Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

Archive for the ‘foreign policy’ Category

Ft. Hood, Terror and Prevention

In foreign policy, Opinion on April 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

There was never a rational response to that act of terror.  No one dared say the truth; “these damn Islamists are serious, and they intend to win.”  Instead, the commentary and analysis of the event was colored, watered-down by pro forma expressions of support for ‘diversity in our troops’ and hyper sensitivity to the feelings of honorable, patriotic Muslims who serve in our armed forces.

Query:  Is not prevention of the next such act at least as important as diversity in our military or maintaining the appearance of fairness?  Is it not clear that the only way to prevent the next rampage is to make a change in policy?

Instead, the lazy line of thought in the discussion about the Ft Hood events has been “who can we punish for missing this nut’s criminal intent?”  But, no one missed it; everyone willfully ignored it.  Of course, no one will be punished or fired or sued for having let this madman continue to serve – and I’m not suggesting someone should be punished or fired or sued given the current set of rules and guidelines.  Those guidelines reward inaction, at least to the extent that non-punishment is a reward.  Prior to his acting on his beliefs, an accusation of Major Hasan would have been characterized as “a false, fascist and reactionary scare tactic of some right-wing racist nut-job” by approximately 65.895% of the people screaming for someone’s head on a platter today.  And it would have been the end of some well-intentioned investigators’ careers had they followed their instincts and outted him.

In today’s environment, any such accuser would have been forced to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hasan was a danger to society and should be incarcerated or otherwise defanged.   We know that would have been impossible; for proof, we only need look at the pseudo-sympathy directed at Major Hasan, even AFTER HE PROVED he was a danger.  Even while they acknowledge the evil of his deed, his apologists (“this wasn’t an act of terror, it was just the act of a madman who happened to be a Muslim”) act as if the degree of his derangement somehow exonerates the Obama administration.  The failure caused by having pursued a confused set of priorities with regard to preventing, dare we say it, Islam-inspired terrorism, is excused by, well, the acts of a known madman.

The alternative?  Consider something along the lines of Abraham Lincoln’s approach in the Civil War as applied to domestic terrorist suspects.  We are (or at least episodically claim to be) at war with radical Islamists (not all of them, just the ones trying to mutilate us by the thousands).  I suggest we err on the side of saving innocent American lives, yes, even at the risk of infringing on an unfortunate Muslim’s civil rights.  If the millions of the decent, patriotic, law-abiding Muslims (the ones who do not wish to mutilate ANY of us) want the heat taken off of themselves and their innocent brethren, they will help their country find and discard the bad apples.  Then we’ll relax the rules and stop profiling them at airports instead of ordering thousands of TSA agents to frisk my 13-year old and make him throw away his nail clippers.

I dare a member of Congress or the Obama Administration to propose that approach. We might discover who really is for preventing the next Fort Hood or 9/11 or Boston Marathon catastrophe and who just likes being on TV a lot.

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Watching Dominoes Fall or Leading From Behind

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on October 23, 2011 at 10:26 am

Our president is being praised for [watching the] toppling of the erstwhile dictator of Libya.  Much of the praise seems to be based on a mistaken comparison between the cost of our ‘mission’ in Libya and the cost of our 9-year involvement in Iraq.

So, although he hasn’t landed a fighter jet on the deck of a Navy carrier, President Obama is right to announce “Mission Accomplished” in Libya.  Really?

I must have missed it: since Libya’s mad man was slaughtered by a mob in the streets, there have been elections of a legislating body and a president, the adoption of a constitution, a dismantling of the dictator’s security apparatus, establishment of a new police force, the rebuilding of a substantial portion of Libya’s infrastructure, and the formation, equipping and training of a new police force?  WOW!  That’s a busy few days.  I’m sure we’ve confirmed there will never be any kind of insurgency or other unrest in Libya.

Two points:

First, whatever mission the United States had, has or should have had in Libya is in its infancy.  That desert region is comprised of tribes and multiple power-seeking factions and barely meets the definition of a ‘country’ and is years away from being in a state where its citizens could be said to be living in a nation based on the universal principles of freedom of the individual.

