Saturday, March 9, 2013

Are the Neocons Changing their Stripes? Don't count on it and here's why.

Like the Bob Dylan song, Times They Are a-Changin, Senator Rand Paul struck a raw nerve in GOP circles with his famous, media and Twitter viral filibuster.  Rand Paul didn't succeed in stopping John Brennan, the godfather of murderous drone strikes, from being confirmed as the new head of the CIA but he definitely succeeded in bringing drone use and US foreign policy out of the GOP's closet. For that he was cheered and jeered but mostly cheered by civil libertarians on the right and left.  The jeers flowed from old guard neocon whackjobs like John McCain, Lindsay Graham and their reliable partners on the left.

The Jeers:

McCain, Graham Attack Rand Paul for Anti-Drone Filibuster, that stated "Paul's question about Obama's authority to kill US citizens doesn't deserve an answer, Graham said".

James Carville: Rand Paul’s ‘Nutty’ Concerns About Drones Akin To Birtherism, Evolution Deniers Mediaite

MSNBC Hosts Mock Rand Paul: Made Serious Issue Of Drones Sound ‘Absurd,’ ‘Crazy,’ ‘And On The Fringe’  Mediaite

It should come as no surprise that the far left and far right were at the forefront in attacking Rand Paul. These bat shit crazies have no respect whatsoever for the constitution, civil liberties or peace.  They are a pox upon humanity everywhere.

The Cheers:

While the cheers were loudest among civil libertarians, the cheers also hailed from some surprising places like the traditional standard bearers of neocon foreign policy.  Rush Limbaugh, the icon of Republican talk radio, actually smacked McCain and Graham while defending Rand Paul.

Limbaugh Hits McCain And Graham For Opposing Rand Paul, Dining With Obama: ‘Who Are They Siding With?’

Laura Ingraham, another popular neocon icon of Republican talk radio wasted no time praising Rand Paul and promptly interviewing him on her radio show.

Laura Ingraham: Neoconservative view has clearly hurt the GOP (Rand Paul interview 3/08/13)

The neocon armor is slowly cracking. With both Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham standing with Rand, the foreign policy debate will be brought out of the Republican closet and this will not bode well for Republican foreign policy hawks. It's not that either Limbaugh or Ingraham even care about peace, liberty or the constitution but they are apoplectic over back to back Republican general election losses. Folks like Limbaugh and Ingraham are not motivated by ideology; in fact, they are merely weathermen who sense and follow the political winds. Right now in America, the political winds are strongly blowing away from costly foreign interventionism and non-stop wars.

Despite all the glowing and supportive tweets, as well as the right wing media professing its undying love for Rand Paul, we have to ask ourselves if any of this in any way signals that the Republican Party and its pundits are serious.

Or is it more like a stealth date when the guy has a romance strategy to get in her pants because he really only wants to screw her?

Despite the barrage of poetic wing nut words, the neocons can never be trusted.  Every conservative, constitutionalist and small government advocate has been down this road many, many times and drank the Koolaid with the flavor FOOL.

How will we ever know if they are serious?  That's not difficult.  Just look back in history and how the Vietnam War finally ended.

How Congress Ends Wars, It always comes down to money
As the Democratically-controlled 110th Congress searches for a way to end the Iraq war authorized by the Republican-controlled 107th Congress, it seems appropriate to recall how the U.S. Congress ended the Vietnam War, and more recently, further U.S. military combat involvement in Somalia. At the end of those dark days, ending the battle came down to ending the money.

On Aug. 5, 1964, Congress enacted the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, authorizing President Lyndon Johnson to use "all necessary measures" to repel armed attacks against U.S. forces in Vietnam. The resolution passed easily, 466-0 in the House and 88-2 in the Senate, with the only dissenting votes coming from Democratic Sens. Wayne Morse (Oregon) and Ernest Gruening (Alaska).

Unlike the resolution authorizing the use of U.S. military force in Iraq, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution contained language allowing Congress to repeal it at any time. Unsuccessful congressional efforts to repeal the Tonkin Gulf Resolution began as early as 1966, just two "quagmire-ish" years after its passage. Finally in January of 1971, Congress succeeded in passing a measure repealing the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. While he did not veto it, President Richard M. Nixon refused to honor the measure and continued to wage the war, claiming presidential authority to do so as commander in chief of the military. But, another far more effective act of Congress would ultimately end the Vietnam War by closing the federal purse strings.

In December 1970, Congress reacted to the U.S. invasion of Cambodia by passing the landmark Cooper-Church amendment to the Foreign Military Sales Bill. The amendment, named for and sponsored by Sens. John Sherman Cooper (R-Kentucky) and Frank Church (D-Idaho), prohibited the use of any funds already appropriated for military spending on the introduction of additional U.S. troops into Cambodia. While President Nixon denounced Cooper-Church as harming the war effort, he failed to veto it. Today, the Cooper-Church amendment is regarded as the first congressional action taken limiting presidential powers during a war.

Following Cooper-Church, and even after the Paris cease-fire agreement, Congress literally dropped the hammer on the Vietnam War with its passage in 1973 of a joint resolution (H.J.Res. 636) prohibiting any further appropriation or expenditure of any funds for any "combat in or over or from the shores of North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia.
And that's precise how wars end.  When Congress finally refuses to fund them through appropriations, they are over.

Let's get back to the GOP.  What Republicans are willing to defund the current wars?  For that matter, the same question also applies to the war friendly Democrats.  It would be nearly impossible to find a Republican or Democrat who would agree to defund the wars, let alone reign in executive powers.

When Republicans and their pundits start demanding that the wars be defunded along with military spending, that's when you know somebody is serious about ending the wars.  If a candidate is unwilling to vociferously and loudly campaign on ending war funding, then they are still fully committed neocons.

Who is talking about the cost of the wars?  Absolutely nobody but I blogged about war costs.

The Cost of America's Wars - $3 Trillion, $4 Trillion, $5 Trillion, $7 Trillion, $8 Trillion, Going Once, Going Twice, SOLD

If Americans want to understand why America is bankrupt and why the economy lies in ruins, look no further than war spending.

Meanwhile, it's definitely not time to start singing Bob Dylan's song, Times They are a-Changin.


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