I went to my neighbor’s house

I went to my neighbor’s house September 17, 2012

Inexplicably to me, my neighbor went and got a hammer and brandished it, threatening to beat my head in with it.  He set fire to the sofa I was sitting on, ululating loudly that he wanted me to leave or his god would destroy me and all I love.

I naturally concluded that we are close friends and that I needed to bring my furniture over, as well as a lot of my extended relations, and move into his house.  He is currently out in the driveway setting fire to my car, as well as calling lots of his friends and sending them to the houses of my relations, to set fire to them.  Oh that silly childlike neighbor of mine and his inexplicable mood swings.  Really we are the best of friends.  I don’t see a reason in the world to ever leave his house.  And I think I know what’s best for both of us.  Some people are saying I should just leave his house, take my family, friends and our stuff and go back to my house.  That’s crazy talk.  An enemy is just a friend who wants to kill me.

Some will say, “We have to stay and fight because this is Al-Quaeda!”  I reply, “If this is nothing but Al-Quaeda, now massing crowds in 20 countries then all that stuff we’ve been hearing for years about how we’ve got ’em on the run and totally decimated their ranks is seriously amiss.”  If, as I think, this is a popular uprising that stretches far beyond the alleged thinned-out ranks of Al Quaeda, then the obvious question is, “How many people in foreign countries have to scream, ‘Get out!’ before we say, ‘It’s your country.  Goodbye.’ and leave.”

We’re 16 trillion in debt.  Time to shrink the Empire.  They don’t want us there.  So why be there?

Meanwhile, the lackeys of Empire simply soldier on in complete denial of reality:

Stupid enough to believe that unjust war, torture, secret kill lists and drone strikes against teenagers would usher in peace and democracy throughout the Middle East?  Basic rule of thumb: when your allies are killing your troops, bring your troops home.  When your friends are threatening your diplomats, they aren’t your friends.  Bring the Empire home.

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  • Mark – while I think I agree with the basic point you are making, and the situation has gotten grave beyond belief over in the Middle East… you might want to rephrase the ’empire’ language. After all, we’re talking about embassies, not military bases. Probably, the US does need to pull its people out because of serious safety concerns, but to have an embassy in a country is not an imperialistic presence, but a basic sign of diplomatic relationship. After all Canada has an embassy in Washington DC, and I wouldn’t say we are planning to conquer y’all just yet… (OR ARE WE, mwa ha ha…). Meanwhile, let us all pray for some miracle of peace and sanity to break out.

    • We have between 700 and 1000 military bases around the world. We spend almost as much on our military as the rest of the world’s military spending combined. We invaded and occupied Iraq and are still heavily involved there. We still have occupying forces in Afghanistan. We’ve been very heavily militarily involved in both Libya and Syria. We are likely on the verge of war with Iran and have systematically established military assets heavily along both their east and west borders. Maintaining embassies in countries where the people fear our US presence and want us out of their country is just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

      • When the world has a military hegemon, all the non-hegemonic powers naturally form a balancing coalition and all interests are subsumed to the larger goal of bringing down the hegemon. If the hegemon proves itself to be fluffy bunny enough, the balancing coalition doesn’t kick in and you end up with lower and lower levels of great power conflict until effectively you have ended great power war. That state lasts until the hegemon loses interest in military spending and some upstart power starts the global arms race, correctly perceiving that military competition is no longer a futile game.

        The rarest of states (but the most christian in result) is the one with a fluffy bunny global military hegemon, and we’re it. As hegemonic powers go, we’re the fluffiest of fluffy bunnies.

        • Mark Shea

          No wonder they love us so much. But more to the point, that is one damned hungry and expensive bunny. Not one more drop of our troops’ blood should be shed protecting our Afghani ‘friends’. The amazing thing is that the people who insist that gallons more must be shed for them call themselves ‘realists’.

          • Yes, it is hungry and expensive. The only thing more expensive would be nuclear warfare. Whether or not we continue Afghan operations is irrelevant to this part of the strategic equation. We can always take the Clinton route and make the rubble bounce.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Actually, when a newscaster in Australia — that other global hegemon — asked in the wake of the night club bombing what Australians could do to prevent future attacks, his mullah guest simply said, “Convert to Islam.”

