REACTION TO THE NEW IRAQ AND ISIL
It is always interesting when people on the left of American politics call for the use of force. Go to http://duanegraham.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/no-just-god-would-stand-for-what-they-did/ as an example. Duane seems to believe that ISIL is so intolerable that President Obama should do all possible to exterminate (my word) that organization.
As I recall about 13 years ago another President called for similar actions against Al Qaeda, in 2001 and we wound up still fighting them 13 years later.
I also recall atrocities on the part of some Vietnamese against other Vietnamese and we wound up losing 55,000 Americans to make that stop, unsuccessfully after an 8 or so year war. And while it seems chemical weapons have not been used in Syria of late, the killing still continues, brutally in that war torn country. And of course it has now spilled over into Iraq.
One thing common to all these conditions “over there” and America’s inclination to “do something about it”, is our overreliance on air power. To say we won’t put “boots on the ground” but still have men in flight boots over the ground (in the air) killing other people, seems to be an unclear statement. No doubt America has decided, again, to use force, but only air force (not ground force) to stop mayhem, “over there”. Oh, I forgot. We can still put some “sneaky boots on the ground” from time to time, at least until a SEAL team gets captured or slaughtered, or both. Remember, the “lily pad” defense system called for a decade ago, still needs lots of “boots”, in the air, sneaking around on the ground, and manning ships at sea to save all those “boots” when the shit hits the fan from time to time.
Repeated experience from the use of military power since WWII is that air power alone is rarely decisive. The Balkan “war” during the Clinton years is the only exception and in that situation we chose to “bomb the enemy at home”, not just on a vague battlefield. Bombing Slavic cities caused them to stop killing in Bosnia, in the end.
But of course ISIL has no “home base”, yet and I doubt our President would choose to bomb Mosul, for example.
As well we now seem prepared to arm Kurds to fight against ISIL. Are the Kurds any different than Afghan tribes fighting against the Soviet Union long ago? Friends today and who knows what tomorrow seems to be a question still deserving an answer. How do we control the use of such arms, once they are delivered into the hands of a potential future opponent? Simple answer is we cannot. So what do we do if Kurds decide to use such arms against a “democratic government” constituted in Iraq, or maybe Turkey, a NATO ally?
The left asks such questions all the time when a conservative President decides to use force so I consider it fair game to ask such questions now, from the right, so to speak.
Sure, when Americans see, vividly, an American brutally killed they want the President to “do something”. But foreign policy must start with a much longer view and military power used only to advance that long term view, not just as a “quick” response to brutality. America in my view has yet to decide that long term goal against terrorism. ISIL, Al Qaeda, whatever or whoever comes up next, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. are ALL terror groups, international in scope. So as Bush II suggested, are we still, in fact, in a “war against terror”, like it or not?
So the issue with terror certainly remains very much on the plate of America it seems to me, again, like it or not. What to do seems to still be the question for American foreign policy, in the short, medium and long term.
Where does all that terrorism come from today, and yesterday for that matter? The simple answer is from the Middle East as a point of origin. Almost all terrorists on the international scene are Arabs or Persians it seems to me. And more important, where do those terrorists get the money to commit acts of terror? Is not “follow the money” a basic element in fighting against crimes, bank robbers or genocidal types as well. It takes huge amounts of money to be a “criminal”, at least on an international scale, so where does the money come from and how do we stop that flow of money, to terrorists?
My simple point is that terrorism funded by Middle East countries or individuals gets money from one source, OIL located in the Middle East. If the American Navy blockaded the Straits of Hormuz, well no more money for terrorism, or at least a helluva lot less money for sure. Hmmm, just as an idle thought, musing perhaps!!!
Don’t want military action to block the flow of oil? OK, how about the international banking system freeze all funds associated with oil, until ……..? How about a few bombs on some oil fields, bombs that kill only “oil” and a few workers but certainly no women or children?
