that the state must “promote the General Welfare” (i.e. the Common Good, a principle based in natural law), which, as mentioned, would be threatened by a radical redefinition of the family.

14. The moral relativists in the marriage debate have pointed out that the since marriage has been defined differently throughout the vast history of human societies, there is no reason not to redefine it again in our society to include same-sex unions, especially when the popular mandate supports doing so. The laws and mores defining marriage, like the laws and mores defining other aspects of human society, are subject to changing with the opinions the times.

Similarly, this way of thinking has even seethed its way into the Christian religion with revisionist Christian denominations now adhering to a more “liberal” interpretation of the faith accepting homosexual behavior and lifestyles as natural and acceptable expressions of “love”. Their followers criticize the Catholic Church and other denominations for not simply getting with the times and simply following their “more tolerant” example.

However, such perceptions about state, society, and religion miss a crucial point about natural law. Civil laws and Church doctrines cannot change what is true about man and nature. And popular opinion has never been a good gauge for determining what social justice ought to be.

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Viewpoints on the JFK Assassination: Cui Bono?

Today is the 50th anniversary of the murder of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.  In the past couple of months leading up to this occasion, arguments over whether it was a lone gunman or a larger conspiracy that committed the assassination have again prominently resurfaced again in the public forums.  Most of the arguments coming from both sides tend to focus on the technicalities of the assassination (such as whether one bullet could really have been responsible for six wounds in the bodies of two individuals, for example) in order to prove one point or another.

While these technicalities are not unimportant matters  to examine, I still believe that the most important question to answer in order to discover if JFK’s murder was orchestrated through a grand conspiracy by powerful forces both within and beyond the U.S. government is best satisfied by first asking, “Who benefited?”, as Donald Sutherland’s “Mr. X” character does in Oliver Stone’s JFK.

Was JFK a threat to a certain establishment power-structure?  If so, in what way?  Did such a power-structure have both an interest in and a capability of not only coordinating such an assassination, but also to cover its tracks?

I could say much more on this, but I shall instead let my remarks serve as an introduction to some video clips I’ve chosen to commemorate this day.  They discuss many of the reasons why JFK and his policies were too great a threat to the agenda of the Anglo-American Establishment, reasons which provided that Establishment with sufficient grounds for his removal.

Enjoy.

_____

Anton Chaitkin, history editor of Executive Intelligence Review, is interviewed on JFK’s outlook as an anti-imperialist in the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt:

Former U.S. Rep. Neil Gallagher (D-NJ) was a colleague and friend of JFK.  As a congressman, he waged battle against the same  national security apparatus that he believes played a major role in the assassination:

Oliver Stone, director and cowriter of JFK, is interviewed here by his son Sean and Tyrel Ventura.  He speaks on the backlash against his film from both liberals and conservatives, the significance of JFK’s role as a leadership figure apart from his contemporaries, and the impact of the assassination 50 years later:

In the powerful courtroom speech from Stone’s JFK, Jim Garrison (portrayed by Kevin Costner)–a veteran who fought against fascism during World War II–warns against the emergence of fascism in the United States.  Although fictionalized, it nonetheless conveys powerful truths:

(Embed not available.  Please click here.)

The real-life Garrison defends his investigation in a 1967 television broadcast:

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Nuclear Power: An Antidote to Malthusianism

NOTE: This article is currently undergoing revision.  After reviewing it again, I realize that it seems rushed (which it was) and a bit incoherent.   I apologize to readers who also found it so.  The revision should be up in two days’ time.  Please check back then.  Thank you for your patience.

————-

 

- Don’t Panic over Fukushima –

Many “anti-Establishment” types in the U.S. are fans of political figure and presidential candidate Ralph Nader.  They view Nader as he is depicted in the biographical documentary An Unreasonable Man–as a progressive crusader for the Common Man, committed to battling corporate interests’ control of the democratic system.  He is also considered a leading voice for the environmental movement.  As such, he has been most well-known since the 1970s as one of the leading opponents of nuclear power. Recently, Nader joined the chorus of fear-mongers warning of the dangers being brought about since the accident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant in Japan.  Readers are perhaps familiar with the narrative: Tepco and the Japanese government are not being honest in admitting that the dangerous radiation from the plant is being leaked into the ocean, and will contaminate the entire Pacific.

