Afghan War Now 15 Years Old

Afghan War Now 15 Years Old 

by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

In a recent posting by the Ron Paul Institute, Dr. Paul pointed out that 15 years have now passed since American forces were first sent to Afghanistan. The operation has become “the longest war in U.S. history,” the former Texas congressman noted. He concluded that there were no victory parades because there is no victory.

American troops were first sent to Afghanistan after the devastating 9/11 attacks. Why has this mission become so lengthy? (image from Flickr)

American troops were first sent to Afghanistan after the devastating 9/11 attacks. Why has this mission become so lengthy? Photo from Flickr.

Troops were first sent to Afghanistan a few weeks after the devastating 9/11 attacks on our nation. Their original mission called for apprehending Osama bin Laden. Thought to be hiding in Afghanistan, bin Laden was discovered years later in Pakistan where he was killed during a Navy Seal team raid. The main target of the U.S. forces from the beginning, however, was the Taliban, the militant Islamic group that had actually been supplied by the U.S. during the 1979-1989 Soviet invasion of the war-torn nation.

Once in Afghanistan, U.S. troops found themselves battling against an enemy using left over U.S.-supplied weaponry. The casualty totals show that our nation has suffered the loss of more than 2,300 killed and almost 23,000 wounded in the 15-year struggle. And the Taliban now controls more of the country than it did when the U.S. forces arrived in 2001 under the label “Operation Enduring Freedom.”

The U.S. media never discusses the little-publicized influence of the United Nations in this ongoing debacle. That is key to understanding the disappointing results of this lengthy mission. In December 2001, the UN Security Council created the International Security Assistance Force to aid the Afghan government. The U.S. supplied most of the troops to carry out this mission. So, from the very beginning of the operation, the UN has had a major role in the effort. Fewer than two years later (September 2003), the task of aiding the Afghan government was formally turned over to NATO. But NATO is a UN “Regional Alliance” formed under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. America’s participation in this skirmish has been directed by the UN throughout the entire 15 years.

The Taliban now controls more of Afghanistan than it did when U.S. forces entered the country 15 years ago. The various tasks given to U.S. troops have included destroying the country’s opium production, engaging in reconstruction of war-torn infrastructure, and training local forces. Some of those local forces have turned their guns on their U.S. trainers with deadly consequences.

If the UN’s NATO weren’t managing this curious war, America’s forces would likely have cleared the country of Taliban dominance years ago. Obviously that’s not what the UN wants. Governments, even the UN, always grow and become more influential during a war. America’s leaders, both political and military, who put up with this are betraying their oaths and putting good men (and some good women) in impossible circumstances.

There are many solid reasons why the U.S. should withdraw completely from the United Nations. The experience already suffered in Afghanistan certainly provides one. Members of Congress should be proclaiming loudly and clearly the slogan, “Get US out! of the United Nations.” Members of the House should be persuaded to co-sponsor H.R. 1205, the bill calling for U.S. withdrawal from the world body. U.S. forces should never be sent into a battle without victory being the goal. Anything less is a betrayal of the troops and even of the nation.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Open Border Costs Angela Merkel

Open Border Costs Angela Merkel
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Over the past year, more than one million refugees have descended on Germany. Many German citizens have expressed sharp discontent over their government’s open border policy. One result is a serious slippage of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s popularity.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has done next to nothing to reverse the policy that has permitted so many refugees to descend on the German nation. (image from Wikipedia)

Chancellor Angela Merkel has done next to nothing to reverse the policy that has permitted so many refugees to descend on the German nation (image from Wikipedia).

The holder of the nation’s highest office for the past 11 years, Merkel now knows of the stinging rebukes dealt to her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in recent local elections. Asked about the CDU’s losses and the loss of her personal political clout, she accepted blame for the influx of foreigners, but her message features only regret that the people disagree with what she has allowed. She has done next to nothing to reverse the policy that has permitted so many refugees to descend on the German nation.

In remarks after meeting with CDU leaders in the wake of two significant political party setbacks, she stated, “If I could, I would turn back the time by many, many years to better prepare myself and the whole German government for the situation that reached us unprepared in late summer 2015. Nobody, including myself, wants a repeat of this situation.” How far back she would like to turn wasn’t made clear. But before the collapse of Communism in Europe 25 years ago, she held a post in the East German Communist government. Is a return to communist-style rule what she wants? When the Iron Curtain came down, she and many other Communist functionaries throughout Eastern Europe abandoned the “communist” label and, overnight, announced they were now “socialists.”

