Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Fellow Americans: Measure Facts Not FOX Types — It Will Raise Your IQ

This Should Not Be the Face of America

For Budget Cutters at Any Price: Remember Him, too 

I watched FOX News Sunday, ABC this Week, and parts of Meet the Press and Face the Nation with the panels of experts and such and that drove me to write this post, which I admit is quite long, but I think it needs to be posted for posterity's sake if for no other reason (and my selfish pride, too). I hope you take the time to ponder it. Your comments are always welcome, too.

Notes on Syria and War in General: A harsh reminder of why we must not get more involved in Syria unless the country is ready for the cost of more war: 

Cost of Our Two Recent Wars: 
Iraq: $806 billion 
Afghanistan: $561 billion and still counting 

U. S. Killed and Wounded (both): 
KIA: 6,755  
WIA: 34,825 

IRAQ (March 20, 2003December 18, 2011 – the full withdrawal):  
US KIA: 4,486  
US WIA: 22,516 

AFGHANISTAN (October 7, 2001 – still ongoing):  
US KIA: 2,269  
US WIA: 12,309

Now once again, we are hearing the same arguments and so-called debate and chatter and uproar about the huge mess in Syria and how the U.S. should get involved regarding the proof that chemical weapons were used. It is still a Civil War, even despite that aspect, which the ultimate worst; still an internal matter that the U.S. alone cannot solve and never would. Those chemical attacks changed the rules of that game. And, it sounds familiar just like 2002-2003 (run up to Iraq invasion). 

So, I'm a guessin' that since we are out of Iraq, are kinda winding down in Afghanistan, provided some air support in Libya to kick out and kill Colonel Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, then we just stood by and watched the mess in Egypt unfold, that somehow the public needs this new war in Syria ...  

The public in this media-driven, ratings crazy information age is about as fickle bunch I've ever seen ... we thrive on 30-second clips and cruise missiles and more DOD spending while playing our favorite game show: The Blame Game. 

President Obama announced he will seek congressional approval and that is the right and correct decision to make – yet the right wing driven by FOX that hauls out their mostly anti-Obama biased panels of “experts” who rip Mr. Obama to shreds with a string of the usual sound bytes by using words and expressions like: 

“Red Line” – the president should have never said that they profess. 
“He wants limited, narrow action” – that can’t work they harp. 
“He is hesitating and that is the trademark of this President” – they sing in unison. 
“The White House is scared” – they say. 
“Obama again displays a lack of leadership and certainty” – they judge. 
“There is a pattern of U.S. inaction and that hurts us in the long run” – they predict.  

Our focus must be on Assad in Syria and his actions, not our careful and methodical plan for taking action that the country can support – otherwise (1) Syria will be more aggressive, (2) our honor will actually go down if the use of chemical weapons is allowed to stand, and (3) our enemies will be more emboldened to try and reach our shores to inflict another 9/11.

Listen to what the DNI, Gen. Hayden said recently:

1.  “What is very interesting to me is what would be the character of our attack.”
2.  “What are our ultimate objectives here?”
3.  “Part of the very public discussion is that this is about deterring Assad's use of these kinds of weapons in the future, and we've even gone out of our way to indicate this is not about anything more, it's not about changing the battlefield equilibrium, it's not about regime change.”
4.  “If it's merely deterrence with regard to chemical weapons, that leaves all these other very powerful, destructive forces in place.”
5.  “If you look upon this is in a classical military term what we have here is what's called a demonstration. We would be trying to deter Assad  from further use of these kinds of weapons.” 
6.  “Also it's fair to point out that there's more than one audience for this demonstration. This may be designed more to impress folks in Tehran than it is to impress folks in Damascus with regard to American seriousness when it comes to red lines.” 

Keep this fact in mind: “It is easy to get into war but very difficult to get out.” 

The GOP and anti-Obama types have a hair trigger when it comes to shifting the blame to Mr. Obama and not Syria and Assad.  Are Republicans who hate Obama about to blame the UK parliament and their “No” vote if in fact our own Congress gives a thumbs down in the next few weeks?  

