President Obama takes Nobel Peace Prize to war

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner

BURNET, Texas (March 27) — There’s an anonymous message circulating on Twitter that’s says, “Barack Obama has now fired more cruise missiles than all other Nobel Peace prize winners combined.” That would be funny, if it weren’t so depressing an observation. There are calls now from some foreign leaders for President Obama to return the award. “How is it possible to give the Nobel Peace Prize to someone who has launched an invasion, a bombing? It’s a violation, an assault, an aggression,” said Bolivian President Evo Morales.

President Obama dismissed this idea by repeating a line he used in his Oslo acceptance speech he delivered in December 2009. The president said then it was an “irony” for him to get this award when he was dealing with two wars. “So I am accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also someone who aspires to peace,” he told CNN.

That is not irony, Mr. President; it is hypocrisy. It is not a contradiction; it is a violation of your oath of office.

Isn’t it bad enough that America has an immediate-past president who is afraid to visit another country for fear of being arrested for war crimes? Now we have a sitting president who’s being asked to return a prestigious international award because he’s an aggressor. It seems to me we’re not doing a very good job of picking presidents.

Maybe it’s time we elect someone who won’t bring shame and condemnation to our nation by attacking other countries. Maybe it’s time we elected a president who took his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” seriously. Maybe it’s time we elected a president who understands the true meaning of that document.

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President Obama contradicts Sen. Obama again

The North Carolina Libertarian party has condemned the U.S. attack on Libya, saying that President Obama not only circumvented the U.S. Constitution but contradicted his own statements about presidential power to order such attacks.

“The Libertarian Party of North Carolina joins the national Libertarian Party in condemning President Obama for this military assault on Libya, circumventing the constitutionally required Congressional vote,” said Barbara Howe, Libertarian Party state chair in a statement posted on the party’s website.

In 2007, then candidate Obama told the Boston Globe, “”The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

“The president was correct then, but he’s wrong now,” she said. “His actions are a direct contradiction of that statement. He has forgotten his own words. The selected bombing targets posed no imminent threat to the U.S.”

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They hate us because we bomb them

President Obama’s decision to attack on Libya is only surprising to those who actually think he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize and indicates a “disturbing trend” of attacking Muslim countries, the Libertarian Party national chair said yesterday.

“After dithering for two weeks, Obama has joined the list of presidents who chose to launch wars on their personal say-so in direct contravention of the Constitution,” said Mark Hinkle. The attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and now Libya have also eroded the goodwill Obama gained from the Arab world early in his administration. In the most recent Zogby survey, 85 percent of the respondents expressed an unfavorable opinion toward the United States, eclipsing the 83 percent negative opinion in the final year of the Bush administration.

“I’m deeply disappointed that the U.S. government has once again galloped into battle on foreign soil, in the grand tradition of Teddy and San Juan Hill,” said Lon Cecil, a 2010 Libertarian Congressional candidate. “Libertarians recognize that our standing armies are for the defense of our nation and our shores, not running around the world shoving gun barrels in the face of anyone who refuses to bow down or run away.”

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Bombs fall on the evil and the innocent

“War is violence at large scale, conducted by imperfect people using imperfect weapons on the basis of limited information. There’s nothing humanitarian about that. Innocents and non-combatants will be killed.” –Thomas L. Knapp

BURNET, Texas (March 22) – When you drop a bomb, you cannot be sure who will die when it hits, and once you let it go you cannot bring it back. It doesn’t matter if you claim the person you’re dropping the bomb on is evil, or whether you maintain that your cause is noble and humanitarian. Bombs don’t discriminate between the innocent and the evil.

In a war, any war, innocent people die. Politicians and military leaders may use an innocuous-sounding euphemism like “collateral damage,” to mask the death of non-combatants. But let’s call it what it is – murder. Make no mistake, whether your name is Gadhafi or Obama, if you unleash your bombs knowing full-well that innocent people are going to die as a result, you are committing murder. And to make matters worse, you order others to do your crime for you.

Think about it. If someone blew up your entire family, would it really matter if a well-intentioned busybody rather than an oppressive tyrant delivered the bomb? As Gandhi so eloquently said, “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

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Any U.S. attack on Libya would be unconstitutional and despicable

BURNET, Texas (March 19) – After weeks of vacillation, uttering veiled threats that Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi must go while his key advisers made contradictory statements, President Obama has followed the example of his recent predecessors and decided that it is okay for the United States to attack another sovereign nation so long as the United Nations approves it. For an American president to initiate an attack on a nation that does not threaten us is despicable enough, but to justify such aggression by citing a United Nations resolution sets a dangerous precedent that threatens our very sovereignty.

Now the president has made an incredibly duplicitous statement on Libya, claiming that American leadership is essential in this situation and vowing that the United States would not stand “idly by while global peace and security is undermined.” In other words, we need some war so we can have peace. George Orwell, author of 1984, seems more like a prophet every day.