First, I urge readers to read Nader’s op-ed about the matter, and then a thorough rebuttal from industrial electronics expert Dr. Timothy Maloney.

The BNPP: initiated under Marcos to solve the energy shortage of the Philippines.  The Cory Aquino Administration decided not to take advantage of nuclear energy's vast potential, opting instead to pay for the plant in full but never utilize it.

Here in the Philippines, the issue of nuclear power is still a hot one, due to the ongoing debate about what to do with the derelict Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

Now, as I made clear in my piece, “The Philippines: Underdeveloped, but Not Overpopulated”, I take strong issue with the philosophical views that the environmental movement is based upon, and am also a strong supporter of nuclear power.

I concede that there are risks associated with nuclear power generation, as there are risks with any powerful technology.  For example, the only nuclear power accident to have actually killed people was the infamous Chernobyl crisis in 1986, which resulted in 56 confirmed fatalities.  Coal power plants, on the other hand, cause thousands of deaths per year.

However, what is little-discussed is what the risks of not using nuclear power are.

- Providing for Seven Billion Plus -

There are over seven billion people on Earth today.  About 1.5 billion of them have no access to a regular supply of electricity.  There is no way to raise the more impoverished members of the world population to adequate, dignified standards of living without a very efficient means of power generation.  In terms of energy flux-density, nuclear fission power is the best option we have.  There is no other option available to achieving that goal.

The so-called renewables which are so en vogue these days are not viable options for meeting the energy needs of the entire world, as they are much too costly and would consume too much of the Earth’s surface to produce enough power to provide for those needs.  Fossil fuels are comparatively less efficient, and dependence on foreign oil bars many countries without much oil from achieving energy self-reliance. Therefore, we can only turn to nuclear.

cienci127

A comparison of energy flux-density.

- The Solution to Overpopulation? Genocide! -

Some surely think that the Earth is overpopulated, and like Ebeneezer Scrooge, believe those “surplus” people really shouldn’t exist anyway.  Those who wish to know my arguments against such a claim, should read my previously-mentioned piece on population growth in the Philippines.

But here, I will entertain the following point on the “overpopulation” question:

If the world is truly overpopulated, and that the major surge in population growth is the root cause of everything from global warming to vast disparities in wealth distribution, that means that to alleviate the problems caused by overpopulation, we desperately need to reduce the world’s 7 billion.  Leading Malthusian academics such as Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb) and Dennis Meadows (The Limits to Growth) have said that the optimum world population is only about 1.5-2 billion people.  What do we do with the remaining 5 billion or so?

I can only think of four realistic options:

1. Aggressive Genocide. This is the systemic extermination of a targeted population via war, death camps, euthanasia, etc.  This is the popular image most have in mind when they hear the term “genocide”, and is of course, commonly associated with Nazi Germany’s efforts to exterminate Jews and other ethnic groups considered “unfit”.

2. Passive Genocide.  This is the employment of certain economic and other policies that will increase the death rate among a targeted population.  This includes methods such as the implementation of severe austerity, the denial to the population access to vital, life-improving advancements in medicine, science, and technology, clandestine efforts to promote violent civil conflict, or other means for creating the conditions for famine, epidemic disease, social discord, etc.  One historical example of this method is how the Irish potato famine of the mid-19th century was created and perpetuated by the British Establishment.

3. Coercive Birth Control.  This is the State tightly regulating the number of infants permitted to be conceived or born.  Methods include compulsory sterilization, compulsory abortion, etc.  The People’s Republic of China currently employs coercive birth control.

