Tag Archives: Syria

Among Globe’s Greatest Failures


“My belief is that when the military is used as the sole instrument of power, that never has a good outcome. If there’s no one to take ownership and develop that failed state, human suffering can be even worse than that created by the conflict itself. “
— Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Army General Martin Dempsey

For decades the sole instrument of power in Syria has been the military, an instrument of death and destruction wielded by the dictatorial family of Assad, a father and son who have carried out unimaginable atrocities against their own people illustrating the unlimited potential of man’s inhumanity to man. Continue reading

The United States of…France

Reprinted from Mullings.com

While we have been totally focused, for the past two months, on the amount of time it takes a webpage to load on healthcare.gov, the rest of the globe appears to be continuing to spin.

And it appears to be spinning away from us.

After more than a decade of what is known as kinetic action in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, Americans are tired of being the alpha dog in the global pack. According to a poll released by the Pew organization, the public thinks that the nation does too much to solve world problems, and increasing percentages want the U.S. to “mind its own business internationally” and pay more attention to problems here at home. Continue reading


Reprinted from Mullings.com

The White House chief of staff during the reign of President Richard Nixon was a guy named H.R. Haldeman who was not known for being a terribly patient man. The story goes that he would put the letters “TL2” atop memo that he thought were weak.

TL2 stood for “Too little, too late.”

That pretty much sums up the Administration’s frenzied attempt to gain support for an attack on Syria.

Americans are opposed to it, according to Gallup, by 36 percent to 51 percent. That is not only the lowest approval for military action in 20 years, but it is the only time that “opposed” has been a majority. Continue reading


Reprinted from Mullings.com

Now, the Congressional nose-counting begins: Who’s for the resolution to attack Syria, who’s against, who’s undecided, and who is calling their chief of staff asking, “What’s all this about Syria? Where the hell is Syria?

Those are mostly U.S. Senators.

Problem is, there is no resolution to be for or against.

The White House sent one up to the Hill on Sunday a couple of hours after the President’s staff found out he was going to ask for Congressional approval, but was being told in home room that a social studies paper was due by third period. Put something on paper and hope the teacher is in a good mood.

Continue reading

Saving Syria from Itself


It is striking, the degree to which President Barack Obama can do the right thing so badly.

Look at the last ten days of Syrian decision-making. He made a decision to attack Syria, unilaterally, for using chemical weapons on its own people, without the public concurrence of the United Nations or many of our allies, both Middle Eastern and European, and without consulting Congress. He made the decision before United Nations’ weapons inspectors had even started their inspection of the site of the bombings in Damascus.

In the intervening week, however, the President has consulted with our allies. He delayed a military strike until after Congress debates and goes on record for or against authorizing military intervention for him, which now won’t occur until after the UN inspectors have had time to submit their findings. His rationale, as explained in the Rose Garden Continue reading

Asking for Permission

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

In matters of foreign policy, tis far better for Presidents to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.

If a President takes bold and decisive action, the Congress will usually follow along.

If a President dithers and negotiates and asks the opinions of scores of lawmakers, all of whom have different constituencies and vested interests, the result is usually a mess.

Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory, amid murky Constitutional concerns. Congress didn’t blink, because it was such a damn good deal.

President Reagan sent a few missiles into Libya to send a message to Muammar Khadafy. While a few members of Congress may have complained, most saw it as a justified strike. Continue reading

Syria (sly)

Reprinted from Mullings.com

I decided to run the annual Back to School issue on Friday because I thought events surrounding Syria were moving too quickly.

For the first time in over 15 years, I was correct.

Syria is bordered by Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea. That is important because most of its neighbors don’t like the Assad regime. And he doesn’t like them.

Let’s stipulate that what we’re talking about is the use of Tomahawk Cruise missiles (or some analogous – stand-off weapon) and not invading Syria. Continue reading

Paper Tiger

Reprinted from Mullings.com

I am writing this shortly after 8 PM on Monday. By the time you read this, we might have dropped a hell fire missile on Bashir al-Assad’s head.

Not really, but there are some interesting ironies about the Syrian situation.

Secretary of State John Kerry (who famously – or infamously) pretended to throw his Vietnam-era medals over the White House fence in 1971. When I write “pretended” it is because, according to ABC News, Kerry said during a news program on the Washington, DC NBC affiliate on November 6, 1971: “I gave back, I can’t remember, six, seven, eight, nine medals.”

Later, during the Presidential campaign, he claimed “”I threw my ribbons. I didn’t have my medals. It is very simple.”

Working definition of a difference without a distinction. Continue reading

Chemical Weapons & the Human Experience


The United States cannot be the policeman of the world.

We cannot hope to solve what President Barack Obama calls “sectarian complex problems.” Iraq and Afghanistan have proven that.