1.  Congress is skeptical about military involvement and rightly so – they will have a chance to vote and show the public and the world soon. 
2.  A majority of Americans in new polls are “weary” of more war and rightly so – how will they react to a Congressional “No” or even “Yes” vote. 
3.  President Obama still can act alone and attacks Syria even with a “No” vote experts say, but would he 
4.  Meanwhile Assad in Syria ramps up the attacks with a simple McDonald's-type slogan: “I'm loving it...”  Why do I say that? 

Assad is more emboldened by no Western action now and so are his allies, who are mostly our adversaries anyway (Iran and Sh’iite forces in Lebanon and other places who have fighters backing Assad in Syria on the ground). 

A recent NBC News poll found that an overwhelming majority of Americans, roughly eight in 10, want the president to seek approval from lawmakers before any attack on the Syrian government for its apparent use of chemical weapons. Now he says he will wait for that to occur and yet, many now attack Mr. Obama for that – some people are never satisfied and for one simple reason: they would rather play raw, nasty, ugly politics and the GOP is great at that, too, and led by FOX – what a team!!! 

I do not think Congress will vote to take military action. They would rather Mr. Obama try and go it alone by sticking out his neck for them to chop off for votes in 2014 and beyond – that the Ace up their sleeve, they think. 

Most members of Congress don’t give a damn about Syria and the chemical attacks, even though many of them profess they do, but most of them do not. Most only care about surviving in office themselves and bashing Mr. Obama. 

The Free World at Large and More Precisely the ME Neighbors Around Syria: All are mostly blowhard, cowardly hhypocrites. The UK Parliament debate was excellent, and the Brits spoke out – no action yet. I wonder: What would Churchill have done? 

The principle is simple: The gassing cannot be left to stand.  That sends the wrong and a very dangerous message for the world to see, and then what about the next gas attack? What then? Sit on both hands and not just one? What about the next after that or how about gas attacks in other regions – or worse attacks God forbid a nuclear blast someplace? The silence is deafening now, but would it be then – perhaps too late also. 

We in the U.S. say: “We are making decisions that are in our national security interest. We are consulting with our allies and partners, including the U.N. But we do not believe that the Syrian regime should be able to hide behind the U.N.” 

The UK and France both have voiced support for a US-led strike, but both have since taken a step back to wait on the final UN inspection report. 

UK PM David Cameron introduced a resolution to the U.N. Security Council on August 28, 2013, but just as expected, Russia who is a staunch Assad ally, blocked the resolution from even moving forward. 

My List of Specific Key Points: 

1.  Assad will not go quietly if at all; he has already killed more than 100,000 in this clearly a Civil War; and he wants to cling to power; he could care less about any Western involvement.
2.  Assad would make it his priority to drag as many countries into the fray as possible by first hitting Israel and then Turkey then Jordan.
3.  Both Iran and Russia are advising the West against action, but the new president of Iran said Syria’s act needs to be punished.
4.  Importantly as we ponder more war in the Middle East, what is the direct threat to the U.S.; and yes, the U.S. can and should lead along side the UN and NATO, but not alone.
5.  Any action by the free world would be the most-dramatic and the most-serious judgment any country can make.
6.  Any piecemeal, partial military action sends a weak message; no such thing as limited attack – repercussions always follow.
7.  Plus, the UN inspectors will not place blame. They will only identify the type of chemical and gas used and perhaps the source and locations of those weapons. 
8.  World leaders would have to make the call about whether Assad ordered or approved and condones the chemical weapons based on the UN report
9.  If military action is forthcoming and limited as many say now, it could embolden Syria to take more serious action: the paper Tiger or dog with few teeth attitude. 

The Bottom Line and Last Key Points:

1.  What will be the outcome, short and long term of any punishment of Assad.
2.  What are prepared to do if targeted precise attack fails and more deadly weapons are employed not just in Syria but in nearby Israel.
3.  What will be the cost and who pays and what price is acceptable. 
4.  How much military action is enough even with the so-called limited and narrow shots across the bow to get Assad’s attention or to take out the sites that fired chemical weapons or from there they came, then what? 

Stay tuned — Congress is coming back to town - it outta be interesting if nothing else.

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