Endless War: Don’t We Ever Learn?

If you want to degrade and defeat the Islamic State and the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and the Khorasan group, the al-Qaeda element… in northern Syria, you are going to have to have a ground force.

General Petraeus

Seriously, are we even talking about putting soldiers on the ground in Syria? This is reckless and stupid beyond belief.

When we put soldiers in Afghanistan, at least we had the cooperation of the anemic government and supposedly its people, and we had one clearly defined enemy.

When we invaded Iraq, we had a clear objective of toppling the dictator, and then “build a nation on the principles of democracy.” A fairly clear enemy and mission.

Look how successful we have been in these two nations in the last 14 and 12 years! We spent more  than a trillion dollars, the countries are demolished and we’re no closer to stable government than before. However, there are a LOT MORE TERRORISTS now in both of those countries. They are petri dishes of terrorism.

We have failed miserably.

The American tax payer got nothing out of those initiatives. The country paid dearly. Thousands of American soldiers died. Tens of thousands were maimed for life. Families and lives were destroyed.

All. For. Nothing.

And now, we’re seriously thinking about doing this again? We are putting soldiers into another Middle Eastern country, into an ongoing conflict, where we can’t even figure out who exactly the enemy is and what we’re trying to get done there! And the Russians are already stirring that pot, too? What’s America got to do with it?

Don’t we ever learn?

Ever Deeper in the Syrian Morass

President Obama is sending “less than 50” U.S. Special Forces into Syria. That’s boots on the ground, and in contrast what he just proclaimed he would not so not too long ago.

Syria is in a mess of a civil war. The Russians are dropping bombs on behalf of the teetering Assad regime. ISIS is beheading people in the name of God. The rebels are going after ISIS and Assad. Iran is messing with things.

All we can possibly achieve is getting more Americans killed – for nothing. Don’t tell me we are doing this to keep our country safe. Don’t tell me we are doing this so I can have my freedom. Really, what are 50 American soldiers in Syria going to accomplish?

There is no solution to this mess. Therefore we should distance ourselves. Let the Russians spend their money that they don’t have. We should not be posturing.

Syria is country whose people are fleeing. Their president is a coward who is willing to allow millions of his citizens to lose their livelihoods and their homeland. He is willing to sacrifice his people’s lives so he can stay in power. He should have resigned and gone into exile with his pile of money years ago and left his people alone.

People are not there to serve their presidents. Rather, presidents are there to serve their people.

Assad is willing to drag the world through the morass with him. He does not get it.

Syrian Refugee Camp in Jordan

Refugee Camp
Picture Credit: Huthaifa Shqeirat on Facebook

Here is a partial view of a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Everyone of these tents and shacks is packed with innocent families, their children, their babies and a few possessions they could carry. Every one of these people were driven from their homes. They left their possessions, their heritage, the places where their parents and grandparents lived, their familiar surroundings. They did this because it was too dangerous to stay, or impossible to live there anymore, or because their homes were destroyed.

This is civil war. Assad claims his people love him and want him to stay in power and live in opulence in his palace. The dissidents want freedom from Assad’s tyranny. Then the criminals who claim to be religious (ISIS) took advantage of the disaster for their own enrichment and good. This is what happens when a country comes apart at the seams.

Tell that to the father in one of these tents who is trying to keep his children fed, alive, warm and protected.

Go tell him!

Syrian Girl in Syria Survived Air Raid by Syrian Military

Syrian Girl1
[Credit: GettyImages]
This girl survived the raid. Twenty other civilians were killed.

And the Syrian president/dictator Assad goes on 60 Minutes and says that his people love him.

What a country!

The Children of Syria

The little girl thinks the camera pointed at her is a weapon, so she surrenders.

Syrian Girl

The United Nations estimate that the Syrian civil war of four years has claimed more than 200,000 lives, including 10,000 children. Almost four million people are registered as refugees in neighbouring countries, and 6.5 million displaced within Syria.

And the dictator goes on 60 minutes in a suit and lisps that the people want him there.

This is so wrong.

Not So Good 60 Minutes for Obama

Tonight’s 60 Minutes was masterful reporting of the Syria conundrum our nation is in. First there was an interview with Bassar al-Assad by Charlie Rose. To get Assad on 60 Minutes, knowing that it is international television, I found to be a genius coup of CBS. How could anyone not watch? Assad spoke in surprisingly good English for an Arab leader. He is a medical doctor with post-doctoral studies in London at the Western Eye Hospital, specializing in ophthalmology. I assume that’s where he learned his English, which he speaks with a strange-sounding lisp. I wonder if he lisps in Arabic? If anyone knows, please comment and set us straight.

After the Assad interview, which was taped last Sunday, 60 Minutes aired an interview with Obama, recorded a few days later.

Charlie Rose never asked Assad point-blank if he had ordered the chemical strikes, but he did ask many other tough questions. I don’t claim to have sufficient insight into the complex politics of the Syrian crisis. But if he ordered chemical strikes against his own people, of course I condemn it. But I must say with a considerable amount of shame, overall, Assad looked better tonight on international television than Obama did.

I can’t believe I just wrote this.

By the way Obama handled the Syrian crisis, he has damaged his presidency and he has made the United States look weak. I don’t profess that I might have done a better job myself. This whole thing is a mess. But right now, whether anyone else could have done a better job, Obama looks like a fool. Where are his foreign policy advisers? Where is his Henry Kissinger when he needs him? Obama needs somebody of Kissinger or Scowcroft caliber to tell him: “Mr. President, you’re fucking this one up big time!” Obama needs help, and fast.

