Actions in Afghanistan, Europe, and Libya have created insecurity rather than order.
In May 2012, in the warm Chicago sunshine, I sat with journalist Jim Foley who had just returned from Syria. Jim and I had come for a large demonstration against a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). War reporting in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria had not been easy on Jim, who was an easy-going man. “You can’t get what the Afghan people really think,” he said, when you travel with US troops and rely upon a US-military translator. Nearby sat a group of Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans who had planned to return their medals to their commanders. Jim had a great deal to say about warmongers, the merchants of war. NATO’s advocates were among them. They had come to celebrate their war on Libya. Meanwhile, in Libya, the devastation had spilled social toxicity across its landscape. This mattered little to NATO’s bureaucrats.
Jim would later return to Syria, where ISIL took him prisoner. Sadly, two years later, Jim would be the first American to be beheaded by ISIL on camera. He was another victim of a senseless war. At the NATO protest in 2012, one protestor carried a sign, “I can’t believe we still have to protest this shit.” I remember pointing that sign out to Jim. One more war, more civilians dead, more chaos produced, less security for all.
President Barack Obama went around Europe this week with two apparent purposes: to urge the United Kingdom not to sever its ties to the European Union and to plead with European countries to increase their military spending. European unity, Obama argued, was a force for good. NATO would only be able to function if Europe remained united and if it spent more on military goods. “I’ll be honest,” Obama said, “sometimes Europe has been complacent about its own defense.”