For All The Wrong Reasons

Back in 2008 a lot of people on the left thought that, and said that, a president Obama, could and would be a uniting force in America. That he would move us into a post racial America.

I am not really sure whether we will ever move into a post racial America or not, those wounds are so deep, and so many people have created an industry out of trading on racism and perceived racism, that we may never see a day when all Americans see themselves only as American citizens.

However, with the move towards intervention into the civil war in Syria, it would seem that President Obama may have actually stumbled unto a way to unite the citizens of this nation in a common cause. He may have found an issue that aligns the right, with the left, the rich with the poor.

The only two, “classes” that seem to be divided on the issue of whether or not to intervene, would be the citizens of the nation and its ruling political class, or as they are better known, our elected representatives.

It seems in many cases that elected officials are not listening to the citizens, I know shocking right?. Of course there are exceptions to the rule.

The thing is however, while a large majority of  American citizens are against becoming involved in the Syrian civil war, the reasons for that opposition are many.

There are of course many on the left and the right, who feel that all wars are wrong and that America should never in any way become involved in any conflict beyond our borders. That our national interest do not extend beyond those borders, and so neither should we project our military force around the world.

Personally I think that is an antiquated and naïve point of view. To not recognize that we are living in a global economy, and that there are nations and groups out in that global environment that seek to hamper or destroy the United States through attacks on our global interest, is dangerously blind. The attacks on 9/11 were not an attempt to destroy the U.S. through attrition, by killing as many Americans as possible, it was intended to throw the world economy, but more importantly the U.S. economy into such turmoil that markets would crash and the U.S. would be weakened beyond repair. That didn’t happen, but it doesn’t mean that our enemies have given up that tactic.

We are also seeing many current and former military people, and their families, opposing the possible, if not inevitable involvement in Syria. While I have never served in the military, I think I can understand why these citizens, who have seen up close in many cases, the true cost of war, why they would seek to limit the amount of military involvement. I have no criticism of their views, since I have no actual experience of my own to counter their views with. I would only say, that if we are unwilling to project our military force, then why have one at all?

Others out there will tell you that to enter this conflict will lead to WW III, well not to make lite of any conflict in which men, women and children will die, we have been hearing that every armed conflict around the world will lead to the next WW. Of course there is no way to know whether any conflict will escalate into an all out global conflict or not, but again, the only way to ensure that no conflict happens ever, is to do away with all military weapons and personnel. Now as soon as someone convinces all of the bad guys around the world to promise never to attack the U.S. ever again, well then we might consider throwing all the guns in the oceans. Until then we must be prepared to defend ourselves and our friends, and yes, even our interest around the world such as oil supplies.

Of course there are many on the political right who are opposing this intervention simply based on political lines, President Obama is a Democrat and so Republicans must oppose this. To be honest, many Democrats that are supporting it are also doing so because of political affiliation.

I am not even sure, contrary to popular belief, that President Obama actually supports the idea of an armed retaliation for the chemical weapons attack that has led us to this point. Personally I think that Pres. Obama painted himself into a corner with his, “RED LINE” comment. At the time he made the comment about the use of chemical weapons being a red line, I am sure it was little more than a good P.R. move in his advisor’s view. But once made he now must either back up the tough talk, or seem weak not only here at home, but also to our allies and enemies around the world as well. You see simply waving the big stick around does no good if you are known for never busting some head from time to time.

I too am opposed to this intervention into yet another conflict. This may seem odd to some of you who have been following my writing for any amount of time. I supported going into Afghanistan, I supported the Iraq War, and no, before someone says it, not because those wars were led by a Republican president. I supported them because in my view there were clear and present dangers from those nations to both the homeland and our global interest around the world. I also felt that a real case could be made for why we were fighting there. But more importantly, I felt that when we entered into those conflicts we had every intention to “win” them. And yes I know the definition of what winning them meant has never been clear, but other than total annihilation of an enemy, is there ever a clear idea of what winning would mean at the beginning of a war?

My problem with this latest “Wag The Dog” is that in my view that is all it will be. This is another case of a weak president attempting to look strong. It has been weeks since the gas attack in Syria. The discussion of whether or not the U.S. will take military action has been little more than an extended news cycle.

We have been hearing nothing but a lot of talk about whether the President will or will not use the military. Then it became the question of whether or not he needed to seek the approval of Congress. Then as public opposition grew, he of course sought cover by actually going to Congress for their approval. Now we are in the stage of negotiating amongst   ourselves exactly what this intervention would look like. No elected official worth his or her elected salt would agree to an intervention and then leave it up to the experts, you know the men and women who actually have fought wars in the past. Oh! No! They have to have every missile, and every bullet accounted for before they will okay the use of them.

