The Cycle of Violence

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The United States is stuck in a cycle of violence in the Middle East. Since George H W Bush’s war in Iraq the West has been trading bombs and bullets with various counties, terrorist organizations, and radicalized individuals. After tragedies like Paris and San Bernadino, Western Nations gear up for more bombings and some ground troops in Iraq and Syria. Our leaders tell us that this will solve the problem of terrorism. They will lay out strategies and tell us that a few well-placed bombs and troops will solve the problem. They tell us that after this intervention Americans can finally stop being afraid of terrorism. However, their strategies will continue the cycle of violence and ensure that the next generation of Americans will be fearful of terrorism as well.

George H W Bush started bombing Iraq in 1990 after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. A large air war and some ground troops were used to push back the Iraqi army. You can argue if the US should have bombed Iraq over the invasion of Kuwait, but you cannot deny the war had unintended consequences. The war resulted in about 3,500 Iraqi civilian casualties. The US would also hit key infrastructure targets that would result in the death  of 70,000 – 111,000 Iraqi citizens. By 1993 terrorist attacks start to occur against the US as a result of our foreign policy in the Middle East.

President Clinton continued sanctions on Iraq. These sanctions prevented Iraq from being able to rebuild after the first Gulf war. As a result 500,000 Iraqi children died. In an interview on national television Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, said the death of those 500,000 children was “worth it”. Al Qaeda would carry out a few terrorist attacks during the Clinton’s first term, citing American foreign policy and the Iraq sanctions as reasons for the attacks. In response President Clinton would bomb several targets in Sudan and Afghanistan. One of those targets was a pharmaceutical manufacture in Sudan.   The likely cost of the bombing was tens of thousands of lives of people who were unable to get the lifesaving medication they needed. 

In response to US intervention in the Middle East, Al Qaeda planned and executed the  barbaric attacks on 9/11. In response the US started wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as, drone wars in Yemen and Pakistan. Since those wars began, started the fighting has spread and escalated. Terrorist attacks continue today with the West’s interventions into the Middle East often cited as their reason for attacking.

The trend has been the US bombs a civilian target by mistake. The jihadist leaders then use that tragedy to recruit new members. Those new members become radicalized and trained to commit terrorist attacks. Then a terrorist commits an attack against a Western country. The leaders of the West use the attacks to gain support from their citizens to drop more bombs on the terrorists. Then the cycle repeats.

We are now in December of 2015 and the cycle continues. It has been 25 years since the first President Bush went to war against Iraq and 14 years since second President Bush started the official war on terror. We are further from victory than ever. Our leaders look to continue this cycle by increasing attacks on ISIS. By now it should be clear that this problem cannot be solved through force. We have tried it over and over and it has only caused the problem to get worse. The cycle will only end when people stand together and tell their leaders “no more war”.

The Importance of the 2nd Amendment

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The second amendment is a major topic of debate today. With mass shootings in recent weeks, The White House has been looking to limit the right to own guns.  The President and those who look to impose more gun control believe that it will make a safer society. While their intentions may be good, the results of gun control policy can be disastrous. After mass shootings, many Americans can be scared into giving away their right to arm themselves, but Americans should fight the fear and hold onto their right to bear arms.

First, the right to own a gun allows for people to defend themselves and their homes. If you have a gun and someone tries to harm you, then you have a method to protect yourself. While police may be able to assist in some situations, most criminals do not wait around for them to show up. If someone breaks into your home, the police do not instantly know there is an intruder. A call must be placed, then a police officer must respond. On average it takes police 10 minutes to respond to a call. With a gun you have some method to defend yourself from a criminal, without a gun you are powerless to the criminal until police arrive. If someone is looking to do you harm, 10 minutes is a long time to wait. Having a gun allows you to defend yourself and those around you.  

