What Some Liberals Get Wrong About The Fight Against ISIL

Whenever I want to check out what anti-Obama lefties are saying about anything, I first go to Firedoglake. There you will find some committed, if sometimes immature, left-wingers assailing the President and his administration for all kinds of failures to live up to the purity of liberalism, at least as it is defined by Firedoglake contributors.

After today’s announcement of the necessary and justified attacks on the Islamist murderers in Iraq and Syria, I turned to Firedoglake for a quick look. Here’s a little of what I found:

Yesterday the US began bombing yet another country in the Middle East with strikes targeting ISIS forces in Syria…The most obvious beneficiary of the new strikes is Syrian President Bashar Assad who has been locked in a struggle with ISIS and other rebels for control of Syria…Given the flexible and congealing nature of ISIS it is highly questionable as to whether the militant group can ever really be destroyed as long as Iraq and Syria remain war zones. Though that is of no apparent concern to the Obama Administration which has launched America into another war in the Middle East that even officials admit will take several years.

In another post by the same author, DSWright, we find this ominous opening:

Remember when the reason for expanding this military campaign from Iraq into Syria was because ISIS was in both countries? It wasn’t so long ago. Well, now President Obama has announced that he also targeted a non-ISIS group in Syria. Mission creep in real time.

Let me quickly address the concerns in these two articles (and something Glenn Greenwald wrote, which I will get to later), concerns that I have heard expressed elsewhere by left-leaning folks:

1. “The most obvious beneficiary of the new strikes is Syrian President Bashar Assad…”

Yes, I hear that a lot. And it may be obvious. It certainly seemed obvious to Assad, who welcomed our attacks by doing nothing to stop them. And it may seem obvious to us, even if we don’t want to say so out loud. But so what? The mission is not to aid Assad but to send as many ISIL fighters on a one-way visit to Allah as our air strikes can facilitate. If doing so actually helps Assad in the short-term, then so be it. In fact, it could be argued that it is only a short-term help for the Syrian dictator. It could be, somewhere down the road, that weakening ISIL enough to make it vulnerable to other groups in Syria opposed to both Assad and ISIL means that Assad’s short-term gain will turn into a long-term loss. In any case, ISIL needs our attention and to stand paralyzed for fear we will help a man whose country is disintegrating before his eyes would be foolish and short-sighted.

2. “Given the flexible and congealing nature of ISIS it is highly questionable as to whether the militant group can ever really be destroyed as long as Iraq and Syria remain war zones.”

This one is easy. It may be questionable, it may even be “highly questionable,” if we can really destroy ISIL under the present circumstances, but it is a near certainty that we will never destroy ISIL if we sit and wait for Iraq and Syria to become something other than war zones. Those who oppose what Obama is doing never address that reality. Sitting and waiting for peace to break out in the region, while ISIL gains power and territory, and while killing untold numbers of innocents, would be not only strategically unwise, but a moral outrage. And besides that, it isn’t that questionable whether ISIL can be defeated in Iraq. In time that is likely to happen with U.S. support, if Iraqis have the will to make it happen. In Syria, of course that is much more difficult. But doing nothing makes it not only more difficult still, but quite likely impossible. Is that what liberals want? Huh?

3. “…the Obama Administration…has launched America into another war in the Middle East that even officials admit will take several years.

Not really. Yes, it will take a long time, maybe even “several years,” to reduce ISIL to a relatively inconsequential player in the region, but Obama hasn’t really “launched America into another war in the Middle East.” Part of what he is doing is continuing a war against terrorist groups that began in earnest after 9/11. The other part of what he is doing, which some folks seem to have forgotten, is attempting to clean up a mess that neoconservatives in the Bush administration began with the colossally stupid invasion of Iraq in 2003. Yes, it is too bad that we once again have to aggressively attack another terrorist group in the Middle East. We all wish it weren’t the case. But it is a legitimate and moral use of American power, even if it is largely made necessary by a once-illegitimate use of American power.

4. “President Obama has announced that he also targeted a non-ISIS group in Syria. Mission creep in real time.”

I get real creeped out by the overuse of the phrase “mission creep.” For some journalists it has become something they inject into their reporting to make it clear they have learned their lesson from the disastrous, media-championed Iraq invasion in 2003 and will not be duped again by an administration wanting to drop bombs and fire missiles it has no business dropping and firing, even in the name of fighting terrorists.

