Columns

U.S. Embassy Attacks: American Foreign Policy Chickens Coming Home to Roost

By: Eric Giunta | Posted: September 14, 2012 3:55 AM
Eric Giunta

Eric Giunta

America is shocked and righteously indignant over the murder of United States ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans on Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

President Obama vowed Wednesday “to bring to justice” those responsible for the attacks. But as two destroyer warships and a 50-member Marine unit make their way to Libya, we would do well to place the blame squarely where it belongs: on religiously fanatical Islamists, to be sure, but also on the president himself and the political establishment of both the Republican and Democratic parties.

The official narrative promoted by the president and Republican leadership was that our military venture – which lasted from March to October 2011 – was an act of humanitarian intervention on behalf of beleaguered liberal-democrats brutalized by 40-year dictator Moammar Gadhafi in the course of their civil war, which had erupted a month earlier.

The narrative was half-right: Gadhafi was indeed a socialist totalitarian, but his armed opponents were not the partisans of “freedom for people to express themselves” – much less “the bright light of freedom and dignity” – our president and his supporters made them out to be. As Andrew C. McCarthy -- former assistant United States attorney for the southern district of New York and chief prosecutor of Khalid “Blind Sheikh” Mohammed of 1993 World Trade Center bombing infamy -- put it in an October 2011 National Review article:

We jumped in as a partisan on the side of the Islamists, who sported violent jihadists in their ranks and among their commanders — including al-Qaida operatives whose dossiers included a stint at Guantanamo Bay and the recruitment of jihadists to fight a terror war against American troops in Iraq. While NATO targeted Gadhafi, the rebels rounded up black Africans, savagely killing many. ...

When the Islamists finally began seizing territory, which they could not have done without NATO, they raided weapons depots. In Gadhafi’s Libya, his regime controlled the materiel; once the “rebels” swept in, weapons started going out — to other Islamists, like al-Qaida in Northwest Africa and Hamas in Gaza.

And now that the Islamists have won, the first order of business, naturally, was to install sharia — Islam’s politico-legal framework that oppresses non-Muslims, women, homosexuals, and apostates. To install sharia, by the way, is the reason jihadists engage in violence — it is the prerequisite for Islamizing a society.

Developments in the past year have borne McCarthy’s warnings out. The putatively “liberal” (but not secular) National Forces Alliance won a majority of Libya’s parliamentary seats in July, and its leader has promised the government will govern according to sharia. And just yesterday Libyans elected their first postwar head of state, Mustafa Abu-Shakour, who is said to be “acceptable to Islamists” and affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sharia law prevails in many regions of the country, and government officials both actively and tacitly participate in the persecution of religious minorities: It’s no accident that the same government that has largely stood by and done nothing while Islamists destroy Sufi mosques and shrines with impunity was equally unsolicitous in protecting our diplomats.

To recap: Ambassador Stevens was assassinated by the very politico-ideological faction our government sided with during last year’s civil war and whose rise to political and cultural dominance it has facilitated. We continue to prop it up with billions of dollars in foreign aid.

This should come as no surprise. There’s nothing intrinsically liberating about “democracy,” which is nothing more than two wolves and a lamb having a vote on what’s for supper. Man is free to the extent he is unmolested in the enjoyment of his property, not to the extent his molestation is consented to by 50.01 percent of his fellows.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney responded to the attacks by claiming they “underscore that the world remains a dangerous place and that American leadership is still sorely needed.”

No, Gov. Romney, these attacks, along with every other Muslim terrorist attack against Americans over the last several decades, are a decisive rebuke to that leadership. To the extent the United States needs to “lead,” it is dramatically reversing course on the bipartisan foreign policy consensus of military and political intervention in conflicts that do not implicate our national security.

This is not “isolationism”; our nation should actively engage every country on the planet by extending the arm of official friendship and lifting all American-imposed trade restrictions, freeing Americans to relate to every country and its dynamics howsoever they please.

Contrary to establishmentarian myth, it is not true that the only options Americans can avail themselves of are aggressive military interventionism and xenophobic isolationism. The foreign policy of any truly free society is official neutrality vis-à-vis foreign conflicts that do not implicate domestic tranquility, and free trade with every nation. This is also called “non-interventionism.”

