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this, for mendicant and our other 'non-interventionists'

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Posted: 08/16/2014 5:51 PM

this, for mendicant and our other 'non-interventionists' 


ISIS barbarians slaughter Yazidi men, kidnap their women in Iraqi village of Kawju...
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28814633

as for the US 'intervention'... puny... too little too late for these poor souls...

nature abhors a vacuum

'all that is necessary for the forces of evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing'

Last edited 08/16/2014 5:53 PM by FrankO

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Posted: 08/16/2014 7:50 PM

Re: this, for mendicant and our other 'non-interventionists' 


False dichotomy and you know it. Not to mention, deliberately cynical mis-read of whatever I posted which led you to think a) I don't care and b) somehow I approve of the present situation.

Last edited 08/16/2014 7:51 PM by mendicant98

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Posted: 08/16/2014 8:22 PM

so then... 


you agree that Obama made a mistake in not intervening early-on and taking out ISIS before they became this barbaric menace?... or that a mistake was made by Obama administration in releasing al-Baghdadi back in 2009 from US detention?

the vacuum left by the race to the exit was filled by all the bad actors...

Last edited 08/16/2014 8:26 PM by FrankO

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Posted: 08/16/2014 9:02 PM

Re: so then... 


I've made my position on Iraq clear long ago.
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Posted: 08/16/2014 10:11 PM

Re: so then... 


Not really. You wrote a long post about might is right, right is might, with various comments, which basically reduced to a value judgment - 'I really don't like the idea'.

If there was a principle clanking around in there, it was hard to find.

You have to have a rubric of some kind. I don't know any basis other than historical on which to begin  - and this is where attitudes took such an unfortunate turn in the 60's that the Demented Left came into being. The prevalent attitude in the academy, and a significant portion of the media, is that American force is largely a negative force in the world. US influence is an undesirable presence where it is felt. When we Do things, they are Bad things. 

That is about as dead wrong as it is possible to be, and there is now about 70 years of empirical experience to prove it. Where Western influence is felt, societies seem to flourish in the best sense. Where it is absent, there are real problems, sometimes monstrous. 

An odd thing - it is the bellicose Republican Presidents (Reagan and the two Bushes) who have advanced the human cause. It's under the apparent liberals that it recedes. Thus Reagan ends the Cold War, the older Biush creates his New World Order, the younger Bush liberates Iraq, Afghanistan, and sponsors the wave of optimism that led to the Arab Spring. Carter talks human rights, and creates an intolerant Shiite totalitarian state in Iran. Clinton inherits a world in better shape than it had been since 1913, and manages (a) to entrench Hussein, (b) tolerate a fundamentalist Islamic state in Afghanistan, (c) infinitely worsen Israeli/Palestinian relations, and soon. His only success was in Kosovo, where he used force in a manner not unlike Reagan or Bush. 

And Barack Obama? Through sheer funk, against all the mature advice in his own administration, has managed to endanger if not reverse all the gains in the Middle East, Shakespeare in Lear wrote pithily:  'the worst is not/so long as we can say 'This is the worst'. But that's an eloquent statement of a truism, not a policy. The fact that an action might misfire does not negate the duty we all have to give mature consideration to all the alternatives. Which Obama has not done.

I don't want to see the US as the world's policeman, We don't have the resources, and it gives our terminally decadent allies too easy a pass. But I do think the US should act in some measure when our national interest and a moral justification do coincide - as they do here. We have recent experience with the danger that unchecked calphatism poses to our own citizens. ISIS is not just a local threat. 

So while I don't think we can dispatch troops, I do think that some measure of substantial support is required.

And I am curious what the opposing rationale is, other than that 'War is not healthy for children or other living things', or 'it just isn't a very nice thing to do', or some other sentiment cribbed from a bumper sticker or a fortune cookie. 

Because I do think reason is required here, and not just sentiment - even though that latter is apparently the level on which our President is operating.

My mother used to tell me, "Elwood, in this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so nice."  For years I was smart.  I recommend nice.  You may quote me. - Elwood P. Dowd

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Posted: 08/16/2014 10:35 PM

Re: this, for mendicant and our other 'non-interventionists' 


I am neither "pro" nor "anti" intervention.  I am pro what works.

And intervention hasn't worked worth a damn lately.

You present it as a military issue, which it is not. 

The real problem here is the gross incompetence of our State Department and our CIA.  That's why ISIS is what it is today.  Don't expect the military to compensate for the failure of others.
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Posted: 08/16/2014 10:58 PM

Re: this, for mendicant and our other 'non-interventionists' 


Gerald,

I believe the intelligence estimates of ISIS were pretty accurate. The President ignored them.