The sudden presence of one million refugees resulted in a crime wave that Germans aren’t forgetting.  After a New Year’s Eve rampage in Cologne eight months ago, women who were attacked filed more than 650 criminal complaints. Almost all were aimed at newly arrived refugees. Hamburg saw 150 similar complaints. Attempts to cover up the attacks in Cologne led to the resignation of the police chief. Nearly half of the city’s refugees from northern Africa have engaged in criminal acts – mostly theft. Many threw away their passports so that their home country wouldn’t be known.

Here in the U.S., President Obama delivered his final speech before the UN General Assembly on September 20th. In it, he called for acceptance of more refugees. Paralleling the president’s urging aimed at the leaders of other nations, the White House announced a week earlier to accept 110,000 refugees in the coming year, especially those from war-torn countries of the Middle East. He also pledged to spend $3 billion for resettlement programs to use the funds for jobs and education for the new arrivals. Tugging at heartstrings customarily accompanies announcements about the need to accept more refugees. But no mention is made of the stern warning given by FBI Director Comey only a few months ago that his agency is completely unable to vet Middle Eastern refugees who come here.

Barack Obama will leave office in January 2017. Will his successor carry on his lax refugee policies, or will there be a change in the attitude of the next occupant of the White House? What has been happening in Germany ought to be on the minds of America’s voters this November. To help persuade U.S. voters when they go to the polling places, Mr. Obama stated: “I’ll see it as a personal insult to my legacy and the work we’ve done together if we fail to step up and make sure that Hillary takes my place in January.” That statement alone will likely sway many U.S. voters. Are you one of them?

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Digging Into Turkey’s Attempted Coup

Digging Into Turkey’s Attempted Coup
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

On July 15th, the government Turkey survived a coup attempt that sought to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As a member of both the United Nations and NATO, an ally in the conflict seeking to defeat ISIS, and with a bid for acceptance into the European Union on the table, faraway Turkey became an instant concern to the West. The unrest especially drew attention because of Turkey’s proximity to the land currently possessed by the Islamic caliphate ISIS.

The government Turkey survived a coup attempt that sought to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pictured above. (Image from Wikipedia)

What happened in Turkey clearly stems from its early 20th century moves away from militant Islamism. For 600 years, the Islamic Ottoman Empire ruled the region from which it launched several attempts to conquer Europe. Perhaps the most famous of these was the naval battle at Lepanto in 1571 when an outnumbered fleet of Europeans defeated the Islamic foe. Other forays by Islamic forces met defeat at Vienna and Belgrade. This series of setbacks led to several centuries of a most welcome live-and-let-live policy by the Islamic world.

After World War I, in which Turkey participated, a more modernized nation began to take shape. Determined Islamists bristled under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, who became Turkey’s leader in 1923. The term “Ataturk,” meaning father of Turkey, is an addition to the name of the country’s leader who is greatly revered by more secular Turkish Islamists. A Muslim himself, Ataturk relaxed but didn’t destroy the Islamic hold on the nation. His rule had always angered some who resented the acceptance of numerous Western ideas and values for their country.

In 2014, a more determined follower of Islam, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won election as the nation’s president. The July 15th coup, led by those who preferred Ataturk’s ways, sought to erase numerous trends and revisions in Turkish life. But quick action by Erdogan and his followers overwhelmed the less militant Muslims in the military and many other posts within the nation. In a matter of days, Erdogan’s followers accomplished firing 9,000 police officers and 21,000 educators. They suspended 21,000 schoolteachers and either detained or suspended 10,000 soldiers, 2,700 judges and lawyers, 1,500 university deans, and 1,500 of the government’s finance officials. Added to this upheaval, the government shut down more than 100 electronic and print media outlets and instituted censorship over other suspected adversaries of the government. President Erdogan had quickly demonstrated his determination to reemphasize Islamic practices as he put an emphatic stop to the modernization of the past century.