4. Clandestine Birth Control.  This is the employment of underhanded methods that will induce the targeted population to choose not to produce offspring.  It can also include methods of dispensing sterilization drugs to the targeted population without their knowledge (described by Ehrlich associate and Obama’s science advisor John Holdren).  The United States promoted policies such as these toward many Third World countries when the Ford Administration adopted the recommendations National Security Advisor Henry A. Kissinger laid out in his infamous National Security Study Memorandum 200.

None of these methods are ethical or compatible with the values of a democratic republic.  The only ethical option would be to launch a massive education campaign that enables every the free exercise of reason so people voluntarily choose to not to reproduce for the good of the planet.  But that is unrealistic, especially since the Malthusians keep insisting that the crises caused by overpopulation are imminent, and the population must be reduced now.

So, assuming we adopt one or more of these methods, other questions then come in to play: Who decides who lives and who dies?  Who decides who can have children, and who cannot?  What gives such an authority the right to decide?

Once we start entertaining the answers to such questions, it becomes easy to see how the suppression of urgently-needed technologies like nuclear creates the conditions for our society to revert back to barbarism.

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What does the killing of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki say about the United States?

It has now been two years since Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. military drone on October 14, 2011.  I republish here a commentary piece I wrote in July, around the time of the release of the film Dirty Wars1, which focuses heavily on the story of the al-Awlaki family.

____________________________________________

It is of great importance for every American with a conscience and a sense of true patriotism to reflect upon the story told by Nasser al-Awlaki,2 the Yemeni father of Anwar al-Awlaki and grandfather of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. Both of the elder al-Awlaki’s descendents were native-born, U.S. citizens; both were killed in Yemen by drone strikes. Anwar was accused of many heinous acts of terrorism by the Obama Administration. Thus, President Obama had him targeted and assassinated in October, 2011. Anwar’s son, Abdulrahman, a 16-year-old minor was killed two weeks later by another drone. The circumstances of how and why remain largely unclear. Unlike his father, Abdulrahman was not alleged to be connected to terrorism in any way.

Anwar Al-Awlaki.

Anwar al-Awlaki.

Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.

Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.

This is an issue that I’ve followed closely for a while. I’ve since heard many pseudo-erudite, arm-chair justifications from so-called “liberals” defending these indefensible acts committed by their liberal messiah Barack Obama: i.e. “Anwar al-Awlaki was a traitor who deserved to die” or “The Awlaki kid was killed because his dad was irresponsible”, and so on.3 A number of these people may be among those who were rightfully alarmed when George Bush, Dick Cheney, et al. attempted to set themselves beyond constitutional accountability when it came to “fighting terrorism”. But I will say that what Obama has done killing U.S. citizens without due process is indeed a step worse than Bush-Cheney. That administration only claimed the power to detain citizens without due process (a move struck down by the Supreme Court), but never dared claim it was legally permissible to kill citizens without due process (although I wouldn’t be surprised if they had wanted to!) Obama had Anwar al-Awlaki killed without even indicting him. The accusations against him were all completely dependent upon secret evidence and discussed purely in secret legal memos and decided upon in secret meetings. (This is not too different from the infamous Star Chamber–the secret court of the English monarchy that the American founders intentionally avoided as a bad model of judicial process). If Anwar was truly guilty of what Obama and his administration say he was guilty of, and he really did present an imminent threat to Americans and need to be taken out, there were several, uncumbersome, perfectly legal options available—none of which were pursued. And that is what gets to the heart of this issue; it’s not really a question of whether Anwar was innocent or guilty.  That is a secondary matter.  This is really about holding the executive branch of government accountable for playing judge, jury, and executioner.  It’s about the due process of law, which is based on the principle that every individual has an inherent and human dignity, no matter what he or she may be accused of. It’s about the rule of law, which is based on the principle that human individuals are fallible creatures.