The problem is that some missions need to creep, as the attack on the al Qaeda-related Khorasan Group demonstrates. If liberals won’t support an attack on a group of terrorists—whose existence is dedicated to developing creative and undetectable ways to kill Americans using airplanes—then it is hard to understand what use liberals will ever have for the U.S. military.

“Mission creep” claims, which normally are necessary and proper to consider, are in this case simply one way for people queasy about the general use of military force to fight terrorists to say that this specific mission is, as DSWright claimed using italics (and contradicting his claim in his other article; see 3. above), the opening “of another front in the perpetual War on Terror.Some of us agree that we shouldn’t call what we have done and are doing a War on Terror. We should simply say, when the need arises, that we are fighting terrorists, those who have essentially declared war on America. But leaving aside the semantics, using mission creep worries as an excuse to do nothing, or next to it, in Iraq and Syria means—let’s be honest about it—ISIL will continue to conquer and kill.

Related to this point is a particularly reprehensible article by Glenn Greenwald, who has become quite famous on the left for championing Edward Snowden’s illegal leaking of sensitive information that hasn’t made it any easier to track terrorists. The article was titled, “SYRIA BECOMES THE 7TH PREDOMINANTLY MUSLIM COUNTRY BOMBED BY 2009 NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE,” and in it Greenwald, conspiracist to the core, makes a claim that others on the left make: we are only producing more terrorists by fighting ISIL. Except Greenwald makes the point with a nice little twist:

Six weeks of bombing hasn’t budged ISIS in Iraq, but it has caused ISIS recruitment to soar. That’s all predictable: the U.S. has known for years that what fuels and strengthens anti-American sentiment (and thus anti-American extremism) is exactly what they keep doing: aggression in that region. If you know that, then they know that. At this point, it’s more rational to say they do all of this not despite triggering those outcomes, but because of it. Continuously creating and strengthening enemies is a feature, not a bug. It is what justifies the ongoing greasing of the profitable and power-vesting machine of Endless War.

He ends his blame-America-first piece with this:

…the U.S. does not bomb countries for humanitarian objectives. Humanitarianism is the pretense, not the purpose.

It is hard to contain one’s anger at such conspiratorial nonsense. According to Greenwald, the entire effort to stop anti-American terrorism, an effort that began after essentially ignoring terrorism resulted in the deaths of 3,000 Americans on 9/11, is just a way for the defense industry to make a buck. Just a way for America, pretending to care about the deaths of innocents slaughtered by jihadist killers, to keep the “machine of Endless War” going. America, in Greenwald’s eyes, is nothing more than a nation run by greedy imperialists. That’s all we are. Obama is no different from Dick Cheney. Our attack on ISIL is no different from the invasion of Iraq. There’s no room in Greenwald’s conspiracy-poisoned mind to entertain the idea that, despite plenty of monumental mistakes in the past that have actually strengthened anti-American sentiment, the present situation calls for what most Americans see as legitimate and moral action.

Meanwhile, Greenwald offers us nothing condemning ISIL or explaining what he would do about the bloodthirsty bastards in Iraq and Syria who would, if they had the chance, saw off Glenn Greenwald’s head as quickly and brutally as they sawed off the heads of other journalists. The only difference would be that the ISIL bastards wouldn’t have to write an anti-American script for Greenwald. They could just make him read his latest article.

Having said all that, there are legitimate questions about the constitutional propriety of President Obama’s actions in Syria, as he continues to authorize attacks on ISIL with neither the permission of the Syrian government nor the official permission of Congress. Those questions have been raised by various congressional voices, including Democratic voices, and it is obvious that if there were a will in Congress to stop what is going on, those voices would be turned into legislative language constitutionally tying the hands of the president. For now it appears all that is being offered is an official authorization of what Obama has already started, with some restrictions placed on its scope, and the requirement to come to Congress periodically to defend continuing the effort against ISIL—and whoever else decides that Allah is on the side of psychopaths waving black flags and beheading innocents, including innocent Americans.

20 Comments

  1. King Beauregard

     /  September 23, 2014

    Right on, brother!

    I developed my distaste for Greenwald in his various articles about the ACA and why it doesn’t have a public option; Greenwald couldn’t be assed to learn the basics of how filibusters work, and concluded that, if there is no public option, it’s because the Democrats chose not to put one in, not because there was this whole matter of finding 60 votes. The guy can’t actually be that dumb by accident; it must be willful stupidity.

    Greenwald has done little to rehabilitate himself since then.

