Marching as to War

Tonight, President Obama will be doing a televised address to the country wherein it sounds like he’ll be sending us off to war in Iraq. Again. Yes, twice wasn’t enough; apparently third try’s the charm or something.

I’m really not happy about this. Yes, it’s going to be targeted airstrikes in Iraq and, apparently, Syria, and that’s better than actually invading again. But…well, it’s still us getting involved in a situation that is perhaps best left for those actually affected by it (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, the Kurds), to deal with; something which, you will notice, they aren’t generally concerned enough to do. Instead, we’re just going to muscle in and bomb shit.

And why? Because two Americans were killed.

Let me emphasize this: we’re about to begin airstrikes that will likely kill thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people, some of them civilians, because two Americans were killed.

ISIS/ISIL does not currently pose a threat to us. They may at some point in the future, but the same can be said for various religious terrorist groups around the world, from places like Sri Lanka to Ireland.

By attacking ISIS/ISIL, all we’re doing is playing into their hands. All we’re doing is being everything they accuse us of being. We might well wipe them out, it is true, though we haven’t managed that with Al Qaeda after thirteen years of effort, but if we do wipe them out, what do you think will happen? A new terrorist group will spring up in their place. Well, I say “a” up there. More likely it’ll be a few dozen, and it will be made up of young Syrians and Iraqis who will say, “Those Americans killed my mother when they bombed us! They will pay!”

We’re also sending a message to the world about how easy it is to make us dance to their tune, and about how we’re willing to act based on emotion, especially fear, rather than what’s logical and best. This is not something that I had expected from our President, and I’m quite disappointed in him right now.

I also really hope Congress continues to step up in this case and demand that the President come to them for approval on this plan. I’d frankly like to see severe restrictions on the President’s ability to send our military around the world and engage in combat. The Constitution says only Congress can declare war. Happy day, that means we haven’t been at war since 1945.

This whole thing strikes me as a bad, stupid idea that will do nothing but backfire spectacularly. I hope I’m wrong, but I think I’m not.


How to Handle ISIS


I have, after much consideration, figured out the best way to handle the current problems with ISIS in Iraq: stay the fuck away from them. This is not our fight. This is not our problem. Yes, we broke Iraq and allowed this to occur by our severe mismanagement and misunderstanding. The people who got us into the war (George W, Cheney and others), along with their cheerleaders, like McCain, were so fucking clueless about the whole region and our place in it (ie: nowhere). McCain once famously said there isn’t any history of Shiite vs Sunni violence, which is about as ignorant as saying that in Ireland, the Catholics and Protestants have always gotten along just swell.

We don’t know what we’re doing when we go to places like Iraq. We really have no clue. The whole region got fucked up by Europe, with America nodding along, right after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire almost a hundred years ago. We continued to meddle and continued to get into more and more trouble. It got worse after Israel came along, and suddenly we had to support them always and forever no matter what they did nor how wrong it might be.

Our best bet in general is to just adopt a position of neutrality and be a lot more pragmatic in our dealings with the world. This is especially true for a part of the world where we have proven, time and again, we cannot win allies and where we have no business being.