I Have a Gripe

September 4, 2013

The Nuances of Syria

Anyone who knows me knows I do not do subtle. I am about as subtle as a truck. I am guessing this is why I am so confused by all the nuances of the Syrian issue that has hit a boiling point this week.

Anyone with a brain knows what al-Assad has done to his own people is reprehensible. And I think as Americans we will always side with those seeking freedom. I once heard the comment “freedom from tyranny is in the DNA of Americans.” I would say that pretty much hits the nail on the head.

I also think after Iraq and Afghanistan, we have learned the importance of avoiding “mission creep” and having an end-game and goals in mind at the beginning of any campaign.

This is where my confusion starts.

If we stick our nose in Syria’s issues – essential a civil war – what is our goal? Is it to take out al-Assad? Is it nation building? If the answer is “yes” than I suggest you take a good look at Egypt and see what that got us. Utter chaos.

In my opinion, this has been handled poorly from the get-go. The moment President Obama went off the teleprompter and made an off-the-cuff comment about crossing a “red line” we as a nation basically dared this guy to go batty. Well, mission accomplished.

Then our President has all kinds of tough talk about “going it alone” and then he once again changes course and asks for Congressional approval. Even the UK isn’t touching this one. Don’t sweat it though – France is going to cover us. Um, what? France??? Seriously?

Again, confusion for me.

Then we have Israel. The one staunch ally we have in that part of the world, which I am honestly stunned they still stand by us. How can Obama continue to treat Israel they way he does while trying to suck up to the rest of the Middle East, which basically wants to blow them off the face of the map? If we strike Syria, does this bug Iran enough to hit Israel? I swear, following this mess is worse than the plot of a daytime soap.

On the way home from work yesterday I listened to the debate between Senator Rand Paul and Secretary John Kerry and was thankful that the Senator was hitting on a lot of the questions that have been rolling around in my head. After all that, however, I still had no idea what the right answer should be for this cluster. And while I love that our issues are debated for our citizens  in public, I am sure our enemies are watching us and laughing. We are basically giving them the playbook before we hit the launch button. I’m sorry, but if you have to really define “declaration of war” versus “military action,” versus “isolated strike,” I feel like we are going down the road of Korea again. Remember, that was a “police action.”

While I am pleased he decided to seek Congressional approval, as I thought he kind of needed approval, I have learned since he has Constitutional authority to take action. He seems to take action on plenty of things that he shouldn’t, so why the hesitancy now? I believe it gives him an easy out to not act and blame Congress for something else. I mean, right now Congressional approval and likeability is somewhere around the same level as used car salesmen and lawyers, so it makes a nay vote makes it easy for him personally to back down. But there’s more to it than that.

Again, more nuances.

To my understanding, we can’t actually bomb chemical weapons because all it will do is disperse them into the air potentially killing even more people. If we provide weapons to “the resistance,” who are they exactly? Anyone remember the Afghan “freedom fighters” of the 1980’s? Fast forward a few decades and you will quickly remember.

The President also keeps saying that Syria won’t be another Iraq or Afghanistan. How do we know? Again, what will a “strike” get us? We are being told there won’t be any “boots on the ground.” Wait, weren’t we told that about Pakistan? Oh yeah, that was never made official. This whole thing screams powder keg. Do we really want to put more of our military into situations where they can’t tell who the enemy really is?

According to Einstein the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. After looking at Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more, this definitely seems like the textbook definition of insanity to me.

So now we sit and watch the political theater that is Washington. See why I’m confused?

Welcome to a nation of nuances.

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May 3, 2011

Two Words: Thank You

Less than 24 hours ago we heard of the death of Usama bin Laden by special ops, including Seal Team Six. This is something Americans, as well as many around the world, have wait to hear for a long time.

First, I want to thank…

The Intel community for their relentless pursuit of this piece of trash.

Presidents Obama and Bush for continuing to support this pursuit and for President Obama having the guts to give the OK to proceed.

Our military, and our special forces for taking on this mission and carrying out it flawlessly. We will never know who you are because of the type of work you do, but I hope you know you have the profound thanks of a grateful nation.

To those who have suffered at the hand of this monster, you have my profound sympathies. I know this will never bring your loved one back, but I hope this helps you move forward a little.

What I would really like to know is how this piece of dung could be hiding in plain sight in Pakistan less than 50 miles from this nation’s capital? Anyone want to riddle me that Batman? And why are we giving them aid? I say it is time to cut them loose. The Pakistani government has been talking out of both sides of their collective mouth for years. Oh yeah, that’s how an ally works.

Time for us to stop being everyone’s sucker and be the great nation we are!

February 11, 2011

Mubarak Resigns (Finally) – What’s Next?

Filed under: International News,Security — alvb1227 @ 5:17 pm
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It appears the protesters in Egypt have won. It has just been announced that Mubarak has resigned.  As I watch the news and read posts on social media, I am seeing mixed emotions. Just like everyone else, I feel compelled to put in my two cents.

What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?-Thomas Jefferson

I know many worry that this is going to be an opportunity for extreme groups, like the Muslim Brotherhood, to take over and yes, that is possible. But I have to tell you, I don’t see that happening. Let me explain why.