            In fact, as Belloc observed many decades ago, it was a mistake to write the muslim world off as a spent force. We are far too impressed with the recent past and do not think in the long term. The weakness of Islam was only temporary, he said. It would not be long before they were knocking on the gates of Vienna once more.

            Don’t forget that the US, UK, Spain, Australia, Russia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Igbos and Yorubas, East Timor, The Philippines, and other global hegemons were being attacked long before the Igbos set up military bases in Pakistan.

            • Mark Shea

              Notably, that bombing was a one-off. Australia is not a regular scene of Radical Islamic violence. I suspect that’s because Australia is not a major imperial presence in the Islamosphere.

              • Marthe Lépine

                And maybe because, from what I have been told, it is not very easy to migrate to Australia, and their current Prime Minister does not seem to keep her tongue in her pocket when it is time to tell new immigrants that if they do not like the way things are done in Australia, they are welcome to use their freedom to GO ELSEWHERE! Maybe trying too hard to bend over backwards to make immigrants feel welcome, to the point of challenging our own traditions in order to seem all-inclusive, is not the best way after all…

              • Tom R

                Mark, 2 corrections:

                (1) There’s no “U in al-Qaeda. (Sounds like something Barbara Boxer would say, but no).

                (2) Australia is not a regular scene of _successful_ Radical Islamic violence. However, about once a year the police and security forces bust some group here who are plotting a bombing, or training in the bush with military weapons, or distributing “how-to” terror cookbooks, or sending gloating letters to the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Last weekend saw an anti-The Trailer protest in Sydney turn violent.
                As for this country not being a major imperial presence in the Islamosphere – Australia’s role in helping (under US auspices) to police East Timor’s separation from Indonesia in 1998-99 was cited by Osama and his local franchisees as a major grievance, since they consider Indonesia to be an Islamic country (legally, it’s not: you just have to be a monotheist) so Australia was, as they saw, complicit in reducing the net area of the Umma.
                Ironically, “Free East Timor!” was a rallying cry for the Left (and a few conservatives, mainly Catholics with Timorese connections) in Australia from 1975 to 1999. A US analogy would be Lefties getting the Cuba trade embargo repealed only to learn they had angered al-Qaeda because it allowed pork and wine imports…

                • Mark Shea

                  I stand corrected.

        • Kirt Higdon

          I’m sure the families of the Afghan women and young girls who were just slaughtered and injured by US drones while they were out gathering wood consider the US to be the fluffiest of fluffy bunnies. I’m tired of hearing how “ironic” it is that people the US has “liberated” turn on Americans. Hillary, who gleefully boasted “we came, we saw, he died” with respect to Gadaffi, can’t understand why the Libyans were so ungrateful as to murder her diplomatic hit-man and some of his guards. It’s not “ironic” when people get furious when their country is bombed, their government overthrown and their religion insulted – all by foreigners. It’s a logical reaction, but the delusional rulers of the US and their sheeple can’t see that.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        Yah, and we invaded and conquered Germany in 1945 and kept a military presence there to the present day. That’s why German suicide bombers are constantly attacking our civilians.

    • Confederate Papist

      With all due respect, Father, I humbly must disagree with you and say in fact this is an Empire.

      • Well, I’m not arguing that it’s not an empire – I’m saying that the existence of embassies in themselves is not ‘imperial presence’, and in general there are very good basic reasons to maintain diplomatic relationships with all nations if possible. Maybe I’m stating the obvious, and my point doesn’t need to be said… and like I said, it is very possible that even this most basic diplomatic US presence will indeed have to be withdrawn from some of these countries strictly to secure the lives of diplomats there (among whom, btw, I count a dear personal friend, about whom I am very worried…).