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    • You know what I find appalling about people like Glenn Greenwald? The same thing I find appalling about people like Glenn Beck. They take a couple of threads of truth about some issue and weave an entire narrative around it using wild speculation, shameful accusations, and outright mischaracterization of related facts. While the content is different, the methods Greenwald uses to sell his point of view are very much like what Glenn Beck uses to sell his. The major difference seems to be that Beck has managed to convert his conspiracist notions into cash.

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      • King Beauregard

         /  September 24, 2014

        It used to be that reality had a liberal bias, but that was in the heady days when conservatives were saying “deposing Saddam Hussein is a terrific idea!” and being a liberal was as simple as saying “um, no it’s not”. Quite a few Lefties have taken from this that they can’t ever be wrong, just by distrusting every last thing the government says or does … so when the government starts making sense, or at least there is some sense to what they’re doing (if still open to debate and disagreement), reality’s bias starts working against those Lefties.

        All of which gets us back to Greenwald, and the eternal question of whether he is a deliberate con-man or just a victim of his own propaganda. I suspect it’s the third option, that he is simply a BS-er, with no real regard for the truth either way. He’s got a gullible audience, he’s got fame and renown, what more could he want?

        As the philosopher Harry A. Frankfurter put it (and with a name like that, you are driven either to great wisdom or comic-book-grade villainy):

        Both in lying and in telling the truth people are guided by their beliefs concerning the way things are. These guide them as they endeavor either to describe the world correctly or to describe it deceitfully. For this reason, telling lies does not tend to unfit a person for telling the truth in the same way that bullshitting tends to. Through excessive indulgence in the latter activity, which involves making assertions without paying attention to anything except what it suits one to say, a person’s normal habit of attending to the ways things are may become attenuated or lost. Someone who lies and someone who tells the truth are playing on opposite sides, so to speak, in the same game. Each responds to the facts as he understands them, although the response of the one is guided by the authority of the truth, while the response of the other defies that authority and refuses to meet its demands. The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

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        • I like the way you put it regarding the calamity of the Iraq invasion: “Quite a few Lefties have taken from this that they can’t ever be wrong, just by distrusting every last thing the government says or does.” Between the Vietnam War and the Iraq invasion and occupation, I’m afraid the well of liberal public trust in the war-making apparatus is empty. And the lack has hurt the left’s ability to analyze and make judgments, and, in fact, a conspiratorial stream is now supplying many lefties with reasons to oppose what appears to be such an obviously sane response to murderous jihadists.

          In any case, Frankfurter makes what seems like a great point about liars, who, although they defy the authority of the truth, nevertheless acknowledge its existence, while bullshitters couldn’t care less if there is an authority or not. Where I might differ with him is in his conclusion: “By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.” I will need to think about that one some more. My first inclination is to think that bullshitters do less damage because we tend to recognize them and discount them. Liars, because they understand the apparatus of truth telling even as they reject its authority, are often convincing, at least to those whose information is low. And that seems a greater enemy of the truth to me.

          More thought needed, me thinks.

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          • King Beauregard

             /  September 24, 2014

            You may be right. I think part of the distinction Frankfurter is making between liars and BS-ers is that liars have a specific reason they’re not going with the truth — likely to protect themselves, possibly to gain some wanted/needed thing that was otherwise unattainable. So in Frankfurter’s scheme liars have some measure of respect for the truth, but feel there’s a more important consideration that makes lying acceptable under whichever circumstances. (Of course, it’s possible to take that to extremes, where every whim a person has is grounds for lying, and at that point they’ve become BS-ers.)

            One more thing about BS-ers. To those of us who at least try to be passably honest, BS-ing feels unnatural because there’s that part of our heads that keeps intruding with, “wait, is that true or isn’t it?” But for someone to whom BS-ing has become second nature, policing one’s self for truthfulness is what comes to feel unnatural. When that happens, they get sucked into the vortex and have a hard time making the truth a habit again. I’ve seen it with salesmen I know, and I wonder if lawyers (like Glenn Greenwald) are susceptible too.

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      • King Beauregard

         /  September 24, 2014

        One more thing: Glenn Greenwald is a lawyer, so he’s got no excuse for failing to understand the rules that the Senate operates under. Your own King Beauregard is no mental giant, but even he understands cloture, reconciliation, and so forth because the information is readily available in forms that even mediocre minds can grasp. If I can learn about this stuff, so can Greenwald.