And when  you say intervention hasn;t worked . . .  by what criteria? In what time frme? I do believe you'd have been a Tory during the American Revolution. All it led to was a Civil War.

My mother used to tell me, "Elwood, in this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so nice."  For years I was smart.  I recommend nice.  You may quote me. - Elwood P. Dowd

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Posted: 08/16/2014 11:22 PM

another account, more detail 


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Posted: 08/16/2014 11:23 PM

Re: this, for mendicant and our other 'non-interventionists' 



Genuine Realist wrote: Gerald,

I believe the intelligence estimates of ISIS were pretty accurate. The President ignored them.

That might be true but apparently they didn't convince the President.  That was a failure.  Sure, perhaps it was more a failure by Obama.
 
And when  you say intervention hasn;t worked . . .  by what criteria? In what time frme? I do believe you'd have been a Tory during the American Revolution. All it led to was a Civil War.

By what criteria?  Iraq.  Afghanistan.  Vietnam.  Every where we've intervenedCome on, where has it ever worked?
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Posted: 08/16/2014 11:26 PM

Re: another account, more detail 



FrankO wrote: http://news.msn.com/world/islamic-fighters-kill-scores-of-yazidi-men-in-iraq
Yeah, well, more people are murdered in Chicago in the last year than were murdered by ISIS.  How about intervention there or Ferguson, MO, or Washington, DC, or Detroit or Oakland?
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Posted: 08/16/2014 11:35 PM

Re: this, for mendicant and our other 'non-interventionists' 


Germany, Japan, The Phillippines, South Korea, the various territories that became States . . .

The US is actually pretty good at nation building, mostly because our culture is pluralistic and not imperialistic. But no one is going to rearrange history in a decade, particularly with the inevitable stops-and-starts of our politics. 

In any case, the West is far better off with Saddam gone and the Taliban not the lawful government of Afghanistan.

We have tried the isolationism you basically espouse, as recently as the 90's. It didn't work.

My mother used to tell me, "Elwood, in this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so nice."  For years I was smart.  I recommend nice.  You may quote me. - Elwood P. Dowd

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Posted: 08/17/2014 12:01 AM

Re: another account, more detail 



Gerald McGowin wrote:
FrankO wrote: http://news.msn.com/world/islamic-fighters-kill-scores-of-yazidi-men-in-iraq
Yeah, well, more people are murdered in Chicago in the last year than were murdered by ISIS.  How about intervention there or Ferguson, MO, or Washington, DC, or Detroit or Oakland?

If you're going to make that claim, GM,  you're going to have to provide a link.   Because not only do I not believe it's true,  I'm not sure it's even close to being true.     

Source?    Link?     Something?
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Posted: 08/17/2014 6:13 AM

Re: so then... 


Not so hard to find. Especially since I agreed with you on several points. Although disagreed on others.

But by 'long ago', I meant, not the 'might is right' post, which you've again misinterpreted, or left out an essential element, but the long ago discussion about invading Iraq, wherein I said the level of proof was never reached, to justify the second invasion. Meaning: had we adhered to our principles then, we would never be where we are now, because no vacuum, using Frank's term, would have existed. Continuing his analogy, the bottle of Iraq contained a noxious gas, but it was not deadly to us, Powell and GWB and Blair never offered convincing proofs otherwise, and we should have left matters alone.

I will not re-argue this point with you, however. Because I have also stated in the past that, if we go in, then we can't leave without finishing the job. Whether in Iraq or Afghanistan, the job is not finished, despite voter-driven declarations of victory from both sides of the political aisle. Neither GWB nor Obama have given us good and principled and forthright leadership. And vilify one or the other or both, but I also believe we get the leadership we deserve.

The QDR, and you, continue to assert the need for an American military presence worldwide which can fight multiple conflicts in multiple theaters. The underlying principle is that American military might is a global force for good, as advertised for instance by our Navy on television.

But even the present principles of our military preclude invasion or attack by our military solely to protect innocents. Gaza, Rwanda, Kosovo, take your pick. If we are to return now to Iraq, then it may be heartless to say, but we won't do it because of the latest massacre. We will do so because ISIS is a threat to the US. Which I think it is not yet, a point where we disagree.

But long term, I believe we can no longer afford such extreme expenditures. I have argued that military spending at such a high level as at present threatens the long term existence of the US, as has happened with every other Great Power in history. If the US does not exist, then all arguments about ISIS and other similar conflicts are completely moot.