Second, as we celebrate the continuing progress in what has been dubbed the “Arab Spring” we  should reflect on how unimaginable any of these events would have seemed before George W. Bush said “you’re either with us, or you’re against us.”  Those simple but critical words (like a similarly mundane phrase – “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”) marked the beginning of what has been called the Bush Doctrine and should be as well-known as Mr. Reagan’s words.  They encapsulate the idea that America’s interests and America’s principles can be pursued simultaneously by spreading freedom across the globe and, thereby, minimizing potential threats from the likes of Usama bin Laden which 9/11 taught us were not prevented by geography.

It is to America’s detriment that the current occupant of the White House and so many of our policy-makers are so unaware of and/or ungrateful for the accomplishments of those who preceded them.  This premature celebration of Qadaffi’s murder as a “foreign policy victory” for the current administration is sign of immaturity and self-serving partisanship.  The dominoes would not be falling had the first one not been forcibly tipped over.  It’s much easier to watch dominoes fall than to have the nerve to push the first, biggest one over.

Obama Mid-East Speech – Line-by-line

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on May 20, 2011 at 1:43 am

On May 19, 2011, President Obama made a seminal speech on the Arab Spring (i.e., as he sees it, the long overdue end of colonialism in Northern Africa and the Mid-East) that reveals much more than his hostility to Israel’s interests in the region.

The Team

Did he really just say that?

Rather than praise Israel as the model for the rest of the region, Mr. Obama has Israel play the role of the provocateur.  The thinking of this man, when we read each line carefully, is unprecedentedly contrary to the idea that American ideals are universally true and best represented in that region by the example of our ally, Israel.  Indeed, the speech reveals a lack of depth in understanding the foundational principles of America – individual freedom and rights are lost amid a naive praise of democracy and self-determination – i.e. ‘majority’ rule unbounded by limits on government action.  That bodes ill for our country and the region’s future.

The most controversial point of this speech, it seems to me, has been missed.  Obama’s implicit point is that America’s interests in the region are now subordinate to the interests of “international order” and the unknowable interests of the unidentified instigators of the “Arab Spring” uprisings – the Muslim Brotherhood, the ‘street’ mobs, . . . who knows?  The mere hint of ‘democracy’ in a few previously, and now more, unstable, anti-Israel, Arab nations is to be used as pressure against Israel, the only free nation in the region, to subject itself to invasion and extinction for the sake of letting the people of its sworn enemies have a chance at freedom.  Never in history has a nation been asked to die so another nation might be free.  Is that the fate our president has in mind for  Israel?  Would it not be better to wait and see where the Arab Spring takes Libya, Egypt, Syria or Bahrain before the USA starts ordering Israel to make room for our new friends in their back lawn?

See my BHO mideast speech comments for a line-by-line – sometimes overly cynical – commentary on Obama’s May 19 presidential address.  It’s long – the speech was 45 minutes.  My comments are in red and inserted into the text of the speech as published on HuffingtonPost.com.

Osama & Obama – They Don’t Just Rhyme

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on May 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm

They also think alike – at least in this regard.

You see, lots of people seem to be upset over the suspicion that the Pakistanis had knowledge of bin Laden’s residency in the neighborhood where our Navy Seals found him in his bedroom.  I think there is a much more important conclusion we might draw from that inference and the rational next one – that Osama knew that the Pakistanis were looking out for him and would warn him if he were ever in danger.

Furthermore, what might we deduce from Osama’s lack of security around his ‘compound’?  (BTW, didn’t the Kennedy’s have a compound?  Can we just call Obama’s abode his personal gated community?)

Start with this fact – Obama and his administration are on record time and time again with policy statements saying in effect that, until the State Department, The United Nations, The Council on Foreign Relations, George Soros, Chris Matthews and Vladimir Putin have signed off on a mission, the US military will not be deployed to protect American interests.

Theory – Osama believed him!  Therefore, he concluded that he had no need to maintain any expensive security force around his gated community.  He figured that, if the USA acted to come after him, he’d get plenty of warning from the intelligence community, particularly the Pakistani ISI or anyone else that Obama would have involved in his decision had he been true to his, er, multi-lateralist principles.

