I agree that we should avoid any more entanglements in Syria or the Mideast. I will have to disagree with your analysis of Islam. Islam is a complex religion composed of many sects some moderate and some extreme just as Christianity is a complex religion composed of many sects. I would like to believe that I am a follower of Christ ,but I would object if someone were to assume that I support the members of the Westside Baptist Church or polygamists in Utah, or allegedly Christian prophets such Jim Jones.And like it or not ,we have our own domestically produced Christian version of the Taliban.
As a student of history, you should know that the history of the Mideast is complex. Religion plays an important role, but so do poverty, corruption,illiteracy, political instability, tribalism,a legacy of colonialism,western interference and exploitation,revanchism, and the lack of national identity.Stir in cultural dissonance and mix well.
Our current preoccupation with the Mideast distracts us from the danger we face from the growing power of an increasingly aggressive and dangerous China. Recent moves to reconfigure the DOD into a global antiterrorist force have been foolish in the extreme. A case in point would be the littoral combat ship, a very expensive replacement for the Perry class frigate which has no discernable purpose other than to chase very lightly armed irregulars on calm seas. It would be outgunned by any modern corvette or patrol boat. A WW ll Higgins boat would blow it out of the water. For this reason, the LCS has been dubbed the little crappy ship. The Air Force fields aging fighters which are quickly losing the technological edge we have long enjoyed. Read about some of the latest Sukhoi fighters or the Chinese J10, J 11, or J20. You might also want to read about the Sunburn missiles on some of the new Chinese destroyers.
I am not suggesting that terrorism is not a threat.We need to be vigilant ,but we also need some sense of proportion.The greatest threat is the threat of national blackmail or intimidation or of nation destroying world war.
I think Fly has some good points (2nd time in one year!!) I do not like the downsizing of our military's strategic and tactical capabilities, but the military is always subject to whims of fickle politician who feel the need to be re-elected.
It does NOT help when the winds of defense downsizing are fanned by a media that does not understand and definitely does not like this country's military. Bryant - I will grant you a pass on this one. You seem like a straight up guy.