What hubris! A tyrant, who just a few weeks ago wasn’t even on the State Department’s radar, is now suddenly a threat to the world? Tyrants in other Middle East nations are shooting citizens who protest their oppression, but the United States says and does nothing. Why? Because the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the area and we need the support of those tyrants in order to flex our muscles against another tyrant.

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‘Nosy neighbor’ foreign policy creates enemies

BURNET, Texas (March 14) – When former President George W. Bush canceled a trip to Geneva for a charity fundraiser because he feared being arrested for war crimes, it was a shame and a blot on our nation, potential Libertarian presidential candidate R. Lee Wrights told the Georgia Libertarian Party State Convention Saturday.

“It’s a shame. It’s a blot on this country and it’s a blot on all of us that one of our former leaders is afraid to go somewhere because he’s going to be charged with war crimes,” Wrights said. In February, Bush canceled a speaking engagement at a charity fundraiser in Geneva because a human rights group filed a criminal complaint against him in a Swiss court alleging torture.

“I’d like to think that if I got the job, you’d never have to worry about that,” said Wrights, former Vice Chair of the national Libertarian Party. The incident is an inevitable and direct result of the “nosy neighbor” foreign policy pursued by both Democratic and Republican presidents.

“What bothers you more than a nosy neighbor? Somebody who moves next door to you and is in your business all the time,” Wrights asked. “It is aggravating and will make you go to war.”

“So imagine that neighbor is half way across the world and sticking their nose in your business … and has pretty big guns to back it up,” he added. “You don’t make many friends that way, you don’t have peace, and you don’t have prosperity.”

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War is not the answer

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?” (Gandhi)

by R. Lee Wrights

War is never good, no matter how moral, lofty or beneficial the justification sounds; and, no matter what the objectives. Even a necessary war of defense has negative consequences that are devastating. War is the ultimate in destruction. War destroys peace, it destroys prosperity, it destroys property and most cruelly – war destroys people.

That’s why it troubles me that the language of war dominates our political discourse. The words we use do matter. The metaphors we use to express our thoughts reflect how we actually think about things. It can be disturbing to say the least.

War is a zero-sum game. There are perceived winners and losers, of course. The losers are destroyed or killed, but even the winners are left less than whole by the experience. While I’m proud of my service in the U.S. Air Force, I’m most grateful to have served as a medic. I was able to serve my country without killing a single human being. However, I helped treat those who did, and who consequently suffered both physical and mental harm as a result of their actions. Even though I was fortunate not to have experienced it first-hand, the destruction of war touched me and changed my life forever.

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State of the union still a state of war

What was glaringly absent from President Obama’s state of the union address night, as well as from the response from both the Republicans and the Tea Party movement, is an admission that the real state of the union is a state of war.

The president only mentioned Iraq and Afghanistan towards the end of his hour-long speech, and uttered the familiar shibboleth of “support the troops” as an applause line to gain the longest sustained ovation of the evening. Neither Rep. Paul Ryan, speaking for the Republicans, or Rep. Michelle Bachman, speaking for the Tea Party movement, mentioned these wars in their remarks at all.

Most of the president’s speech was a classic example of elected officials speaking out of both sides of their mouth. While on the one hand calling for a freeze in federal non-security, discretionary spending, the president also called for increased federal spending for a litany of non-security, discretionary items ranging from roads to high speed Internet. Except he doesn’t call it spending money, he calls it investment.

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War is not moral

“Some explanations of a crime are not explanations: they’re part of the crime.” (Olavo de Carvalho)

BURNET, Texas (Jan. 24) — Every American who has ever worn a uniform should be offended and outraged by the claim by former President George H.W. Bush that the 1991 Iraq war was morally justified, said R. Lee Wrights, a libertarian activist, writer and potential 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee.

“I am outraged by the cavalier attitude about war and death this remark implies, an attitude apparently shared by his son,” said Wrights, an Air Force veteran. “Acts of immorality are inevitable in any war, even a justified war of self-defense. Therefore, no war is moral, and certainly not a war to defend or prop up oppressive governments.”

Bush and other key members of his foreign policy team spoke at a gathering at Texas A&M University marking the 20th anniversary of the first invasion of Iraq which began on Jan. 17, 1991.

In response to a question about the view that economics and oil were the real reason for going to war, Bush said, “I think (economics) was vitally important, but I don’t think that was the whole message by a longshot. It was the immorality of a big country – with the fourth-largest army in the world – taking over a member state of the U.N., just brutally taking it over.”

James Baker, secretary of state under Bush, added that it was “appropriate to use all the arguments” in favor of the war because, “We were doing the right thing.”