Second, guns equalize power. In a situation with no guns, then the biggest and strongest person is the most powerful. If the strongest person wished to do others harm, there would be nothing to stop that person. Guns equalize this imbalance, so long as you can pull the trigger you have just as much power as anyone else. If a large man wanted to rape a woman and neither is armed, she is relatively powerless to stop him. She can yell, scream and try to fight, but if no one else arrives she does not have the physical ability to stop him. If the woman is armed, then she does have the power to stop him, even if he is also armed. Guns allow anyone to match the power of others. Several studies have shown that potential rapists are stopped because a woman is either carrying or may be carrying a gun.

Third, prohibitions do not work. Looking to the prohibitions on drugs, alcohol and prostitution shows the ineffectiveness of these policies. Over time these prohibitions have shown to be ineffective in reducing the use of what they are trying to outlaw, and make the products more dangerous. Alcohol related deaths were worse under prohibition, than before prohibition. In areas where prostitution is legal STD rates are lower than where it is illegal. It will also be impossible for the government to enforce this prohibition, just like all of the others. People can print guns in their homes on 3D printers or make them with tools that are in many American homes. Remember the San Bernardino shooters also had pipe bombs and those are illegal.  A prohibition on guns may keep some law abiding Americans from having guns, but people who will follow these law are unlikely to be the ones to use guns for crime. Those who wish others harm will ignore these laws. If someone is able to commit mass murder, then they are not worried about violating gun laws.

Last, private gun ownership allows citizens to fight off an oppressive government. When the President pushes gun control he is referring to the private ownership of guns. He has never advocated for a policy that would limit the access to guns by government forces. In fact laws that ban or restrict gun use will require more law enforcement officers with more guns to enforce the gun laws. The worst atrocities that have been enacted in countries where private citizens were not allowed to own guns.  Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all banned privately owned weapons before slaughtering their own citizens. While violent revolutions are never good, people need to have the ability to defend themselves from their own government when necessary. The second amendment should be looked at as the final check on government power. 

Many argue that the last point is incorrect. That having a few rifles and pistols will not keep the government from imposing its will on the people, however, this view is incorrect. History is filled with examples of people who are able to fight off a more advanced government army. Look to the American Revolution as one example. You can also look to American interventions in the Middle East. Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan armed, mostly with AK-47s, have been able to fight off the American Army, Air Force and Marines for 15 years. I have to believe the 150 million Americans that own weapons will be able to defend themselves when, 10,000 Al Qaeda members have been able to do so.

Guns are tools just like any other object humans use. Hammers, knives and shovels have all been used to murder people, but we do not advocate banning any of these. This is because there is no political benefit to banning these items. Bad people do bad things with guns, just as bad people do bad things with any other object. If we want to stop mass shootings and create a safer country, then we need to look at what causes bad people to do bad things. Banning guns will not stop bad things from happening. Banning guns will keep law abiding citizens from having the ability to defend themselves.

Why is Inflation Low?

Inflation

The Obama economy has been a controversial topic. While the President and the Democrats have been bragging about the economy, many warn that it is not as good as the numbers appear. One of these numbers is inflation. Obama has bragged that the inflation number has been low. However, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) does not give an accurate representation of inflation in the US economy.

When people talk about inflation they are often talking about price inflation. Price inflation is the increase in price of goods consumers buy. This is what the CPI measures. The CPI calculated by measuring the price of 80,000 goods month by month. The CPI is currently under the 2% goal the Federal Reserve has for the CPI. You can see the current CPI trend below.

CPI

The textbook definition of inflation is an increase in the money supply. In the US, this is measured by the  M2 monetary supply number. For the past year, this number has been around 6% with a  range between 6% and 11% over the past 5 years. Meaning every year the number of US dollars that exist increases by 6-11%.

Economic theory predicts that when you inflate the monetary supply it should result in price inflation. This is because of supply and demand. When the money supply is inflated, people have more dollars. When people have more dollars they buy more products. As people spend those new dollars they increase demand which leads to an increase in price. So why then is the CPI measuring inflation at 1% while the amount of US dollars that exist is increasing at 6-11%?

