Monday, July 23, 2018

Don’t just do something, stand there.

The best way to honor our troops, the less than 1% of our country’s population who voluntarily put their lives on the line in service to our country, is by making sure that when they are sent into combat, it is the last option, not the first, and that the mission is worthy of their great sacrifice. They are not fodder to be used carelessly to live out the regime-change war addiction that has consumed Washington for far too long.[1]
~ Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

And on the topic of “regime change” the President of Iran correctly observed:

“Who are you to decide for Iran and the world?” Rouhani said in a statement published by Iranian state media on Monday [5/21/18]. “The world today does not accept that the United States decides for the world. Countries have their independence.”[2]
Iran is clearly the monster under Secretary Pompeo’s bed. Maybe Teheran isn’t like Omaha but if it’s something that civilized men around the world should hold at arm’s length, before we go to war against it, let's ask if it's worse than Saudi Arabia, which Gabbard describe thus:
The neocon Washington establishment continues to cozy up to Saudi Arabia despite their direct and indirect support of terrorist groups, and their continued global exportation of the extreme Wahhabi Salafi ideology that fuels terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, directly undermining the safety and security of our country.[3]
Hardly. The “chief sponsor of terrorism” charge clearly is nonsense as has been ably pointed out.

We fawn over Saudi Arabia but why were Ukraine and Libya so much more awful than Saudi Arabia? U.S. foreign policy, supposedly the very distillation of historical insight and political wisdom, engineered a Ukrainian “solution” to whatever the Ukrainian problem was that involved snipers gunning down cops and civilians alike in the public square. Had the U.S. not interfered there would now be NO fighting in eastern Ukraine and Crimea would still be under Ukrainian control with Russia paying rent for its Black Sea naval base.

Gaddafi was not about to obliterate any of his own people but the U.S. said he was, so a now-compliant ruler who did a commendable job in providing for Libyans (and stemming the flow of Africans to Europe), was butchered like a hog on the side of the road and the country turned into a ghastly chaotic mess. Made in U.S.A.

And why is Bashar al-Assad the cause of so many U.S. hankies soaked with tears of the wise and beautiful people? Any video of an interview with him shows a rational, even-tempered man not some kind of animal or a caricature dreamed up in U.S. elite imaginings or the product of deliberate distortion. Terrible things have happened in Syria but it is not the obligation of national leaders to meekly surrender to foreign attack or domestic insurrection. Assad and the Syrian people fought back but, like Ukraine, not one thousandth of the death and destruction that have taken place would have occurred without U.S. aggression. No U.S. involvement? Easy victory for Assad, no mass casualties, no mass destruction, no refugee flood within and outside of Syria.

Iranian president Rouhani is on solid ground when he wonders how it is that the U.S. presumes to dictate to others when our enlightened interventions have empowered the filth in Syria and Iraq, caused us to ally with salafists missing links like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and led to widespread death and destruction in Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and Serbia. “Widespread” hardly begins to describe the utter devastation visited on Syria by Operation Inherent Resolve in which we play such an integral part.

In the Great War on Terror we were bosom buddies with the real Syrian animals providing training, intelligence, weapons, ammunition, air support, and taxi services. We accomplished the hideous results in Syria for reasons that are vague and unspecified but it’s Assad who’s the animal, the “brutal dictator,” who must be removed from power. Moreover, it’s far from clear (I say by way of intergalactic understatement) that the Syrian regime is responsible for the sarin attacks in E. Ghouta in 2013 and Khan Sheikhoun in 2017 and U.S. claims of the Syrian people’s rejection of the Assad regime are belied by how Syrians actually vote, civilian refugee movements following jihadi successes, and civilian joy at being liberated from jihadi control. Evidence of international preparations for an insurgency that preceded the 2011 “uprising” in Daraa (or that soon followed it) conclusively show that the Syrian war was anything but local in origin.

In short, what Western observers assumed was an entirely secular uprising, demanding freedom and human rights in the Western sense, in fact had a very strong Islamist component, was managed by the Muslim Brotherhood, and had strong financial support from the Gulf countries that themselves enforced fringe, extremist versions of Sunni Islam on their own populations and wished to export the same in Syria. The use of phrases such as “councils” and “committees” and “revolutionary” coupled with video footage of protests and demonstrations using English slogans about freedom helped to obscure the largely Islamist nature of the uprising.[4]
“Popular uprising,” my foot.

