Wednesday, September 18, 2013

No war on Syria

Like most Americans, I don't support a war on Syria.  I don't see that any claims or assertions have been backed up with facts.  Were Barack Obama or John Kerry's most fantastical claims to be verified, I don't see how it is in the national interest of the United States to get involved.  There are too many problems domestically, too many programs being slashed, to send more money overseas for yet another war.  I also don't believe bombing is 'humanitarian.'  Or that bombing will solve anything (or help anyone).  It's a civil war with many foreigners represented by various proxies.  The so-called rebels -- the armed faction -- is al Qaeada and al Qaeda linked.  Barack's is arming and backing al Qaeda.  Which basically means that not only is he betraying the country, he's also put himself in the position where Congress could authorize an attack on Barack and he would have to oversee it as commander in chief of the military.

I also don't know that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a tyrant (nor do I know that he's not a tyrant).  Syria's in a civil war.  Depending upon where their sympathies lied, some in other countries, in the 1860s, may have seen US President Abraham Lincoln as a tyrant.  Setting aside the civil war aspect, there are humanitarian issues with the government's treatment of the people.

That's why a group of Syrians were peacefully protesting.  Despite some idiots pretending otherwise, these are not the 'rebels.'  They have not taken up arms.  These are peaceful Syrian dissidents and a bombing (or several) of Syria will not help the dissidents.

Why are the dissidents protesting?  Human rights issues.  There are problems in Russia (especially with homophobia), there are problems everywhere.  That includes the United States.

Under Bully Boy Bush, Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was denied his rights.  He was tortured.  He was destroyed.  What finally emerged from the hell hole of torture and abuse was a damaged and barely functioning human being.  Let's not even go into the wars he started or the laws he broke (were the rule of law followed in the US, John Walker Lindh would not be serving a life sentence -- he might not be serving any sentence at all due to the illegal nature of the tactics used in interrogation).  Under Barack Obama, things aren't any better.  Political prisoner Lynne Stewart was convicted under Bully Boy Bush.  But he had enough compassion to let her go through the appeals process.  He knew she had cancer and then was recovering from the cancer.  He could have insisted the Justice Department lock the seventy-plus-year-old grandmother away.  He didn't.  It took Barack becoming president for Lynne to be taken from her home and thrown in prison -- and thrown in a prison just about as far away from her home in New York City as possible (Fort Worth, Texas).  Not only was she taken from her family, but she was put in a place that was so far it made face to face contact very difficult.  And the appeals process was still taking place.

Lynne's crime was issuing a 'press release' to Reuters on behalf of her client.

Keep the mad woman behind bars! She might otherwise issue more press releases!  If she calls out the fall fashion line, she could tank the economy!

There is no reason for Lynne to be in prison.  And now the cancer's returned and she's dying.  And Barack Obama can't get off his candy ass and order a compassionate release for the woman who gave to the community so much more than he, a failed community organizer (failed and bitter), ever could.  As it stands right now, Lynne's going to die in prison.

For issuing a press release.

And you want to pretend like the only abuse of power takes place in Syria?

Barack declared war on Libya -- he violated international law and the US War Powers Act -- and he didn't do it for humanitarian reasons despite the lies.  Part of it was backing 'rebels' to get a US toe-hold in Africa.  There's already AFRICOM, yes.  But what's really needed is a functioning CIA base -- not just a simple outpost -- to conduct the various spying to make the various assertions that will allow whomever is in the Oval Office to try to sell the American people that this and then that African country must have it's government toppled -- for 'humanitarian' reasons, you understand.

Barack is a liar.  He claims credit for ending the Iraq War which hasn't ended.  Certainly, it hasn't for the Iraqi people.  But not only did all US forces not leave the country (nor did the CIA presence) but in fall 2012 Barack ordered another army unit into the country.

That's not ending a war.

He's a liar.  Bashar al-Assad probably is as well.  Most leaders are corrupt.  Power is corrupting and few have the strong inner core to resist the temptation.  That's not to justify their crimes, they should be prosecuted.  But it is to note that most leaders practice abuse or encourage it.

I like Bill Clinton.  But domestically, he didn't call out his minions when they lied to defend him.  I don't believe Bill ever raped any woman.  I don't believe Kathleen Wiley or however you spell her name.  But the targeting of various women to the press, the whispers and the attacks?

That was an abuse of executive power.  He should have controlled his minions and told them to close their mouths.  Instead, he went along and went along gladly without regret.

When the president of the United States uses the full force of government to go after a citizen that's an abuse of power.

Barack took it to extreme levels with his abuse of Chelsea Manning.

In his attacks on Chelsea, Barack violated the Constitution and broke the law.

And Chelsea was no 'clear and present danger' to the country or anyone else so Barack has to be really insane (even more so than Richard Nixon was) to justify his actions to himself.