Wrights stated in a phone conference that he was flabbergasted at those statements. “If it’s immoral for a big country to take over a smaller country, then how can he justify the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan,” Wrights asks. “But I shouldn’t have been surprised, since this is the same president who directed the U.S. military to invade a small country in Central America (Panama) in an action called Operation Just Cause.”

“Claiming they were ‘doing the right thing’ and citing moral justification is a tactic every tyrant, dictator and aggressor in history has used to vindicate their evil,” observed Wrights. “It is disgraceful, but not surprising, to hear similar arguments from American leaders.”

“War is never about morality or doing the right thing. It is always about power and control,” Wrights said. “In 1991, one autocratic state invaded another autocratic Muslim state. What should the United States have done? Nothing.”

“Libertarians believe it is never moral to use force, fraud or coercion to achieve political, social or economic goals,” Wrights explains. “Unfortunately, the politicians who run governments don’t think the same way. They are more than willing to use force, and sacrifice other people’s lives to achieve their goal of power.”

Wrights concluded by restating one of the themes of his campaign, “You do not teach people it is wrong to kill people by killing people. You only perpetuate war and sentence our children to death on battlefields far from home. There is nothing moral about sending someone else’s loved one to fight for something in which you believe. I want to bring those loved ones home.”

Wrights, a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party, is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 should be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. He has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.

The 52-year old writer and political activist was born in Winston Salem, N.C. and now lives in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.

Wrights 2012 press release

Reaction to WikiLeaks threatens liberty

BURNET, Texas (Dec. 15) – The reactions from American politicians and elected officials regarding the latest WikiLeaks publication of classified U.S. documents poses a greater threat to liberty than anything in the documents themselves, R. Lee Wrights, a libertarian writer and potential 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee said in a statement today.

“The greatest threat to our liberty comes not from anything published by WikiLeaks, but from the irresponsible, irrational and hysterical comments from politicians and government officials,” Wrights said. He noted that Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, has been called a terrorist, an enemy combatant, and a traitor.

“Such characterizations are much worse than merely being inaccurate and irresponsible,” Wrights said. “They are chilling and sobering assertions, since President Obama has claimed the U.S. has the authority to kill anyone they label an ‘enemy combatant,” Wrights said. “In other words, the government’s war on civil liberty has no frontline or boundaries. Anyone who is labeled an enemy is a target.”

“Government has become deadly because those who possess it demonstrate an appalling arrogance. American leaders who in effect are claiming that the United States can punish anyone who disagrees with or opposes American foreign policy and uncovers anything embarrassing about the way U.S. diplomats operate,” Wrights continued.

“Once again the very people who have taken an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution attest by their words that they are either ignorant of that document, or have contempt for the limitations the Constitution places on their power,” Wrights said.

“Calling Assange a traitor, for example, is one of the more incredulous comments that’s been made, since he’s an Australian citizen living in Sweden,” Wrights said. He said that Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution, which defines treason applies only to U.S. citizens.

“Another ludicrous comment is the suggestion by some Congressional so-called leaders for a bill to punish WikiLeaks, disregarding the Constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws enumerated in Article I Section 9,” Wrights said.

“All this is a smokescreen, designed to cover up, obfuscate and obscure revelations about the lies and deceits perpetrated by the U.S. government in pursing an interventionist foreign policy,” Wrights said. “Those of us who lived through the Vietnam War recall this tactic all too well.”

“There’s been no evidence or proof presented that the information contained in these leaked documents has resulted in the death of anyone, let alone any American, or caused any direct harm to American security,” Wrights said. He noted that none of the information released had high classification and that most of it appears only to have been classified in order to avoid embarrassment.

“Besides being embarrassing to American diplomats, the bulk of the information released has simply confirmed what was already widely reported,” Wrights noted. “This includes the fact that the Saudi Arabian government is a principle supporter and financier of al-Qaida, and that there was no al-Qaida in Iraq before we invaded that country.”

Wrights said that one of the most interesting documents he’s seen is a report by Dan Lawson, deputy political counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. Lawson’s analysis of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was that despite his “professed allegiance to socialism,” Chavez “lacks any consistent ideology” but relies on “an increasingly authoritarian playbook” to stay in power.

“In the authoritarian playbook Lawson outlines, some points struck me as eerily familiar to our own government,” Wrights said. “They include centralization of power, polarizing society along political and class lines, hyping the existence of external and internal enemies and promoting chest-thumping nationalism.”

“Perhaps this document was classified because it hit to close to home. It is little wonder that the current administration wants these documents to disappear. Government prefers the cloak of darkness to the illumination of information.”

Wrights concluded by observing, “Sadly, it appears those controlling government are willing to kill in order to keep their petty little embarrassments hidden from the people they are supposed to represent.”

Wrights is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 should be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. He has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.

The 52-year old writer and political activist was born in Winston Salem, N.C. and now lives in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.

Wrights 2012 press release