So we have Gabbard’s well-founded disdain for “regime change” supplemented by evidence that the U.S. is clueless as to or indifferent to the consequences of its stupid, arrogant meddling. In Syria our greasy alliance with the worst elements of the Islamic world and our direct involvement in Syria in contravention of the U.N. Charter and our Constitution have led to a further debasement of our own government’s domestic integrity and visible evidence that we don’t know our knee from our elbow.

Pure disaster has followed in our wake wherever we have intervened outside our borders all at ruinous expense and for purposes kept very, very far from public scrutiny. “The Cold War” justified a lot of sins as even U.S. mistakes were better than the alternative. Vietnam has gone on to be a livable country now but the aftermath of Hanoi’s victory was everything that decent Americans feared about communist takeovers.

Anyway, it’s passé now. Since 1991, “trust us” went a long way to forestall criticism of U.S. policy but that is for sure no longer acceptable to Americans, let alone the rest of the world, as a reason to wage war on Syria, provoke and insult Russia, or strive for some kind of global American supremacy. Rouhani’s view on American arrogance is a far better starting point for American foreign policy elites than the insufferable assumptions underlying demands for Iranian obeisance announced by the ass hat Pompeo.

Anything the U.S. is doing overseas now is exactly the wrong thing. What is the right thing is for us to let the world go about its business while we pay attention, as Donald Trump is doing in spades, to unequal trade arrangements, parasitic allies, jobs, migrant invasion, job theft, and welfare parasitism, and regulatory and tax relief. The Chinese and Russians have stayed far away from maintaining a major military presence outside their borders but we have done the opposite with a cost to us since 2001 – but to no other major power – of $32,000,000 per hour. That kind of money buys a lot of box wine down at the Brew Through and Americans are very curious now what is so all-fire important about who rules Syria. If Russians and Chinese want to bankrupt themselves with moronic foreign adventurism let them lay waste to their domestic economies and upend rational policies.

We have been there and done that. With no, zero, discernible benefit to us.

[1] "The (not so) New Neocons." By Tulsi Gabbard, Medium, 3/23/18 (emphasis added).
[2] "Pompeo Unveils Next Step in US-Iran Policy; Sanctions to Be 'Strongest in History.'" By Fern Sidman, The Jewish Voice, 5/23/18.
[3] Gabbard, supra.
[4] "Did Assad Deliberately Release Islamist Prisoners to Militarize and Radicalize the Syrian Uprising?" By William Van Wagenen, The Libertarian Institute, 2/28/18. See also "What does the battle of Deraa symbolise?" By Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 7/19/18: “John McCain is an elected US Senator, and is also president of one of the branches of the National Endowment for Democracy, one of the secret services of the « Five Eyes » (USA-UK-Australia-Canada-New Zealand) [1]. On 22 February, he was in Lebanon, where he tasked the transport of weapons in Syria to the Haririst deputy Okab Sakr. He also journeyed to Ersal in order to establish a future rear base for the jihadists.” And: "Episode #234 – ‘Manifest Destiny’ with guests F. William Engdahl + Treka (from Syria)." Host Patrick Henningsen, 21st Century Wire, 5/20/18 (cross-border tunnels built before uprising, 1:47:37 mark).



The ME is a very messy place. Old, different cultures all in a mix. And certainly I'm not saying I understand it either.

The problem is that, with Shia Islam in particular, to bring the Twelfth Imam (Shia's version of the Messiah) there MUST BE a world conflict. To them, global destruction is not a bug but a feature.

Having been to Persia (before the revolution, so I was knee high to a grasshopper) I remember kind, warm people. My mother met some shopkeeper who invited us for dinner after a 30 minute conversation. (His daughters were very nice, played with me, but I distinctly remember them asking me which one I wanted to marry! A heavy choice for a nine year old. ;)

sykes.1 said...

What we really need right now is a really, really big ground war that will grind up a few million Iranian young men and several hundred thousand American young men. A nice bloody war that will gone on for 20 years or more, collapse the stock markets and everyone's pensions, cause world wide severe depression, worse than the 30's, and end in a nuclear holocaust.

Col. B. Bunny said...

NITZAKHON, you're right about the M.E. After I got out of the army in 1970 I took a cursory look at it and found it all overwhelming and beyond the understanding of a non-specialist. It's a little clearer now after so many intervening years. The legitimacy of Israel's presence is now based purely on military force in my mind and the PR of "Exodus" has long since lost its luster. Salafist, primitive, supremacist, aggressive Islam is nothing to embrace either and I cheerfully acknowledge that what Israeli's did to the Arabs and do to them now is no worse than what Arabs did to the people they conquered.