Our governments -- across the world -- have never been perfect.  I do feel that the US government has become more corrupt. I would pin part of that on the emerging unipolar system.  During the Cold War, violations and abuses took place absolutely.  The most criminal administration was Richard Nixon's.  But the need to grandstand and pretend that the US was 'inherently' better than the USSR often meant the government could be shamed into compliance.  If the Church Committee was holding hearings today -- as some people wish -- I think we'd see arrogant officials either refusing to answer or detailing with gusto and bravado various assassination plots on leaders.  There would be no shame or embarrassment.  And I feel that way not just because of the illegal activities James Clapper has overseen but also because when Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, was revealed to have lied to Congress, the White House never felt the need to take action.  Even now they haven't condemned his lying to Congress.

Clapper should have immediately resigned.  The US Congress demonstrated its own corruption and complicity by refusing to pursue perjury charges.

Under Barack, the US government is illegally spying on everyone.  Exposed, Barack feels no shame and instead blusters.

I don't live in Syria.  Bashar al-Assad is not my representative.

He's called a "tyrant" now.  But it wasn't even a decade ago that my representative (in the new 12 district, but she was also my rep in the eighth district) US House Rep Nancy Pelosi was traveling to Syria and meeting him.  Not even a decade ago that she was praising him publicly following that visit.

Nancy wasn't the only US official to praise him over the years.

Was he a "tyrant" then?

When did he become one and what's your proof?

The US government doesn't want thinking people.  (Which explains the never-ending attacks on education in this country.)  They want mindless zombies who will chant "Bashar al-Assad good" when the US government feels they can get something from him and they want mindless zombies who will immediately -- and without question -- chant "Bashar al-Assad evil" when the US government wants him replaced.

Iraq was secular before the 2003 invasion.  Syria is secular now. Christians around the world should be outraged by the actions of Bully Boy Bush and Barack Obama. But the larger issue of destroying these secular governments?  It pits various sects against one another and causes violence.

Some might say "good.  When that happens, they use all their time and energy to fight one another."

But remember that the roots for the Taliban and al Qaeda go back to the Carter administration and specifically to Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.  In 1997, he bragged (here for Wikipedia, here for a transcript of interview):

We immediately launched a twofold process when we heard that the Soviets had entered Afghanistan. The first involved direct reactions and sanctions focused on the Soviet Union, and both the State Department and the National Security Council prepared long lists of sanctions to be adopted, of steps to be taken to increase the international costs to the Soviet Union of their actions. And the second course of action led to my going to Pakistan a month or so after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, for the purpose of coordinating with the Pakistanis a joint response, the purpose of which would be to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible; and we engaged in that effort in a collaborative sense with the Saudis, the Egyptians, the British, the Chinese, and we started providing weapons to the Mujaheddin, from various sources again – for example, some Soviet arms from the Egyptians and the Chinese. We even got Soviet arms from the Czechoslovak communist government, since it was obviously susceptible to material incentives; and at some point we started buying arms for the Mujaheddin from the Soviet army in Afghanistan, because that army was increasingly corrupt.

And that's how Afghanistan becomes run by the Taliban and how al Qaeda takes root.  

There are people in the US government who see war between sects in the Middle East as good and beneficial to the US.  But people thought the same when Afghanistan was turned into a hellhole.  What emerged from that hole was the 9-11 attacks.

Why all this today?

I slept in.  And people are frantic.

Is the site ending!  Why have you done so little this week!

As I stated Friday in the gina & krista round-robin,  I have to spend more time on the Syrian issue.  Monday and Tuesday, that meant Kat, Wally, Ava and I working with others at a college campus to stage a teach-in.

Drive-bys and visitors didn't know that, they don't get the newsletter, that's fine.  But for community members, I"m sorry.  I'm not the big internet supporter that I should be.

I don't see e-activism as a solution.

I think websites can transmit information.  I think we're lucky here because our audience is more diverse than that of many left sites.  (Because we're not part of an echo chamber, because we don't do knee jerk responses, because of a number of reasons.)  So this site can transmit to a diverse group and that's great.

But I've yet to see the 'power' of the web.

It collects lots of signatures for petitions!

Really?  Because back in the day, Elaine and I would put on our shortest skirts, march down to any parking lot in any city or town across the country and get several pages of a petition signed immediately.  How short of a skirt is the internet wearing?

Getting signatures on a petition was never a problem.

I think we need more face-to-face and I think that's really the major impetus for getting people to protest in the first place.  (Equally true, all participants in a teach-in learn a great deal.  I know I learned more about what issues are confusing or concerning.)

Today, I slept in.  I was wiped out.  I did a six month renewal/pledge in July.  At the end of that, I'll decide whether or not to continue online.  I long ago only promised six months at a time.  I am tired of being online.  For example, although I understand the concern, I feel like I've been caught tip-toeing in after curfew and have to explain myself.  And I wouldn't have explained myself or my actions when I was a teenager but here I am doing it online.

Online living has many pluses.  But in terms of getting people to protest, the first is getting them to leave their house (or internet comfort zone) and the second step is getting them to look someone in the eye.  If those two steps aren't taken, I don't believe a movement can build.

I'd love to be wrong.  I am often wrong.

Point being, we don't need another war and the outside world, the offline world, will get as much attention as I can spare which may mean less online attention from me.  It does not mean this site is closing tomorrow or next month.

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