Sunday, September 14, 2014

It IS Our War

Listening to the Sunday morning Talk shows I note that the Democrats are still espousing the President's strategy and the Republican are saying it's not enough.

A couple of things occurred to me after hearing that a British aid worker has joined the ranks of sacrificial lambs to western politics.

Two arguments go against the grain that it's a regional war and those in the region have to sort it.

First conventional borders have been erased by the new State.  It is coming perilously close to obliterating even more - Jordan and Turkey, who incidentally is a Shiria state want-to-be under Erdogan.

The once assumed safe haven of Baghdad you'll note is surrounded by them making the formation of an all inclusive Iraqi state more difficult than it has been already.

That covers the territorial part of the argument.

Now for personnel.  You'll remember the first two deaths were American journalists.  The third a Brit and the fourth, another Brit, is fingered.  Remember they hold Italians and Turkish diplomats too.  They seem to be choosing those who have a connection with the military as their first victims no matter it may have been from generations back.  An excuse is an excuse.  Don't think for one minute that when they run out of captives that have any sort of military history they'll not turn to who ever is left.

Back to my argument.  Americans and Brits. That alone should make it ours.  But more than that consider how many foreign nations are in the middle east in ongoing business ventures.  I remember when my husband was working for both an oil company then an electronics firm where his travels took him.  Damascas, Beirut, Israel to mention a few plus a good number of South American countries.  Those were days of relative peace but I can recall his stories of kids playing soccer with military rifles slung over their shoulders. This is what it has escalated into.

The radical groups who do not call themselves ISIL and are operating in different territory will feed off of its success.  What happens when business or oil patch workers are captured and paraded out for execution?  Are we going to say it's a British problem if they are Brits?  Or Canadian or Italian or Swiss or whatever?

The politicians cannot quit playing politics even when human lives are at stake. People who care more about truth and compassion than politics are the ones losing their lives.  Meanwhile in Washington, the dreary beat goes on.

When they won't face up to the facts about our own border, I don't expect they'll ever face up to the facts elsewhere.

They don't want our boots on the ground.  How about a bunch of $800 wingtips?  They'll quickly learn the reality of not having skilled leadership and forces to back them up!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

There Are Always Consequences

The Presiden'ts "speech" is now in the history books.  The critics are out in full force and unfortunately they seem to be outnumbering the supporters.  It's a bad news situation no matter how you look at it.

First we have a President at odds with his own words.  He presented a plan of sorts with so many holes in it you can't blame Congress for being reluctant to open the check book or voice support.  On the other hand, if they don't the world as we know it will disintegrate before our eyes.

There comes a time when war is necessary.  To worry about legacy above need is pathetic and foolhardy.  The time to worry about legacy should have been before the country was diminished in the eyes of the world by arrogant and dismissive actions toward our allies. They owe us nothing.  Why put their own in harms way when they have good reason to doubt we have their back?

The turmoil in our politics here at home adds to the image of weak leadership.  We want, now, for the world to follow our lead.  What lead?  We want the easy part.  The air strikes.  We want everyone else to commit to the hard part.  Boots on the ground.  Even though the threat is at their door, why would they want to follow a "leader" who is less than committed in the first place?

Now it will be politics as usual.  The parsing of words.  Struggling with who has the authority to do what. Heaven forbid anything interfere with mid term campaigning!

In the meantime ISIL or whatever - I think now the Islamic State is most accurate - continues on it's determined pursuit of followers, territory and mayhem.  The longer we wait or nibble around the edges, the worse it will get.  What happens when the British aid worker loses his head?  Or one of the Turkish diplomats the "State" holds?

Israel is always reminding the world to remember the holocaust and vow never again.  They show their determination daily in their fight with Hamas.  Expand on that while remembering Hamas is cut from the same cloth as the State.  How did it start?  With the world dismissing a seemingly insignificant little bully of a man with huge ambition.

How is this starting? With the world dismissing what they suppose is little more than a collection of malcontents in rag tag armies bent on mischief?  Some mischief.

The situation gives new meaning to the saying, "Move it or lose it".  It's time to move it!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Speech - Now What?

I listened to the President's speech and was left wondering, now what?  It proved to be pretty much what I expected.  A lot of flourish with little detail.

In the President's defense, there is only so much he could tell.  For instance, the question that arose about what would happen when and if a fighter pilot is shot down over Syria or in ISIS territory.  How would we get him out before he suffered the same fate or worse than our two journalists? I'd like to think the top brass have a handle on that though it's a tough one.

What really worries me is the time line.  I know it can't be an exact, but by the time we get the troops in Iraq re-trained and the Free Syrian Army up to snuff so that there will be "boots on the ground"to help the Kurds ISIS will have had ample time to do far more damage than already done.

An aside on the Free Syrian Army that the President so blithely called inadequet because they are no more than pharmicists and technicians, I'd like to remind him it's the same stuff from which our reserves and National Guard are made and they've done an exemplary job!

What he presented is a piece meal strategy at best in a war that can't be won that way.  Every time we stall or drag our feet, Iran continues toward it's nuclear goal and ISIS towards it's goal of literally slaughtereing all who do not agree with them.

Telling us how great our economy is and how great we are does nothing toward warding off more of the jihadist aggressiveness what's more destroying them.