I have suggested replacing the assumptions of the present QDR with one which uses our military as a protection for US and Western trade. But, that trade and other non-military means be the lead way in which our leadership as a global force for good are extended. I believe, in the present global context, that is how we inspire others, by speaking softly/economically, while continuing to carry that Big Stick, to ensure American lives and businesses are protected.

Perhaps part of a 'new' approach, or re-directed approach, would include expanded use of Special Forces and drones to address atrocities by asymmetric, non-governmental forces. But articulating such a policy will require more leadership than we have seen in WH in a long time.

Last edited 08/17/2014 7:59 AM by mendicant98

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Posted: 08/17/2014 7:56 AM

Re: another account, more detail 


not GM and not sure how many in total ISIS has killed but for Chicago

Chicago saw “historic” crime lows in 2013, including the fewest murders in 48 years, according to police.

The city tallied 415 murders in 2013—88 fewer than 2012, according to data from police spokesman Adam Collins.


link

2014 Y
TD 229

link2

t
he second link shows 421 murders in Chicago in 2013, not sure why it is different from the 1st link.
Eric

"And now my friend, the first-a rule of Italian driving.  What's-a behind me is not important."
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Posted: 08/17/2014 9:22 AM

The Iraqi War and National Interest 


I was mildly opposed to the Iraqi War when it broke out, concerned about a humaintarian disaster that never occurred. But I happened to be reading a book that influenced me quite a bit, "The New Yorker Book of War Pieces: 1939-1945" , which you can find at Amazon at the link provided. This was a collection of 51 pieces of the really superb New Yorker journalism of the time, written in real time during the Second World War. What was striking to me, and relevant, were the letters from London and Paris in 1940-1941. 

There was real fear in those essays, of the type that the best historian can't duplicate. The Nazis were everywhere, apparently invincible, and with their incredible inhumanity less and less masked. So the articles where redolent with the theme - why did we let this happen? How could we have been so blind? But this was coming from exactly the same salonist faction that would have damned Baldwin and Poincare without mercy if they had acted in 1936 and 1937, when a casus belli certainly was provided and Nazi Germany only barely militarized. It was exactly the same faction that damned Bush 70 years later for doing what those prime ministers had not. 

Right now, the West is  - well, not 'at war', but let us say, 'in conflict' - with a cultural movement I have decided to call 'caliphatism' - small as a percentage of the population, but large enough in numbers. One of the cliches of Bush opposition is that the US was not attacked by Iraq on 9/11. Absolutely right, but it was also not attacked by Afghanistan. It was attacked by Saudi expatriates that were representatives of an international cultural phenomenon, that spreads across a number of Muslim nations.

If we had done nothing in 2003, as we had done nothing before then, a monstrous act of terror, likely nuclear, was as inevitable as the succession of days - the old metaphor of monkeys with typewriters. And while that would not endanger the national identity of the US or any other nation, it would challenge the values of open society we have all come to cherish.

When BC was posting here regularly, I once cited to him a purple passage from Richard Rhodes 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb', about the devastating effect of the bomb at Hiroshima. He allowed as how a nuclear incident would result in public panic. He was right about the adjective, wrong about the noun. The public would react, all right, but it wouldn't be panic. It would be a cold blooded awareness that an openness that results in the destruction of entire cities in a moment, and tens of thousands of lives is intolerable.

When I defend the NSA programs, it's on the basis that it poses no threat to the public while we all hold to our traditional values. One of the great ironies in the debate is that the programs in existence are directed at preventing acts that could challenge those values. In any case, that's what's at issue.

What the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan did is to smash the culture that produced caliphatism into smithereeens. That's to Bush's credit. (To his discredit, his administration did an appalling job of preventing Iraqis from killing each other between 2004 and  2007).  Though no one summarizes it this way, the US assisted Iraq with the creation of quite a good Constitution,  two open elections, a sectarian reconciliation between 2008 and 2010, and a high tide of optimism in 2010. Although the salonists would rather die than deny it, this inspired the Arab Spring, which was basically a revolt of moderation.

And finally to relate this endless post to the first one, I have been speaking so far of national interest. But people like dennis and others have since the 60's used moral language to criticize - there is something wrong about this, this is evil, war is not healthy, etc. And that is - to quote again - dead wrong. In just about every instance, US influence and power has had a profoundly liberalizing influence welcomed by those exposed to it. Might does indeed make right, not because it is might, but because the Anglo-Saxon liberal values espoused by the US are the way most people want to live. (One of the Demented Left's most obnoxious hypocrisies is to treat Hussein's Iraq, Talibani Afghanistan, and other such, as consensually governed states, Years ago, I took GHC to task for casually referring to the Al Quaeda resistance as 'freedom fighters', when they are actually fascists. US soldiers are freedom fighters. But the Demented Left, in its determined anti-Americanism, will elevate fascist states to consensual ones).