We are actually treated on the nightly news to the very strategy of how we will launch the missiles from ships and from where the ships will most  likely be located. I expect next we will send out form letters to all Syrian citizens alerting them to the very day and second of the very hour we will launch the missiles. And in the end we will most likely not hit any real targets of military value, no, more likely, we will again bomb aspirin factories and baby formula factories killing janitors, and offering apologies for our blundering military.

So you see, I am not opposed to military actions to protect our interest around the world, and I also believe that we do have a certain moral responsibility to protect people from dictatorial rulers, think Hitler.  But if our leaders are putting our military men and women in harm’s way simply for photo ops, or to protect their street creds,  and if they have no real intention of actually affecting the outcome of the conflict they are entering into, then I feel that they are doing it for all the wrong reasons, and we should rethink our global goals.

Of course entering the Syrian civil war on either side puts us at risk of escalating the conflict, Israel and Iran could easily be drawn in, not to mention the entire Middle East. This of course would also have a devastating effect on U.S interest in the region such as oil prices! OH! Wait a minute, could our green president see escalating this conflict as a way to again drive up oil prices, thus increasing the value of all of his good friends in the alternative energy industry that he has invested so much of the tax payers money in, and failed to deliver any results?

Whatever your reason for opposing this intervention, I think we can all agree, at this time, the president and those supporting him on this, are doing so, for all the wrong reasons.



6 Comments on "For All The Wrong Reasons"

  1. Carol Naudain says:

    Well said, Mr. Knotts !! I only pray that our elected representatives read this thoughtfully and act accordingly to oppose this unjustifiable war. There are many other ways we should utilize to aid the Syrian people .

  2. kavips says:

    This may be your best piece of writing yet. It is always a joy to read a piece provoked by some good thinking, no matter which side of the issue one may find themselves.

    A couple of side thoughts I’d like your take upon.

    A lot has been mentioned of the weird mix in today’s politics. I have done some of it myself, as well as Allan Loudell of WDEL , particularly noting the strange union between those on the extremes of both parties against the center on a very large number of issues.

    One looking glass through which I am seeing things is that a divide is growing between those few members with power or properly interpreted, access to big money, versus those many who have the numbers, but no real power to affect their own lives..

    It historically hearkens back to a similar divide when England had a king and royal court, and everything that happened outside of that, mattered little.

    Syria, as you mentioned, has now become a case of…. “well we said it, so we have to do it… ” That is the only argument still sticking. The original expressed concern over chemical weapons appears to have lost sway after the US’s own admission to using chemical weapons (white phosphorus) to systemically clean out Fallujah rather recently.

    This argument still sticking is being given… without giving any regard to whether what was originally said was right or wrong… If we shifted the same argument over to a family setting, where the father tells his teen age son, “look, I said if you took the car out Saturday night and went drinking, I would have to kill you…… so now, I have to kill you.”…

    … one can see the lack of sensibility behind carrying any action promised just because it was promised…. obviously the dad in this case would have far more credibility, with the rest of society, if he didn’t kill his own son.

    A second consideration to ask is… when we had our own civil war.. did someone come in and decide it for us?

    “What, get rid of slavery? Why that’s sanctioned by the Bible! We’re sending our fleet to indiscriminately shell New York City… (it will be a limited attack)”

    No one did that. And if they did,… would that issue have been settled once and for all ? Or would the issue of slavery keep rising, and rising, and rising, because it is morally wrong, and continue to rise until it was settled finally once and for all in a gigantic bloodbath?

    Perhaps we should take that lesson at heart too…

  3. Frank Knotts says:

    Thank you Carol.
    Kavips, on your first point, well the best way to avoid such cases is to have leaders who weight their words against what is best for the nation rather than what is best for their political careers or their presidential legacies.
    On your second point, well the CSA tried desperately to win the aid, if not actual military assistance of the two major European heavy weights of the day, England and France. Both of whom would have benefited from the fall of the “Union”. And in the early days of the American Civil war their intervention was a real possibility, when the war was about economics and political ideology. However when it became about ending slavery both European nations were lax to become involved.
    That is the point here, we do have an interest in the region, we do have certain moral obligations, but we must decide based on those interest and obligations, and also we must not allow our military strategy to be planned on the nightly news for all the world, including our enemies to see.

