To or not to do - what
Last comment by Passinthru 3 years, 7 months ago.

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I watched the Sunday morning news shows (NBC and CBS) and listened to supposedly qualified pundits – experts, knowledgeable people, or whatever term you prefer – discourse on what we should do about ISIS and the Ukraine. Not once did I hear anyone dare raise the issue of whether we should do anything or not! That these are issues of national security is apparently beyond question.

We interfered in Iran in the early 1950's and a quarter of a century later, it came back to bite us in the butt with the Ayatollah. We left the Northern Alliance alone in Afghanistan after the USSR withdrawal and got the Taliban. We drove the Iraqi's out of Kuwait and left the Kurds in northern Iraq to Saddam's gas attacks and got Al-Qaida in Afghanistan. We haven't interfered in a large way in Libya or Syria and have chaos.

I don't believe we can get it right. These are not our cultures. Their world view is not necessarily ours. And the debate should not be what to do. The debate should be whether to do anything.

To quote John Q. Adams from his 1821 Independence Day address: “(America) has...without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own...She goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own...She well knows that by (joining other causes), even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication...”

I simply believe the debate should be refocused. But, there's no one to debate (refocused or not) because all of our elected representatives are too busy with their campaigns.

Latest Activity: Sep 01, 2014 at 2:08 PM

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Bryant commented on Monday, Sep 01, 2014 at 14:11 PM

To clarify my reference to the Northern Alliance, I mean the northern Afghanistan tribes and by "left alone" I mean abandoned and ignored so that the Taliban could flourish to the south and the west.

Sorry for the lack of clarity.

gawalkman commented on Monday, Sep 01, 2014 at 17:54 PM


Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) said that the old man in the big house has been too cautious on ISIL. This is a big criticism coming from a woman who wants to disarm citizens of this country.

I would like to believe that our military leaders are working on plans of action. I just don't know if the avid golfer is willing to listen. But it is like Saturday morning football - the coaches don't want to give away their plan over an open and unsecured method of transmission.

Here is the link:


gawalkman commented on Monday, Sep 01, 2014 at 18:02 PM

I remember the presidential campaign of 2004. Current SoS John Kerry would always answer the questions with "I have a plan..." He would never really explain the plan. He would only state that he had a plan. I thought it quite comical. Maybe his current boss should take a lesson from it.

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Monday, Sep 01, 2014 at 18:35 PM

Bryant, I do not believe the president, nor his political appointees, have a plan. I think they (all of them) are coming to realize that they are in over their heads in most areas of foreign policy - including national security.

I base my opinion on this - the president and many of his political appointees have absolutely no military or adversarial experience outside of national politics. Oh sure, they can spot the "evils" of corporate America, or religious America, or conservative America. But, until now (I think) they have never really BELIEVED that evil people actual beheaded their captives, or indiscriminately killed innocent men, women, and children in the thousands. No.. I think they convinced themselves all those atrocities were lies spun up by the national defense industries to keep sales moving.

Well, I'm a fairly low man on the totem pole, but I have to speak the truth - REAL EVIL does exist. It kills indiscriminately in pursuit of its goal of absolute power. And the current administration has no plan, no idea of how to deal with it because - evil has never been this real or this evil to them.

The other truth is this - REAL EVIL must be actively resisted, fought, and eradicated. This type of fighting must be up close and ugly. It is not exciting, or fun, or popular, but it is vital for our survival. It is better (and easier) to fight 50,000 now rather than 50,000,000,000 in ten years. Personally, I don't think our current administration can do it. They just don't have THAT kind of courage.

Regional commented on Monday, Sep 01, 2014 at 22:58 PM

Hello Bryant.....very interesting topic...I have been debating myself when to post and what to post about our to many different spots around the globe...