Political neutrality does not mean moral neutrality. In a free society, every citizen may choose to support or oppose – if and however they are so inclined – whatever side they wish to in any foreign conflict: if you want to support the so-called “Arab Spring,” you do so with your prayers, your pocketbook, your volunteer humanitarian or military service, etc. Just don’t use the arm of government to force your fellow citizens to subsidize your ideological crusades.

It is not unpatriotic, and takes nothing away from the tragedy of terrorism, to point out that our government’s aggressive foreign policy brings suffering and death to untold numbers of innocent people, including our own citizens.

Which brings us to another establishmentarian myth that needs shattering: that to attribute Islamist terrorism in major part to America’s foreign policy ventures is to necessarily buy into the politically-correct myth that “Islam is a religion of peace” and that these conflicts have nothing whatsoever to do with competing world views and visions of civilization. It’s not either/or. It’s both.
 
Yes, every single barbarity we associate with the Muslim world is firmly rooted in orthodox Islamic history theology, and jurisprudence, and enjoys widespread, mainstream support among the world’s Muslims, especially their religious leadership. A non-interventionist American foreign policy would not rid the world of all jihadism, nor would it bestow political equality on women and religious minorities who live in Muslim countries. But one does not have to deny the existence of underlying and (in the foreseeable future) inevitable cultural tensions to see that an intrusive foreign policy does nothing but exacerbate them.

Conservatives cannot have it both ways: they cannot insist that we don’t take jihadists at their word when they insist the Sept. 11 hijackings were motivated by our interventionist policies, and yet insist we must take Muslim religious texts at their word. Conservatives also can’t insist that the very same “big government” dominated by greedy sociopaths hell-bent on interfering in our domestic freedoms is somehow incapable of doing wrong when it fixes its same sights on the foreign scene.

Liberals, for their part, who are so fond of criticizing corporatist influence over government should be indignant over findings by a 2010 USA Today study that “of the 158 retired generals and admirals identified as mentors [to the United States military], 80 percent had financial ties to defense contractors, including 29 who were full-time executives of defense industry companies.” It’s not conspiracy-mongering to suggest we ought to be disturbed that a significant number of our military’s senior advisers have a financial interest in keeping the nation in a state of perpetual war.

Egyptian protesters

Egyptian protesters.

As we mourn Tuesday’s tragedy, let us use this occasion to reverse course on our foreign policy. Let us cease sending millions and billions of dollars (money we don’t have) in welfare payments to both friends and foes, and let’s stay out of wars waged between ignorant savages.

That, more than silly partisan bickering over the timing or content of press statements and tweets, will go far in honoring the memory of our fallen.



Reach Eric Giunta at egiunta@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.



Comments (17)

Connie Enbey
2:56PM SEP 17TH 2012
I like your Collum Eric! It is Head on! Thanks for posting! shareing
Eric Giunta
11:58PM SEP 15TH 2012
I normally do not post in these "comments" sections, but I will make an exception here in order to correct Mr Frank's libel.

I have never "labeled Robert Spencer a neo-Nazi". Frank's making this up.
Frank
1:16AM SEP 16TH 2012
I went back and looked at the article - the characterization is stated confusingly - I apologize if it wasn't meant that way, and for its use if that characterization is inaccurate.
Ali
4:10PM SEP 15TH 2012
I am a Muslim friend of Mr Giunta's, and I don't find anything bigoted or "despicable" at all about this piece.

I was an undergrad at FSU when Eric invited Robert Spencer to deliver a lecture at the law school on Islamic jurisprudence. I do not agree with everything Spencer says, but he's no neo-Nazi, and nothing bigoted or hateful was said in the course of that talk. In fact, I was president of a conservative student group, and I wanted us to co-sponsor the event. It was my fellow board members who backed away.

This article does not paint all Muslims, or even all Middle Easterners, as "ignorant savages". Giunta is clearly referring to jihadists and "socialist totalitarians" as such -- and as a Muslim I agree: jihadists and socialist dictators are ignorant savages, no matter their race.

And frankly Frank, as someone who's lived abroad, the only one who's naive and dangerous is you sir. Bombing one set of brown people to help another does nothing positive for our security. It's why Reagan left after the 1982 bombing in Beriut. Or how we had to leave Vietnam. For how all you people love to "recall WW2", you conveniently forget this fact. You may say you're not a neo-con, but your actions show otherwise. Only neo-cons are obsessed with sham notions such as "our place in the world" and "democracy." When you speak of WW2, that only came about because of WW1 and the subsequent Versailles Treaty, an unnecessary war and treaty that put criminal levels of debt on Germany. Had we not gotten involved, it would have ended at as the stalemate it was when we did enter it. Any country would go extremist in that situation. If its anyone that doesn't have and understanding of topics, its people like you. Hence why we are facing the mess we are currently in.
Frank
11:39PM SEP 15TH 2012
First, it was your "friend", Mr. Giunta, who was the one who labelled Robert Spencer a neo-nazi in print in a previous article.