  • After a bit of thought, I’m going to go with “Mark Shea hasn’t thought this through” as being the most charitable interpretation of this post. Staying within the metaphorical structure, your neighbor’s house is a dysfunctional mess and you’re paying part of the property taxes/mortgage. Some of the people living in the house love you and want you to stay, others hate you and want you to leave, there are several variations in between, and who exactly runs the place is unclear. Oh and there’s the blood feud that you’re mediating between this neighbor and another who, though sometimes annoying, is fundamentally a well tested friend.

    Is the decision to stay or go starting to get a bit less clear? It should be. Ultimately the go home style can work so long as we’re willing to tolerate the consequences, but the post above doesn’t lay out what happens next in any remotely useful way.

    • Jamie R

      You forgot that we’ve also spent decades bombing our neighbor’s house and killing our neighbor’s kids at weddings and funerals (maybe I’m not great at metaphors). Also, they’re not our neighbor, but they live all the way over on the other side of town, and no one has any idea why we’re in their house in the first place.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        no one has any idea why we’re in their house in the first place.

        I think it was because one of their friends sneaked into our house, murdered some of our family and guests who were staying with us; then they fled to this neighbor’s house and hid in the basement and refused to turn him over to the authorities.

        • Mark Shea

          That explains Afghanistan and Pakistan. Don’t know why we need to still be in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Libya, Syria…. Also unexplained is why, when we now allegedly have installed regimes who are our “allies” (like the noble leaders of Egypt and Afghanistan), does any American kid have to shed a drop of blood for them when it is their own guys who are killing ours. Why not pull out and leave them to their barbaric folkways. If that’s friendship, I’d hate to see enmity.

        • Jamie R

          Which definitely wasn’t proceeded by decades of us doing stuff to their house. Or that the guy responsible for attacking us wasn’t even in the two houses we decided to occupy.

      • no one has any idea why we’re in their house in the first place

        Because their uncle owns the only local filling station. And we badly need our car to get to work.

    • Jared

      Maybe you should have gone with your own analogy, ’cause I can’t help but think “it’s still the neighbor’s house”

    • ivan_the_mad

      “Is the decision to stay or go starting to get a bit less clear?” Nope. Turns out just war theory isn’t that difficult to grasp. Time to come home.

    • Ted Seeber

      I can’t call ANY nation or culture in this reason a “fundamentally well tested friend” at all. I just hope Pope Benedict pulls a miracle out of his hat, because otherwise, I see burning oil fields lit by nuclear weapons as the inevitable end of this- and that vision has NOT changed in over 15 years since the USS Cole Incident.

      • Ted Seeber

        Region, not reason

    • Marthe Lépine

      Why should we meddle into our neighbour’s messy lives anyway? Maybe it is not our place to try to straighten our neighbours’ lives; maybe it is being a nosy and meddling stranger… Why not begin by straightening our own affairs at home, such as elections ruled by billionnaires, perceived efforts at voter suppression, and of course gaping inequalities within our own population (and if I wanted to take the time I could find other…) I think the Ron Paul video that Mark has linked to is hitting the nail on the head: How would YOU feel if a foreign nation that considered itself allowed to rule into the US occupied Texas?

  • James Isabella

    Pat Buchanan, as usual, has some very commonsense thoughts on the issue and is right inline with Mark on this one.


    Really, after all this time, money, and life lost can we really say that the Middle east is significantly better off than it was 15 years ago? Its certainly not for the Christians over there.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Let the Syrians work their war out for themselves?!?!?! That’s like saying we should have appeased Hitler! *foams at the mouth and falls over backwards*

      • Marthe Lépine

        Hitler was threatening the rest of Europe. It was not anything resembling a civil war limited to Germany. As far as we know, Syria is having an internal problem that is only made worse by outside intervention. And if anyone in the Middle East is stupid enough to detonate a nuclear device in that densely area made of a number of country with a total surface much smaller than some Canadian provinces, there is nothing that can be done against that kind of stupidity, and anyway it would wipe out the whole problem with the Middle East, since there would be nobody left! In the meantime the US maybe could invest in a couple of refineries in its northern neighbour (before that neighbour sells off all its oil to China!) and thus create opportunities on both sides of our common border.