The first cause of this is the CPI is inaccurate. The CPI measures the cost of around 80,000 products and averages these cost by using weighted averages. The price is the only measure used in the CPI. The CPI ignores changes in size to packaging. If a package of flour shrinks from 16 oz to 12 oz, but the price stays the same, then no change will be shown in CPI. While the CPI should show a 25% increase in price, as you are getting 25% less flour for the same price.

The second cause is price inflation is occurring, but is hidden from the CPI. When new money is created by the Federal Reserve Bank, a lot of that money is loaned out to banks. This money that is being lent to banks is at a very low interest rate, between 0-0.25%. This allows banks to lend that money at very low interest rates and still make a profit. The banks are lending this money to large corporations. These corporations are using this money to buyback their own stocks.  You can see this in the graph below.

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The large amount of buybacks has lead to a huge price increase in stocks. All three major US stock indexes are up over 100% since 2009. While it is often thought that increases in stock prices are good, this is not always true. When the price of stocks go up because companies have created a new technology, increased sales, or build more infrastructure, this is a good sign for the economy. When this occurs the price increase in stock reflects real wealth creation by the companies. When prices of stock increase because companies are buying back their own stock, this is not a good sign. When this occurs, the price increase is because of increased demand, but there is no real wealth creation. In the US economy, the buybacks are occurring because of the low interest rates that companies can borrow at, not wealth creation. 

The inflation in the US economy is in stock prices. The price of stocks is not in represented in the CPI, which is how those who support Obama can say inflation is at or near 0%. However, the stock prices will crash back down. Once the Federal Reserve Bank starts to raise interest rates, then companies will not be able to borrow money at a low interest rate. This will prevent companies from being able to borrow money to buyback their own stocks. This will remove the demand from the market that increased stock prices up so high. Stocks will fall to a level to reflect the real wealth of the company. As stock prices fall, the money that was causing the stock prices to be inflated will leak into the rest of the economy causing inflation in the rest of the economy. Inflation is low and stocks are high now, but polices that create money today will cause inflation in the future.

Prohibition Never Works

 

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The city of LA is exploring a new idea to reduce prostitution. The plan is to use license plate scanners to track people who enter areas known for prostitution. The scanners read and record the license plates of any car that passes by it. They will then send letters to the address the car is registered to, about the car being in an area known for prostitution. The idea is that people will be too scared to enter these areas and prostitution will decrease. However, there are a lot of problems with this policy.

One of the most important principles in the American criminal justice system is that you are innocent till proven guilty.  This policy is a slap in the face to that principle. The city is implying that anyone in one of these areas is guilty looking for a prostitute. There is no trial or even a cop writing a ticket. Simply being in an area known for prostitution is enough to get one of these letters sent to your home. While there is no fine or legal recourse from receiving one of these letters, those who developed this plan understand it is a punishment to receive one of these letters.

A second problem is that prostitution will move.  Prostitution is similar to any business, location is very important. The prostitutes will just move to an area the costumers know they will not be tracked. This will not solve the prostitution problem, just move it around. This often happens with drug dealers. Cities will increase police in a area known for drug dealings. Once the dealers see the increase police presence they just move to an area with less police.  This policy will not solve the prostitution problem, just move it around. 

The last problem with this policy is that it does nothing to help the women. Trying to scare away the “Johns” will not get them better treatment from their pimps. This will not keep them from being beaten or exploited. This will not stop them from contacting STDs. This policy in no way protects the women. 

If you want to help these women, then legalize prostitution. If prostitution were legal then they could operate like any other business. They could require the men to get a STD screening. They could call the police if they are being abused. This would also allow them to be the same as anyone else with a job. These women could put their money in a bank without fear of having to prove where their income is from. This would allow them to use their income on home loans, apartments, credit cards or car loans.

