Posts Tagged With: Assad in Syria

THE SYRIA FIASCO

Fiasco is probably too-mild a word to describe the mess we’ve gotten into over the handling of the on-going tragedy occurring in Syria. So if any of you have more descriptive terminology, I’m open to suggestions. In any event, I thought it would be helpful in understanding the horror that is current-day Syria if we studied the four major players involved.

First, of course, at the top of the list, is Syria’s brutal dictator Bashar Assad. The Syrian civil war has now been going on for nearly 3 years, but Assad is determined to stay in power, even if has to kill every last person opposing his regime. So far, he’s slaughtered close to 120,000 of his fellow countrymen, and there seems to be no abatement in the on-going butchery.  As we all know, Assad recently decided to use some his vast arsenal of chemical weapons, and in the process, murdered 1400 of the Syrian opposition, which included an estimated 400 children. He has now taken his rightful place in the human hall-of-shame butchers over the past 100 years. These, of course, include Mussolini , Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and more recently, Saddam Hussein. Initially, the Syrian opposition appeared to to be getting the upper-hand in their rebellion against the Assad regime. But then, both Russia and Iran stepped in with heavy infusions of military hardware, which enabled Assad to turn the tide in his favor. Twisted minds think alike, as I wrote about in my recent posting on the bottomless pit of evil. Since the dictatorships in both Russia and Iran of the same mindset as Assad, why not help out a fellow tyrant in need.

Which brings to the second figure in this on-going debacle- Vladimir Putin, the Godfather of Russia. For those of you unfamiliar with the Godfather’s background, Putin used to be a mid-level thug in the old Soviet KGB, (Russia’s version  of the Nazi Gestapo.) After the fall of the Soviet’s communist empire, Putin, with deft skillfulness, managed to rise to the top of Russia’s new regime. He currently runs the Russian government with Mafia-style brutality. He’s considered the Godfather, or the boss-of-bosses, if you will, when it comes to governance. Anyone seriously opposing his regime will either wind up in an old Soviet gulag in Siberia for many years, or at the bottom of the sea wearing a cement overcoat. But Putin is no fool. So when he saw that the U.S. might use military force to punish Assad for the use of poison gas on his people, he stepped in with a proposal to protect his client state and partner in evil. Playing the U.S. like a fiddle, he suckered us into agreeing to hold off on the military option if Assad would agree to turn over his arsenal of chemical weaponry to an “international organization,” whoever that might be. Supposedly, these chemical weapons would then be destroyed.  This is such a bad idea, I hardly know where to begin.

It’s been estimated that Assad has now dispersed his poison gas inventory to over 50 locations, or more. To assume that an international force will be able to round up the entire lot of Syrian chemical weapons is ridiculous. Plus the fact that you don’t get rid of chemical weapons by just flushing them down the toilet or kitchen sink. The destruction of chemical weaponry is a very careful, rigid, taxing and time consuming endeavor. Strict safeguards have to be in place to prevent any possible mistake that could result in unimaginable devastation for miles around the destruction site. It would take years and years to destroy Assad’s chemical stockpile, under the best of conditions. Nevertheless, the Obama administration latched on to Putin’s delusional proposal, like a drowning swimmer grabbing for a life raft. Which brings to the third major player in this fiasco.

President Obama’s stated foreign policy thrust has been, in his words, “leading from behind.” I won’t get into all the gory details, but this position has led to a crippling weakness in foreign affairs, especially among the most evil and vilest leaders currently occupying the world stage. Obama drew a red line in the sand the first time Assad used chemical warfare on his people. But nobody was fearful or intimidated that Obama would actually do something. So, as I’ve said, Assad went ahead and blatantly gassed another 1400 of his populace. Obama then felt he had to undertake some kind of military retaliation, mostly because of that whole red line in the sand thingy. But his heart was not really into using military force, so he dumped the whole matter on Congresses lap, even though, as Commander-In-Chief, he had full authority to act on his own. Now asking our polarized and dysfunctional Congress to approve a sane and rational course of action, is like asking a starving lion to protect the lambs grazing in the adjoining field. Ain’t never going to happen. In Obama’s defense, it should be fairly noted that, a few days before in England, supposedly our closest ally, the British House of Commons voted down Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposal to join the U.S. in military action against Syria. Obama could see the handwriting on the wall.

Which brings us to the fourth culprit in this tragedy, the American public. Polls show that the public is overwhelming against any sort of military involvement in Syria. Fed up with never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, (who wouldn’t be) the U.S. public has retreated to a position of isolationism. Which, of course, worked out so well for us up until the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and our ensuing involvement in WWII, for which we were totally unprepared. But because of public opposition, looney-tunes tea party Republicans have teamed up with left wing-Democrats, in an unholy alliance, opposing any possible military venture. Besides they point out, Al-Quida terrorists have become embedded with the Syrian rebels,  so its best left for the evil forces on both sides to go on killing each other.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned over a lifetime, it’s that a policy of isolationism has dreadful consequences in the end. In this case, if Assad prevails, the real winners will be Russia and Iran. Yes, the same Iran that is rushing forward to develop nuclear weapons. And to dominate the oil-rich middle-east. Anyone out there happy about the prospect of the fanatical jihadist mullahs of Iran dictating world events.  You know, at one point in this planet’s history, the Roman Empire was the most powerful force on Earth. But the Huns and Vandals and other barbarians of that era kept chipping away at Rome’s defenses. Mostly through the use of terrorist tactics of that era. which was primarily to raid outlying villages and kill everyone in sight. Then plunder, and burn these villages to the ground. Eventually, Romans of that day became tired of all this constant warfare, and became isolationist, and then withdrew inside the confines of Rome itself. This only emboldened the barbarians, who were then able to break through the gates of Rome, and proceed to destroy the very existence of the Roman Empire. That was the beginning of what is referred to as “the dark ages.” It might be useful for people in this country to re-learn the lessons of history.