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        • True, and he sort of does the same thing with the Syria effort. One paragraph he wrote will illustrate:

          It was just over a year ago that Obama officials were insisting that bombing and attacking Assad was a moral and strategic imperative. Instead, Obama is now bombing Assad’s enemies while politely informing his regime of its targets in advance. It seems irrelevant on whom the U.S. wages war; what matters it that it be at war, always and forever.

          You can see how there is some truth to what Greenwald says. Obama officials did want to attack Assad more than a year ago. But that was for his use of chemical weapons and that whole “red line” mess. That Obama punted to Congress is ignored, when he should have been given credit for his appeal to Congress by people like Greenwald. But then he pretends that Obama is now essentially an ally of Assad, when he has to know better and is lying. Either that or Greenwald’s mind is, indeed, infected by a conspiracy virus that has blinded him to reality. I tend toward the latter due to his conclusion that it “seems irrelevant on whom the U.S. wages war.” Anyone who has followed this president and watched him agonize over certain uses of force, and watched him go against his military advisers time and again, should be outraged that Greenwald says something so ridiculous. But he continues to enjoy the approval of many pundits on the left. Amazing to me.

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  September 24, 2014

    Duane,

    Another good blog on the issues surrounding ISIL. Unfortunately it takes far more than a comment to fully discuss the matter. But I do applaud your rebuttal to the left in this instance. I hope you notice as well their complaints are very similar in complaints against Bush and the invasion of Iraq. Mission creep, fighting in Iraq only breeds more terrorists, military industrial pressure to fight to make money, and the list goes on. It is not surprising to me that the “real” left, at least in foreign affairs, uses the same old complaints, no matter who goes to war, or as you now say, fights terrorism when it is required.

    I stick with War on Terror, but as you say, that is semantics probably.

    We will of course never know for sure what would have happened after 9/11 had Gore been in the White House. I do believe, however, that if Gore had been President 9/11 would still have happened.

    Let’s assume that a Democrat in the White House would NOT have bombed Afghanistan and certainly not have invaded Iraq. Maybe, some sort of air war only in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda would have been the choice, a “destroy and …..” campaign against only Al Qaeda, in 2001 with nothing else taking place by American military power.

    For sure the Taliban would have remained in power and Al Qaeda would just go hide in Pakistan, until the bombs stopped falling. Then ……….

    Would the war in Syria against Assad still have taken place? Probably.

    Would Sunni’s and Shia’s still be at each other’s throats? Yes, for sure.

    Would America still be hated by many in the Arab world? Of course they would.

    Would Iraq have eventually overthown Hussein? Who knows? Would it be in American interests today if Hussein was still in power? I doubt it.

    The real problem it seems to me is when America goes to war but fails to carefully define victory before starting the war, mission creep is inevitable without a really strong and wise President to stop it, period.

    In fact Bush defined victory, overthrow Hussein and rid the country of WMD. Opps, no WMD so that was easy and required no war to achieve that goal. But again, how would the Middle East look today with Hussein still in power? Who knows, again. No magic ball to answer what if’s.

    The monumental mistake for Bush was thinking that we would be welcomed with flowers in the street.

    Now we know, I hope that there will be no welcome whatsoever in any country with a Muslim majority if American power is used against that country, particularly in the Middle East.

    We know full well what Obama is now trying to do. But has he in fact envisioned what victory will look like, whenever it happens. Sure ISIL as a name will go back underground. But something will take its place, another name of another terrorist group, along with Al Qaeda still plotting away to achieve American demise or at least diminishment to a great degree. For the moment I ignore K…… but they need attention as well it seems.

    We cannot defeat terrorism of the Islamic sort without killing the heart and soul of terrorism. No that is not all of Islam. Far from it. But that part of Islam simply needs to be eliminated, never to be allowed to raise it’s head, preach sermons, collect huge sums of money, etc. Is the Arab World ready to do exactly that, rid themselves of the crazies if you will.

    I seriously doubt it, the readiness of the Arab secular world to put Islam where it belongs, only in the Mosque, not the seat of government power. But that would really piss off Allah I suppose. He certainly never said, “render unto …….” And neither did His prophet as well. Nope Allah wants to be the seat of everything, secular and religious. Now how do you fight that crazy idea?

    Maybe Patton would lend some insights into such a discussion!!