I can even get more focused in stopping the flow of funds to terror. Saudi Arabia is that primary source from all that I have read. The “Emirates” probably come in second as a source of money for terror. Sure they seem to be our “friends” yet $ Trillions, over time, flow to terror groups from such two sources. Why do we let them do it? And then of course our “enemy”, one still trying hard to make nuclear weapons and fund terror at the same time, no matter what they might say. Hmmmm? Should we try to appease Iran into peace with us and Israel? Are you kidding me?
OK, now I have proven again that I am “nuts” correct? NO WAY can the world stop relying on Middle East oil, right? Right of course, today. But what about tomorrow? Could not a focused, long term program to divorce the democratic Western World at least from any need for Middle Eastern oil? Make it a “fly to the moon in a decade” matter of American policy. That is called long term goals that are a matter of both foreign and economic policy of the highest sort. Shorter term goals are then established to achieve the long term policy statement.
Should I also mention that such a long term policy would go hand in hand with “climate control” as well!!!!!
As a minimum, Middle East countries and people would be put on notice that American power, economic power will align against them for the long term. Such power would be used, consistently and for a long time to return those countries to desert tribes on camels, unless………
I submit we did the same thing in our Cold War, stopped all or most of the economic ties with Russia. After 50 years, well look at the results. And in the intervening years we stuck together as a united nation, one leading the rest of the world against a communist threat. But keep in mind; we had to have the military power to hold that communist “world” at bay, while it slowly died on the vine. Is America ready to do that, sustain enough military power to hold terror at bay until the funding dries up? In the end those people will try to go down fighting against us, for sure.
Today we face an Islamic threat, terrorism in the details if you will. So why not a long term goal to shut down the economic engine from the Middle East that funds all sorts of mayhem, in America and around the world today?
One final thought, of a long term and enduring nature. If the Middle East today causes most of the terror in the world today, then who, exactly created that Middle East? Simple answer is “we did”, meaning of course the Western World following WWI. Every country over there was created by the West to carve up the Ottoman Empire. The West drew lines on maps to create countries and neglected how the people in those new countries might have wanted to align themselves, even Israel. Just look at Iraq today, splintering all over the place.
Why I wonder is it a matter of long term foreign policy for America to sustain countries that are not really countries from within. Is it really in the long term interest for America to sustain Iraq as a whole country today? Or would it be truly be in our best interests, in the long term, to let Iraq decide what it really wants. In fact, just let the whole Middle East today decide what the people in the Middle East want for themselves, including Egypt. Israel knows full well what it wants and gets it democratically, just as an example. Why not just let Syria, Iraq, Iran, you name it, make their own decisions, and while they are doing so, CONTAIN the living hell out of the whole crazy region to keep terror at bay.
The only thing preventing such an American policy, geopolitically at least is OIL, in my view. Unless, that is, you want America to try to “surgically kill terror” with a few bombs here and there, but only when we really get pissed off at “them” whoever “them” might be, tomorrow.
Now go back to 2001. Bush II went to war immediately thereafter. He also said, clearly, that the war would be GENERATIONAL in length. That means a long time. Yet about 3 years later we lost our focus in what was in FACT a War on Terror. So there we went, typical in my view in today’s America. We stopped the war on terror, even stopped calling it a war on terror. Instead we tried to drop a few bombs, surgically if you will, killed about 7,000 Americans over 13 years and still have a mess on our hands.
If we no longer conduct wars on terror today, don’t even call it such, then why are we dropping bombs on ISIL today? The last time I checked dropping bombs from airplanes is an act of war against somebody and for sure it pisses them off. Is that a “tie that binds”, something “Obamapolicy” called for in Cairo in 2009 and he still seems to focus on that approach, today, except when he really gets pissed off because one journalist had his head cut off, another act of war if you will by my estimation at least.
It is far beyond the time for America to get its long term, multiple presidential and political parties’ turns in leadership, policy established. We must stop the knee jerk reaction to terror, call it what it is and establish the correct approach over the next decade or so to COMBAT terror, not just try to talk terrorist out of being terrorist, which will never happen. Ask Israel.