My feeling is he said what was written for him to say in an effort to get the country behind increased military involvement into which he has been forced.  It's not so much that we are tired of war as they constantly tell us, but that he is.  He doesn't want to deal with anything that doesn't fit into his 21st century vision for the world.  For the world, not of the world.  Because he cannot.  The world is far different than he would have it and he has trouble with that concept. His way to deal with it is to ignore it.

Unfortunately ignoring reality doesn't change it.  One can hope he gets a coalition that's willing to fight.  So far no one else, other than the Kurds, are willing to help the boots on the ground movement.  Going to the UN Security Council will do nothing but make public the ridicule and wrath of Russia and China.

What I see in all this is a struggle within himself as to whether he must follow the counsel of his advisors or continue to follow his own.  If past history is any indication he'll follow his own.  Our enemies will continue on their current paths.  Nothing will change to a meaningful degree while this President is in office short of an actual attack within the borders of the United States.

By the time a new President takes office, the world problem will be far worse than it is today.  Obama will walk away from it probably still blaming Bush.  I wonder if the new President will blame Obama six years into his/her presidency.

Unfortunately a belated blame game does no good other than to divide. Facing the issue and acting on  it in a timely manner is what is needed. The speech was nice. Unless he follows through in that timely manner, it will all have been for naught.

As a footnote, might I add Congress would do well to quit playing politics with it and also do what is required of them in the same timely manner.  Elections be damned.

Monday, September 08, 2014

It's Time For Multitasking

They say women are better at multitasking than men.  In looking at how the President handles issues I can see how that conclusion has been drawn.

I can be proven wrong if his speech Wednesday night will outline more than a linear strategy for dealing with ISIS. I expect however, for him to lay the bulk of the burden on others.

In some respects he should.  Europe, Britain in particular, have more active radicals in their country than do we.  Note I said active.  France has a larger Muslim population than even Britain.  They both have a great deal at stake.

So do the other Middle Eastern countries including Saudi, the Emirates and Jordan.  Even Pakistan and India where the radicals have been gaining a foothold.  Ideally they should all share the responsibility. Israel too is in the mix.

The President has promised no boots on the ground.  This can be achieved by properly arming those who would provide those boots, namely the Kurds, but will we?  Can others fill the need if we don't?  Will they?

It's hard to fight a war without an action being identified as such.  It will be interesting to hear just what the President will call it. I wonder what the families of the beheaded journalists would call it. No matter, it is a war. It needs to be fought like one. All the fancy words in the world can't change the reality of it.

What worries me is how he tends to try to shape events to suit his idealistic vision rather than the actuality of it.  He did it by withdrawing everything from Iraq leaving them hanging.  We're about to do it in Afghanistan.  He did it in Benghazi with a ridiculous tale both he and Hillary should be ashamed of rather than trying to perpetuate.

Because of his previous behavior I don't expect his about to be announced strategy to be sufficient.  Especially when he's talking about a three year plan!  This isn't some leisurely chess game where hours can be taken between moves.

I'll wait and see though.  There's nothing else to do.  I'm wagering he'll do little if anything before the midterms then will drag his feet on anything he's laid out. It's the nature of the beast.  Boy, I would really be glad for this to be a misjudgement on my part!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Presidency - Who's Next?

You can already sense the tide turning even before the mid-terms.  What can be done has been done as far as campaigning is concerned even if Congress is going to take even more time off to do just that.

It matters a great deal as to which party will control both the House and Senate.  But more important is who will be the next President. It's crucial to the future of the nation.

So who are the choices? The Democrats are dutifully waiting to see what the Queen Bee decides.  The more we read about her and what she has written, listen to her and look at her, many of us are well reminded why bumper stickers in upstate New York, when she first ran for Senate, read "Not Hillary.  Not now.  Not ever." Twenty sixteen will not be the time for another personality.

The Republican side looks little better.  I have to say one thing, none of the potential candidates seem to agree with one another on much of anything. That's not very comforting.

You know who I keep coming back to?  Mitt Romney.  He's been on the tube a lot lately, campaigning for others we're told.  He is not running and has no intention to run.  Been there done that. Even so, he's a politician and politicians are so good at nuancing what they say.

Consider this, though.  He was right about so much during the debates where Obama so glibly put him down.  At times with the help of the moderator. Obama was so very wrong.

We want a president who understands the world stage.  We want a President who understands the economy.  We want a President who can see the big picture regarding our national woes, not just the ones that are politically attractive.  We want a President who knows how to manage; one who has actually had hands on experience.  Not text book theory.

That pretty much looks like Romney at the moment. The 'scandals' that surrounded him in 2012 have been rehashed ad naseam and proven to be unfounded.  Maybe we've matured to the point that  we realize no one person is going to be the end all for everyone  but will do his best to bring the Congress and the country together for the good of same.  Maybe we've matured enough to understand his religion is not akin to radical Islam.  Maybe we've matured enough to understand his success in life is a plus to be drawn upon rather than denigrated out of what, envy?

Who knows.  I know what he says. I rather hope he changes his mind, hires some new advisers and joins the fray. Will it take a coronation like Hillary would like? I would hope not, I would hope it would be because the country needs a man of his caliber, intellect, ability and innate patriotism.

He's tried twice before.  Would the third time be the charm?