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THE BOTTOMLESS PIT OF EVIL

I’m assuming you’re all familiar with the story last week about 3 teenagers in Oklahoma who randomly shot and killed a young man because they were “bored.” These 3, whose ages ranged from 15-17, murdered an exceptionally fine young Australian, who had come to the U.S. and gone to school here in hopes of playing professional baseball.  After all isn’t this what most people do when they’re bored. Go out and shoot an innocent victim, just to spice things up a little, and dispel the boredom. Laying aside the fact that their brains had not fully developed to the point of realizing the heinous nature of such an act; on some level these 3 teenagers had to understand that they were also flushing 60 or 70, or perhaps even 80 years of their own lives down the toilet. At this point, the best they can hope for is to spend the rest of their lives in prison. All to relieve a little afternoon boredom. Of course, none of the 3 had any parental guidance or supervision in their lives, so the end result was descent into the bottomless pit of evil. Where serial killers reside; who also kill just for pure pleasure without regard to civilized human decency. Unfortunately, from the beginning of time until present day, there have been and are figures on the world stage for these killers to draw inspiration from.

Also last week, the brutal dictator of Syria, Basher Assad, used poison gas to kill hundreds of his own people who have been rebelling against his despotism for over 2 years. Over 100,000 Syrians have been killed in this bloody civil war; but Assad refuses to relinquish power. Last week Assad’s evil hit a new low, even for him, with the use of poison gas on the opposition. Yes, one is just as dead with a bullet to the head as they are from inhaling poison gas. But the difference is, that with a bullet to the brain, death is usually instantaneous; while inhaling poison gas usually results in several minutes of the most the most agonizing and gruesome torture before death finally takes over. (Google the effects of poison gas on the human body if you’re interested in more gory detail.) Sometimes not enough gas is inhaled to result in death; but the victim is left with years of the most torturous and debilitating aftereffects. The heinous nature of this use of poison gas might have even motivated our President to undertake military action against Assad, even though he appears to be fond of having the weakest American foreign policy in history.

The use of poison gas first reared its ugly head in WWI. My father, as it turns out, who was drafted into the Army during that war, was wounded by mustard gas used by the Germans in the Argonne Forest in France. Fortunately for him, the wounds were minor and he was eventually sent home. (Fortunately for me too, I guess.) When both sides in that war saw the unbelievable horrors caused by poison gas, they both quickly agreed to outlaw its use. ( The war was then fought on a much more humane level of using just bullets and bombs to kill people.) The next use of poison gas was in 1935 by the ruthless dictator of Italy, Benito Mussolini, who had decided to invade the largely defenseless African nation of Ethiopia. Although Ethiopia had virtually no military, it held out for 6 years before Italy could finally claim its conquest. It was Mussolini, by the way that inspired Adolf Hitler to install a similarly brutal fascist dictatorship in Nazi Germany. While Hitler refrained from using poison gas on the battlefields of WWII, he had no compunction about using it to kill 6 million innocent victims in Nazi concentration camps. The Holocaust stands out as probably the single most evil event in recorded history.  It’s also a monument to the bottomless pit nature of evil itself.

Fast forward to the 1990s  and a civil war going on in Iraq. Saddam Hussain, another legend in evil’s hall-of-fame, employed a despotic dictatorship not unlike Hitler’s in Nazi Germany. The Kurdish people, who occupied a large portion of Northern Iraq, were seeking to break away and form an autonomous state, mostly to free themselves from Hussain’s shackles. Thereupon Hussain ordered his air force to drop canisters of poison gas over heavily populated Kurdish areas. Thousands of people were murdered by this action, and the suffering and anguish of that event lives on, even to this day. Besides the thousands that were killed, hundreds survived, only to live out their lives in anguished debilitation. The world was outraged by this action but it didn’t seem to preclude good ole Saddam from getting a restful night’s sleep. Eventually, President Clinton established a no-fly zone over the Kurdish area of Iraq. This meant the the U.S. air force patrolled Northern Iraqi skies and would shoot down any of Saddam’s planes should they enter that space. As we all know, Saddam was eventually overthrown when President George W. Bush launched an all-out war on his regime in 2003. After several years on the run, he was eventually caught and tried for crimes against humanity, in an Iraqi court. Found guilty, he was hung by his fellow Iraqis, and the world was instantly better, because he was no longer breathing in the same oxygen as the rest of us.

Now we have Saddam’s offshoot, Basher Assad further illustrating both the banality and the bottomless pit nature of evil. Of course, I could have also discussed Stalin in Russia and Mao in China, who also butchered millions upon millions of people in those 2 countries during their reign’s of terror. All this, just within the last 100 years. If I wanted to go back further in history I’d have to write a book about evil. People who aren’t barbarians, or those with a conscience, have a very difficult time understanding the enormity of other people’s capacity to commit evil. It’s like they’re from another planet. But they continue to thrive among us, be they young boys who kill out of boredom; or serial killers looking the thrills they can only obtain from the kill; or tyrants on the world stage willing to kill as many people as it takes to impose their will.

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