Saturday, June 15, 2013

Exercise in Futility


   Some of you are not going to like what I have to say here. I am not going to follow tradition and say all the things that we are expected to say as "good Americans." Sometimes we have to simply accept the truth of a situation, whether we like it or not, if we ever hope to change it. This is how I see that truth.

   There is unrest in the Middle East. Nothing new there, right? The Middle East has been on fire for how many centuries now? Rival governments, rival religious factions, rival warlords, you name it, they have been killing each other for reasons innumerable for longer than there has been a written language. Attempts have been made by outsiders to bring calm to the region, but none have met with any serious degree of success. And of course, we can add the United States' efforts to that list of unsuccessful attempts. However, our past failures have not kept our government from continuing to try. Are our government's motives pure? I mean, do they really want to see peace in the Middle East or is there something more nefarious going on? What do you think? Are we just going to stand idly by, as our government continues with its futile efforts?

   There are many, and I count myself among them, who feel that a major reason for our continued involvement in that region of the world is oil. Can you think of another reason? The problem with this approach and our constant meddling in the business of the governments in that region is that people die as a result. Oh, we know that the inhabitants of that region die. They have been killing each other for centuries, as already noted. The problem I have with it is that Americans are also dying over there. Whether it is the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, or our "peace-keeping" efforts on behalf of others, American military personnel are placed in harms way, many paying the ultimate price for such efforts. Now some of you are trying to keep your jerking knee from knocking over the computer right now, because you think me some kind of traitor to our country and the military. "How dare you say such a thing, Floyd, we are there to fight terrorism and help bring democracy and peace to the region." Or this one, "We have to be involved over there, because Israel needs us." You have heard all this before. Maybe you have been one of those saying these things.

   Folks, our meddling goes back at least as far as the 1950's, when our CIA fomented an uprising in Iran and made it possible to place the Shah in control there. We saw how that worked out for us. But let's focus on more recent events. Were we protecting our nation from terrorists when we got involved in Libya? Are we protecting our nation by launching rockets from drones into Pakistan (You might want to ask the Pakistani's about that) or is it more likely that we are only creating more enemies? We continue to place ourselves in Israel's way, when that nation seeks to defend itself. We have military "advisers" in Somalia now (I know that's not technically the ME, but it's pretty close). And of course now we are arming Syrian rebels (Al-Qaeda) in their fight with the Syrian government. In effect, we have declared war against Syria. Don't think so? Let's see how Syria feels about that. Now the fact that we are arming the rebels, the very terrorists that we are told the U.S. is trying to eradicate, is bad enough, but now comes news that we have U.S. troops and military equipment placed near the Syrian border. I'm sure nothing will go wrong.

   So, once again we see our military personnel potentially placed in harms way, and for what? Who, exactly, are we helping here? The rebels, ourselves, arms manufacturers? Are we maintaining a military presence in the region simply to keep our oil flowing? Is that why our Americans in uniform are dying? Is it possible to win a war against an idea? An idea that places ones adversary anywhere in the world at any given time? How do we know when we've won? What is the exit strategy? A senior Obama administration official has said that the war on terror will "last at least 10 to 20 years.” An official at the Pentagon has said that the war will never end (Say goodbye to what remains of our civil liberties). But let's go with the 10-20 year estimate. How exactly does he know that? As I asked earlier, how do you defeat an idea that has no physical boundaries? It is not like we are at war with a nation, which has defined boundaries and resources. Are you willing to continue to pay for our troops to be permanently placed throughout the Middle East? Are you willing to see more Americans killed in the Middle East, while not fighting terrorism, but, in fact, meddling in the business of other nations?

   I have a great deal of respect for those who wear the uniform. And our military personnel will follow their orders and go to their deaths believing, or at least being told, that they are "fighting for our country," but are they? Were they fighting for our country when they bombed Libya? Are they fighting for our country in Somalia? Are they going to be fighting for our country in Syria? And you watch and see, they will wind up in Syria, Obama will see to that. I know what you're saying, "Floyd, that is so unpatriotic. How can you be so unamerican?" Folks, it brings me no joy to say these things. All I can do is watch what is going on and learn from it. Experience and the ability and willingness to think outside the parameters that are prescribed for us by the political class and the media make it impossible for me to just go along to get along. I respect our military so much that I do not want to see them used as pawns in some politician's political chess game. I would rather see them back here, in the United States, with their families and defending our borders, rather than a world away dying needlessly.

   If oil is ultimately why we are there, then how do we overcome that issue? I submit, as I have on more than one occasion, that we drill for our own oil. YES I said it! We should drill off our coast, drill in the interior, drill in Alaska, and drill anywhere within our own boundaries where we find oil. Or maybe there are some of you who think that American lives are worth losing in exchange for Middle East oil. Now before the liberals reading this go apoplectic let me say this about your "green initiatives;" if you can make it work, make it affordable, make it efficient, and convince the American people, through a free market, to use it, then by all means have at it. But until that happens oil is what powers our country and our modes of transportation, deal with it.

   The cost to the U.S. taxpayer of this meddling has, by some estimates, gone over the $1 trillion dollar mark. Recently, Secretary of State, John Kerry, arranged to send $450 million more to Egypt. Can someone please explain to me what we are getting in exchange for that money? Winning hearts and minds? Making and/or keeping friends? How is that working out for us so far? There are ways to fix this, to bring our troops home, to stop meddling in other nations affairs, to stop having our military personnel used as cannon-fodder, to provide the oil needed to run our nation, and to save the American taxpayer billions and billions of dollars. However, it is going to take two things; It is going to require political representation with the backbone to rise above partisan party politics and do the right thing by the Constitution and the American people, and it is going to take an electorate with the knowledge necessary to know when they are being lied to and the courage to do something about it.