Posts tagged ‘Kurds’


Shooting in Las Vegas? Could this be domestic terrorism? They found at least 10 guns in the alleged shooter’s room. Can we connect the dots yet? But the Dotard in Charge (DIC) is showing his empathy and labeled this an act of evil so I already feel better. I can’t figure whether to outlaw outside gatherings or multi-story hotels. Then again could guns be the problem? Oh shut my mouth! Nevada has legalized silencers! Apparently what happens in Las Vegas does not stay there anymore.

Meanwhile things are still fairly desperate in many parts of Puerto Rico although the relief effort is beginning to crank up. Of course once again the DIC is telling us the response has just been amazing. “We have it under great control.” That was after someone finally explained to him where Puerto Rico was and that they were actually American citizens (I don’t know that, but the big water statement and other comments indicates he did not). So if you want to find leadership, this is not it. His enablers are showing how empathetic he is and I just want to laugh. Empathy is not water, food, power, medical support, or a dry place to sleep. “Hey, get out there and fix it yourselves!” Really, that is leadership? He should have been on top of this from day one. Speaking of one, that was the first hole of his golf course he was on yesterday expressing his sympathy. Right on top of it.

Then we have the North Korean snafu (situation normal, all fucked up). Rex, doesn’t need a staff, Tillerson tells us we are talking to the North Koreans through back channels, and the DIC tells Rex he is wasting his time talking to Rocket Man. Of course enter the enablers who try to spin this as great strategy, good cop/bad cop approach when we all know there is no grand strategy. I expect Rex to quit pretty soon.

Then there is the story that the DIC can only respond to and hear good news or he lashes out so that is all he hears. On the immigration issue he is only told what they cost us, not what they add so he does not have to deal with complex thoughts or get confused by complex issues which might counter his policy ideas. Stephen Miller is probably the architect of that approach. He has no real intellectual curiosity and has decided what he believes, so telling him different is a good way to be unemployed. Remember the crowd size at inauguration? I am a normal person and I like to hear good stuff about me, but I also want to hear the bad so I can fix it. That is how I stay married. The DIC just reinvents reality so there is nothing to fix.

There was the vote and violence in Catalonia.  WTF.  People do not have a right to vote?  Spain’s reaction just reinforced the need to separate.  Oh, I understand that a nation, like ours in the Civil War, may have to go to war in a secession, but they were participating in a non-binding vote. There is a problem there Huston and it is not solved by a police riot and brutality.  And while I am at it, why is the United States against the vote for and secession of the Kurds?  Vice President Bidden even proposed that solution to Iraq years ago.  Why do we not understand the need for freedom and independence from a state that has repressed them?  We are really good at being on the wrong side of an issue.

Finally, I have been reading some snarky reviews of Burns’ and Novick’s The Vietnam War. Snarky because they said we should not be too quick to draw lessons learned, and some complexities were too simplified. Hmm. I wonder if these people lived through it? There were all kinds of complexities and all kinds of contradictions, but the big lessons are fairly simple. Here they are if you missed them:

  1. War is an atrocity. Entering into a war can only be done when our very survival is at stake. The wanton loss of life is never justified and what it does to us can never be repaired. It damn well better be worth it. See #2.  Oh and it wasn’t here.  Neither was Iraq.
  2. We humans find out things about ourselves in war, our savagery, that we did not want to know and that is what damages us the most because we find we actually enjoy it. And to be effective at it, we devalue the lives of the enemy through racism and hate.  That reduces our humanity.
  3. Our government will lie to us for political ends, and transparency and a vigorous free press is necessary so we the people can decide if we want to pay the price for war, or if the reasons are made up.  See both Voetnam and Iraq.
  4. As noted above about the DIC, generals/leaders are on top of an organization that needs to feed them what they want to hear.  Real leaders dig deep to find the truth, report it, and act on it.  There are not many of them in the real world.
  5. Governments glorify war to get us to fight them.  Medals, hero-worship ceremonies, and the lie that most wars are about protecting freedom, democracy, and the Constitution are the ways they do it.  Sure there are real heroes and we should admire them.  But because you wear a uniform does not make you a hero.  The guy who stopped the killing at My Lai was the real hero.  Somehow he maintained his humanity.  The idea of the fog of war and that this is understandable (only Calley was convicted and then had his sentence reduced to nothing) is nonsense.  Maybe it is in the sense that we lose our humanity, but it should never be tolerated.  It is the best argument against war itself.

Those are fairly simple. There might be all kinds of lessons about how to fight a war, who should be our friends, tactics in the field, yada, yada, yada, but really, they are minor players to the big ones above.  So Monday morning and another WTF wakeup.

Just How Screwed Up the Middle East Is

So Turkey starts to feel some of the blowback from being a swinging door into Syria for ISIS fighters (ISIS attacked Turkey) so their come to Jesus moment (or is it come to Mohammad moment?) is to allow the U.S. to use its bases there as launching points for air attacks.  But then it attacks the Kurdish separtists along its border.  And who are our best and most reliable fighters in Iraq to thwart ISIS?  The Kurds.  What a mess.

Oh, and as the NYT pointed out, where is our Republican Congress in authorizing these attacks and the establishment of a safe zone?  Looking for emails about Benghazi, trying to end sanctuary cities, thwarting womens reproductive care, and ignoring gun violence.  Yeah, vote Republican you morons and we can stay in the Middle East forever.

Re-Engaging in Iraq

In a New York Times press release this morning the article described Presidents Obama’s way forward in what I described yesterday as a failed approach:

President Obama sought to prepare Americans for an extended presence in the skies over Iraq, telling reporters on Saturday that the airstrikes he ordered this week could go on for months as Iraqis try to build a new government.

I think it is a failed approach because the Shiite controlled government is never going to unite Iraq and it is extremely doubtful that Sunnis will join with them to fight ISIS.  The one person out there who is making sense is retired General Richard McCaffery, a consultant for MSNBC.  This morning he described our approach to the humanitarian crisis and protection of Erbil as a bunch of really smart political people selecting from a menu of military options to deal with the situation.  But his primary complaint is that we need a defined mission, one that is realistic, and then a military strategy to support it.  He agrees with me that the one described above won’t work.  If we are going to get those people off the mountain and protect the Kurds, we are going to need some boots on the ground.  If we are letting politics define our strategy for an end goal, we will fail.

We have to have a strategy that allows us to achieve a realistic goal, and making Baghdad the savior is not realistic.  Granted there are many local political issues like Turkey’s disdain for a Kurdish state, but if our strategy is reactive without an end goal with a realistic strategy to achieve it, it is pissing into the wind.  I don’t see that yet and the administration needs to rise above politics, decide on our long term goal for the region and develop a strategy to achieve that.  It may involve a three state solution in Iraq, but what we are doing now is not only a political loser, it will not achieve our long term goals for the region.

Note:  The right wing will use his comments to do two things:  First to say the policy forward is too little too late, and secondly we need real miltiary action.  That is not what he is saying.  He is saying that we need to define the mission, weigh the pros and cons, and then if we decide it is a worthy mission, put forward a realistic plan to sustain it.  At this point in time he does not feel the airpower is going to make a large difference.