U.S Foreign Affairs: The Number of Wars the U.S is Currently Waging

U.S Foreign Affairs: The Number of Wars the U.S is Currently Waging

The seven one sided wars the U.S is currently waging, and other inconsistencies
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There are many who aren't aware of the status of the United State's foreign politics. Saying that American politics are flawed is an understatement, especially when considering the new President elect, who won the election by alienating all those who have suffered institutionalized discrimination and reinforced white supremacy. But I'm sure you as a reader, are sick and tired of reading about the same flawed domestic policies in your country. Instead, here's a glimpse at American foreign policy; the United States is currently waging war against seven, yes you read right, SEVEN countries.

Before we get to the seven countries that the United States is bombing, it's worth mentioning that ISIS, the Islamist terrorist group, is to Islam what the KKK or Westboro is to Christianity. Also, 95% of ISIS victims are in fact Muslim.

ISIS is understandably a major concern around the world. They're a threat to people's lives, democracy and freedoms. Not Islam. There are other terrorists groups that exist in the world such as the Taliban, ALQaeda, and Al Shabab to name a few. The United States took to addressing these terrorists by dropping bombs on the countries they allegedly inhabit, all the while disregarding the homes and lives of the people residing in the following countries.

IRAQ

The United States has been bombing Iraq for on and off for about 25 years. The reason varies from year to year, but ultimately the war started because of an arms conflict where the United states and the United Kingdom believed that Iraq allegedly had weapons of mass destruction. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the war was started on a hunch and assumptions rather than fact.The Bush administration believed that Sadam and his government posed a threat to the United States because he maybe had WMD. After over half a million Iraqi lives were lost, in 2011 the United States troops left Iraq, only to come back in 2014 because of the threat of insurgency. Now, they're still bombing it because the United States has gathered intelligence that proves that Isis is located in Iraq.

SYRIA

The United States is waging a very complicated war again Syria, since there are at least four coalitions fighting each other. The four coalitions are the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, The Islamic Front, The Syrian Islamic Liberation Front and Independent groups such as ISIS. Because there are so many groups and factions fighting each other, there is often confusion on who's on whose side. The United States goal is to knock our ISIS and Bachar Al Assad. So, while the United States is bombing Syria and most recently the last children's hospital in Alleppo, Syria is being ravaged by it's civil war. It has now become an immense humanitarian disaster as half of teh country's 22 million people have either been killed or displaced. On that note, there has been a little less than half a million confirmed deaths in Syria.

AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN

The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in response to the tragic 9/11 attacks. They have been fighting them for fifteen years, making this war the longest war in American history. They targeted the terrorist groups the Taliban and AlQaeda, both splinter groups of the Mujaheddin. The interesting factoid here is that Al Qaeda and its former leader Osama Bin-Laden had ties to the CIA and the American government during the Soviet War in Afghanistan. The CIA allegedly armed and trained the mujaheddin to fight and win against the Soviet Union during the cold war. The Taliban was formed by the Pakistani Intellegence Agency (ISI), but was allegedly funded by the United States. The United States was believed to have provided $3 billion to build this Islamic group by providing them with ammunition during the Cold war. After the Soviet war ended, the United States lost track of the ammunition they provided the Taliban, and thus was taken aback when millions worth in weapons that they had provided were allegedly being used against them. In 2004, they started bombing the northern border of Pakistan along the Afghan border because it was believed that Taliban and Al Qaeda troops hide out there.

YEMEN

The United States war on Yemen is incredibly complex. The U.S is conducting drone strikes to target Al Qaeda camps but is also currently supporting Saudi Arabia's massive attack on the Houthis, a group of Yemeni rebels. Yemen is currently a monstrous humanitarian disaster as " 80% of the Yemeni population is in desperate need for humanitarian aid to meet even it's most basic needs." There is even evidence that Saudi Arabians, who are backed by the U.S, are deliberately targeting civilians. The UN confirms about 10,000 civilian deaths in the Yemen since the drone strikes started in 2015, killing almost 13 civilians a day. According to the Guardian, more than one third of all Saudi led air raids on Yemen have hit civilian sites such as school building, hospital markets, mosques and economic infrastructure.

More on that, click on the following links:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-secu...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/16/thir...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-eas...

http://www.salon.com/2016/09/02/despite-10000-civi...

On October 8th, 2016, a U.S backed, Saudi led airstrike on a funeral took place, killing 140 people and wounding 525 people.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-backed-sau...

According to the Associated Press, the aftermath of the strike turned the funeral location into a lake of blood and strewn unidentifiable body parts.

LIBYA

Libya is also dealing with political unrest, which first started at the hands of Muamar Gaddafi but now is because of civil insurgence and U.S bombing. In 2011, the United States bombed Libya to in order to get rid of Gaddafi. The consequence of his assassination was that the country descended into chaos and ISIS attempted to establish a stronghold over the Libyan government. The Americans also continued to bomb Libya because they didn't necessarily like the person they replaced Gaddafi with.

SOMALIA

In March of 2016, an American drone strike killed 150 people in Somalia allegedly targeting the terrorist group Al Shabbab. The Obama Administration put out a statement that claimed that everyone of these 150 people was part of Al Shabbab. No one but the American government has independently confirmed that particular statement. The only information we have of the 150 deaths were from the government that killed them.

