Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The IS Maze Versus Our Own

It hasn't been easy, this war against the Islamic State.  Even though Turkey now seems ready to let the Iraqi Kurds help the Syrian Kurds other aspects of the war aren't going too well.

We've been put on notice that Wednesday is dooms day for the next American and we've air dropped a load of arms meant for the Kurds right into IS territory.

It gets worse and we here in America should take note for there is a lesson in it. Sunnis in Lebanon are now leaning more in support of the IS cause because of the same old reason that allowed the movement to get a foot hold in the first place.  The exclusion of Sunni Muslims in government.

Hezbollah is gaining a strong foothold within Lebanon's borders much as Hamas has done in Gaza. The alternative is to look at the radical groups and none have the victories to tout more than IS.  While having enough on their hands as is for the time being, I'm sure the IS leadership is pleased with the turmoil in Lebanon.  Will even the moderate Sunni's join forces with them?  It has happened elsewhere and could again.  That means another front for the war and still too few to fight it.  Even with the Kurds valiantly providing boots on the ground they are outnumbered and remain out armed.

Could this repeat itself here?  Could a group that feels marginalized be pushed to the brink of extremism?  You see the ground work in places like Ferguson, MO.  The protests have far surpassed reason.  The truth of what happened the night young Michael Brown was killed by a police officer is still muddy yet that didn't quell the violent protests.  Led, in many cases, by rabble rousers from out side the community whose only purpose was to create and perpetuate unrest.

They've succeeded for the anger still is palpable, deserved or not.  We need to address this.  We need to quell the radical outliers who want only more tragedy to avenge tragedy. The ones who want to foment hatred for the sake of hatred and nothing more.  This is how movements begin and trying to solve the problem with political correctness is an exercise in futility.

The symptoms need addressed before the fever hits. Can we do this in our country before we turn into a nation of malcontents and the worst of us reign?

We can if we have the will.  The will to understand ethnicity and economic conditions play a part yet have the courage to enforce that which is right and that which is wrong without caveats. It must be the first priority if we are to remain a civilized nation.

Exclusion, whether great or small, breeds discontent and there is quite enough of that going around these days.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What If The Republicans DO Win?

The news cycles have calmed down a bit over the week end.  The U.S. has finally started sending much needed relief to the Kobani Kurds even though Turkey is not happy about it. What's going on around Baghdad is for another day.

The Ebola hoopla has settled thanks to a lot of people being able to leave quarantine.  Imagine.  Who would ever have thought that our advanced methods of care would be more dangerous to the care givers than what's being done in West Africa.  There's a lesson to be learned there and I think we've learned it.  At least I hope so.

So the news cycled back to the mid-terms and who was likely to win the tight races.  While some say the Republicans are a slam dunk, just as many aren't so sure.  Even the Republican wonks.

There is good reason for this.  It's like they are the stealth party.  Where are they? Who do we know?  Let's see.  McCain, Graham, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Paul, Gowdy.  These are names that just pop into my mind.  None of them are in leadership.

Maybe a Dogwalk solution is needed for the last weeks of campaigning.  If the Republicans win the Senate every leadership position in the House and Senate would be up for grabs.  No more shoo ins because of seniority. They need some leadership with a firm grasp of House and Senate rules along with a personality! Not fire brands, mind you, just a personality.

Toss in an actual agenda for the new leadership to articulate and I'd feel a whole lot better about a lot of things.  Unfortunately, as with most of my Dogwalk solutions, this one has as much of a chance of becoming reality as the Democratic Senate producing a budget.

I'm beginning to relate to partisanship.  There is a lot I'm willing to compromise on but these two items are not negotiable and with most things approached in such a manner I expect gridlock. In other words, if the Republicans win the only change I predict will be the faces.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fear Mongering And Ebola

I've stayed away from the Ebola issue thus far because nothing yet seems certain enough about the disease to write intelligently.  A few thoughts on what I do see however.

The CDC and therefore the government misread the likelihood it would reach our shores. Hospitals across the country are ill prepared to handle anything of this magnitude. The media is misstating what is known to the degree that people are most likely overly nervous. For instance I think going to the Cowboys game in Dallas is probably pretty safe.

I'm nervous to the extent I don't think we've yet seen the worst of it.  We have as director of Homeland Security a man who has no experience.  His qualification? A bundler for Obama.  Now the President has named another political hack to be the Ebola Czar.  Again, no relevant experience what-so-ever. Why?  There are highly qualified people in both the security and medical fields that could have been tapped for both positions.  Not only does it make me nervous, it makes me angry.  Not that it takes much with this bunch.

I read this morning our troops are getting a whole four hours of training before being deployed to the danger zone.  If the disease is as easily communicated as is said, you can be sure not all of them will come back.  Consider that all the tents they are putting up to contain those so inflicted are worthless without the proper medical personnel and equipment.