Second, Mr. Giunta's "let’s stay out of wars waged between ignorant savages" uses a broad brush that includes (even under your own characterizations) the uprisings taking place throughout portions of the Arab and Islamic world.

If you truly believe that Mr. Giunta's characterization of "ignorant savages" applies to all those citizens from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Irag, Iran, and other Muslim countries who want freedom from oppression and are willing to fight for that freedom, then you're not like anyone I've ever known from those countries.

Third, I can't believe you're willing to be an apologist, justifying the excesses, wars and murders of Nazi Germany because of the failings of the Versailles Treaty (i.e. "Any country would go extremist in that situation"). Those beliefs, and that justification, discredit you.

Historians have long debated what would have happened if the U.S. hadn't entered WWII, but few believe it would have been a stalemate, and almost every credible historian I've read believes that the U.S. would eventually have been confronted with a nuclear Germany or had significant economic or military problems throughout the rest of the 20th century.

Your belief of a stalemate if the U.S. had not become involved in WWII appears highly unlikely, and it shouldn't be used to try and develop a scenario that would deny the existence of Israel (unless of course, as you seem to subtly imply, by leaving Germany alone, all European Jews would have been murdered by the Nazis and Israel would never have existed, so we wouldn't be "facing the mess we are currently in").

I could go on, but it's getting late, and I don't need to recount Nam again, or attempt to teach someone the lessons of history they won't listen to.

أخوك من صدقك النصيحة
Your brother is who's honest with you, not who believes you.
Ali
3:36PM SEP 18TH 2012
"Second, Mr. Giunta's "let’s stay out of wars waged between ignorant savages" uses a broad brush that includes (even under your own characterizations) the uprisings taking place throughout portions of the Arab and Islamic world. "

Frank, what are you talking about? The piece is CLEARLY talking about the uprisings so the comment is in context of that and therefore not a broad brush. Intro to Argumentation. Take it.

"Third, I can't believe you're willing to be an apologist, justifying the excesses, wars and murders of Nazi Germany because of the failings of the Versailles Treaty (i.e. "Any country would go extremist in that situation"). Those beliefs, and that justification, discredit you."

An apologist? Seriously? Where did I apologize? If stating the facts is apologizing, then by your own criteria of "Your brother is who's honest with you, not who believes you", in which you presumably refer to yourself, YOU'RE the biggest apologist here. If stating the facts is apologizing, the founding fathers did nothing but apologize. That's nonsense, and its proof is the fact that you won't even TOUCH WWI!
So if anyone here is discredited sir, its you.

Admiral Foch called the Treaty nothing but a 20 year armistice and he was proven right.

"Your belief of a stalemate if the U.S. had not become involved in WWII appears highly unlikely" Thanks for misrepresenting my views, typical of someone not able to make a factual argument.

"and it shouldn't be used to try and develop a scenario that would deny the existence of Israel "
What the heck are you talking about? This makes no sense. There's no logical link to my argument and this. Go back and read what I said and read up on the history of Israel. The Jews had been moving there well before WW2 and Israel would have become reality one way or the other.

"(unless of course, as you seem to subtly imply, by leaving Germany alone, all European Jews would have been murdered by the Nazis and Israel would never have existed, so we wouldn't be "facing the mess we are currently in"). "

Ok, now you're just putting words in my mouth and making stuff up by the seat of your pants. Please go ahead and keep discrediting yourself, this is amusing.
Frank
8:55PM SEP 18TH 2012
Yes, of course, you must be right . . .if we had stayed out of WWII, all the Jews would have survived the Nazis, especially if a stalemate had actually happened. The result of your stalemate would have almost undoubtedly been more than 6 million Jews dying in the camps.

Will you acknowledge a holocaust happened, and that it would have continued to occur under a no-U.S. against the Nazis scenario, with increased deaths? Whether intended or not intended, that would have been the outcome of your alternative scenario in Europe.

