Jill Stein on Homeland Security
Green Party presidential nominee; Former Challenger for MA Governor
After recounting the toll in money and human life the US' counterterror efforts, Stein said: "What do we have to show for this? Failed states, mass refugee migrations and repeated terrorist threats."
Stein called for a full rethinking of the War on Terror: "We are calling for a new kind of offensive, a peace offensive in the Middle East," Stein said. The "peace offensive" would include an embargo on weapons sales and a freeze on funding to states that support "jihadi terrorist enterprises," she said, pointing to Saudi Arabia in particular. She called for a massive cut in military spending, including the closure of many bases, a shutdown of the F-35 program and not moving forward with the modernization of the US nuclear weapons program.
Stein: [We've tried privatization] in everything from prisons to the military--the military-industrial complex is a poster child against privatization--where contractors' needs become the prime mover of the budget.
OnTheIssues: I think you mean such as how in Iraq, support functions such as transportation and meals were provided by private contractors, while in Vietnam and earlier , those same functions were performed by uniformed soldiers, and that the numbers of soldiers were hence artificially reduced?
Stein: I agree completely
Stein: That's a complicated problem in a society that has many issues and struggles but that also includes Korea's history of violence and imperialism, from both Japan and the US. There is a history of incredible distrust and aggression--it's important to understand that.
OnTheIssues: And what about their nuclear capability?
Stein: To build a nuclear free world--we've been addressing non-proliferation for a long time without address nuclear disarmament. Non-proliferation was supposed to be a phase through which we passed on the way to nuclear disarmament. They see nuclear weapons as essential, from their viewpoint, to defend their sovereignty.
OnTheIssues: So you mean we should lead by example?
Stein: We should lead by virtue of global agreements that also include us. We could get rid of MANY nukes as a first step because we're so far ahead [in possessing more nuclear weapons than the rest of the world].
Stein: Hero ; he has done the American people an incredible service by exposing the violations of the Constitution that have been perpetrated on us--which was taken very seriously around the world, where he has been vindicated. The kind of spying going on has not been protecting us--not one instance of a terrorist plot was found by these abuses--none, by mass spying. They initially claimed dozens of cases but it was found tat there were no none, in a Congressional investigation. Snowden should be treated as a hero---efforts to harass him and prosecute him should be declared over and done with. Charges should not be brought against him, and he should return with hero status--he could improve our national security if he were working for us
Stein: Foreign relations would be a whole lot more predictable if done by the Stein Doctrine, than when done by the current policy of military domination. For an example of a specific application, we need to bring troops home from 800 bases abroad.
Fifteen years ago, it was possible to pretend the U.S. government opposed torture. Then it became widely known that the government tortured. And it was believed (with whatever accuracy) that officials had tried to keep the torturing secret. Next it became clear that nobody would be punished, that in fact top officials responsible for torture would be permitted to openly defend what they had done as good and noble.
Gordon's book, like most others, speaks of torture as being largely in the past -- even while admitting that it isn't really. "Bush administration-era policies" are acknowledged to be ongoing, and yet somehow they retain the name "Bush administration-era policies."
ROMNEY: The greatest threat of all is Iran, four years closer to a nuclear weapon. There's no question but that a nuclear-capable Iran is unacceptable to America. And of course, a military action is the last resort.
STEIN: They're both saber-rattling about Iran. We're not seeing what the American people really need and what international security really needs. In fact, Iran recently hosted the non-aligned nations. It's not just Iran. It was all the non-aligned nations with them--Brazil and Argentina and many others--that together put forward a proposal for eliminating nuclear weapons throughout the Middle East and, in fact, eliminating nuclear weapons throughout the world. That is the true solution that we should be getting behind.
OBAMA: The sequester is not something that I proposed. It's something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen. The budget that we're talking about is not reducing our military spending; it's maintaining it.
STEIN: I think they both made the case for us, that the numbers just don't add up. We cannot continue spending a trillion dollars a year on this bloated military-industrial-security complex without having to really pay the price here at home. These are the ways that we should be spending our tax dollars, not on the military, but on what we need here at home. And by conserving those dollars instead of squandering them, we can actually spend them on the things that we need, on bailing out the students and on creating public higher education, which is free, tuition-free, the way that it should be.
STEIN: Yes, we certainly do need to hold government accountable. The attack on our civil liberties has been devastating. Under the Obama White House, which basically codified the violations of George Bush, the attacks on our privacy rights, on First Amendment rights, the criminalization of the right to protest, the National Defense Authorization Act in which the President has claimed the right to incarcerate us, basically, without charge or trial, and to do that at his pleasure without having to justify that in any way. So, yes, there are very serious problems. Things are not working under Democrats, under Republicans alike. We need a government that is of, by, and for the people, not sponsored and working for big money.
A: Yes. The Bill of Rights is on life support. The Patriot Act symbolizes the death of the 4th Amendment and the right to judicial review, and the right to a trial has just been sabotaged by Obama. It is as if a coup has occurred. Any one of these alone is bad enough, but when you add them all up, we are on some pretty thin ice right now as a free society. Our freedom is hanging in thin air right now. There is now a legal basis for curtailing that freedom.
A: Well, the bloated military budget is first of all, not good for our safety, and neither is the militarization of our foreign policy. Neither is a good thing and I think they enable a knee-jerk military solution to all problems and it is not a good thing for us to have this ready default to engage militarily. It's extremely expensive and we can't sustain it, and again, the more we create renewable, secure energy sources domestically, the less we need to do what we're doing internationally. Our program is to downsize our military by at least 50%, if not more.
Q: And you say use it more for defense, rather than offense?
A: Yes, and not make it the crux of our international relations and use international law and working through international governmental bodies to resolve conflicts.
A: Yes, but it doesn't stop at the PATRIOT Act--the National Defense Authorization Act is easily the equivalent of the PATRIOT Act.
Q: That's the NDAA which passed the House and Senate last week, which allows indefinite detention of terrorism suspects?
A: Yes; the PATRIOT Act is a flagrant violation of Fourth Amendment--and the NDAA does away with our right to trial by jury and a presumption of innocence. Put the two together--in addition to enormous sums into local security and militarizing the police--it's a very dangerous combination. In many ways it's far worse than the violations in prior wars--when civil liberties were restricted but only during the duration of the war. We now have a war without end--so this is a permanent strike against the Constitution. This is the makings of a disaster. It's outrageous to think that this charge is being led by a Constitutional lawyer who occupies the Presidential office.
A: The National Defense Authorization Act does away with our right to trial by jury. Militarized police means personal liberties are no longer respected.
Q: What's the solution?
A: Repeal the PATRIOT Act and likewise repeal the provision of the National Defense Authorization that codifies the ability of the president to basically declare anybody he wants as an enemy of the state without ever accusing them of a crime nor letting them go to trial.
A: Downsize the military 50%; that would include the security apparatus. That would free up $500 billion per year to spend on things that would improve our economy and truly increase national security. A hyper-armed military distributed around the world makes us less secure, not more secure. We need to use diplomacy, international law, and human rights as the principles of international relations--not military might. That is a dead end.
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