Thursday, September 12, 2013

Unbelievable Incompetence in Washington

Fox News has put together a video timeline of the administration's ever-shifting stances on Syria -- the video says far more than any words could about the unbelievable incompetence that is taking this country to the absolute nadir of its long history:

[Note: If you do not have Java running, you can watch the video at this link.]

Indeed, here is a recent photo from the news (click to enlarge) which captures the essence of where Vladimir Putin and Syria -- nay, the entire Mideast -- are leaving Obama (the hapless frog in the photo):


  1. I just heard that U.S. and Russian teams are going to compare their intel on Syria's chem weapon sites.

    So, you have two teams disclosing stuff that might very well reveal their intelligence gathering methods and resources.

    One team is led by a long time spymaster.

    The other team is led by...

  2. I've just read an very good opinion piece about this in the London Daily Telegraph:

  3. "...the unbelievable incompetence that is taking this country to the absolute nadir of its long history."

    This strikes me as something of an exaggeration. Even if you hate everything the president does, are we really in worse shape than during the Civil War? Than the great depression? Is this almost-attack on Syria really worse than the recent invasion of and war in Iraq whose alleged justification turned out to be false?

    Again, I think it's useful for us to pull back from the media viewpoint, which sees everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) in terms of the next presidential election. Is it really a bad thing that we pulled back from so-called "surgical strikes"? Or that the imminence of such strikes led to a diplomatic scheme for a multi-national solution? Would it indeed have been better for the president to have decided that realpolitik required a do-nothing approach to the increasing use of poison gas? Is it the most awful thing in the world that a crafty old KGB man is taking credit as the A-Number-one peacenik? Are we really worse off now than if we had attacked, or stood by?

    It does seem a situation that the president and secretary of state muddled into. But somehow I expect that more of history is like that than we know. "I meant to do that."

    And, on the side, what's the deal with "American Exceptionalism"? Of course we have some distinctive characteristics. Everyone does. But we are humans, erring, subject to original sin just like Russians and Syrians and Australians. I don't know how a Christian can seriously entertain the idea that some particular contemporary nation is fundamentally different, better, more favored, than the others. Putin, whatever his sins, is absolutely right on that, and it seems to be making our politicians sick, Democrats and Republicans alike, to even entertain such a possiblity. I don't get it.

  4. Just a technical note. We have Java running and the clip did not open. We used you lifesafer link, and it opened perfectly.

  5. Timothy,- well thought, and this follower agrees with your idea. It is very difficult to avoid learning about the opponent's mechanics, once you have his information.

    Topper - The London Daily Telegraph article is really excellent reading. To-night I hit a bit of a goldmine with my stop-over.

    El Gringo Viejo

  6. Rick Allen, I would ask you to use some perspective, as you have bid me. During the Civil War we had a president who believed in the greatness of this country, and who was determined to do all that he could to hold it together. His decision was most costly, but time has proved it was the right decision.

    Now, it would appear, we have a president who despises this country for -- what? its oppression of blacks (but then, where does that leave Lincoln and all those who went to war under his banner and freed the slaves)? Its exploitation of third-world countries for oil, or for cheap labor? Again, where does that leave Obama -- who won't let us either drill for oil or even pipe it through our territory, and whose policies have exacerbated unemployment to the point where 90 million (that's 30% of our entire population!) have given up trying to find work, and are for the most part content with food stamps and benefits?

    Syria is just a tiny cherry on top of a big bomb. When the Mideast powder keg blows, Obama and his advisers will have no clue how to steer us through the consequences. Do you really feel that confident with everything in their hands?

    And, please do not get me going on American exceptionalism. It does not mean anything like what you, Obama and Putin are interpreting it to mean. All it refers to is the fact that the United States, for its 225-year history, has -- at least until the President started taking the law into his own hands -- been the exception to the usual course of despotism, nepotism and socialism which has dragged down so many other countries, particularly in the Middle East, and kept them from realizing their potential. America has thus far been exceptional -- in comparison to the vast number of other countries that have come and gone, in that more people have lived and died free under her laws than in any other country ever, at any time in history. And that is what you call an "exception."

    Again, it is not because America is morally or culturally superior to any other country: any other country could become "exceptional" overnight if it adopted a suitable Constitution and meant it (i.e., not like Putin's Russia). We have no exclusive license on exceptionalism -- but we, at least until recently, were the good example that provided the best lesson on that subject. The jury is now out on whether that example will continue to be viable -- and that is why I say we are approaching a nadir. Never has what made us exceptional been so vulnerable, or so much in danger -- and all because this President seems to like it that way, or not to be in the least concerned to change course.