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      Your applauding me for my “rebuttal to the left” won’t endear me to my liberal friends, that’s for sure. But I try to call them as I see them, even if it puts me in the same boat as people I wouldn’t normally want to go on a cruise with. I still want to make it clear that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a colossal mistake and the source of much of the trouble we see today, and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and a host of others who led the effort (which was approved in Congress with some Democratic votes) deserve a lot of blame and shame.

      No, we can’t say what the world would have looked like if the Supreme Court hadn’t put Bush-Cheney in office in 2001. But we know what it looks like now and we can certainly trace many events to the destabilization of the region that was created by that 2003 Iraq war.

      The reason I don’t like the War on Terror label is that it strongly suggests that the country is on a perpetual war footing, which then suggests that there is a concerted effort by the military machine to keep it that way. We have civilian control of our military and, therefore, if our military machine keeps having its way, it is ultimately our fault as citizens not the military industrial complex.

      Finally, you hit upon what will be the real end to the fight against terrorism in its Islamic form: Muslims who prefer secularist governments have to begin to overwhelm the discussion and debate and subject extremists (like that radical Islamic leader in Britain) to public ridicule and shame. The Muslim faith has to be transformed much like the Christian faith has been. Few Christians today, outside the evangelical wing associated with the Republican Party, expect the government to implement their narrow theological preferences. Even most right-wing evangelicals recognize a limit to the influence religion should have on government. If that same stance evolves within Islam world-wide, we will see light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, if that ever happens, it will take far longer than you and I and our children or, possibly, grandchildren, will live to see.

      Duane

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  3. King Beauregard

     /  September 24, 2014

    Hey Duane, remember in 1998 or so, when Clinton was up to his cigar-hole in Lewinsky scandal, and right about that time he launched Tomahawk missiles to go after some guy? Remember how people on both sides of the aisle accused him of “Wag the Dog” shenanigans, trying to kill that nice Mr. Osama bin something or other just to distract us from Monicagate?

    I bet you anything a lot of the people bitching about Obama now were the same people bitching about Clinton then. They haven’t learned a god damn thing.

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    • I remember that very well. It was a daily feature on the Rush Limbaugh show and elsewhere. In fact, it still comes up from time to time when right-wingers want to make a point about Obama trying to distract Americans from his “real” mission, which, of course, is to destroy the country. Since I was still something of a conservative wacko in 1998, I don’t know whether the left made the same claim as Limbaugh and others were making, but it wouldn’t surprise me. There is something about using military force that drives some liberals nuts.

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      • King Beauregard

         /  September 25, 2014

        I understand the default liberal position of skepticism where military force is concerned; it’s where I start. But unlike a lot of my Leftie brethren, I don’t stop there; I look at the facts (as best as I can find them), and then I ask what I would do if I were president.

        It’s that last part where a lot of Lefties fail; they forget that Obama is obligated to choose a course of action, and not defer all decisions until a perfect option manifests itself. It’s one thing to gripe online about the US’s shameful record of interference in the Middle East, it’s another thing to be in the Oval Office in September 2014 and figure out what the US should or shouldn’t do to deal with current crises.

        (The fallback argument many Lefties make is that, since the US has done a great deal of harm in the past, the US should stay out today. What a stupid argument that is! If I have a history of arson and then I ironically find myself in a position to rescue someone from a burning building, shouldn’t I rescue them? What sort of moral idiot would think that I should let them burn? If anything, I am morally obligated to put myself more at risk than the average citizen to atone for my past crimes.)

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        • Thanks for the inspiration with that analogy. It really did start me thinking, and led me to clarify a few things.

          By the way, I don’t disagree about the default position of skepticism regarding the use of military force. The problem is that skepticism can so easily lead to cynicism, which, I think, has happened to a lot of folks on our side. Skepticism is a tool of analysis, but for some people it is always an end of it.

          Things are happening very fast these days, and I don’t fault Obama for taking the view that each crisis we see doesn’t neatly fit into a pre-conceived “strategy” and therefore different kinds of analyses need to be applied to each situation. I in fact admire that approach. I appear to be in a minority, though. I see people on TV saying and I read in print all the time that we need some kind of grand foreign policy approach that can be consulted so we will know what to do when problems arise. The world is much too interrelated and complicated these days for that.

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          • King Beauregard

             /  September 28, 2014

            “I see people on TV saying and I read in print all the time that we need some kind of grand foreign policy approach that can be consulted so we will know what to do when problems arise.”