Just like any thing else that has faced prohibition, prostitution is more dangerous when illegal. You no longer hear of whiskey distilleries having shootouts with each other, which occurred under alcohol prohibition. Allowing the business to become legal will provide the women involved with a safer environment. The government has tried to ban many activities like drug, alcohol and prostitution that it finds morally wrong. However, the use of these vices is never eliminated. It is just driven underground, making it more dangerous for everyone.

We are Safer Without War

The New Hampshire Union Leader has an article out promoting a US declaration of war on ISIS. The writer claims that ISIS is at war with the US and that inaction is deadlier than action.  The war drums are starting to beat, but we should relax and smoke our peace pipes to achieve the best results.

Declaring war on ISIS has some problems. The first is that ISIS does not have a set state. Like all Jihadist terrorist groups, ISIS groups are popping up all over the world. To declare war on ISIS would give the President the power to bomb any country in the Middle East or North Africa.  As we have seen, the President will use any power to use the military as broadly as possible. Obama is still invoking the AUMFs from 2002 and 2003 to fight wars all over the Middle East, including Syria. The writer believes that having a declaration of war would limit presidential powers, but in our history war as only extended the powers of the president.

A second problem is that simply defeating ISIS may not solve any problems. A large part of the ISIS territory is in Iraq. Remember how little the Iraqi army fought to keep ISIS from taking Iraqi cities. So even if we are able to go city by city and eliminate ISIS, what then? It will require unending occupation by US forces to keep another  ISIS-like group form taking back the territory once our troops leave. This is what has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. When the US troops leave, the terrorist come back and resume their activities. Remember it was soon after Obama was bragging about his defeat of Al Qaeda and started pulling troops out of these counties that ISIS started to gain ground.

A third problem is our allies in the region have no desire to fight ISIS. In Iraq, the Iraqi soldiers, who were American armed and trained, turned and ran when ISIS came. Our ally Turkey is funding ISIS by buying the oil from ISIS. The Kurds are willing to fight ISIS for Kurdish lands, but have not fought ISIS elsewhere. Our other allies in the region (Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan) are more concerned about taking out Assad then fighting ISIS. The NATO countries also do not have much desire to fight ISIS, Canada is even ending its support in our Syrian air war. This means if we fight ISIS we do so alone.

The final problem is ISIS is not at war with the US. ISIS split from Al Qaeda over differences in strategy. Both ISIS and Al Qaeda want to form a caliphate in the Middle East. Al Qaeda leaders believe that The West must first be defeated before this happens. ISIS leaders decided to form their caliphate now because the opportunity was there. ISIS’s focus has been to overthrow Assad and expand its borders over attacking The West. While terror attacks have been committed by ISIS members. The Islamic Caliphate, which exists in Syria and Iraq, aims to create a state in the Middle East.

The real danger ISIS presents to the US is having us fall into the same trap that has been set by Al Qaeda. They bait us into endless wars in the Middle East that cost trillions of dollars and thousands of US lives. We have seen the results of US intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Libya. Are any of these counties better off today because of our interventions? Have these interventions stopped, reduce or defeated the Jihadists? Are US citizens safer now than before the interventions?

We have tried the war path in the Middle East over and over and have only produced the opposite of stated American goals.

Deficit Deceit

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Those on the left have recently been bragging about Obama’s job of cutting the deficit. Cutting the deficit is important because of the growing national debt in the US. The US currently owes 18 trillion dollars. To make our payment on the debt the US pays over 200 billion dollars a year. This is the amount the US pays with the interest rate at 0%. In the future, the US is expected raise the interest rate by at least .25%. As the interest rate increases so does the amount the US must make in each payment on the debt. Each rate increase of .25% will add over an extra 100 billion dollars to our payment on the debt each year. With the historical average interest rate around 5%, if we do not start to reduce the national debt we could be paying a $1,000,000,000,000 just in minimum payments on the debt each year. So what does the deficit look like under our current president.