First, we are being led by politicians longer do we have real statesmen...diplomats who not only know the cultures of areas but the people as well...who have earned their respect and trust....

i am old enough to know many of our foreign service offers who have served as our nations representatives in nations big and small around the globe...we really have no good intel coming from reliable local sources all around the world...except in a very few cases...most information gotten today comes out of some spy, research, or study done, quite often finished at home in washington dc...

what they would tell you is that majority of our upper level foreign services officers are not allowed to use their knowledge to advise but are instead overruled my people who assumed their posts due to political patronage...people whom in many cases dont know anything about where they are stationed, and quite often arent at all interested in learning anything about the cultures and people of the nations they are supposed to be representing our country to..

secondly, almost every politician in our governments right now, from those at the local level to those at thre national level are right now fully embroiled in their own political campaigns and are not at all interested in doing anything which could come back to bit them in the butt later.....inaction is the safest action many would say...let the other person stick their neck out and get it chopped off..

and finally...we, that is the people of the united states, are very tired of losing its soldiers in wars where they shouldnt be sent to fight battles that theyre not allowed to fight they way they need to....and we, the people of the united states, have made it very clear to our leaders that that is the case.....

historically, the us has fought three different kinds of wars....first, and most often, by proxy, arming and equipping others either unofficially or officially to do our fighting for us....

unofficially with american troops usually sent at first to advise and train and then slowly but surely taking over the lead role...

and finally officially in an all out declared war with the full support and backing of the american people.....winning every time...

so....the politicians arent willing to send american troops in a limited capacity....these actions havent gotten us anywhere...or risk going one wants that...

so i suspect they will do what we have done so many times...use our allies weve armed with their billions of dollars in top notch american weaponry......or using our former enemies who are now the most likely groups to succeed in at least holding back our enemies...

Passinthru commented on Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 15:09 PM

“….And the debate should not be what to do. The debate should be whether to do anything”

Unfortunately the reason for the ever more serious international challenges is not only because we have failed “to do anything” in the face of increasing world instability, but have publicly announced that we will continue to do nothing.

Remember WWII? We did nothing for two years while the Nazis and their allies took over a large part of the world. We thought that we were too powerful and too remote to be under any threat and were rewarded with Pearl Harbor. The eventual defeat of the enemy was, therefore, accomplished at a far greater cost.

It seems to me that the current government has the same pre WWII agenda of appeasement and prevarication, reducing the ability of America to effectively protect its interests or have much of an influence on world affairs.

So far this agenda has allowed the Russians to brazenly take over the Crimea and invade Ukraine and has also allowed the global movement of Islamic Extremists to take over a large part of the Middle East as they continue in their holy quest to impose a World Caliphate.

These negative events will not be stopped unless the US finally stands up and confronts them.

Bryant commented on Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 16:35 PM

Passin' I would disagree with your assertion we have failed to do anything. We invaded Afghanistan. We invaded Iraq. We supported Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran. We got in bed with Iran to fund and supply Central American guerrillas (some would call them freedom fighters and some terrorists and some revolutionaries). I think we have done too much to too little positive effect.

And I wasn't aware that there was a policy of "appeasement and prevarication" in pre WWII America. Many accused Chamberlain of appeasement - others would assert his avoiding immediate military confrontation with Germany allowed effective development and deployment of radar which allowed Britain to survive the blitz. But in America, it was the people who resisted involvement in the entangling affairs of Europe - not FDR (who would have jumped into the fray) through either appeasement or prevarication.

Now, you say America should "stand up and confront" these threats. What, pray tell should we do? What would be our goals? And, how do we know when we are through?

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 20:51 PM

All, it is a daunting problem, but to do nothing IS the wrong choice.

Do SOME thing until you figure out the RIGHT thing.

Currently, I think airstrikes and weapons support is appropriate. Let the Kurds and Shiites do the fighting.

Bryant commented on Thursday, Sep 04, 2014 at 09:25 AM

Charlie, sounds like "Ready, Fire, Aim "

Passinthru commented on Thursday, Sep 04, 2014 at 13:44 PM

Bryant, your first paragraph listing things that we have done in the past all took place before the current government came to power. Very little appears to have been done to secure the country against the threats that have emerged since.