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The question remains; who does the United States consider as an enemy combatant on the global War on Terror. According to the New York Times, the administration considers all military age males in a strike zone combatants... unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent. This is very convenient as it is scary to realize that any one male over the age of 18 standing near a location the U.S has decided to bomb because of suspicious terrorist activity is automatically an enemy of the U.S. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Financially, since the beginning of the war on terror in 2001, the United States has spent around $4 trillion and about 1.3 million Americans have died in combat zones all around the world. To this day, there have been 4 million and it is even speculated that that number is nearer to 5 million deaths in the Middle East, a byproduct of the War on Terror.

One last thing:

ZERO of these one sided wars have been approved by Congress, and is thus more evidence of the rift in America's system of checks and balances.

Confused? Here's a simple breakdown of what's going on in the United States' foreign affairs. Educate yourself.





Cover Image Credit: Stop the Drone Strikes

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Gun Control Debate Comes Down To The Power Of God

My opinion on two parts to the most, in every sense of the word, "loaded" issue.
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There are a plethora of difficult issues in a Christian's life, and despite what it looks like on social media and mainstream media, gun control is high on that list. It pains me to see such a divide on this issue. Liberals are painted as children who want to give up all their rights, while conservatives are seen as idiots who value guns more than human life. And Christian conservatives are seen as hypocritical Pharisees, not unlike the Nazis.

But we all know, at least I hope we all know, that this isn’t the case for either side. We all love our families, and we all cherish life. We all prefer a world where murder doesn’t exist or at least a world where mass murders don’t exist. We all want a world where our children, siblings, friends, and parents can live safely

So, what gives? If we value the same things, why are we so divided on gun control? The answer, I believe, has more layers and more depth than I could ever hope to understand, let alone write about. But I can share my own thoughts and concerns on the issue in hopes that it is a positive, edifying contribution to the dialogue.

There are two main parts to the gun control debate that most social media posts can be divided into: Gun Control Laws, and the reason for gun control. What I mean by Gun Control Laws tends to either challenge or support certain claims like “more guns= more deaths.” The second part, the reason for gun control, asks why school shootings and general acts of terrorism are happening in an attempt to answer if gun control is even needed. I think the reason why communication on this topic is so difficult is that people are often arguing on these different parts of the same topic. So, I hope my own thoughts, or rambling at this point, can help with the general discussion, even if it’s just a Conservative Christian’s (note: not a conservative that’s also a Christian) opinion on Gun Control.

The first issue, the gun control laws, is that the gun control debate is not about gun control, and it’s not about guns. I’m talking about the debate itself, the “dialogue” surrounding gun control. I think a gun control debate would look into methods and strategies of gun control. It assumes a bipartisan agreement that gun control is actually needed, which we haven’t reached, at least, not on a mass level.

Rather, the debate is about us: the people who are gunned down, the people that witness the deaths of friends and family, the people that hear about the tragedy on the news or social media, the people that want to do something. It is also about the people that seemingly don’t want to do something. It is also about the people who shoot other people, the people who go on shooting sprees in schools and other public places. The issue is about an enormous, democratic nation that is split on almost every topic, like a Giant with feet that does not want to walk in the direction its walking, arms that does not want to hold the things its holding, and a head that plans out things it does not want to plan out.

But the solution isn’t somehow forcing half of the individual body to a restriction or code. The United States isn’t a single body, it’s a group of people divided into 50 states, each with their own restrictions, which are at least just as strict as any overarching restriction. And in each state, there are municipalities. This is good because individual people are different! And oftentimes, people in a certain area tend to think alike, or agree on the same ideas.

It feels like people forget that there are stricter gun laws on the state level than the Federal level. For example, Minnesota has gun restrictions on the mentally challenged. If one feels those restrictions aren’t sufficient, one could work on changing the local, or state laws. In fact, it might be easier to work on the local and state level rather than the federal level.

The second issue, which is the reason for gun control, isn’t about us. It’s about God. The United States might work like some form of democracy, but any leader or government was placed there by God, and even they are subject to the authority of God.

But this doesn’t mean God is okay with the murderous lashes of people. God is very much against murder. He is against any form of action that places a person in the seat of the Judge. By judge, I mean defining actions, or cases, according to one’s own prescription, for example, the judge of who lives and who dies, who steals and who’s robbed, who’s to be loved and who’s to be hated… the judge of who’s judge and who isn’t judge, the judge of who’s God and who isn’t God.

Sadly, there are people who do play Judge, like the Parkland shooter, or the Santa Fe shooter, or even myself. To think that I’ve never judged in one way or another is a lie. I do it every day. But admitting that society is filled with self righteous people doesn’t solve anything, it won’t solve mass shootings, it won’t stop sin. The lamentations of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes comes to mind, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

What I’m trying to say is that whether or not we have strict gun control, loose gun control, or no gun control, we won’t be any better off. The United States in 1918 wasn’t any better then than it is now in 2018. Horrors have been performed now that the people then could never imagine. And people then practiced things that were so horrible, we riot against them a century later.

I think my conclusion, then, would come from Ecclesiastes, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

But I’ll also tack on a line from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, “...God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We can work hard to make this world a better place by pushing for stricter gun control, by lobbying for or against issues, and by protesting for what we believe in. But the most we can ever do is pray.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

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