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As you can see above, the numbers starting in 2009, the first year of the Obama presidency, the US was running an annual deficit of over 1.4 trillion dollars.  In 2014, the deficit had decreased to 483.3 billion dollars. It is a little misleading to say that Obama had decreased the deficit by a trillion dollars, since all of the Obama deficits have been more than any of Bush’s. It is true that the official US deficit has decreased by a trillion dollars while Obama has been in office; however, this was not a trillion dollar reduction from the previous president.

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We get a different picture when we look at the amount of money added to the budget each year. Looking at 2014 the deficit is 483 billion dollars while we will add over a trillion to the national debt. That leaves over 500 billion dollars that is not counted to the deficit, but still added to the debt. The amount of money that is added to the debt is a more accurate way of calculating a deficit. As the amount of money added to the debt is, how much you had to barrow to cover all the expenditures after revenue has run out.

Government misleads the American people all the time. Claiming that the deficit is 500 billion dollars smaller than it actually is just another misleading claim. President Obama will leave office having doubled the national debt, to 20 trillion dollars. This debt will have to be paid off and the interest we owe for the debt will continue get more and more difficult to pay. Remember the debt is public so we are all are responsible for it.

Marco’s Bad Ad

Marco Rubio’s campaign released their first TV ad.  The ad is thirty seconds of Marco looking into the camera and informing us on the dangerousness of Muslims. Marco gives us his view on the Middle East. He sees it as an US versus THEM struggle. He claims they hate us for our freedom. Marco’s view of the conflict in the Middle East is wrong.

Marco’s first statement is, “This is a civilizational struggle, between the values of freedom and liberty and radical Islamic terror”. Calling it a civilizational struggle seems to be misleading at best. Anyone who hears it’s a civilizational struggle will come to believe either the Americans win or the Muslims win. To avoid sounding racist Marco hedges his statement by saying the conflict is between Liberty and Freedom (The West) and Islamic terror. But Islamic terror is not civilizational. The number of Muslims that are also terrorists is extremely small.

Marco next tells us, “what happened in Paris can happen here.” This is Marco’s warning to the American people. He is telling us if we do not win the civilizational struggle those attacks will happen here, too.

He then continues to tell us, “these aren’t disgruntled or dis-empowered people. These are radical terrorist who want to kill us, because we let women drive because we let little girls go to school”. Marco pushes that there can be no way to stop the terrorists, but to kill all of them and their culture. He ensures us that the reason people are terrorists are not because they are jobless and poor or forced to live in a country where you can be bombed for no reason at any time and when the bomb lands on an innocent person there is no chance for justice. The terrorists are terrorists because they see our women driving and girls going to school and cannot contain their rage. However, terrorist attack other Middle Eastern counties as well, who do not grant women these rights. Also Russia allows girls to go to school and women to drive, yet ISIS did not attack Russia until Russia started bombing ISIS.

Marco’s final point is that we cannot negotiate, it’s us or them. Here Marco takes any diplomacy off the table and says this war will be won with bombs and bullets. However we have been bombing and shooting terrorists since 9/11 and we have more today than ever. Marco is just giving us the same medication and saying this time it will work, even though it made us worse in the past.

Marco is blind to the real problem in the Middle East. We cannot continue to keep trying to spread democracy with our bombs and bullets. We must realize that dropping bombs on terrorists that live in cities will only create more terrorism. We must notice that every time we arm one group to fight another, we end up having to fight the group we armed, too.

Marco’s vision of and plan for shows just how unqualified he is to be president. He is using the same policy as the past two presidents have used and does not even realize it. If we want to stop terrorism we must stop making it out to be civilizational and realize that Islamic terrorism is a response to our policy of indiscriminate bombing throughout the Middle East.

Why to limit Presidential Power

Republican governors have been pledging to block Syrian refugees from coming into their states. The Texas governor even wrote the President a letter saying no refugees will be allowed into his state. President Obama has asserted that he will bring in the refugees anyways and he will.  This is because of a law signed into power by Ronald Reagan. This law makes the governors powerless to stop the federal government from bringing in refugees.