            What sort of f’in retarded bullshit is that? That’s like a chef whose preparation technique for all foods is “put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes”, or a surgeon whose treatment plan for every patient is “cut into the lower torso and remove the appendix”. If that’s how they operated, they’d be pretty terrible at their jobs, now wouldn’t they?

            There may be principles you try to apply (such as “diplomacy first, economic pressure second, military force last”), but it’s all kinds of crazydumb to think you can do foregn policy by Mad Lib.

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            • Exactly! Yet, if you listen to the critics, what Obama is lacking is some kind of template for action. I hear that shit all the freaking time. Drives me nuts.

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            • King Beauregard

               /  October 2, 2014

              Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Internet, my support for action against ISIS is met with the occasional cries of “then why haven’t you enlisted, chickenhawk”? Oh yeah, that’s a real threat: becoming a drone operator and working in a climate-controlled building. Am I supposed to be scared that the vending machine is full of Zagnut bars? I like Zagnut bars just fine, so that’s a win for me.

              Update yer script, guys, or at least think about the situation at hand and how it differs from 2003. There’s a real threat, but nobody (of any consequence) is proposing putting troops in harm’s way, and current troop levels are sufficient.

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              • Lefties can be a trying bunch. (I have been following the rift over Islamophobia between Sam Harris and Ben Affleck and others.) But as bad as they can sometimes be, the right in this country is doing real damage to people’s confidence in our vital institutions. Just look at what they are doing to the CDC via the Ebola scare. This is dangerous stuff.

                As for the right’s response to ISIL, I am amazed at the number of pundits and politicians who seem to be openly calling for intervention by U.S. troops on the ground. While it may come down to that one day, we are pretty far away from it right now. Every tiny ISIL advance is touted, mostly by people on Fox news and right-wing media, as the End of Civilization and the Failure of Obama To Defend The Homeland. Sometimes I just want to turn off the TV and tune out.

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  September 25, 2014

    For what it is worth, I applauded Clinton’s strikes against Al Qaeda, but also wondered if it would “be enough”. At the time I thought anything was better than nothing. Was not writing at the time however.

    I supported the invasion of Iraq but was dismayed by only trying to “put them back on bicycles”. I also did not suppor the “surge” thinking it would be too little too late. I was wrong on that last position. The surge at least allowed the “war” to end. But then we screwed up our withdrawal, as is obvious to anyone today. I also supported the Obama surge in Afghanistan but wondered if it was too little too late, which it was. I was writing by that time in here and my own blog.

    As for current events, I WANT to support the President but worry about just trying to “swat flies”. I would much prefer to kill the “fly nest” but damned if I can figure out how to do so, for now.

    I will offer a sort of prediction however. Syria will be ruled by Assad or the likes of him, a dictator and Russia will remain very close thereto. Iraq will be a mess unless it splits into three countries. Even then they will be fighting each other with help from outside, for all groups except maybe the Kurds. And yep, Iran will have nuclear weapons someday but will not use them unless invaded. Jordan will hang on, as will Lebanon. Israel will remain a tiger no Arab will seriously touch, unless Iran “goes nuclear”. In that case, no Iran and no Israel.

    The key to the Middle East is what will Egypt and Saudi Arabia (the Emirates will do what Saudi Arabia does) do and I have no predictions on that one, or two.

    America will eventually just stay the hell away from the Middle East, by and large, once we no longer need oil from there. I’ll be dead when all that happens however. Writing or not from the grave, probably not. But rolling over therein, you bet!!

    Anson

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  5. ansonburlingame

     /  September 25, 2014

    OK, here is another “hope”. IF Saudi Arabia and Egypt together put Islamists, all of them, only in Mosques and leave government to wise secular leaders (but still practicing Muslims) then the Middle East terrorist problem will take care of itself from within, not outside force. If such secular leaders turn out to be dictators, so what as well, at least for us in America.

    America has had a pretty good run remaining a “Christian nation” for 230 + years, with no real “nuts” in the White House (except ………!!!). Muslims should be able to do the same and control their own internal crazies, crazy in the view of humans.

    Anson, again

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    • America has had a “pretty good run” due to the fact it is not and never has been a “Christian nation.” That’s the point. America’s Constitution and its governance is secular, something Muslims around the world for the most part do not accept. Egypt is a perfect example. While Egyptians support democratic rule, they also support ridiculous laws against blasphemy and the like. I have been thinking a lot lately about how we need to revise our foreign policy in light of the very real fact that our democratic and secular values are not, at this time in history, both transferable to Islamic countries.

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