The United States will never fully understand or be able to orient itself to thousands of years of multi-faceted conflict in a region of the world where conflict is in the DNA.

We will never win an international war against Islamist extremism. Continue reading

Friends & Enemies

Reprinted from Mullings.com

Human beings need enemies. Often for good; sometimes for ill. But having an easily definable enemy is very helpful.

Organizations need enemies to send you mail and call your home asking for donations. The March of Dimes was established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to combat the crippling disease of polio.

With the advent of the Salk and later the Sabin vaccines, polio was effectively wiped out in the United States and the March of Dimes needed a new cause. It found one in preventing birth defects later expanding into helping women have healthy pregnancies.

During World War I and World War II the enemies were easy to identify. They wore uniforms that called out “I am your enemy” and combatants generally stayed on their own side of the battle line. Continue reading

Out of Touch

Reprinted from Mullings.com

People who travel overseas with any regularity know how difficult it is to keep up with news from the states. CNN International runs Anderson Cooper and other domestic programs, but the news inserts are for, as the name suggests, an international audience – not for traveling Americans.

One of the issues about getting domestic news outside the U.S. is the issue of internet connectivity. I am on the shores of Lake Malawi in Monkey Bay about which Wikipedia says glowingly, “there is a supermarket and a market in Monkey Bay.” There is a new ATM nearby but the internet connection is approximately dial-up speed.

Some stories came through anyway.

The increasingly dangerous civil war in Syria moved into a new phase over the weekend when two car bombs killed 46 people in Turkey in a town along the Syrian border. Continue reading

Top 3 Options for Syria

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

I am not an expert on Mideast politics, and I have only been casually observing the growing conflagration in Syria.

There is a full-blown civil war engulfing that country, as Islamic extremists on one end and pro-democracy forces on the other try to topple Bashar Al-Assad’s Ba-ath Party in Damascus.

Assad is a member of the Alawite minority in Syria, so he is not necessarily an ally of either the Shia or Sunnis that make up most of the Arab world. He has been an ally of the Persians in Iran, and his country is a safe haven for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. Continue reading

Enemies Foreign and Domestic

Reprinted from Mullings.com

Every Member of Congress and commissioned officer (civilian and military) in federal service as well as every enlisted service member takes an oath that requires they promise to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

This oath is required by statute. The Presidential oath, the only oath in the Constitution, does not contain that language: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Continue reading

Precise Language Matters

Reprinted from BJayCooper.com

Language not only matters (cliché though that is) but begets itself, which can be a problem, too.

Take the last week or so. President Obama told the Syrian government, through the media, that proof of their use of chemical weapons against their own people would cross a “red line.” In fact, it would even be a  “game-changer.” According to news reports, the White House went through a weekend of meetings to discuss the President’s posturing (important in diplomacy) regarding Syria and how he should phrase it. The language he wound up using at a press conference was not what they agreed to and apparently was more direct than they intended. Continue reading

The Lamest Lame Duck

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

The President did a press conference yesterday, where he made some news. None of it was good for him.

He said he still has juice in answer to a Jonathan Karl’s question that asked if the President was still relevant. If the media asks you if you still have juice, that is not good, especially if you are a second term President.

He said that he still wants to close down Gitmo. This was one of his original campaign promises. He ordered it closed four and half years ago. It is still open. What kind of juice is that? Continue reading

Resetting the Middle East

Reprinted from Mullings.com

President Barack Obama left last night for Israel in an attempt to “reset” the Israeli-US relationship. There are those who will say that if either side has to reset the relationship, it is the Israelis. I understand that; I don’t agree with it, but I understand it.

A couple of weeks ago shiny new Secretary of State John Kerry effectively presented a check to the Egyptian government – which is now in the throes of an electoral breakdown – for $250 million. Continue reading

This ‘n That

Reprinted from Mullings.com

I am desperately searching for something to write about that doesn’t include the words “fiscal cliff.”

Maybe we’ll just cruise around the net and see what catches our attention.

Here’s one. Remember that unbelievable photo of the 13-year-old Afghan girl who was on the cover of National Geographic in 1985? It was taken by Steve McCurry. If you’re old enough, you probably remember it. If you’re not, it’s worth looking at.

The National Geographic folks recently auctioned off much of its photo library and that particular picture sold for $178,900. Continue reading

Syria is Serious, Indeed

Reprinted from Mullings.com

Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, abruptly resigned as the special peace envoy to Syria.

Abrupt is the correct word, because Annan’s brief only extended until the end of this month. The current UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said he would try to find a replacement for Annan to complete the term of the “mandate.”

Annan said, in his statement of resignation: “At a time when we need – when the Syrian people desperately need action – there continues to be finger pointing and name calling in the Security Council.” Continue reading