This often seems to be the case for both left and right. When one party is in control of government they will give more power to the executive branch. Then the other party gets into office and use the executives new power. Of course, the party that is now on the outs will say “that’s not what it was meant for” but it does not matter, as the power is now in the hands of the executive branch and everyone is powerless to stop it.

This is why it is so important that we require all presidents to follow the Constitution. No one on the political left currently is concerned with Obama conducting Drone wars and an air war in Syria. The President is doing so without an Authorization for use of Military Force or declaration of war. What if Trump was president and was allowed to act under the precedent that President Obama has set. President Trump could start bombing Iran, Russia or China and no one could stop him.

Let’s also look to the way President Obama implemented the ACA. Several times as the law was being implemented it became clear that adjustments needed to be made or the ACA would fall apart. The President made several changes to the law through executive action. The Democrats cheered this. If Trump gets elected what kind of changes do you think he will make to our broken immigration laws? Obama has set the standard that if a law is broken the president can fix it. No one will be able to stop a President Trump from doing the same.

The USA FREEDOM ACT and NDAA also give the government the power to spy on Americans and hold Americans without trial. This was passed under Bush and continued through the Obama term. While the current abuses of these laws have been small, both presidents have used it to spy on Americans without warrants and imprison innocent Americans. No one was able to stop President Bush or Obama from abusing these laws and no one will be able to stop a President Trump from doing the same. Think about how he could use these laws to go after Muslims. He has already suggested spying on Masques and creating a registry. He could also start to spy on Americans to deport all the immigrants he has pledged to deport.

When we give presidents more power we often only think of the positives the president will do with the new power. Presidents set precedents for their successors. When the successor is not as morally good as his predecessor he can abuse the new powers the president has. This is why all Americans should fight to strip power away from the Executive Branch.

 

Gold does not cause deflation

A cornerstone of the libertarian position is having a gold standard. In the 2012 GOP primary Ron Paul championed this position. In 2016, Cruz, Carson, and Rand Paul have all suggested that US adopt the gold standard. A recent piece in the NY Time tries to show how Cruz is wrong for supporting the gold standard.

The writer of the article points to the deflationary spiral as to why we cannot have a gold standard.  The deflationary spiral says that if an economy enters into a recession then layoffs happen. Layoffs mean more people have less money which reduces demand. Less demand means lower prices. As prices for products fall the companies who produce the products will go out of business, starting the process all over again. This can be seen in the image below. Blog post 2

The theory also argues, to prevent this from occurring the government must be able to stimulate the economy with large infusions of money.  A government cannot do this with a gold standard because the amount of money that the government can put into the economy is limited to the amount of money the government takes in taxes. Without a gold standard the government can print dollar bills to infuse into the economy.

The writer of this article cites the great depression as proof of this occurrence. The problem for the writer of this article, is that this did not cause the great depression and the deflationary cycle does not exist.

The problem with the deflationary cycle is it ignores that falling prices will increase demand. As we see above, the falling demand has a downward effect on prices; however what the illustration leaves out is we also see that falling prices will put upward pressure on demand. While there may be some reduction in demand it is not a free fall. Once prices hit a point where people will buy the product for the price offered, then demand will stabilize.

The writer attempts to solve this problem by pointing out that once prices start to fall no one will buy anything. The writer says, “After all, if you believe that the price of, say, shirts will continue to drop, you’ll delay splurging on haberdashery.” But people splurge on things all the time that will drop in price later. Everyone knows that the new iPhone will cost less in 6 months than it will the day it comes out, yet tens of thousands line up to buy iPhones at the full price every day. Some people even sell the iPhone for thousands more online. That means that someone is paying thousands of dollars more on a product then if they bought it in store, they just have to wait a few days to get it.

Also some products are needs, not wants. If I need some milk I will buy it from the store even if it will be cheaper next week. The writer and those who support this theory overlook that people will buy what they can afford when they want it. No one will go hungry today to save a penny tomorrow.