It was a good thing that 60 Minutes closed out the hour with a stale report on marijuana in Colorado. What if they had got Putin on as the third piece? It would have been utter disaster for Obama.

Right now our government is stumbling on the world stage. Obama does not look ready for the job. This is not a good thing to happen to a president in his 5th year in office. Syria might have killed Obama’s legacy. When I voted for him, I thought he had it in him to be a great president.

Right now, I am embarrassed for him.

John Kerry in Syria Hearings

John Kerry in Syria Hearings
[credit abcnews.go.com]
John Kerry in September 2013 in the Syria hearings, making a case for war that the American public doesn’t want anything to do with.

Powell_Iraq Hearings
[credit Wikipedia]
Colin Powell in February 2003 making a case for a war in Iraq because he had undisputable evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Today we know Powell was lying.

I don’t think Kerry is lying, but the two pictures leave a very stale taste in my mouth.

In either picture, a person I had a lot of respect for is busy selling a bill of goods to the American people.

Senator Bernie Sanders on Syria and Our Country’s Values

We’ve cut back on education, we’ve cut back on nutrition programs, we’ve thrown kids off Head Start. We have billions to spend on a war but no money to take care of the very pressing needs of the American people. That bothers me a lot.

— Senator Bernie Sanders

No More Wars

The world has to listen to American saber-rattling once again. This time it’s Obama who has got himself into the unenviable position of having drawn a line in the sand which has subsequently been crossed. What to do?

We are not learning from history. We get involved in foreign countries that:

  1. We don’t understand
  2. Don’t respect us
  3. Don’t want us there
  4. See us as the imperialists which we obviously are.

Then we kill many innocent people by using massive and blunt weapons (of mass destruction).

Afterwards, we try to rebuild nations amidst enemies of all creeds.

Above all, we’re spending billions of dollars we don’t have, money you and I pay in taxes every month.

We did it in Korea, Vietnam, the Balkans, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya – and those are only the ones I can think of right now.

We just need to stop messing with the problems of other countries that we can’t fix and don’t understand.

Of course, to be fair, I have contradict myself here:

Hitler could easily have been stopped in the years between 1935  and 1939, when the British, the French and the U.S. were dilly-dallying, trying to stay out of a war that could easily have been prevented by ousting a dictator, a war that eventually cost over 50 million lives.

Is the right solution to oust another dictator?

Syria is Not Our Problem

(via @NewsNinja2012)

I don’t know if this is a real sailor or an actor, if the photo is authentic or not, but I do know it sums up how I feel about what our country is currently engaged in.

British Parliament Turns Down Prime Minister’s Request

The last time a British prime minister was defeated by the Commons on a war motion was 1782 when the Members of Parliament refused to go on fighting against that restless little country across the Atlantic that wanted its independence – the United States of America.

After the debacle that Bush and Blair caused in 2003 when they just needed to attack Iraq, it’s not going to be easy for another prime minister to get into a war – especially one that is being instigated by this restless big country across the Atlantic – the United States of America.

Sounds like the British people learned from that lesson.

Sounds like we Americans didn’t.

Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning – by Viktor E. Frankl

Tuesday night I attended a meeting of the Felicita Humor Toastmasters Club, where Genero Crenshaw gave an excellent speech titled “Toastmasters, Wow, What an Experience!!!”

Genero referred to Viktor Frankl as one of his mentors, and recommended the book Man’s Search for Meaning. I went home and started reading it that night.

Frankl was born in 1905 in Vienna, Austria. He knew he wanted to be a physician when he was three years old. He ended up getting and M.D. and Ph.D, practicing as a renowned psychiatrist. There was only one problem. He was Jewish.

In 1942, he was arrested and hauled off to Auschwitz, a death camp of the Nazis where 1.5 million people died and from where pretty much nobody ever returned.

In Man’s Search for Meaning, we experience Auschwitz with Frankl through the observant, scientific eyes of the psychiatrist. He makes sense of the senseless, he analyzes his motives, the motives of his fellow prisoners and those of the guards and tormentors. It’s not a book about Frankl, it’s a book about humanity under the most extreme imaginable conditions of pure horror and utter de-humanization. We learn what happens to people under those conditions.

There is no way to feel sorry for oneself in modern America after reading Man’s Search for Meaning. The story of the holocaust needs to be told, over and over again, lest we forget and allow it to happen again.

Frankl died in 1997, at the ripe age of 92. He lost his parents, his brother, and his wife in the camps. After his eventual and unlikely liberation, he had nothing to live for. Taking a dose of his own medicine, he threw himself into this work and accomplished a renowned career, not only as a holocaust survivor, but also as an international psychoanalyst.

I said above “lest we forget and allow it to happen again” yet at the moment I am writing this, I know that there are concentration camps right now in North Korea where people are kept as slave laborers, for generations. If a man commits a crime of stealing a loaf of bread, he can be incarcerated for generations. His children, born in the camp, will be indentured slaves because of their father’s crimes. That’s going on today.

In Syria, right this moment, a rogue regime hell-bent on its own survival, is brutally slaying its own people by the tens of thousands – pretty much what Hitler did – yet we stand by and wait.

How can we reconcile this?

Man’s Search for Meaning, as you can see from my waxings, is thought-provoking at a very deep and challenging level.

Rating: ***