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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Squandered in Syria

The following was written mostly as a diary to be posted on DKos, though I long ago saw that everything posted there has a shelf life of about five hours, before it disappears for good down what I've begun to call a "velvet rat hole," unless a diary happens to be"rescued" some time later because it happens to fit into some category in which a special interest has started to be taken.

You can tell that lately I've been waking up thinking about Syria, just as earlier it was Trayvon Martin.

If I can be permitted to set aside, just for this moment, the overpowering grip that temporizing has on him, never seen more clearly than in his first debate with Romney, I wonder if, by this time, whether B. Obama isn't deeply sorry that he didn't take my advice to go with his Syrian strike right after he revealed that it was in the wind, in whatever form that his military experts proposed it to him.   And they must've had something out of the ordinary and even brilliant in mind, otherwise what good are all those Pentagon types with all the scrambled egg stuff on the bills of their caps?   Instead he took the easy route in which much of the rest of the country appears to be sloshing and wallowing, and he decided to bring Congress in on it, with the all too predictable blah results that you always get whenever those 535 drags on the country are brought into anything.

Since then all there's been is a non-stop torrent of blather about all the dreadful things that will happen, should Obama give the order -- outcomes that not one of these doomsayers could possibly know, and that includes numerous diarists and commenters right here at DKos, even by that site's supposed highest authorities -- endlessly belching out fiddle-faddle that amounts to nothing except essentially saying what a bad idea it is to try to slow down and even stop the wholesale slaughter of Syrians that has been going on with hardly a pause for the past two and a half years, by a huge variety of means.

Bobby Fischer, the late and highly successful, Brooklyn-bred chess grandmaster (nowadays most American grandmasters seem to have been born and raised in Eastern Europe), said, "timing is everything," and one of the things he meant is that a player shouldn't hem and haw, once the idea for a sharp, hard-hitting combination takes shape in his head.  The sacrifice that can't be refused must be made while it's sitting there to be made and even when the ultimate success of that combination isn't quite clear as yet.

Now that opportunity, like all those lives, has been squandered in Syria, and if Congress likewise trumpets and brays "Nay," everybody will congratulate themselves on having been on the side of something that they were pleased to call "peace," and they will go back to scratching their butts, throwing back a few, and in general devoting their lives to being the same old slobs that they always were, while in Syria, unhindered by the international world and instead feeling themselves being cheered on by Russians, Chinese, and a host of "sometimey" American progressives, Syrians will keep on killing other Syrians en masse by a great variety of means, for no more reason than to keep the government in Damascus headed by an Assad.

"And after all," the non-thinking would continue, "all we're talking about here is a bunch of brown people (sometimes also called "sand niggers" in the better homes and churches) busy killing other brown people, right?  And everybody knows that situations like that have never been worth our making any kind of a sacrifice.  Besides, we're not talking about an American office tower being suddenly demolished by some of those same people, are we?  Because even if that were to result in just a tiny fraction of the number of Syrian casualties, in that case everything would be totally different, of course."

Having missed the boat on Iraq, everyone is determined not to commit that crime again.   But it was all too easy to see that pounding into Iraq was not a good thing to do.   Syria is more a mess than Iraq was, despite Saddam's constant misfires and the attentions Iraq had been shown by American sanctions and air power.   The water, electrical, and health systems were all still working, and for a long time Saddam had been spending most of his days huddled quietly in his palaces and doing much more stewing than brewing.

Some have tried to say, "All right.   If Syria is not like Iraq, then it's not like Libya either."  But I don't see that.  Wasn't Gaddafi on his way to an al-Assad slaughter of his own people,  until NATO air power stepped in?

It worked once, and the geography is as level in one place as it is in the other.  Who's to say it couldn't again?  And after all, we're talking about volunteers, who presumably stepped forward for this job, implying, "We can do this!"