That fallibility is why the founders of our republic did not create a government based on the honor system. We the people are not obligated to take our government’s word for it when we hear: “We have to keep this a secret from you. Just trust us.” The founders of our republic did not trust to put the power of judge, jury, and executioner solely into the hands of the Executive. If they had, they would have chosen to create a monarchical government over a republican one. It is the Obama Administration who is obligated to serve us by providing all the answers as to why an American minor was killed by one of its drones. Any who think that it’s okay for the Executive to kill an apparently innocent 16-year-old kid without providing full transparency need to deeply reflect on what their views of the value of human life and human dignity are. Much ado has been made in recent weeks about justice for the slain teen, Trayvon Martin—indeed a tragic loss, regardless of who was at fault. Why has so little been said about justice for the slain teen, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki—especially when he was killed by our own Executive?

Some have said that since 9/11, we now live in a brave, new world that requires us to fight our enemies in ways that require going to extremities that we would have been unwilling to go to before. Torturing POWs, collaterally (and apparently even deliberately) killing civilians, targeted assassinations, suspension of due process, unwarranted invasions of individual privacy, etc. are all necessary means in the endless, global War on Terror toward the noble end of preserving our rights and our liberty, it is argued.

But if this endless, global War on Terror is truly being fought to defend our rights, why does it seem that—increasingly since 9/11—many of those rights fought for and established in 1776-89 are being eroded not by terrorists, but by those serving in our very own government? If those politicians and their supporters truly do believe that rights such as a right to due process of law and a right to not being subjected to unreasonable search and seizures (which the NSA has been shown to be violating) must be “balanced” (really a euphemism for “voided”) with “security” (really a euphemism for “Orwellianism”) in the post-9/11 world, then they should be honest and openly call for repealing the 1787 Constitution, rather than pretending that the rights protected by that Constitution, and the ostensibly necessary extremities needed to fight terrorism can coexist. It cannot be both ways.

___________________________________________

- Notes -

1. Dirty Wars, dir. by Rick Rowley (IFC, 2013).

2. “The Drone that Killed my Grandson”, by Nasser al-Awlaki. New York Times, July 17, 2013.

3. For more complete counterarguments to the assertions and excuses about the deaths of the al-Awlakis, see Dirty Wars (available from iTunes, Amazon, etc.), and/or its companion book. The “Dirty Wars” project was conducted by Jeremy Scahill, who has probably investigated the al-Awlaki deaths more thoroughly than any other individual.

I also encourage readers to view the interviews with Scahill and Nasser al-Awlaki posted here:

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Has the March to Potential World War Been Halted?

Did Sergey Lavrov just save the world?

If there ever was a time to give prayers of thanks, it’s now…

Barack Obama’s march toward war seems to be coming to halt, at least for now, since Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s brilliant diplomatic move to outflank it by calling U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s1 bluff, when the latter said that the U.S. would consider not attacking the Assad government if it relinquished all its chemical weapons to international control.2

In a recent online exchange with a former associate, I argued that Lavrov very well may have saved us all from World War III; my former associate was skeptical of this.  While I understand his reasons for being so, I nonetheless believe that there is an inclination among many to prematurely dismiss warnings of world war as hyperbolic or even alarmist.  I am not convinced that we should be so dismissive of such claims.  From looking at the situation, one could easily see a very real danger that world war could break out as a result of Obama’s foolhardiness on Syria. (My reasons for this are explained below.)  And, even though situations did not get nearly as tense as they did during the infamous 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis (probably the closest mankind has ever come to a thermonuclear world war), there is no reason to tempt fate and wait and see if things really will get that heated—a tempting that Obama’s attack on Syria would surely do.  The appropriate response to such a potential danger is to do as Lavrov did, and nip it in the bud.

But why was it that the majority of the educated populace did not see this looming danger?  Why is it that there were no round-the-clock urgings from all quarters—from the citizenry, from the media, from the academe, from governments—calling for not only the President of the United States to back down on his threats toward Assad, but also for his removal from office for even daring to make such a dangerously irresponsible threat?  (Although, in all fairness, there were sizable demonstrations against the attack waged in Washington, DC and elsewhere.)