  7. Is this almost-attack on Syria really worse than the recent invasion of and war in Iraq whose alleged justification turned out to be false?

    It is indisputable that Saddam Hussein had both chemical and biological weaponry. He and his cousin killed as few as 5,000 Kurds, probably five or ten times more than that over the years with artillery delivered gas attacks, frequently just to test their toxicity.
    Many thousands more Shi'ite from the Basra area and on into place almost reaching Tikrit were gassed. Untold thousands of Iranian civilians and military personnel were killed or permanently debilitated by gas attacks during the Iraq - Iran 8 year war, in which over 1,000,000 people are thought to have died.
    Saddam Hussein also committed a particularly disgusting form of genocide that your side never mentions, and that is the draining and drying of the marshes that had been farmed for many millennia, by the Swamp Arabs. These people farmed and floated in the swamps of the Eastern extremes of Iraq raising the finest date, figs, season fruits, and the most amazingly beautiful and tasty vegetables known. Every morsel was hand cared for by people who had done this work on their floating seedling gardens and their massive floating "farms" was an incredible statement about the success of doing something all wrong for three or four thousand years, and doing it in such a way so as to become legendary. Hussein hated them because they were totally self-suff8icient and did not need some megalomaniac to complete their life's orbit.
    I am unaware if in fact those swamps were restored during the American post-liberation administration. But I am aware, somewhat personally, that Saddam Hussein did present a clear danger to everyone within reach, had worked to build a nuclear arsenal, please remember the Israeli strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in the 1980s. And Hussein always sent the family of a homicide bomber who would strike western, and Israeli, and civilised Arabs and Muslims and kill indiscriminately all nature of civilians, especially school children in busses.
    The invasion of Iraq has been turned into something that it was not by the Obsolete Media and by effete, impudent America-hating intellectual Americans. Bush and his people sought and obtained approval from the UN twice,and from the Congress twice. And the American forces with considerable allied assistance won the war, won the peace, and then watched it all flushed down the anti-American toilet that Barack Hussein Obama keeps handy when he ordered the removal of the last American Combat units from Iraq, long before it was militarily appropriate. He is doing the same in Afghanistan. He is doing it so that, in his mind, Americans will not be able to sayt that they "won" anything. It is the quest of all anti-American Americans who hate their country first.
    And, to be sure, I was not in favour of the invasion of Iraq when it was planned and when it began. I also know that the WMDs were in Iraq, and that several huge convoys moved very dangerous material to Damascus in the days before the outbreak of the War. It was then generally assumed to have been gasses and biological being sent to Syria for "safe-keeping". Now we know they are there.

    Forgive my ire.
    El Gringo Viejo

  8. A few comments....

    Mr. Bush could have saved us a great deal of time and trouble taking out Syria after 9/11. Syria is the linchpin that makes the Med accessible to both Russia and Iran not to mention a logistics base for many terrorist organizations. It has been an ongoing source of trouble since the end of the Second World War and has been both a hot and cold war opponent of the West on innumerable occasions.

    Mr. Bush could have made a much better case for taking out Syria than Iraq and with the Syrian Baathists gone Saddam would have been constrained between a non-Baathist Syria and Iran...and no place to hide WMDs, right?...lack of foresight there.

    Second, we cannot "win" a war when we don't take over and actively rule the property we've "won." Ask the Romans, the Egyptians, the British, the French, or Chinese. Look at Vietnam: was it ever our intention to permanently camp out there ala South Korea? No. Nor was it ever our plan to camp out in Iraq or Afghanistan ad infinitum - my son was in Iraq 3 tours as an Army NCO - and he was very clear that the thinking among his peers and the other grunts on the ground were our reason for being in Iraq ended the day Saddam was caught and in Afghanistan the day after bin Ladin was executed. I find veteran NCOs tend to have a much better perspective on reality than folks higher up the food chain, especially politicians.

    There is also that whole problem of paying for jingoism: last I heard you cannot have both guns and butter - unless of course you put off paying for the guns during your presidency and leave your successor with the debts. I also hope folks are recognizing Russia is using its Iran/Syria linkages as a replacement for the Warsaw Pact buffer it has lost to NATO. And given those proxies location relative to NATO oil & gas sources, we'd best pay attention.