Turkish officials blamed the attempted coup on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic cleric who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for the past 15 years. The Erdogan government calls his followers in Turkey the Gulenist Terror Organization (FETO). Gulen has emphatically denied having any role in the failed coup, but the Erdogan government has demanded his extradition from America. He remains – for now – at his home in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the Turkish government has enraged secular Turks by canceling some celebrations honoring Ataturk while commemorating past Ottoman victories and celebrating the birthday of Mohammed.

It seems completely correct to believe that Turkish Islamists led by President Erdogan have gained more power because of the incident and their success in quashing it. Erdogan has reached out to some of his adversaries in hopes of calming fears, but Turks who wanted modernization – and they include freedom from some of the Islamic-style strictures seen in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere – are the losers. Will there be more unrest generated by those who want a return to Ataturk’s ways? Only, time will tell. But Turkey is now in the hands of a more regimented government that has gained more power by severely putting down the forces behind the failed coup.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Another Turkey Coup Attempt: Will it Affect Us?

Another Turkey Coup Attempt: Will it Affect Us?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The nation of Turkey sits in Western Asia. That is, most of it. A small part of Istanbul, the great city in Western Turkey (formerly Constantinople), can be found across the Bosphorus Strait that separates Asia from Europe. This European portion of Turkey (a mere three percent of the nation’s land area) is geographically and even culturally part of Europe.

A charter member of the United Nations (membership since 1945), Turkey also became a member of the NATO alliance as far back as 1952. A huge U.S. air base sits in the Asian part of the nation. In addition, Turkey has applied for membership in the European Union. Therefore, what happens in Turkey is of great concern to the West, certainly including the United States.

Turkey has experienced several coup attempts in recent years (1960, 1971, and 1980). Each failed and each sought to increase the secularization of the nation. The latest attempted coup d’état during July 15-16 failed almost immediately. After a surprising absence in the early hours of the plot, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged and reasserted control. Immediately, the government forces captured several thousand military personnel along with an equal number of judges. Some commentators labeled the coup a failure through ineptitude. But others have speculated that Erdogan engineered the short-lived event in order to centralize and increase his power.

Turkey is at least 95 percent Muslim; some claim that the figure should be 99 percent.  Without doubt, yearning exists among a small percentage of the people for a more Westernized style of living. But Islam rules, not as strictly as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and elsewhere, but a dominant force nevertheless. Erdogan himself is a relatively strict follower of Mohammed. Suspicion has arisen that he engineered the plot so it would quickly fail and, while being put down, provide him an opportunity to increase his power and send a message throughout the nation not only that he is solidly in control, but that Islam and many of its controlling strictures would continue to prevail, even grow tighter.

Over the years, military forces within Turkey have become a sort of watchdog or guardian of a partial secularization of the nation. Hence, a more committed Muslim such as Erdogan would surely seize any opportunity to water down, even eliminate, such a challenge to Islam’s power. Ergodan’s allies have claimed that Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania, engineered the coup. Gulen immediately denied having any role whatsoever. But Ergodan has asked the U.S. to extradite Gulen to face charges back in Turkey. Is such a request real? Or has it emerged to help cover up Ergodan’s creation of the now-failed plot that will undoubtedly result in an increase in his power and more dominance by Islam.

Three years ago in Egypt, the military rose up and, in a lightning coup d’état, deposed elected president Mohammed Morsi, a strict follower of Islam. That country went from rule by increasingly dominant Islamists to a more westernized secularism under the generals. Turkey seems to have undergone exactly the opposite transition as a result of the recent coup attempt. How Erdogan deals with the judges and military personnel he has in custody will indicate how deeply Islam will rule in the future. Meanwhile, ISIS in next-door Syria and Iraq looks northward to Turkey to see if help in achieving its draconian goals will be forthcoming from its nearest neighbor.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


World Government Promoters Punched by Brexit

World Government Promoters Punched by Brexit
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Nationhood is good. World government is bad. Read about an early try at world government in Genesis and know that God Himself intervened to prevent it. Genesis further shows that God set people apart by inducing various languages which led to them starting nations.

The vote by the British people to exit the European Union is good because it restores elements of their nation’s sovereignty many of which had eroded over past decades. United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, a leader in the Brexit campaign, jubilantly and significantly stated that June 23rd should henceforth be known as “Britain’s Independence Day.”