I see in this our usual pattern of doing something just to be seen as doing something.  Right, wrong, good or bad.

To even think of deploying reservists or national guard is criminal. Deploy needed equipment instead!

This would be boots on the ground equally as serious as in Iraq or Syria fighting ISIS. There we at least have some knowns.  With Ebola we have few and what we think we know seems to be in error too often to generate confidence.

I'm not going to suggest the actions we are taking shouldn't be.  I am suggesting this is a time to really pressure other medically advanced countries to contribute man power in the way of medical personnel, expertise and funding.

My last suggestion is to think the whole thing through rather than deploying policies willy nilly with no thought to the what ifs.  You could call it a strategy but unfortunately this administration is not proficient when it comes to creating one.  Part of strategy is the exiting part we hear so much about in war.  This too is a war that knows no boundaries, religion nor ethnicity. Fight it by all means, but do it right.  Do it to win it.

Unfortunately I'm not sure this country is able to provide that kind of leadership. The media, however, could help by ceasing to hype specious truths for the sake of ratings.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

You Can't Have It All Ways!

Unlike this country where the President wants things his way or no way Turkey's Erdogan has played it differently. He really wants to be the new Caliph with Turkey as the center of the Caliphate. Like us, he prefers to let others do his fighting while playing both sides.

Where we once thought of him as a suspect ally he has proven to be a turncoat by disallowing coalition forces, such as they are, from using his air bases and turning a blind eye toward those crossing his borders to join IS.

I suspect he wants to let IS fight his war than he'll take care of IS in lieu of joining forces with them. Good luck.

He's at war in a lesser sense with the Kurds because they want their own country and in my opinion should have it.  On his eastern border, however, their territory is in Syria so he lets his tanks sit on his side of the border while the Kurds fight desperately against IS for the survival of Kobani.

Further west Kurdish territory is partially in Turkey, partially in Iraq and partially in
Iran so he is taking advantage of the chaos to bomb those Kurds while they too are fighting IS. The poor Kurds are surrounded by hostiles, yet they remain democratic and pro western.  Unfortunately they're finding that allegiance has gained them nothing.

No arms as promised.  No support from the Turks and sporadic air support from the coalition.

So now what?  The Kurds are mad.  Really mad and beginning to rebel against the Turks. That puts them in an even more tenuous position because I'll bet it will effect our promise to provide them with more appropriate arms.  Will Turkey crumble?  Probably not but they'll be forced into some kind of armed conflict to quell the angry Turks leaving al Assad in Syria even freer reign than he already has.

Now back to IS.  While the media is focusing on Kobani IS is inching ever closer to Baghdad. We've been assured that Baghdad won't fall.  The Iraqi forces won't allow it yet two outlying bases and the accompanying arms have fallen to IS in the past few days.  Suicide bombings within the city limits are on the increase.

Will Baghdad fall?  Have we kept Ebola out of the U.S.? If it does Erdogan can forget his ambitions, IS will reign for at least a time then we'll turn our attention to a nuclear Iran.

This is why when one goes to war the goal should be to win.  Unequivocally. You can't have it all ways.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Trouble With The Truth

Why is it politicians, of any party, feel it is okay to lie to the people they serve?  Granted there are times when it's better we not know some things to avoid panic but for the most part we deserve the truth.

The biggest and most consequential lie of the Bush administration was weapons of mass destruction.  The fall out of having pushed that lie may never be put to rest.

This administration seems to be doing it's share too.  Benghazi for starters.  All the denials that preceded departmental investigations - the IRS, the Veterans Administration, Obamacare.  Carefully, calculated lies.  Why?  To obscure departmental short comings? Or is it mere contempt for the intelligence of the public? Do they really think no one will notice?

I can't help but wonder where this mind set originates and why it's so difficult to eliminate.  Perhaps the most egregious set of untruths come from the President when he promises and fails to deliver to countries who had once been our friends.  The most recent and worst is saying Turkey will allow us to use their airports to launch strikes against ISIS. Wrong.  No such agreement has been made.

Did Susan Rice think that by saying so Turkey would be embarrassed into to doing so?  Well, whoever was behind the statement miscalculated.  Again.

The only thing that comes from such actions is a demeaning of this country and its leadership and the establishment of mistrust among our allies.  And triumph from our enemies.

If we don't want our boots on the ground in massive numbers arm the Kurds like we promised.  If we don't, there will be no boots what-so-ever.  IS will continue revising it's strategy, and like yesterday when they over ran another Iraqi Army training center, our arms will continue to fall into their hands. That's not the type of arming we should be doing.

It certainly cannot be our intent.  Can it?