President Obama in a tough spot on Syria, but that’s his job…

August 31, 2013

ADD: (Saturday, 8-31-13) Since dashing this off last night I thought I should note that this whole Syria thing is two-fold. On the one hand there is a humanitarian concern and on the other a geopolitical concern. The Russians are opposing any action on our part. Since the days of the USSR and the Cold War they have held sway there. It makes no sense for the U.S. to get into an East-West proxy war. On the other hand we have what appears to be a government gassing its own people on a large-scale (whoops sounds like Nazi Germany). Do we stand by and do nothing? It seems that much or most of the world would rather we (the U.S.) take the risk and leave everyone else out of it. France has indicated it is on our side. Syria is a former French colony (let’s see, what was the last war France won? well by itself? UPDATE as of 9-6-13: And now through the magic of the computer I can go back in time and amend what I just wrote somewhat, that is to say I forgot that the French have had some success in thwarting Islamists rebels in the African country of Mali, another former holding of France — viva la France!). 

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Some thoughts on the Syria situation:

It does seem that U.S. President Barack Obama is between a rock and a hard place. No matter what he does, he will be criticized. But then again he’s the president. It’s the job he wanted — two times now. Leadership is rough.

The United Nations is useless. If a nation, such as Russia (the former Soviet Union), can make it powerless to act by way of its veto power (or for that matter if we did), what good is it? I’m not big on a new world order anyway. I want to live under the laws of my own country, thank you.

But anyway, is there a clear interest for the United States to take some type of military action in reaction to the Syrian government apparently using nerve gas and/or other types of chemical weapons on its own people? In humanitarian terms probably so. In practical terms, not so much, unless we are prepared to go in there and take over or maybe topple the outlaw regime in power. But the president, I believe, has already stated that he is not into regime change.

And that is part of the problem. We (he) say too much. Too much talk. Action speaks louder than words. Also telegraphing to the enemy what we are going to do and for that matter what we are not going to do is not a good idea.

A big problem here is that the U.S. lost a lot of credibility when it sent the clueless Colin Powell out a decade ago to do that picture show that purported to show that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction”. It was an Adlai Stevenson moment — remember back in the 50s and the aerial photos of the Soviet missile sites in Cuba? Problem was, Mr. Stevenson’s photos were accurate. Powell’s, apparently not.

Here the evidence seems much clearer — but then again we really don’t know for sure who fired the gas-laden missiles that injured and killed hundreds or thousands of Syrian people. It was most likely done by the regime’s troops and under direct command. But it could have been done by rogue soldiers  or commanders — well maybe. It does not seem at all likely it was done by anti-government forces. And the fact that the Syrian regime is not cooperating or did not cooperate with the investigation and has tried to hamper the efforts of the UN fact finders pretty well indicates it is behind the whole mess.

It would be nice if the U.S. could somehow surgically and rather cleanly remove the chemical weapons and or the equipment that fires them, but that may not be possible. We run the risk of killing innocent people to save them.

Because of the mess we have gotten into over meddling in the Middle East, and because we sucked in some of our allies, the president has found it nearly impossible to build any type of international coalition. In fact our top ally in the whole wide world, Great Britain, has bowed out. The Brits are now gun shy just like they were after World War I when Neville Chamberlain came back from meeting Adolph with hat in hand and talked of peace in our time.

But really, can we, the U.S., the only super power in the world, sit by and let this rogue regime use chemical weapons (never mind the U.S. did things like drop napalm indiscriminately in Viet Nam — those old enough or who have looked at the history will recall the iconic photos of the little girl running naked as she was burned by napalm)?

(I also heard a report I think on BBC that at one time American advisors actually knowingly, or perhaps not knowingly, aided Saddam Hussein in using nerve gas.)

The president probably must act. I just wish he would not give away the battle plan.

I also wish the rest of the world was not so gutless.

But the U.S. is the super power and no matter what is said, all freedom- and peace-loving people look to it for guidance and help (even though we fumble at times, such as under George W.).

So, don’t talk about it. Do something Mr. Obama. But make sure it’s the right thing. You wanted the job. Now do it. And don’t look to be loved for doing it.

P.s.

Siding with the Syrian rebels, getting involved with them, would not be a good idea because they appear to be influenced or infiltrated by Al Qaeda and other so-called Islamist extremists who are our enemies. It would be nice though if we could run a covert mission to neutralize the current Syrian regime.

P.s. P.s.

Yeah, and I never did get the low down on the definition of “weapons of mass destruction”. Did anyone ask? I know the U.S. has some. But I certainly agree, we don’t want others to have them.

P.s. P.s. P.s.

And I also wanted to say: so we do something and it does not work. And then what? Oh, we’ve already told the bad guys all the things we won’t do. Yeah, that scares them.


The welfare state leads to senseless killings…

August 20, 2013

UPDATE (8-23-13)

So as it turns out that killing of a young man jogging down the street in Oklahoma was not just a random thing. The story now seems to be that it was a gang initiation. Of course it’s still senseless and evil. At least two of the juvenile suspects were black (I saw the photos) and the third one did not look black to me. The victim was white. But somehow, even though I know there is much hate or animosity between the races, particularly between black and white (reluctant to say it but it is true), somehow I doubt race is the main factor here, although I think it is a factor. What we really have here are aimless youths who are bored and have way too much time on their hands. Is the welfare state really a good idea? People having to scratch for a living are more than likely going to be too busy to engage in such things. At worst they might steal, but at least they have a purpose. Of course when things get bad enough in the economy all kinds of things can happen. Given time the whole of society can break down. While that has not happened in the United States yet, certainly a too large portion of our society has broken down. From my observation, no matter what the race, there are people who somehow think they should be taken care of just because they exist on earth and who are not interested in helping themselves. And that feeling is perpetuated by the welfare state. People who are industrious but down and out often cannot get help, but those who are not industrious seem to be carried along.

And even as I write this, in the more current news of the day, a World War II veteran in Spokane, Wa. was murdered with no apparent motive (as of yet) by a young man. The poor veteran had survived being injured on a Pacific island. Evil is always out there.

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Do we live in a sick society or is there just evil in the world we cannot explain?

I write this in reaction to a shocking and sad and, well, horrific, and chilling news story I just read. Three teenagers in Oklahoma decided to shoot someone at random. They shot dead a young man from Australia while he was jogging.

Like I say, it could be these things happen no matter what because there is evil in the world, always has been.

But I suspect we do have a sickness in society. I don’t know anything about the perpetrators. But I know we live in a society in which large numbers of young people have no aim in life and no positive social role models. Broken homes are commonplace. The traditional family unit, mother and father at home and so on, is now almost an oddity.

No details of what the circumstance here was has been reported as far as I know. And it could be the break of the traditional family has nothing to do with these youngsters. I mean they could just be evil and that’s it.

In fact, we almost have to hope that such is the case. A society in which you cannot even walk, or run, down the street for fear of being shot at random, is just too scary to contemplate – drive-by shootings in the ghettos notwithstanding (and I suppose they all don’t really take place in what I just called the ghetto).

The greed at the top, well among society in general too, is partly to blame for the degeneration of social values. Those who have influence should pay more attention to social values rather than more and more money – but of course money is important, don’t get me wrong.

Along these lines, I just read a story this morning about the richest members of Congress. And you know that is probably the reason they are in Congress – to use their influence to get rich. They should use it to preserve our social fabric or save it.

That link to the chilling story: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/20/justice/australia-student-killed-oklahoma/index.html?hpt=hp_t1