It is ironic that the notion of a Third World War is such a common subject in our pop culture—think of how many popular movies are based on an apocalyptic premise, like Dr. StrangeloveAkira, X-Men: First Class, and the original Planet of the Apes series, for example—but yet when the danger of the real thing happening does confront us, so much of our population becomes impotent to mobilize against such a threat.  Perhaps some are so pessimistic and think it inevitable.  Perhaps some are so misanthropic that they welcome such destruction.  Perhaps some are too self-absorbed and focused on “living the moment” that they don’t care about the future of mankind.

Although we are indeed fortunate that people like Lavrov are in positions of power to intervene effectively when such dangers arise, we should  nevertheless ask ourselves—and I certainly include myself in this—if we had really done our part in recognizing and intervening against that danger as well.

One thing that much of the American electorate did at least do is contact members of Congress and express vehement disapproval of another war in the Middle East.  What follows is a letter I wrote to my Congressional Representative and two Senators arguing as to why they must vote against any resolution that grants the Executive the power to go to war in Syria (a vote that will probably not have to take place now, thankfully).   I post it here in order to educate those readers who were ignorant of the stakes that were facing us these past weeks.  Footnotes have been added.

Dear Sen./Rep. xxxxxxxxxx:

I wish to firmly urge you against approving any plans for military intervention in Syria.  Some of the reasons for this are thus:

1. U.S.-LED INTERVENTION RISKS TRIGGERING A REGIONAL, OR EVEN A WORLD WAR.  Even though the Administration of our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president has argued that actions like bombing a country with aircraft or cruise missiles does not constitute actually going to war, any thinking person can see that this is a ridiculous defense that offends not only the definitions of war outlined in international law,3 but common sense, as well.  Even Gen. Dempsey has said that any use of military force in Syria would be an act of war.4  Furthermore, Dempsey and other active-duty and retired military officers have also warned that once we start intervening militarily in Syria, it will become impossible to guarantee that such an intervention will remain at the “limited” and “surgical” level promised by the President and Secretary of State.  These warnings also stress that we cannot exclude the possibility of needing boots on the ground, once the ball starts rolling.5  Anyone with experience in armed conflict knows that war is an unpredictable beast that can escape the control of even the most foresighted commanders, and Syria is no exception.

If our nation goes to war in Syria, what will be the intended and unintended consequences?  Upon closer scrutiny, the Syrian Civil War looks less like a civil war, and more like a proxy war between regional forces, with Iran and Hezbollah backing up the Assad regime against  the rebels, who in turn are financed and backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey.6

If the US intervenes against the regime, how will these different forces react?  How will Israel under PM Netanyahu—which has already bombed Damascus and is anticipating any excuse to attack Iran—react?7

Not only will a regional war be a major threat to the economic security of most nations of the world, as the Middle East supplies 25% of the world’s oil, but a conflict of that magnitude could also draw in Russia and China to intervene militarily on the regime’s behalf, as well.  Commentators on the current strategic situation have pointed out its parallels to the build-up of geopolitical tensions that precipitated the First World War.8  One major difference being that the First World War did not involve rival powers which had large stockpiles of nuclear and thermonuclear arms.

You must ask yourself if you really do wish to go down in history (or what could be left of it following a potentially thermonuclear world war) as voting to give an American President the authority to launch a strike that could be the start of World War III.

2. THE SYRIAN OPPOSITION IS COMPRISED OF ISLAMIST MILITANTS AFFILIATED WITH AL-QAEDA.  Although the Secretary of State has insisted that the majority of the rebels are “moderates”, actual reports vary as to how unified the various contingents fighting Assad are in replacing his regime with something resembling a modern national democratic republic.  U.S. and European intelligence sources have told news outlets that extremist groups like the Al-Qaeda-aligned Al-Nusra Front make up the hard core of the opposition.9  Deputy CIA Director Michael Morrell has warned that Assad’s overthrow will make Syria a haven for Islamic extremism.10  Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich (a Democrat) and Congressman Ted Cruz (a Republican) have both said that intervening against Assad would, by default, make us “Al-Qaeda’s air force”.11  Additionally, you may also have seen circulating around the internet some of the photos of alleged US servicemen masking their faces with signs cards stating that they will refuse to fight for the same forces they are fighting against in Afghanistan.12

Former Rep. and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is one of the few Democrats with enough integrity to oppose Obama's warmongering.