What Barack Obama has done, in his inexcusable weakness and passivity, by allowing the Syrian rebellion, originally another moderate one, to be coopted by a minority - it is always a minority - of fanatics, is to allow calipahtism to reinvent itself. I HOPE and believe he has not erased all the progress of ten years - I think the bell was rung too clearly to be unrung that completely. But it is inexcusable anyway.

Finally, you imply we must be committed to 'finishing the job' as a predicate for action. But history never stops, and there is no such thing as 'finish'. Lincoln should not have begun the Civil War because he could not eradicate racism. It's another tautology masquerading as an argument, a rationalization for complee passivity. What we do have to be is committed to the ongoing process, with the knowledge that for practical purposes it is never ending.  The present Administration has failed dismally and inexcusably in that regard.

I don't believe in imperial force. I don't believe in war as policy - it would destroy the fabric of this nation. But I do believe the force used in this case was necessary, even wise - and that in large terms it moved Islamic society forward in exactly the direction that most Muslims want to go. We should continue to support that movement - which we did not.

My mother used to tell me, "Elwood, in this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so nice."  For years I was smart.  I recommend nice.  You may quote me. - Elwood P. Dowd

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Posted: 08/18/2014 8:01 AM

Re: The Iraqi War and National Interest 


A couple of comments, and a provocative thought.

First, I think you're looking at the historical effect of the projection of American military power, as almost solely as a global force for good, through selective lenses. I don't see how Vietnam can be seen that way at all. We're doing more for Vietnam today, through promotion of growth of their economy, through investment of capital and purchase of their goods and services and tourism, than we ever did militarily. The first Iraq war cannot be seen that way, because although we left behind a diminished and neutered Saddam, we still left him in place. I'm cherry picking, too, but my point is that our record of success is more ambiguous than you allow, and not so easily ascribed to one political party or the other.

Second, on 'finishing'. Your point, that there is rarely a clean end, and rather an evolution, is well taken. American troops stood in occupation in Europe for years after WWII. Most eventually came home, but then the Cold War brought renewed deployments (but importantly, no longer as forces of occupation). Similarly in Japan. Similarly in Korea. Always staying long enough, with enough force, to allow western principles of law and economics to take firm root. Not so similarly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Third, with respect to the occupation of the South after Appomattox. That war was not about racism. It was about slavery. Had Lincoln lived, I suspect, but do not know, several things. First, he would have managed Reconstruction and the Radical Republicans better than Johnson, but may nor have avoided the debate of impeachment, although I think he would not have been impeached. Second, I do think his reputation, his elevation to near sainthood after his assassination, would have suffered: as we know from Iraq and Afghanistan, peace is more difficult than war, and as you rightly point out, although the Civil War was about slavery, any ship of state was going to founder, if not wreck, on the next problem, of racism, during the peace. Third, it is little known that Lincoln probably had a rare form of cancer. Booth aside, he may not have lived another year. Leaving the same vacuum of skilled leadership.

Fourth, when and where do we choose to deploy our global force for good? Why did we not attack the Soviet Union post WWII? Why did we not attack China as Mao became ascendant? I have mentioned Gaza, Rwanda, and Kosovo before. One could add Sudan, Congo, and the Horn region. In my opinion we had to attack Afghanistan: though that government did not attack us directly, it aided and abetted a non-governmental force to do so, and my limited understanding of the law of war indicates there was plenty of justification. What about various incursions over the years that we did make: Grenada, Iran (both Carter and Reagan), Pakistan (to get OBL), Mogadishu, Cambodia, Laos.

Finally, a provocative thought, that runs counter to my own inclinations against American military imperialism. I think the US should occupy Gaza, and maybe the West Bank, too. And stay until the following goals are achieved, and keep a sustaining force thereafter: root out Hamas, and maybe Fatah, yard by cubic yard, above and below ground; rebuild, including new capital for business and economic enterprise; education (which means, we probably have to stay 20+ years) of the populace, esp. the children; religious freedom; ideally, creation of a special economic zone, which encourages a combination of human capital investment, combined with Israeli investment of technological know-how, and Egyptian and Saudi investment of raw materials. I think this could accomplish a number of long-term strategic goals. We prove that American ideals are a force for good which does not pre-empt or subvert Islam; we create a new economic force to compete in the global market; we stabilize threats to israel, if not remove the closest threats altogether; we have a force at relatively close quarters to other Middle East hot spots, which can be deployed rapidly to stabilize Syria (ideally), and challenge Iranian mischief and worse.

