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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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Speak Now: Thoughts On Taylor Swift Breaking Her Political Silence

Hopefully Taylor's words can show some light in this darkness

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I truly became a Taylor Swift fan in middle school, after discovering her catalog in seventh grade, on the website Grooveshark, a precursor to Spotify. As a child, I had enjoyed classic Swift songs like "Teardrops on My Guitar" but as a growing tween who was, for the first time, experiencing romantic attraction to guys, I began to relate to these songs on a deeper level, realizing that Taylor Swift had put all of my strong, confusing, exhilarating emotions into words.

As a superstar constantly under the glare of the media, Taylor Swift has had to deal with more than her fair share of criticism and ridicule. Yet there's one criticism that's persisted which I consider legitimate: She has, throughout her career, largely remained silent on political issues. When she was just a country star, this made sense. While country music has historically been tied to the Republican Party, the genre has been largely apolitical in recent years. So in this particular context, Swift's silence was understandable.

But as Swift moved towards pop, growing her fan base to include millions of people around the world, her silence became even more glaring. Around the time of the release of 1989, Taylor was arguably the biggest pop star in America; and yet she refused to comment on pressing issues. Her song "Welcome to New York" had one line referencing gay relationships but despite the characterization of the media, the song was hardly a queer anthem. She didn't endorse gay marriage until a celebratory tweet right after the Supreme Court's decision. She called herself a feminist but was accused of being a white feminist. During the 2016 election, she notably refrained from supporting Hillary or criticizing Trump, who had bragged about sexually assaulting women.

Even with her album Reputation, where she borrows from rap and hip-hop, historically black genres, she didn't support the Black Lives Matter movement. I understood her silence; she wanted to appeal to both liberals and conservatives and from a business standpoint, this made sense. I was willing to defend her from critics, arguing that Taylor's music spoke to the universal human emotion of wanting to be loved, something which transcended partisan politics. Liberals and conservative could disagree on everything else, but at least they could agree that Taylor's songs were amazing. Yet it was disappointing to see someone with so much influence refuse to use their platform to advocate for the betterment of others, particularly marginalized groups.

So I was happily surprised to see Taylor's Instagram post endorsing two Democratic candidates in Tennessee. Not only was it nice to see her standing up for gay rights, acknowledging systemic racism, and proving her feminist bona fides by slamming Marsha Blackburn's opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Violence Against Women Act; her comments were actually helpful. After her post, there has been a significant increase in voter registration. Additionally, the Senate race in Tennessee is a tossup. I doubt that an endorsement of Hillary would have swayed white working class voters in the Midwest, but Swift's endorsement of former Governor Phil Bredesen could actually increase voter turnout among millennials to help him win.

Conservatives were quick to dismiss Swift's comments. Trump said that he liked her music 25% less now. Mike Huckabee, the former governor of my home state of Arkansas, mocked Swift on Twitter saying that 13-year-olds can't vote. Once again, old white men underestimate the power of young people to enact change. Even if you aren't 18 yet, you can still be politically active in other ways. When I was 14, I joined the Young Democrats and canvassed for several candidates. When I was 16, I phone banked for Hillary's campaign. Clearly, voting is not the only avenue for political involvement.

Yet for Swifties above the age of 18, voting is vitally important. Countless studies show that 18 to 24-year-olds have low voter turnout rates, and these are even lower for midterm elections. And that's why Taylor's post is so powerful- it has actually motivated young people to get more involved. In these midterms, we have the opportunity to put a check on Trump's power. If young people actually turn out to vote, we can make a difference.

So hopefully, in these turbulent times, when our politics is so divisive and depressing, Taylor's words can be a light in the dark, reminding young people that our votes and our voices matter.

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