Whatever you wish to call it, there was a time of indecisiveness after WWII broke out that was only ended after Pearl Harbor. Maybe appeasement was not the correct word to use, in particular now that Chamberlain, as you mentioned, is considered by many in Europe and UK as a hero who sacrificed himself to buy time for the Brits to build up their aircraft and radar defenses. (I’ve often wondered what the outcome would have been if Britain and France had declared war a year earlier at the time of the Munich agreement and been defeated).

…”What, pray tell should we do? What would be our goals? And, how do we know when we are through?”

All good questions that would have been answered long ago by any government that was seriously prepared to defend the country. This government, however, stumbles along changing its scattered mind every time the political wind changes.

My off the cuff response?
1/ American led NATO forces to face up to Russia (After all that is what NATO was formed to do)

2/ “Shock and Awe” tactics to destroy ISIS and all the other divisions of the world wide Islamic Fundamentalist body that will not otherwise be stopped from its aim of world domination.

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 05:01 AM

Bryant, if that is the analogy you like, I would say "Yes, ready fire aim." Some targets are obvious enough they don't require much thought.

That tank outside the besieged Christian town flying the black flag? Yeah.. THAT one.... We ought not to need Presidential/Congressional approval to hit THAT tank. That group of 50 ISIS fighters lining up prisoners for execution. Attack and chase them down to the last stinkin man/animal.

If fact, why don't we try a "new" old strategy - let's allow the military to run the operation with civilian oversight ONLY. Not like Johnson, who picked targets in N Vietnam from the White House. Not like Clinton, who didn't think we needed armor in Somalia. Let the generals, colonels, majors, captains, lieutenants, and especially the Sergeants do their job without politically correct politicians say "Whoa, Stop, you've hit them enough..."

I do not believe it is possible to hit terrorists too much, especially these.

Bryant commented on Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 14:12 PM

Passin'. the things I listed in my first paragraph did not turn out well. And, that's my point. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Shock and awe do not work where your target is ensconced within the civilian population, especially the civilian population of an ally, such as Saudi Arabia, or a non-Middle Eastern locale, such as Indonesia.

Charlie, I agree with you. The President, in consult with Congress should establish parameters and objectives and allow the military to carry them out. Then we could debate what those parameters should be but let the military do what it is designed for.

Passinthru commented on Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Bryant, Ukraine is not a member of NATO, Kermit the frog is not blue, so what does this have to do with a NATO force protecting the interests of its members?

If you are referring to Article 5 of NATO as the only directive that would cause NATO to act then you are wrong, the organization has developed way past that since the end of the Cold War and will react, in particular, to the concerns of its ex-USSR members who believe that they will be next in Russia’s gun sights.

Despite this week’s developments at the NATO conference in Wales, if Obama could see past his ineffectual “sanctions” against Russia, NATO could certainly present an American led line preventing Putin from continuing his Ukraine adventure and persuade him to withdraw from occupied territory.

Shock and Awe is not just the US favored massive air bombardment such as seen in Iraq, but refers to any number of tactics that can be used to achieve Rapid Dominance.

However the extreme accuracy that can now be achieved by the use of guided bombs, missiles and drones could make a pretty effective first impression when used in concentration on an enemy who has killed or otherwise removed civilians from its center of operations, e.g. ISIS or other branches of the global enemy.

- and I don’t believe that Saudi or Indonesia are run by Islamic Terrorists so they should be OK.

Bryant commented on Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 13:58 PM

But, Passin, Saudi Arabia is a breeding ground for Wahabist fundamentalists - the majority of the terrorists on 911 were Saudis. Where does this fit into shock and awe?

And, why should any action in the Ukraine be American led? There a lot of other countries with obvious national security interests handy. Let them bow up and stomp their collective feet.

And, I would point out the sanctions are neither Obama's nor ineffectual.