  4. anonymous says:

    It is reported that more than 2,000 children in America, die of child abuse and neglect each year, with the actual number of abuse and neglect deaths being much higher than that reported by vital statistics data.

    Known Major Risk Factors

    Younger children, especially under the age of five.
    Parents or caregivers who are under the age of 30.
    Low income, single-parent families experiencing major stresses.
    Children left with male caregivers who lack emotional attachment to the child.
    Children with emotional and health problems.
    Lack of suitable childcare.
    Substance abuse among caregivers.
    Parents and caregivers with unrealistic expectations of child development and behavior.

    Most Americans (and the news media,) ignore this depressing news, that each and every day, 21,000 children die around the world. Each year, that’s nearly 7.6 million children dying. The last decade, 92 million children died.

    As some have their eye sharply focused on the price of cheap fossil fuels,

    have they ignored these 400,000 people dying per year?

    So… would a war be to protect children and innocent people, or would it be a war to again protect fossil fuel interests.

  5. Frank Knotts says:

    anonymous, sorry you went to moderation because of your links. To answer your question, well if done correctly and for the right reasons, it could be for both. There is no question that the Syrian government is an oppressive regime, with a history of human rights abuse. How many lives could have been saved if the world had not ignored the early abuses against the Jewish people in the early days of Hitler’s reign of terror? This is what I mean when I say we do have a moral obligation. And in acting to protect the people of Syria we could actually also lessen the unrest in the region. I just don’t see this administration acting in a decisive manor, I see anything done will only add to the unrest, with no real end or affect on the situation.

  6. earl lofland says:

    While I agree in part with you I also disagree with you on some issues brought up in this blog.
    When you look at a longer running picture- beyond 2001 you can see a much clearer goal that has proven to be virtually unaccomplishable. Not without the destruction of Isreal, which I will add-never will happen, even when we abandon it.

    Back torwards the end of the Vietnam conflict foreign countries such as France was wanting gold for exchange in our US Dollar. A bad situation to be in actualy.
    At that same time
    President Charles de Gaulle until 1970, France reduced Frances dollar reserves, exchanging them for gold at the official exchange rate thus reducing US influence. This, combined with the federal expenditures for the Vietnam conflict and persistent balance of payments deficits, US President Richard Nixon responded by ending the international convertibility of the dollar in to gold (August 15, 1971) (the “Nixon Shock”).

    That is also when Nixon agreed to help Saudi Arabia in exchange for the Saudi government to use US Dollars for oil purchases instead of gold as a joint communiqué from OPEC stated would occur, from then on, (they would price a barrel of oil against gold). This was called the Petro dollar a term coined by Georgetown University professor of economics, Ibrahim Oweiss, who recognized the need for a term describing the dollar received by petroleum exporting countries (OPEC) in exchange for oil.

    What we have to assess now is our ability to produce oil in the US vs changing to alternative energy – including the transporation industry.

    accroding to miliary economists we had about 20 years of prom0ting US interests in the middle east. Something that is not the same as it was in South America and the Caribbean in the late 19th into the 20th century.
    We are to recognize this is a global economy, and the US must engage competitively in such a market. One of those ways we have attempted has been through a close partnership with Saudi Arabia, and there has been a mutual exchange for this partnership. Our assistance in expanding their empire that is ruled under strickt Sharia Law. attrocities occur in SA but we not only do nothing to stop it, we even provide that government to continue their purpose. Spreading Wahhabism a very conservative form of Sunni Islam througout the world.

    So we must ask ourselves as inividual thinkers,
    Has this pact with Saudi Arabia been worth it ?
    Would we have choosen to do anything differently and possibly better than enslave the tax payer to more debt, higher inflation. and all linked to our ineptness to utilize our own oil supplies as leverage in a global market instead of depending upon other countries to supply us with something we have right here in abundant supply.
    Is it time we ended the strifes we have share of the blame for in the middle east? It isn’t because of our way of life, Assad himself and his wife have a western lifestyle influence. And we can say for a fact that the majority of ‘rebels” are not from syria but are paid operatives funded by this entire Saudi US partnership that first took shape during the Nixon years.
    It is also imporant that I also remind those who were around during that era to recall how both Democrats and Republicans alike have continued their support for Saudi Arabia.
    We will be faced with a decision. Do we defend Isreal? or do we continue to follow the goals for a Sunni empire that is planned to morph the Ottoman Empire?

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