The main issues impelling the people to vote “Leave” were immigration, arrogant dictation from Brussels, and restoration of independence. In 2015 alone, Britain took in 330,000 migrants, an enormous influx that swayed a huge number of voters. Veteran London Times columnist Philip Collins, a supporter of the “Remain” minority, angrily offered his opinion: “This was a referendum about immigration disguised as a referendum about the European Union.“

With a hard-won 52 to 48 majority, the people of Britain said that 53 years of membership in the pact was enough. Most had been persuaded that their country had signed a promising trade arrangement. It was certainly sold that way, not only o Britain, but to the other formerly independent nations who have joined. There was always some British skepticism about what they joined, a cautious attitude that kept their leaders from adopting the Euro currency. Even pro-EU Britons didn’t want to replace the pound with the Euro.

Over in Brussels, EU leaders now worry about rising antipathy toward the pact in France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Hungary, and elsewhere. A total of 28 nations had signed on to the arrangement that began a step-by-step and deceitful accumulation of power beginning in 1952 when only six nations formed the European Coal and Steel Community. This early arrangement later adopted the name European Economic Community. Britain joined in 1973, the year the pact dropped some of its pretenses by omitting the word “Economic” and subtly indicating its ultimate political goal with the new name, “Economic Community.” By 1991, six more nations joined and the group’s name became European Union.

In a burst of honesty during his 2000 visit to Britain, former USSR dictator Mikhail Gorbachev glowingly described the EU as “the new European Soviet.” His remark created worries for many. Some in Britain began to fear losing their country while arrogant rule from Brussels took increasing control over lawmaking power. In 2003, Christopher Booker and Richard North issued their comprehensive book “The Great Deception,” capably tracing the lies given to the British people about the EU. Then, in 2004, this writer received a letter from an official of the UKIP stating, “The EU was sold to the British people as a ‘trading agreement’ and has turned into a ‘Political Union’ which is changing our laws and traditions.” That summed up the growing British awareness about what was happening.

A few weeks before the June 23rd referendum, a meddling President Obama visited Britain to urge the people to choose staying in the pact. At one point, he angered many by stating that should the vote to leave the EU prevail, Britain would have to go to “the back of the queue” for any UK-US trade agreement. He is credited with helping the “Leave” proponents gain more votes.

Back in 2003, the EU sought to impose a new Constitution on member nations. It openly and repeatedly stated overall subservience to the United Nations. When voters in France and Holland rejected this Constitution, the steps toward UN control showed up in a new “treaty” taking them toward a UN world government. This time, only the leaders of member nations were required to give their approval.

World government under the UN has always been the goal of the EU’s creators. But barriers have now been erected on the sought-after prize. We salute the 52 percent of Britain’s voters and trust that they will now understand how enormous has been their contribution to the sovereignty of all nations.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


COOL and the WTO

COOL and the WTO
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Shirts, suits, dresses, undergarments, and numerous other items we purchase carry a little tag that tells where they were produced. “Made in China” appears on many. If not China, then Vietnam, Bangladesh, Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan, or some other foreign nation.

An FDA microbiologist mixes seafood samples with an enrichment broth to test for microorganisms. Image from US FDA Flickr.

Clothing, of course, is not the only category of foreign-made products filling our stores. Many of the automobiles, scooters, tools, bicycles, electronics, and more are also foreign made. Sometimes, finding a particular product not imported presents an unsolvable problem, frequently great enough to have many Americans simply give up and settle for foreign-made goods.

What about food? In 2002, Congress enacted a law that came to be known as COOL (Country of Origin Labeling). It required retailers to provide country of origin information for beef, pork, and lamb. In 2008, Congress expanded that requirement to include fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables. But in late 2015, Congress repealed COOL as part of the omnibus budget bill. There is no longer any requirement for labeling the origin of what we eat.

Five months after the cancellation of COOL, a new report tells us that 47 million pounds of frozen chicken and meat products mixed with vegetables had to be recalled because of worries about listeria monocytogenes. Consuming them could cause listeriosis, an infection that can lead to fever, muscle aches, headaches, confusion, loss of balance, diarrhea and more. The products being recalled carry such brand names as Simmering Samurai, Tai Pei, InnovASIAN, Yakitori, Casa Solano Southwest, etc. They are not made in America.