The writer also says that gold is scarce and that the amount of gold is limited, while the number of people increase. While it is true that there is currently a finite amount of gold on earth, gold has kept up with the population. For the past 50 years, there has been roughly 42 grams of gold per person on Earth .Since 1959 gold production has risen by a factor of 2.1 and the population by 2.2. Increases in technology has allowed for more fine gold to be found. There is nothing to suggest that this will not continue. Scientists are already looking to mining asteroids for gold and other sources have been looked at, as well.

The writer’s last point against the gold standard is that it caused, or at least prolonged the great depression. The writer points out that the anti gold standard FDR took office in March of ’33 and the recovery took off. This is not true. For the rest of the 1930’s Americans suffered through a depression and in 1938 the unemployment rate got worse not better. Are we really to expect that FDR’s policies worked so well we remained in a depression that got worse, not better, for another 13 years?

Also the deflationary spiral cannot explain the  depression that occurs in America from 1920-1921. The depression started with a higher unemployment rate than what the great depression started with in 1929. The government did nothing in that depression and the economy recovered quickly. If the deflationary spiral is real, why did this not occur in this depression as well?

What lifted America out of the great depression after WWII was the fact that the rest of the world was in shambles. All of Europe, Japan, China, North African and parts of Russia were still smoldering from the bombs that leveled cities. America made it through the conflict without a bomb dropped on the homeland. While the rest of the world tried to rebuild, Americans were able to sell their products around the world to countries who no longer had the infrastructure to build their own.

The gold standard was one of the reasons Americans was able to achieve the wealth we have achieved. The gold standard limits government, by preventing the government from just printing new money. If we want to rein in the government, impose a gold standard. It will force to government to limit its budget to what it can take in taxes.

What About Yemen

President Obama has taken the past week to push for Syrian refugees to come to the US. Obama plans to let in a first round of 10,000 refugees. Republicans have opposed this, but Obama has fired back by trying to make a moral appeal to the Americans for taking in refugees. Obama tells us that we need “American leadership” to set an example for the rest of the world. However, our president does not deserve the moral soap box he is preaching from.

Yemen is located on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula, directly south of Saudi Arabia. Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East.  Yemen does not have oil reserves or any other substantial sources of natural wealth. Yemen has a population of around 26 million.

Yemen has also been host to an American Drone war since 2004. The drone strikes have increased since Obama took office. Almost 2,500 have died in drone strikes under Obama; many of those are civilians. The target for the drone strikes is Al Qaeda, but Al Qaeda is growing stronger and taking more territory.  Recent leaks have also raised questions on the legality of the drone war.

Over a decade of the drone war has also taken a massive psychological toll on the people of Yemen. Research has found that 92% of Yemenis are suffering from PTSD. Children are the most heavily effected demographic. Some of the children are afraid of small electronic devices that sound similar to the drones. Women are even experiencing miscarriages, because of the fear and anxiety caused by drones.

In early 2015, the leader of Yemen fled after fighting rebellions for years. This caused the country to fracture with the Shi’ite Houthis, Sunni loyalist to the old government, and Sunni Al Qaeda all holding some territory in the country.  The Saudis began a war against the Houthis and have been supporting their Sunni enemies. The Saudi war has been brutal on the civilian population of Yemen. The Saudis have bombed weddings and hospitals. There are reports of the Saudis using illegal cluster bombs. The Saudis have also blockaded Yemen, which means that there are many starving in a country that imports 90% of its food.

Without the US, it would not be possible for the Saudis to have this war. The US provided 90 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia between 2011 and 2015. The US is providing Saudi Arabia with logistical support and intelligence.  The US is also refueling Saudi planes while they conduct bombing runs over Yemen.

The Saudis have kept reporters from entering Yemen. One reporter was able to smuggle himself into Yemen. He reported that Yemen “already looks like Syria after 5 years”.

President Obama will continue to stand on his moral soap box and wag his finger at the republicans, but if he really cared about those in the Middle East, who are poor, starving, and fleeing war, then he would end the drone war and stop US support for the Saudi war against the people of Yemen.