So the good news today is – President Obama can be counted on to do as he says exactly never.  It’s good news since, I suggest, that’s at least one of the, if not the primary reason we got Osama.

And, on a related note, Obama’s cheering squad are shouting over and over that this single act of ‘courage and bravery’ removes any concern that BHO is unreliable or indecisive in national security matters, and they are absolutely amazed that the President of the United States was capable of mingling among the press corps during their Saturday night prom – the annual WH Correspondents Dinner – without spilling the beans or being overly or noticeably concerned about the impending raid in Pakistan.  Unreal the logical knots they will tie themselves into when it comes to defending this man.

A few words to GWB critics

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on May 2, 2011 at 10:38 pm

WHO ARE SUDDENLY ANTI-TERROR HAWKS NOW THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA TOOK ACTION AGAINST BIN LADEN

(You can fill in the blanks for the questions to which I reply.)

1. Do you believe that if Saddam were still in power in Iraq, there’d be no terrorist safe havens there?  Grow up.  All the terrorists are in Pakistan (or Yemen or  . . .) because that’s where we’re NOT.

2. Really – GWB (the dunce) tricked the entire national security apparatus into going to war in Iraq to avenge a threat against his father?  God, I wish he’d applied that same trickery to, oh say, reforming Social Security or making lower tax rates permanent.  Damn!

3. Saddam Hussein had goals and objectives that were congruent with al Qaeda’s.  It is naive to think they never did or would never collaborate to destroy their mutual enemy.

4. Every intelligence agency in the world believed Saddam had WMD.  GWB did not lie.  More importantly, would you have preferred that he err on the opposite side of the question?  “Oh, baloney Dick [Cheney].  Let’s pass.  I’m pretty sure all the intelligence is wrong.  And he probably threw away the recipe for the gases he used against other Iraqis and the Kuwaitis, right?”

5. GWB wasted time going after ‘Small fish.’  Really? – Saddam commanded an army and controlled billions of barrels of oil and access to major pipelines and sea lanes in Middle East.  Osama is a bigger fish?

6.  Barack Obama has now removed any doubts about his national security credentials?  I must have missed it.  He replaced the entire national security apparatus and recruited all new Navy Seals for the purpose of eliminating bin Laden, and he exercised unique presidential courage and bravery by sending those new men into Pakistan (unilaterally – Pakistan had no knowledge of our plans)?  Baloney.  This victory happening on April 30, 2011 instead of January 19, 2009 is pure coincidence.  Stop the indecent, partisan chest-pounding; after all, I thought that politicizing national security matters was untoward and overly partisan.

There’s more, but the point is made.

God Bless America.

War – Isn’t winning the ONLY rational objective?

In foreign policy, Opinion on April 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm

On the Huffington Post, there is a piece today (Link here) that suggests America(ns) are paying too much for the war in Afghanistan.

I posted a comment on the blog saying “I want to pay the amount it takes to WIN that war.”  The bloggers responded that I had not defined “win” and they were right – and neither has former President Bush, President Obama or any other politician that votes to send our troops to battle.

Here’s one definition – Bomb the hell out of the enemy until the enemy begs for peace.  Then, during the negotiations for peace, impose conditions on the reconstruction of the bombed country that assure a lasting peace and prosperity for its inhabitants.  Or . . . there is no “or.”  No other rationale exists for war except conquest, and America doesn’t conquer countries, right?

Pretty simple, no?  Not fun or glamorous, but very effective at winning and saving lives in the long run.  Need evidence?  See Germany and Japan, especially as compared to North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia – not to mention Egypt and Lybia . . .

War – use American power to win or use it to lose.  I don’t see any gray area there, do you?  Fight to win or tell the soldiers, “nevermind guys, just come back home – sorry for the multiple deployments; we owe you one.”

I know where I stand – do you?

And, do you know where your senator, congressman or president stand on defining how to win a war?