The recall of these products came out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It turns out that there’s no need for COOL if these agencies are doing their jobs. In fact, reliance on them and other U.S. safeguards already in place is what led the majority in Congress to repeal COOL as an unnecessary and costly requirement. The vote to repeal was 300 to 131 in the House.

But there’s another reason why Congress voted to cancel COOL. Canadian and Mexican meat producers, both affected by COOL’s past requirements, complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO). That UN agency has four times ruled against the United States and our COOL mandate. Our two neighboring nations were given authority by WTO to impose tariffs totaling several against the U.S.

Here we have the United Nations making decisions about the food we Americans eat. We won’t know if the beef we consume came from Canada, where mad-cow disease had been detected a few years back, or from Mexico whose cleanliness and butchering processes don’t match requirements imposed by USDA and FDA.

But let’s not give these agencies any constitutional legitimacy. Since these powers have not been delegated to the federal government according to the Constitution, the states reserve the power to make these decisions — and definitely not the UN. So having the United Nations making decisions regarding our food supply is a very unsettling development. If the WTO can force its will regarding food, it has gained a truly significant power. This situation brings to mind the attitude of one of the 20th century’s worst tyrants. As leader of the USSR, Joseph Stalin is reputed to have said that controlling the people’s food is the way to gain control of their nation. Enter the Holodomor.

The main point of these comments, therefore, isn’t so much about the food we consume. It’s much more about whether we will always have food to eat. Considering the power already possessed by the WTO presents another excellent reason to break away from the United Nations.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Suing Obama Over the War Powers Act

Suing Obama Over the War Powers Act
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Army Captain Nathan M. Smith is challenging U.S. involvement in the campaign against ISIS. No conscientious objector, he remains on active duty as an intelligence specialist. He contends that the Obama administration’s military action against ISIS cannot be legally justified by referring to congressional authorization given the president in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Captain Smith has sued President Obama claiming that the military campaign against ISIS is illegal because Congress hasn’t authorized it as required by the War Powers Act of 1973.

Army Captain Nathan Michael Smith. Image from The New American.

The Act requires congressional approval of any presidential assignment of troops to a combat situation that lasts more than 60 days. The president can respond with military force where needed but if the action exceeds 60 days, he must seek congressional authorization to continue it. If Congress refuses to grant its authorization, the troops must be brought home.

This four-decades-old Act sought to control President Nixon’s continuing use of the military during the Vietnam War. Claiming that the proposed law watered down his executive power, Nixon vetoed it. But Congress overrode his veto and the Act became law. Henceforth, according to the War Powers Act, there must be congressional authorization if a president sends troops into any battle and that battle continues beyond 60 days.

Anyone who cares much for the U.S. Constitution knows that the War Powers Act ignores the Constitution’s requirement that Congress declare any war our forces are sent into. There has been no amendment cancelling Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 that clearly states, “Congress shall have power … To declare war.” If military action by U.S. forces is needed to combat ISIS (or any other enemy), the only constitutional way to do so is by referencing this particular portion of the Constitution.

Most of the horrendous casualties suffered during the Vietnam War had occurred during several years prior to 1973. Even at best therefore, the War Powers Act amounted to closing the barn door after the horse had escaped. It amounted to a meaningless and self-serving gesture by Congress intending to show the war-weary American public its toughness. But authorization for deploying forces to Southeast Asia had come from SEATO, a United Nations subsidiary. A succession of Presidents (Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon) ignored the Constitution’s sole grant of war-making power to Congress and the members of Congress sought approval from the American people for what was meaningless bravado. In reality, the War Powers Act was a congressional face-saving measure that accomplished nothing of substance.

Wars declared by Congress, such as WWI and WWII, end in victory. Wars authorized by the UN and its agencies (e.g. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan) aren’t won. Even a war sanctioned by Congress via the War Powers Act would be violating the Constitution’s requirement for a declaration of war. But that’s not the only problem brought on by our leaders refusing to honor their oath to the Constitution. They have steadily and virtually silently cooperated in a piece-by-piece transfer of U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations.

Captain Smith should be made aware that his suing the president for not using the War Powers Act is really a meaningless gesture. A suit aimed at Mr. Obama and at the Congress for violating the solemn oath to the Constitution – especially including Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 – makes a great deal more sense.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.