In my opinion one of the reasons Iraq has become such a nightmare is because you can’t just hand someone their freedom. Freedom needs to rise up from the people, just like it did here in the U.S. over 200 years ago. I really believe they are going to watch diligently to see who tries to rise to power and will not allow extremists to take over.

This rise up in Egypt has came from the people. They have taken control of their neighborhood with checkpoints and watches. They have protected the elderly. They fought back thugs sent in by the government. They have created a “tent city” which could almost be considered a microcosm of a new society.

It also seems that the Egyptian people trust the military, so I think for now, the people will be comfortable with that while change is taking place.

So what should we do as Americans to support this change? First – pray. Pray for the people of Egypt that they will stay diligent and understand that this is the beginning of a long process. Second, as K.T. McFarland put it, “one election does not a democracy make.” Like we did when the wall fell, we should send individuals, not to dictate, but to advise only. Let the Egyptian people know we support them and will help them through this. The U.N. should send in people to help, but we all know they are useless and corrupt, so it is probably best they stay out of it.

So who could rise to power? I think Google Exec Wael Ghonim might be a good place to start. He was a major factor in the “social media uprising” and seems to have a calm and even head.

We can only hope that this is a first step for those who have been suppressed, especially in that part of the world, will see all of this as an inspiration that they can be free as well. Ultimately, this will make the world safer, if successful, because it could potentially minimize the influence of extremists and let the “common man” take control of their own destiny.

God Bless the people of Egypt.

February 2, 2011

Shame on you President Hosni Mubarak

Filed under: International News — alvb1227 @ 10:32 pm
Tags: , , ,

I have watched the protests in Egypt of the last week with both hope and sadness. Today, I feel disgust.

What President Mubarak doesn’t seem to understand is that he needs to go…NOW. Not in the fall. This is the only thing that will help stabilize Egypt. Today, I watched with horror as so-called “pro Mubarak” protesters magically appeared right when the Internet was turned back on and country-owned media just happened to be on the scene to cover it. How shameful and obvious.

I personally love how many of the Egyptian people are starting neighborhood watches, conducting spot checks, working to protect Egypt’s priceless antiquities and checking in on their elderly neighbors. They are doing the best they can do to keep order in their neighborhoods. This speaks much to their hopes for the future.

Yesterday, Neil Cavuto ended his show with his usual “Common Sense” segment and he wrapped up the issue perfectly. I join the many voices urging President Mubarak to resign for the good of his nation…NOW.

January 12, 2011

Haiti: One Year Later

Filed under: International News — alvb1227 @ 11:54 pm
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Today is one year since the tremendous earthquake. Since then, Americans have donated $1.4 billion (with a “b”) to help with their rebuilding. As I watch the coverage on television, I am left feeling both sad and frustrated.

Just about the entire world came to Haiti to help. However, as the infrastructure crumbled around them, their government crumbled as well. What was once a corrupt government is now in complete disarray. So, I ask, just like many others, where did the money go?

Are there some small improvements? Absolutely. Is it anywhere near enough? Not even close.

Sadly, I wonder if that small nation will ever rise up again, regardless of any amount of money that is sent for aid for their people.

As I have done since a year ago today, I continue to pray for the people of Haiti.

October 30, 2010

Another Example Why if you See Something, Say Something

Yesterday, the United States once again averted disaster when suspicious packages that were confirmed as explosive devices were discovered on their way to our nation.

These packages were sent via UPS and FedEx from Yemen and headed for Jewish organizations in the Chicago-area. How were they discovered? An alert employee inspecting packages. Additional “test” packages were found across the United States.

This illustrates two items; first, Middle East nuts (that are yes, Muslims) are still trying to kill us. They are trying many different ways to reach us and as President Bush and other law enforcement officials remind us, they only need to be right once; we need to be right every time.

Second, it is important for the public to remain vigilant. If you see something, say something! It is our responsibility to help law enforcement to keep this nation safe. A perfect example is the attempt on Times Square. A street vendor saw something suspicious and helped law enforcement avert disaster.

Don’t forget…we all need to work together to keep us all safe!

October 13, 2010

What a Wonderful World it Would Be…

Filed under: International News — alvb1227 @ 1:32 pm
Tags:

Like many around the world, I have been watching the rescue of the miners in Chile. This has been a true blessing and while I continue to hold my breath that each man comes up safe, I had a few thoughts.

During the ongoing commentary, they spoke about all the countries that have come together. The United States sent mine experts, NASA sent different technologies, such as the IV fluids used and compression garments to help prevent clots on the ascent. Oakley donated the specialized glasses the miners needed to help adjust their eyes to the light. The Bolivian President came to the site to welcome the one Bolivian stuck in the mine 69 days. South African engineering teams have helped throughout the entire process.

Prayers and well wishes from around the world have been posted online. I’ve seen posts from Africa, Greece, the U.S. and more.

Now, I am far from an expert on international affairs, but from my understanding Bolivia and Chile aren’t exactly the best of friends, but they worked together, along with countries from around the world to help. Chile wasn’t afraid to ask for help and many countries answered the call. As far as I know, countries like Iran didn’t offer help, but still, I think it shows a great human spirit. Countries put politics aside and worked together to focus on a solitary goal – saving these men.

See what happens when politics is put aside and people work together? What a wonderful world it would be…

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