As the US increases onshore energy production, it becomes tempting to unplug altogether from the Middle East. Strategically, I don't think we can do this. A focus on Gaza doesn't threaten Islamic holy sites, as US forces did in Saudi Arabia, would give the lie to the notion that the US is the great satan, and would be an existence proof that the cycle of violence doesn't have to last for eternity.
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Posted: 08/18/2014 8:55 AM

Re: this, for mendicant and our other 'non-interventionists' 


Frank, I'll ask it again.  What makes you think that Obama can actually lead a competent intervention?  You seem to be constantly saying, this guy is a cluster bleeper and yet here you go again saying he has to go lead an intervention and I hope this time he and his get it right.  How is that hopey changey thing working out anyway?

our state of grace is gone.

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Posted: 08/18/2014 12:31 PM

I would hope it wouldn't be Obama 'leading...' 


instead a competent military guy... a latter-day Petraeus

but since you asked... I'll venture that though it is late, and much suffering has occurred...  in delayed response to those atrocities and threat,  so far so good on whoever (presume DoD player) is now finally initiating the start of trying to first contain the ISIS advance and hopefully expand the effort to put an end to the ISIS menace...

where Obama really fvked up is ignoring reality... in letting ISIS become the menace it now is...

Obama's rush for the exit, without a strategy to keep things minimally stable and washing his hands of Iraq/Maliki... while at the same time releasing the lead-bad actor, al-Baghdadi, from US detention was a clusterfvk of prime proportion

didn't have to be

Last edited 08/18/2014 12:40 PM by FrankO

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Posted: 08/18/2014 1:08 PM

Re: I would hope it wouldn't be Obama 'leading...' 



FrankO wrote:

instead a competent military guy... a latter-day Petraeus

but since you asked... I'll venture that though it is late, and much suffering has occurred...  in delayed response to those atrocities and threat,  so far so good on whoever (presume DoD player) is now finally initiating the start of trying to first contain the ISIS advance and hopefully expand the effort to put an end to the ISIS menace...

where Obama really fvked up is ignoring reality... in letting ISIS become the menace it now is...

Obama's rush for the exit, without a strategy to keep things minimally stable and washing his hands of Iraq/Maliki... while at the same time releasing the lead-bad actor, al-Baghdadi, from US detention was a clusterfvk of prime proportion

didn't have to be

Let us not forget that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died as a result of the war. Although the estimates vary widely (Wikipedia), whatever the exact, it is a horrific toll. As of 2008, suicide bombers alone had killed at least 13,000 Iraqis during our occupation. Link. Sunnis killing Shias and vice versa, and LOL if you think the surge was going to stop it.

And here's the rub, forign military occupation is a major cause if not the major cause of suicide bombing worldwide. ForeignPolicy. That didn't happen in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, etc. But it has and will continue to happen if we continue to try to police the middle east by occupation, particularly if the Great Satan continues to try to do it, for all practical purposes, alone.

FWIW, no one has convinced me that they had a great plan  for intervening in the Syrian affair. I guarantee that there was no straight line to achieving our goals in that quagmire of competing factions.

I have argued that we should take limited and achievable military action, as we have done in the battle for the Mosul Dam which apparently the Kurds reclaimed today. Obama should have moved, in similarly limited actions, against ISIS much sooner. Beyond that kind of military force, our presence is almost always counter-productive and prohibitively expensive in the long-term.
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Posted: 08/18/2014 1:08 PM

We Can Certainly Agree 


that al-Baghdadi should have been turned into jackal food instead of released.

Reminds me of a story a nice gentlemen told me one time when I was down in South Africa about a political prisoner that was released by the Rhodesian government to his "cohort" in an extremely remote and supposedly safe and secret location in the middle of southwestern Rhodesia.  The official story was that he had been shot while trying to illegally recross the border into South Africa from which he had been exiled.  Bearing in mind that this sort of "recrossing" happened all the time in the great nowhere out there.  This nice gentleman mentioned that the unofficial story was that his covert operations force of 8 "hunters" had snipered the released prisoner while hunting antelope the bush.  This nice gentleman, and he really was a nice guy, had spent 6 years roaming the bush out there on a hunting party, and said that this particular prisoner's sniping caused him many sleepless nights once his political and professional affiliations changed over time.

My point being, what the hell is the good of being the greatest nation in the world if you can't "sniper" someone's *** 15 minutes after they are released.  It works in the movies.flushed

our state of grace is gone.

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