Passinthru commented on Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 17:47 PM

There you go again Bryant, stating the obvious while avoiding the topic.

Yes, we know that most of the 9/11 killers were of Saudi origin, but Saudi Arabia, despite its dominant minority Wahhabi rulers, has, like many other countries who are US allies in name only, not declared an intention to invade its neighbors and, eventually the world. They are not, at least not yet, an invading army like ISIS that needs to be destroyed. So there is no reason to consider tactics such as S+A against them. O.K?

And as NATO is the creation of the US, originally conceived as a combined force against the USSR and as Americas first line of defense, when you are talking NATO you are talking US led, at least initially. Remember Bosnia? The first Gulf War?

And I would point out that the sanctions are, indeed, Obamas. He also persuaded an unconvinced Europe to cooperate, all without much effect, judging from the continuing Russian aggression.

Bryant commented on Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 09:14 AM

Passin, I'm not avoiding the topic and sometimes the obvious needs to be restated to remind those who either forget or ignore it.

You choose terms like " invading army ". Many members of ISIS/ISIL are native to the countries ISIS is terrorizing. They haven't invaded anything. Many have morphed from rebelling against Assad or Shia minority rule in other locales into members of ISIS, Military action will not cure the problem. It may contain ISIS and force them to melt back into the general populace. There to do their plotting out of sight and -give America two weeks - out of mind. Be objective - some of ISIS motivation comes from US actions in the Middle East. Most does not. Their grievances are more political and rooted in Sunni/Shia conflict. Much more sectarian in nature than religious.

Same thing in Ukraine. It is not as simple as "Russian aggression" and if the US acts as if it is, we will make yet another ill advised foray, on another continent, into a situation we neither understand nor appreciate. I do not believe Putin was behind the original unrest and rebellion in western Ukraine. Similar issues to the Middle East - underrepresentation in government, years of being marginalized - fomented the uprising. And Putin moved to take advantage, apparently with the appreciation and support of much of the local populace.

And, economic sanctions rarely work We tried them with Cuba, Iraq, Iran, and on and on. But, they beat the crap out of armed intervention when there is no clear national security threat.

Passinthru commented on Thursday, Sep 11, 2014 at 14:58 PM

Judging from his 'new strategy" it seems that Obama does not agree with you.

So far 1600 US boots are, or will be, on the ground in Iraq and possibly Syria despite attempts to define them as something else.
They have the task to "train and assist" the mysteriously unnamed ground forces that will drive out ISIS from Iraq and Syria.
Remind you of some earlier event involving US "military advisors"..?

….and will bombing Syria and plotting the downfall of Assad upset his Russian allies? Will they strengthen their efforts to support him? Will we be facing up to Putin on two fronts?

Sounds likely.

Bryant commented on Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 18:41 PM

Passin' not a lot of people agree with me because I enjoy being iconoclastic. I don't disagree with the President's outline - except when he alleges the right to bomb in Syria under existing mandates. He does not. The debate now should move to the proper venue - Congress. Make' em vote so they can't blame Obama alone for failure. Then turn the military loose.

As to Russia and her alliance with Syria - I recommend this site. Russia has as much concern about how to deal with ISIL as we do.

Passinthru commented on Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 20:18 PM

Thanks for the interesting link, at the first quick read it sounded like they see the “squeezing” of ISIS out of Iraq and into Syria being followed by an eastward spread of ISIS, including Russia, not a pleasant thought considering the large number of Islamic Russians – though I can’t see Putin putting up with that.

As for the rest of your comments, I’m disappointed to say that I can’t find too much more to disagree with – except to suggest that being an iconoclast, maybe you could help make things more debatable by exposing your more radical side?

Bryant commented on Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 03:45 AM

Had my radical side surgically removed at 45. Now just a fiscal conservative libertarian with residual liberal twinges.

Passinthru commented on Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 02:47 AM

Very funny, Bryant, but how come that even though they left you with that rather long winded descriptive title the surgeons missed the massive socialist tumor that still remains?

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