This is why the U.S. attack on Syria is so bizarre because it's exactly the kind of secular cum Muslim/Christian/Yazidi/etc. country any decent person should want in the M.E. I don't want Muslims in the West and I am sure that most Muslims would prefer to have no Westerners in their world, but that still doesn't obscure the moderate and sensible nature of Syria which, oddly, is now our major target for destruction of balkanization in the M.E. I think this is really Israel's wish, not our own considered policy, but that is a topic for another day.

Opposition to Iran is also explicable in this way and what other reasons we might have for singling it out are not clear to me. I full accounting of what is wrong with Iran may be in order but right now I'm not buying the ipse dixit nature of U.S. hostility. But the U.S. elite are above explaining anything, least of all the legal basis for U.S. unilateralism and "our" drive for planetary hegemony.

I think you're correct about that aspect of Shia doctrine but I think it's pointless to put any store in it as a guide to likely near-term Iranian action. I say that because of the truth revealed in the joke about the pastor who invites everyone in the congregation who wants to go to Heaven to hold up his or her hand. "Charlie," he says, "I see you're not holding up your hand." "That's right, preacher," he says. "I thought you were asking who wants to go right now."

Col. B. Bunny said...

Sykes.1, that's funny but, alas, not far from the course we have casually charted. As the saying goes, you naturally intend the natural consequences of your actions. Victory to stupidity, indifference, and malice!

An economic hiccup is baked in the cake and, while I don't wish for privation for myself or others, it will have the salutary effect of defunding a boatload of stupid policies and highlighting the stupidity of certain beliefs, such as progressivism and socialism. We were undone by our wealth as it empower sheer madness. Our wealth ultimately has proved to be not worth having. The modern (i.e., unbelievably wealthy) world empowered moral midgets, morons, thieves, and the power mad.

Col. B. Bunny said...

you intend the natural consequences of your actions




I strongly suspect Barackus and Killary (especially the former) want Assad gone to precipitate chaos in the region (1). This would also have the effect of damaging Israel, whom they both hated.

I remember one of Assad's generals saying, about the West's support of the rebels, "Don't they understand we're all that's holding ISIS back?" True. Assad's a monster - no question - but he's a CONTROLLABLE monster. If, for no other reason, that he values his neck. "The Devil you know, or the Devil you can control," and all.

Part of our problem is that too many don't understand the tribal nature of things over there. Even my wife, from Kazakhstan, once described the tribal loyalty there - and I was baffled. Add in our not understanding the SHAME CULTURE over there and we have a recipe for making things worse. (2)


Col. B. Bunny said...

NITZAKHON, I don't doubt that Obama was no fan of Israel. I can't put my finger on what Hillary thought but I think the (very) general rule is leftist = hostility. I'm not a fan any more myself, not least for the Israeli arrogance that precisely mirrors our own.

I have the opposite view on local chaos. It's clearly in Israel's interest to nurture it in furtherance of its perceived need to have weak statelets in its immediate neighborhood. Phil Geraldi has one of the best pieces on what's involved in Syria and with Iran and Israel that I've read. It reads in pertinent part:

"The United States military is deeply engaged in Syria, in part due to Israeli pressure, seeking to depose the existing government of President Bashar al-Assad and replace it with a Syria composed primarily of fragmented local jurisdictions representing tribal and religious groups rather than a unified state. Israel believes that a shattered Syria would not pose any threat to its continued possession of the occupied Golan Heights and might even offer an opportunity to expand that occupation."

I beg to differ on Assad's being any kind of a monster. He's an ophthalmologist by training and temperament and is clearly successful as a leader in stressing a secular society and ensuring protection for minorities. The realities of any war that is fairly fought are horrific and reflect no kind of unusual depravity or monstrousness on the combatants and their leaders. Reports of regime police arresting and torturing teenagers at the outset of the insurgency were false. There was no torture. Similarly, the allegations of chemical weapons use are false. Prison crematorium? The same. The allegations of Assad's monster status are vaporous. Given the undeniably monstrous nature of the insurgents, however, I won't fault the regime or its leader for dropping the hammer on them and, figuratively speaking, crucifying them.

There's a tribal element at work in Syria (and elsewhere). True. It is not, however, ipso facto an obstacle to creating a halfway decent nation. The occupation of Iraq, however, was a textbook case of either ignoring or exacerbating tribal realities.