25 September 2014
Uncommon Commentary #428: A Second Strike Against the Islamic State? Actually, There Are Two Strikes Against Us
A recent news item began: “The U.S. and Arab allies launched another round of strikes Wednesday on [rock-]oil refineries in Syria, which the militants use in part to fund their multi-million[-]dollar operation.” Why not strike the militants, rather than destroy infrastructure that a postwar Syria would need to rebuild its economy? Likely because hitting large, usually undefended civilian targets with “airstrikes” is all that one can accomplish in the absence of the ground forces that will be needed to win this war.
23 September 2014
Uncommon Commentary #427: “Boots on the Ground”? I’d Rather Have Those Boots Kicking Obama’s Rear End
Several years ago, Obama told the Germans that they ought to send more troops to Afghanistan so that the USA could reduce its own military commitment there and thereby reduce the burden on its taxpayers. German opinion was summarized as: “Ach du lieber! Why should we strengthen our forces so that US citizens can get a tax cut?” There was nothing wrong with asking Germany to contribute more soldiers, but Obama certainly employed a strange tactic in doing so. His approach then seems much like his belated effort to build a coalition against the Islamic State while simultaneously vowing that no US troops will enter combat on the ground. I can imagine a typical response to his diplomatic efforts:
“If I understand you correctly, Mr. President—All right, all right, ‘Your Imperial Majesty’—, you expect other countries such as mine to supply the thousands of ground troops that will be needed to defeat the Islamic State, while your military does nothing but carry out ‘airstrikes’. And so, we suffer all the casualties, and then, if victory comes, you’ll arrogate all the credit for the success, just as the NATO did 15 years ago regarding Kosovo, or as you did when Gadhafi was killed. Do you think that we’re as stupid as the people who voted for you?”
22 September 2014
Perhaps it’s not completely absurd for Emperor Nerobama to deny that the Islamic State is Islamic. After all, he’s a Democrat, but certainly no democrat.
21 September 2014
At a recent concert, “rap artist” Kanye [sic] West told his audience that he wouldn’t finish his “rap”—one can’t call such a thing a “song”—unless everyone present should stand. That would’ve been enough reason for me to remain seated!
17 September 2014
The practice of including editorials in newspapers dates back a few centuries, but that’s a few centuries too long. There is, after all, a reason why newspapers are not called “opinionpapers”.
10 September 2014
Much has been said and written lately about the USA’s abdication of leadership of the “Free World” under Obama. Indubitably it is true that the President’s obvious reluctance to take any sort of action that might help to redress the international situation, and his ineptitude in managing US intervention when his critics and public opinion prod him into taking such action, have contributed significantly to the recent rapid deterioration of the state of our world. Hawks, however, ought to keep a few things in mind:
- A bankrupt country cannot be a superpower. “Sequestration” has had deleterious effects on our ability to fight wars, but a land that owes as much money as ours does must make drastic cuts in spending on the military as well as in other areas of government.
- Our performance as the world’s policeman was rather less than adequate even before Obama became commander-in-chief. On occasion we had a success like the 1949 Berlin Airlift or the 1983 invasion of Grenada, but more often we had a failure like the botch in Vietnam or that in Somalia. As I’ve written previously, there is at least one thing worse than isolationism: incompetent intervention.
- Should the USA cease to exist, some adjustments would have to be made—most countries in Europe have gotten lazy about the need for defense, preferring to rely upon their alliance with us—but civilization would likely survive, as it did for five millennia before the founding of the USA. (It ought to be noted that most threats to peace and prosperity nowadays come from such non-state actors as terrorist groups, which can be thwarted by polities that don’t have high defense expenditures. We saw an example of this in 2013, when the French military expelled Al-Qaeda from Mali with no assistance from us except for our supplying a few remotely-operated vehicles, known colloquially as “drones”.)
03 September 2014
A news story reads partly as follows, except for the italicization, which is mine: “… Obama has sent official notification to Congress of his order for last week’s air strikes and humanitarian aid drops to help Iraqis ….” Who says that our president ignores the legislature?