Having been, a very long time ago, something of a military man myself, though only what in those days was called a "shotgun volunteer," I think I can say that true volunteers can never expect to be asked to take part only in made-to-order campaigns of their own choosing, such as on the beaches of Tahiti.  It's just bad luck for today's GI's that -- along with the vagaries of plate tectonics -- badly deluded refugees from Europe are still holding on tightly to land deeds in the Middle East that expired 2,000 years ago, and the easiest oil is found mostly in hot, arid, ungodly places where all the women are compelled to walk around dressed from topmost tress to toe in outright tents.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

How Long Should the Dying in Syria Go On?

How long should all the untimely deaths in Syria be allowed to continue to mount, through the use of whatever weapons, before someone is finally allowed to do something about it?  This is the Big Question that seems to be occurring to almost no one, and instead you just see people, mired in legalisms, doing the 21st century equivalent of the medieval urge to determine how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Various strains of progressives, who -- in their zeal for having a third party that, however, they are too powerless or too slothful to form -- have been against Obama almost from the start, are overjoyed at how this latest White House Syria initiative has given them new excuses for their attacks on the President. Meanwhile the real and most virulent enemies of everything worthwhile, the Republicans, are most likely chortling with glee.  Rest in peace, forever stillborn Progressive Third Party!

 Meanwhile, in the widespread efforts to prevent Obama from directing the U.S. military to take a more active hand in affairs in Syria -- a move that can take many forms besides the "bombing" that most of today’s would-be peaceniks are so busily shouting to the rooftops -- the pseudo-peace drums are being pounded harder than any war beats that I've been able to hear so far.  And I keep wondering why Obama's initiative -- the most serious-sounding and substantial in response to the long-running slaughter in Syria -- that he's taken so far -- can't be seen above all as a humanitarian one, above discouraging the use of chemical weapons.  After all, if you're killed by sarin, you're no less dead than if you are taken out of here permanently by a bullet or bullets -- the fate of many thousands of Syrians long before the current big thing, Chemical Weapons, began to be mentioned.
Except for a few small changes, the rest of this post consists of a comment that I posted on Juan Cole’s “Informed Comment” a few days ago, in response to an article he wrote titled “Obama Goes to Congress on Syria as his International Support Collapses.”   

"As his international support collapses?"

I agree with the earlier commenter who said that if the British Parliament had not undercut the British Prime Minister, Obama would've begun his Syrian initiative by now, without the backing of the Arab League, Congress, or anyone else, but not without Britain and France. his two standbys (and stand-ins) in Libya.   All he really needed for his international support was that pair of the largest and most active European nations in trying to do something about al-Assad's slaughter of his own people for little more reason than to keep the rulership of Syria purely a family matter.  Meanwhile the rest of that "international support" mainly seems to have stood idly by while over a period of several years, many thousands of Syrian citizens have been killed. to the tune of as many as 100,000 by now.

And that is the whole point of why I think American military intervention is not a bad idea, and that's been true for some time..  It would be a truly humanitarian effort  to cut down and even end this bloodbath, as one was cut short in Libya, and meanwhile I don't think the number of operative crystal balls is anywhere near the number of dire predictions -- should Obama give the order -- that are being flung all over the place.   And what better use of that unbelievably expensive American military machinery that otherwise merely sits rusting and corroding away, on the seas, in the air, and in a great many countries all over the planet?

It's too bad that Obama let himself be spooked into consulting that body of do-nothing baboon-butts called the U.S. Congress.  While he wastes that time,  more Syrians will be fed into the Syrian death machine who otherwise had every right to live as long and as comfortably as anyone else in this largely indifferent world.  And that will also happen for sure if the U.S. merely resumes sitting in the bleachers – where the British Parliament is already perched, secure in its self-satisfaction. 

Daydreaming and Insomnia

Recently I happened to note a blurb for an article on the Internet stating that daydreamers have a high incidence of insomnia, because they are unable to stop thoughts from coming into their heads.

Is that all it's been?

Guilty of having always been a chronic daydreamer, as well as being unable to sleep these days for longer than four hours at a stretch, I have only one question to ask, and that is, how exactly does one stop thoughts from entering their minds?  I know that ever since I was born, every minute thoughts have been making non-stop arrivals and departures in my noggin and rarely, if ever, even slowing down, 24/7.

(Of course the broken sleep may be mostly a matter of my bladder and kidneys.)