Freedom, not ‘who wins?’ in the Middle East

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on February 23, 2011 at 9:55 am

The President (and most of the rest of the pundits and opinion leaders) continue to hedge on the question of who should lead Egypt or Libya or Saudi Arabia.  That’s been our mistake for 30 years.  We should not be on the side of any regime or faction or mob.  We may have to deal with facts, but we don’t have to support evil.

Choose Freedom every time, then we’re right even if we don’t win a given battle.  The WAR is about freedom, not the next election or change in power in Egypt or China or Korea.  Ronald Reagan could not be sure what type of government Lech Walesa would establish in Poland, but he made it clear that a government that fostered freedom and individual rights would get support from the USA.

WE CAN DO BETTER

Freedom, George W Bush Redux

In foreign policy, Opinion on February 21, 2011 at 11:35 am

The Wall Street Journal makes the point at length HERE.

When former president, George W Bush, addressed the nation at the event of his second inauguration, (full text here) he spoke of a new era, an era that would be marked by a profound change in America’s approach to its foreign policy.  He said:

America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.

[Click BELOW to read more]

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Egypt, Freedom, America – (Cont’d)

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on February 14, 2011 at 10:33 am

Obama administration supporters, among them Rep. John Boehner in his attempt to be civil and bi-partisan, one supposes, are lining up to tell us how well things have turned out in Egypt.  The outcome is a good one according to this group of cheerleaders.

How do they know?  To borrow a phrase from George F. Will, “how do they know what happens after what happens next?”

A military led by men who grew wealthy off the graft of Mubarak is now in control, because a relatively peaceful mob forced a tyrant to run for his life – don’t be fooled into thinking he woke up on Friday and said “Ya know, that democracy thing might work – let’s give it a try.”  No.  He fled for fear of being beheaded.  No man who holds complete power for 30 years hands over that power because, suddenly, a better idea comes along.

And our foreign policy establishment wants credit for watching it happen.  They want credit for standing on the sideline, not taking a position and letting nature take its course.  Indeed, they want praise.  I am looking for something to praise….but, praise for what?  No one knows what is in store for Egypt and to praise this temporary calm in the storm is to reveal an immature world-view and an adolescent’s understanding of  what being “on the right side of history” means.

To coin a phrase, making history takes a long time – and there is no micowave.  We don’t know if the Egyptian mess will end nicely or with brutality.  We do know the situation is delicate; we know events can turn momementum for or against freedom at any moment, and that, more often than not, it is the latter.  So, the cheering is premature and short-sighted and is a distraction from the strategic contingency planning that should be occupying the time of the cheerleaders.

Saying over and over that we are for an “orderly transition to free and fair elections” is not a policy, nor is it a strategy.  It’s barely a good slogan.  For what purpose and with what power are the winners of such an election put into office?  To implement the “legitimate wishes of the people.”?  What does that mean – what is the context – what powers will that government have?  Might the government demand that all property is deeded over to the state to be parceled out in equal amounts to all natural-born Egyptians?  Might that government demand that all men should stop protesting in favor of going home and doing the dishes?

In Egypt, there is nothing, NOTHING, pointing in the direction of a constitutionally-based, democratically-elected government that protects ‘certain unalienable’ individual rights.  Short of that, nothing matters – short of that, any temporary calmness is mere prelude to a different tyranny.  Until the United States makes it clear that we are available to help build the foundations for that outcome – a building process that could take a generation – we are not being helpful, we are being spectators, hoping that none of the blood sloshes over the barricades and onto our shores.

WE CAN DO BETTER.

Egypt, Freedom, America – what are we for?

In foreign policy, Opinion on February 11, 2011 at 9:12 am

In Egypt, what outcome does America support?  Are we for Mubarak?  His hand-picked VP?  The Muslim Brotherhood?  The mob in the street?  Some sect or other party we have no way of knowing?  Santa Clause?

The answer – none of the above.  America is for freedom.  America is for the truth.  It seems that the Obama administration is trying to predict the outcome in Egypt so we can be seen to have supported the winner of the fight for power – trying to be “on the right side of history,” that trite phrase the keep trotting out to sound smart.  [CLICK below to read MORE] Read the rest of this entry »