Tag Archive for 'doug-bandow'

Remembering America’s Unnecessary Wars

Published May 28th, 2011 by tcarpenter

My colleague Doug Bandow has a terrific article on the Huffington Post website that is especially appropriate for Memorial Day.  He makes a compelling case that contrary to the platitudes that we will hear this weekend about how “freedom is not free,” and that we owe our freedoms to those who died in America’s wars, the truth is much more troubling.  The reality is that many of this country’s wars–and nearly all of them since the end of World War II–have had little or nothing to do with defending the freedom of the American people.  Instead, the motives ranged from misplaced humanitarianism (e.g., the Balkan wars and Libya), to insane attempts to impose enlightment and democracy on pre-industrial societies (e.g., Afghanistan), to cynical attempts to project U.S. power for dubious, if not sleazy, motives (e.g., Vietnam and Iraq.)

Doug argues that all too often the political elite in the United States has used American soldiers as nothing more than “gambit pawns” in a global strategic chess match.  He’s right.  And the best tribute we could give on this Memorial Day to those who have lost their lives in such conflicts (including two good friends of mine in the Vietnam War) is to make sure that our troops are never again sent into harm’s way for frivolous reasons. 

North Korea Behaving Badly Again

Published November 27th, 2010 by tcarpenter

Those of you who are worried about the latest spike in tensions between North Korea and South Korea should read the excellent piece by my colleague Doug Bandow in the National Interest Online.  Among other things, Doug questions why nearly six decades since the end of the Korean War, the United States is in the middle of a parochial spat between two small nations half-way around the world.  He shows why North Korea’s neighbors should be perfectly capable of handling that obnoxious little troublemaker on their own.

The security commitment to South Korea is yet another example of U.S. global obligations that are both obsolete and dangerous.  The sooner we get our troops out of harm’s way, the better.  We have far more pressing problems much closer to home–including the soaring (and spreading) drug violence next door in Mexico.

The TSA’s Latest Idiocy

Published March 21st, 2009 by tcarpenter

In his farewell speech to Congress in 1951, General Douglas MacArthur intoned that “old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”  Likewise, bad policy ideas never die.  Unfortunately, they never fade away either.  They just get recycled.  The latest example is the decision by the Transportation Security Administration to resume random screenings of airport passengers at the gate.  After massive complaints from the public, the TSA abandoned that absurd practice several years ago.

Of all the post-9-11 airport “safety” measures, the random screenings were the most intrusive and useless.  All too many instances arose in which the randomly selected passenger turned out to be a toddler or a 90-year-old woman in a wheelchair.  As if there was even a snowball’s chance in Hell that such individuals were possible terrorists.  My colleague Doug Bandow has a good piece on that practice. 

Most of the TSA’s measures at airports are designed to show activity rather than have any real relevance to stopping terrorism, and the random searches were the most blatant examples of activity for the sake of activity.  Why America’s security bureaucrats have decided to bring back that useless policy is anyone’s guess.   Perhaps TSA really stands for Terminally Stupid Actions.