And of course, in an article and comment section about the Middle East, "the mess we are currently in" has absolutely nothing to do with continued American support for the right of Israel to exist, now does it?
Eric Giunta
12:00AM SEP 16TH 2012
I never "labeled Robert Spencer a neo-Nazi." You're making this up, Frank.
Frank
1:16AM SEP 16TH 2012
As I've said above, I went back and looked at the article - the characterization is stated confusingly - I apologize if it wasn't meant that way, and for its use if that characterization is inaccurate.
J
4:56PM SEP 15TH 2012
Exactly. Or the irony that the U.S. government slaughtered the Japanese with atomic bombs only to replace their culture with our government-imposed Western constitution.

Convenient that someone gets to overlook the U.S. government's atrocities and mass murders when describing the need to "fix" things by throwing money at the "problem."
Frank
4:08PM SEP 14TH 2012
We realize you're young, never served in the military nor the Peace Corps, and on occassion appear to be very naive and lacking in world experience. We realize you profess to be a strident Libertarian, Catholic, and conservative.

However, what I was not aware of is how Islamic-phobic you appear to be. Your "ignorant savages" description in this article adds to previous personal support and circulation of demonizing Muhammad cartoons, smearing all of Islam with a broad brush.

We have free speech in this country, but like the neo-Nazi speaker you supported with the circulation of that anti-Muhammad cartoon, I also have my free speech right to condemn him and your depiction as despicable.

You state as fact: "Ambassador Stevens was assassinated by the very politico-ideological faction our government sided with during last year’s civil war and whose rise to political and cultural dominance it has facilitated." I know of NO proof of that statement, and you DON'T know the name of the specific group(s) and individuals that carried out the attack. So, why are you lying and saying you do?

And your solution to the world's problems, equally absurd: "Let us cease sending millions and billions of dollars (money we don’t have) in welfare payments to both friends and foes."

It seems you would even cut off military support for our friends, like Israel, Europe, South Korea and Japan.

I realize many Libertarians desire to have the U.S. go into a more isolationist world view (i.e. hence your sensitive disclaimers on the subject). The U.S. Libertarian Party views are:

"We call for the withdrawal of all American military personnel stationed abroad, including the countries of NATO Europe, Japan, the Philippines, Central America and South Korea. There is no current or foreseeable risk of any conventional military attack on the American people, particularly from long distances. We call for the withdrawal of the U.S. from commitments to engage in war on behalf of other governments and for abandonment of doctrines supporting military intervention such as the Monroe Doctrine."

Naive and Dangerous. Militarily retreating from the world will only put the U.S., and other democracies around the world, more at risk. You're too young to remember, but we learned that lesson in World War II. I'm not a neo-con, but I'm not naive and stupid to believe we can afford to retreat from our role in the world.

Take my advice and stick to those limited topics you have some understanding of, and, like it's become apparent that Mitt Romney also needs to do, leave foreign policy to those who have a greater non-bigoted international experience and more profound understanding of the world's complexity.

Alternatively, take this article and do it live on YouTube. I wish you well.
Frank
1:14AM SEP 16TH 2012
Eric Giunta has indicated that he has not used a characterization of Neo-Nazi for Robert Spencer that I alluded to in the third paragraph above. I re-read the article of his that was part of the basis for my comment and apologize for the apparent misunderstanding on my part on the intent of his use of that term in the article. Its use does not appear to have been intended to pertain to Robert Spencer as I had read it, as Eric has made clear in his comments above. I apologize to Eric and Robert for the confusion and misunderstanding on my part, and I thank Eric for his clarification.
J
4:53PM SEP 15TH 2012
You lose all credibility when you use the word, "isolationist."

It's called non-interventionism. BIG difference.

Pick up a dictionary. If your muscles cannot handle that, just go on Wikipedia and disabuse yourself of your definitional cavities.

And YES, sending money which is taken by the threat of force (taxation) to give to welfare whores for construction more guns and bombs IS bad policy.
Frank
11:48PM SEP 15TH 2012
The big difference is in your mindset spin, not military reality.

Glad you believe Israel is a welfare whore.

Pathetic.
J
4:53PM SEP 15TH 2012
constructing*
J
2:32PM SEP 14TH 2012
Great analysis. Not enough people are detailing the corrupt practices in how government is spending its foreign aid and pushing its influence.
TCOT
10:46AM SEP 14TH 2012
Excellent analysis, well written. Thanks for posting! If only the regime in DC had this much sense.

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