Tuesday, October 27, 2015

GOP in a Tizzy About Budget (as usual): But, As More War Looms, No Sweat

GOP War Cheer Leader
(how ironic is that)

Okay, let's ask an expert shall we???
(just don't ask the GOP, okay - some maybe - not all...)

This is a status report update: Nine nations agreed to help the U.S. combat ISIS that includes training and equipping the Iraqis. Those nine are: the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Poland, and Denmark. Also, some 21 of the 22 states in the Arab league (Syria has been suspended since 2011 due to their Civil War) also have pledged support. That is all very good news and potentially bad news for ISIS/ISIL but with caveats; i.e., will it be enough and why is it not working effectively right now? Plus, factor in Russian involvement in Syria – things could get real ugly real fast.

Also, past sustained GOP criticism of President Obama appears to have been premature in the sense of actual events and actions and operations in the areas where ISIS operates. The GOP is always hot or cold or totally silent about a previous statements, but only those statements match their political posturing like saying: “We need all-out war to combat ISIS and that means more American boots on the ground,” or some other macho kind of “let’s go get them” attitude. Yet that same GOP will not take the legal mandated Constitutional step and actually declare war (too complex I guess?).

Lest we forget the Tonkin Gulf resolution that got us into Vietnam for over 10 years.  I know that era very well having served two full infantry combat tours there. Then we stayed in Iraq for 8 years, and we are still Afghanistan after nearly 15 years. Then add the other hot spots in the ME (i.e., Syria today and Yemen).

I have to be clear: Afghanistan was the right call for the right reason at the right time until we lost the focus and headed into Iraq on a pack of lies, and we all know that story.  

A very good reflection on this from comes from the NY TIMES and columnist, Thomas Friedman. He reminds readers that ISIS emerged from a context of three civil wars raging in the Arab world, which makes the U.S. response incredibly complicated. He urges caution, writing in part that: “ISIS is awful but it is not a threat to America's homeland” (I would interject: Not a direct threat to us yet, but don’t hold your breath) … Friedman continued, which I mostly agree with him this way:  

I'm all-in on destroying ISIS. It is a sick, destabilizing movement. I support using U.S. air power and Special Forces to root it out, but only as part of a coalition, where everybody who has a stake in stability there pays their share and where mainstream Sunnis and Shiites take the lead by demonstrating that they hate ISIS more than they hate each other. Otherwise, we'll end up in the middle of a God-awful mess of duplicitous allies and sectarian passions, and nothing good we do will last.”

So, who can logically answer this question: “Why is it safe or otherwise appear to be safe in assuming or saying that ISIS fighters — well-armed, with lots of money, U.S. and EU passports in many cases, and having and displaying a thirst for American blood on display with the public execution of the two American journalists: James Foley and Steven Sotloff — won't bring the fight directly to our shores?”

ISIS is not a case or set of circumstances that warrants any kind of containment or deterrence – not one bit. They have to be totally wiped out and off the face of the Earth, and that must be in harmony with an international coalition of like-mined countries focused on that same single goal.

The U.S. can and must set the example and lead. The “how part” is always the toughest part. Just “how” deep should our involvement be? “How” much must we invest compared to the countries in that region where ISIS is literally in their backyard?  There is a lot the U.S. can do … but shedding more blood and spending billions like we did in Iraq and continue to do in Afghanistan – well, that’s very different kind of “why” now isn’t it? That word apparently is weak in GOP-speak and the results kind of speak for themselves I think.

So, my thinking is somewhere along these lines. See if you agree or not with some or any of them:

1.  War should not be our first, second, or even third choices. However, war may be necessary in cases where we are up against an ideology or over zealous religious perspective that acts the way we see it acting today – that in short, denies any logical reasoning.
2.  Certainly going to war in cases or in response to attacks such as Pearl Harbor and 9/11 are totally justified.
3.  Fighting against Nazism and Japanese Imperialism in World War II are classic examples which highlight the need for strong, united, direct, and decisive military intervention no matter the cost; no matter the time; and no matter the suffering along the way. 
4.  Not acting in those cases benefit the attackers and their goals and not those of freedom-loving decent people – thus we cannot allow ourselves or our citizens to become slaves or cowards in the face of that kind of thinking.
5.  I do not advocate a hawkish national policy across the board, either. Simply stated: we must be prepared and ready and willing to intervene and act if circumstances require or warrant it.
6.  Identifying and clarifying the threat and circumstances to act must be in harmony with public support. That is key.

What we face today, I strongly believe in view of video tapes of ISIS beheading of two American journalists who were not combatants, and others they hold captive, warrants strong and swift and decisive military action to eradicate them forever or as much as possible.

I see no other way – especially in light of this recent news and update about ISIS horrible acts all over the ME – and it is very concerning and the world had better wake up. In view of that, this vis-à-vis U.S. ground action just recently addressed by Sec Def Carter before the Senate:

Short Sec. Def. Carter segment seen here:

Mr. Carter revealed that the U.S. will openly begin “direct action on the ground against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria” (say the media). But, in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee on Tuesday, Carter said this in part: “We won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL ... or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground.”

Mr. Carter pointed to last week's rescue operation with Kurdish forces in northern Iraq to free hostages held by ISIS where Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler from OK, an American Commando, was killed in raid that in fact did rescue dozens of hostages about to be slaughtered by ISIS.

We need to focus on the precise words spoken by Mr. Carter, in part: “…when the opportunity dictates with capable partners.” That does not mean we will go it alone in ground combat operations like we did before in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

We should go all out with many allies and if not, we must not go it alone on the ground like we did in Iraq and Afghanistan as I said.

Thanks for stopping by and as usual: stay tuned.

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