Coming full circle in the Middle East, go effective or not at all…

November 17, 2015

Should I say I have come full circle or should I say I am going around in circles? I am referring to my position or feelings on what the USA should do in the Middle East or more specifically in the war on terror.

While in general I would prefer we do not meddle in the affairs of other nations, at least not any more than we have to, when they can’t keep their own affairs straight and it impacts us, well then…

I mean because of the instability in the Middle East the terrorist groups formed. The terrorist groups were not only against the existing governments but outside forces they felt caused or at least they could blame for the problems in their respective nations. So they struck out against those other nations, to include the U.S., with the most notable attack on 9/11.

And now to make matters worse, things are so bad in this war-torn part of the world, the Middle East, Syria in particular at this time, that millions of refugees have flooded Europe and and want to enter the US. too. But along with the flood of the desperate, it appears some terrorists entered, using the wave of humanity for cover. Certainly that had to be expected. And the wave of millions of refugees is taxing the resources of the people whose nations they wind up in.

Well, as to the argument that the West, the U.S. in particular, has been the major factor in causing the instability, it does have some truth to it, but that argument can only go so far. I mean international trade is what makes the world go around. From the beginning this nation (the U.S.) has depended upon trade. Our founding fathers I believe wanted us to mind our own business but we soon found out that we had to get involved somewhat overseas just to protect our trade. We sent the Marines after the Barbary Coast pirates of North Africa in the early part of the 19th Century.

And I’m not going to go further and try to cite a bunch of U.S. history, but the facts of life are that in this modern world (and even in the old) we are interdependent upon each other. But when you have nations that are wracked by instability, often or always due to an unfair distribution of resources, the whole world economic system and world security itself is threatened.

And now it appears that the terrorist group ISIS has demonstrated a capability and willingness to commit savage mass murders against Western targets, going after France primarily at the moment, but even threatening to strike Washington D.C. (and I suppose other parts of America too). The group is suspected to have brought down a Russian jet liner, as well.

So, what to do.

Well I certainly don’t know, but I doubt pin prick attacks the U.S. has carried out so far are effective enough. At the same time, it is a sad fact that a horrendous attack like that in Paris last week where more than a 100 people were slaughtered and as many or more injured could conceivably happen no matter how hard we attacked the terrorists because when you have people crazy enough to commit suicide and you have freedom of movement in a free society it can and apparently will happen. France was actually on stepped-up security due to attacks earlier in the year.

However, I am not one to simply be content with the throwing up of hands and saying “well there is nothing we can do”.

It seems apparent that we must do something. And while I would never ever, ever, want to see Donald Trump as president or in any position of public authority, even he gets things right or close to it sometimes:

He was saying something about going after the oil fields that the terrorists use to help fund their activities. He also questioned why the French (and I suppose the U.S. too) waits until after the latest terrorist strike to go after ISIS training camps.

Well I do not know who has done what and when, but if we have any military activity at all against ISIS one has to wonder why we might be holding back. One person suggested to me it may be because we are concerned about civilian casualties, so-called collateral damage.

While that always has to be a top concern in civilized society, war by definition is not civilized. Remember? We fire-bombed Tokyo and Dresden and dropped a couple of nukes on Japan, and of course engaged in collateral damage all over the place as well.

And that general way back when said: “war is hell”. But having to live under the threat of terrorism is not all that nice either. And the real nightmare is that ISIS or anyone else might get a hold of some of the stray nuclear bomb material that is said to have been floating around since the fall of the Soviet empire. Not only would the detonation of so-called dirty nukes inflict immediate but possibly limited physical damage, it would likely set off a panic that would be nearly impossible to control.

Maybe we can’t just send in the troops like it was D-Day. And remember, we didn’t get to D-Day for four years.

And sending in the troops like we did in Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, did not get us the result we intended.

Even so, we may need to send in the troops in some form and namby-pamby only gets troops killed. It would be wiser to skip the whole thing than to fight with one hand tied behind our backs.

I would think we have to identify where the terrorists hang out and take the fight to them. In some instances it might take no more than drones or fighter jets, in some instances much more. And again, we can’t be afraid to do much more.

We also need to go after their sources of supply – and whoops, we will likely find that is it our own arms suppliers (money is money) – and their source of finance (whoops again to some extent probably). But one source I have read is Middle East oil fields, either through direct control or theft.

So we can’t secure the oil fields or secure shipments? What’s up with that?

Now if we go over there big time we are going to hurt some peoples’ feelings. Sorry, but we don’t need to apologize for fighting to protect ourselves.

Sadly, I am not sure the American electorate as a whole is willing to sacrifice – not yet anyway – but our survival may well depend upon it.

(Implicit in all of this is the help of our allies, and maybe even some new allies, but we can’t depend upon them and we must take a leadership role, or what kind of superpower are we?)

In summary, I am not saying go to all-out war, WW-II style. I mean I don’t have the information or the expertise. But it seems the powers that be think we have to use military action. But I think it needs to be done on a larger scale to be effective and both the government and the people need to be prepared to fight to win.

The French president has already proclaimed war.

Oh, and why is it we went to war in the Middle East in the first place because oil was so important and then we failed to secure the oil? And please don’t give me that poppycock that oil had nothing, or little to do with it – I do know better than that.


And I always forget something. News to me, but today I heard that our own Silicon Valley markets encryption devices that terrorists are using, but the devices are so good that once sold even the producers can’t decode them. First Amendment and other rights notwithstanding, especially in a national security/war situation, we are going to have to get some cooperation from the high-tech people. Their own way of life depends upon it just as much as ours does.