Former representative and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is one of the few Democrats with enough integrity to oppose Obama’s warmongering.

Even though Assad, like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi before him, may be a brutal and merciless thug who deserves nothing less than to be removed from power and tried at a war crimes tribunal, he is still the head of a sovereign state, and, like those other two dictators, his government has provided his country with a certain civic infrastructure and national stability.  Once that infrastructure is destroyed, sectarian strife and lawless warlords replace it, resulting in chaos that could last decades, and making the Syrians even worse off than they are under Assad.  Indeed, a similar scenario has already been ongoing in Iraq.  Libya is not too much better off.  It seems to already be happening in parts of Syria where Assad has lost control.

Additionally, when examining the various sides invested in this conflict, one also has to keep in mind that the Assad regime has granted a certain amount of protection to the Alawite, Shiite, and Christian minorities in the country.  These minorities are reportedly already being brutally targeted by the Sunni radicals fighting against the regime,13 and if these forces are successful in replacing the Assad regime, what is to prevent them from carrying out such atrocities on a larger scale?

How can you vote to give the Executive the power to rush to war when it apparently has not even formed an adequate strategy that takes these severe complications into account?

3. ASSAD’S SYRIA POSES NO THREAT TO U.S. SOVEREIGNTY, SECURITY OR CITIZENRY.  This fact prompts the obvious question, “Then why should we go to war in Syria?”  Why should we ask our servicemen and women to go into harm’s way—a result that will surely come about should the “limited, surgical strike” fail and/or trigger a wider conflict—for a civil war among Syrians (and, as noted previously, a proxy war among regional power players)?  The majority of the American public, it seems, is understandably against a war in Syria primarily for these reasons.14  The fact that members of Congress who do not have sons and daughters in the military—the overwhelming majority—can vote to send the sons and daughters of others to kill and be killed in a country that poses no threat to us is not only hypocritical, it’s also criminal.

In fact, because Syria is no threat to the US, and the Obama Administration has made it clear that it will skirt international law and not seek approval from the UN Security Council, a strike on Syria could very well fit the definition of a “war of aggression”—which was deemed a war crime by the Nuremberg Principles.15

4. THERE IS NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE THAT ASSAD USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS.  The Secretary of State claims that the Administration has air-tight intelligence that it was the Syrian Army, under orders from President Assad, that killed the civilians in the Damascene suburbs.  There is no other possible culprit, he argues, as it is only the regime that has chemical weapons.

These assertions are contradicted by a great number of reports coming from news outlets, intelligence sources, and UN personnel.16  These sources reveal that the opposition does indeed have chemical weapons.  In fact, some retired intelligence specialists have cited the very real possibility that the chemical attack in the Damascene suburbs was staged by the opposition as a way to provoke outside intervention against the regime.17

The Administration’s apparent desire to cherry-pick intelligence in order to rush to war without international approval seems like a bad remake of what happened over ten years ago, which brings us to my final point…

5. THE DRIVE FOR WAR IN SYRIA MIRRORS BUSH ADMINISTRATION’S LIES FOR WAR IN IRAQ.  Because the Obama Administration has been unwilling to submit its evidence to review by the UN, and because of the lack of solid evidence backing up their claim that the attack was ordered from the top, it’s difficult not be reminded of the Bush Administration’s willful usage of false intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction to argue their case for going to war in Iraq.  The previous Bush Administration expected a “cake-walk”, yet the conflict cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, 4,500 U.S. troops (not to mention hundreds of thousands more who have sacrificed their sound bodies and/or sound minds), over $2 trillion, and lasted over nine years.  And as mentioned in point two, Iraq has still not established any sort of national stability, and probably will not be able to any time in the near future.

Do we want another repeat of this in Syria—all because of dubious intelligence?

Deja vu?

Deja vu?

I urge you to deeply consider all of these and other matters before making your decision to allow the Executive the power to go to war.  History is watching.

Signed,

xxxxxxxxxx

________________

- Notes -

1. I’m almost completely ashamed to admit that I voted for then-Senator Kerry during his run for president back in 2004 against George W. Bush.  Although back then, one could claim that he was the lesser evil, his recent contemptible behavior of lying to rush the United States into another war in Southwest Asia calls that claim into question.

2. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s timely Sep. 12 op-ed to the New York Times is especially welcome as an effort to engage not just U.S. politicians, but also her citizenry in participating in a diplomatic solution to both end the Syrian Civil War and avoid escalating it into a larger conflict:

The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance. … Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression. … If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.

3. The 1949 Geneva Conventions Treaty states:

“[T]he present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them…. Any difference arising between two States and leading to the intervention of members of the armed forces is an armed conflict within the meaning of Article 2, even if one of the Parties denies the existence of a state of war. It makes no difference how long the conflict lasts, or how much slaughter takes place.”

4. “Dempsey Letters Make Clear: Any Military Action in Syria is an ‘Act of War’”, unattributed, LaRouchePAC.com, Sep. 2, 2013.

5. “Dempsey Letters…”, ibid.; “Dempsey Hands McCain His Head”, unattributed, LaRouchePAC.com, July 23, 2013.

6. “Could U.S. Military Action Turn Syrian Civil War into a ‘Widespread Regional War’?”, interview with Fawaz Gerges conducted by Amy Goodman, DemocracyNow.org, Sep. 3, 2013.

7. “Iran sends Army into Syria: Revolutionary Guards to help Assad as Israel bombs capital” by Chris Hughes. Daily Mirror, May 6, 2013.

8. “Widespread Recognition that Syrian Intervention Threatens World War III”, unattributed LaRouchePAC.com, Aug. 29, 2013.

9. “Kerry Portrait of Syria rebels at odds with intelligence reports” by Mark Hosenball and Phil Stewart, Reuters.com, Sep. 5, 2013.

10. “CIA’s Morrell Warning about Al-Qaeda in Syria All Over Russian Media”, unattributed, LaRouchePAC.com, Aug. 10, 2013.

11. “Widespread Recognition, ibid.; “Ted Cruz On Syria: U.S. Shouldn’t Be ‘Al Qaeda’s Air Force’” by Mollie Reilly, HuffingtonPost.com, Sep. 4, 2013.

12. “US military sick and tired of war, have no faith in government”, unattributed, RT.com, Sep. 3, 2013

13. Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix, “Rebel Killings Are Blamed on Regime”, Executive Intelligence Review, Jun. 22, 2012.

14. “Opposition to Syrian Airstrikes Surges”, unattributed, Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Sep. 9, 2013.

15. The Nuremberg Principles declared all “wars of aggression” as a war crime. In 1951, the United Nations’ International Law Commission declared that:

“Aggression is the use of force by a State or Government against another State or Government, in any manner, whatever the weapons used and whether openly or otherwise, for any reason or for any purpose other than individual or collective self-defense or in pursuance of a decision or recommendation by a competent organ of the United Nations”

16. “U.N. has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator” by Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters.com, May 5, 2013; “Obama Lies: Syria Rebels and Al Qaeda Do Have Chemical Weapons”, unattributed, LaRouchePAC.com, Aug. 29, 2013.

17. “Obama Warned on Syrian Intel”, memorandum to Pres. Obama signed by Ray McGovern and other members of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, MichaelMoore.com, Sep. 7, 2013.

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