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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘killing’

Mr. President, Please Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Kol Israel on Monday morning quoted Israeli officials in Washington who say an American intervention in Syria—albeit limited—is a forgone conclusion, seeing as the White House has been under so much concentrated attacks from Europe and from inside the U.S. to employ its considerable resources to stop the civil war.

President Obama has been meeting with his national security team to discuss reports of the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons, a White House official said over the weekend, throwing strong hints that an American military strike was on the table.

The humanitarian group Doctors without Borders said reports it received from hospitals in Damascus indicated that 355 people had died from symptoms consistent with being exposed to a neurotoxic agent.

“We have a range of options available, and we are going to act very deliberately so that we’re making decisions consistent with our national interest as well as our assessment of what can advance our objectives in Syria,” the White House official, speaking on background, said.

Once again it has been proven that it is not a politically wise move to draw red lines. It never ends well. Like all pledges, the pledger ends up being forced to act on notion he or she had in the past, despite all the new information they possess today.

Never mind that this pledge by President Obama, to pin U.S. foreign policy on whether or not Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, is possibly the least astute of all the lines in the sand.

The man has been bombing civilian neighborhoods in his own cities and towns for two years, with supersonic attack planes diving down on homes and cars and schools and mosques, ripping all of it to shreds with air-to-surface rockets, and that didn’t trigger any red line. But the fact that he did it with an antiquated technology that gave Europe nightmares in World War I – that’s already intolerable. That’s unforgivable. This time he really crossed the line.

I feel like I’m channeling Jacky Mason here. The United States believes that it could actually achieve some good in the tortured Middle East by bombing a whole bunch of places in Syria? Seriously? The Syrians themselves can’t tell any more who is fighting against whom – the rebel forces are split into pro- and anti-Western armies, all of whom hate Israel, and all of whom hate the Shiite Hezbollah even worse than they do the Jews. And the U.S. will start shooting Tomahawks into these wretched battlefields, followed by limited bombing from the air, followed by more intense air raids – and that will help matters?

Let’s look at the record of U.S. interventions in the region over the past decade, shall we? At the cost of a trillion dollars, give or take, and thousands of American lives, we managed to topple the one serious enemy Iran had at its border, the horrible, terrifying, puppy killing Saddam Hussein, to replace him with a Shiite-ruled government and to extend Iran’s Hegemony all the way down the Persian Gulf.

But that was President GW Bush, and what did he know about global strategy, right? So our next commander in chief is spending another trillion dollars to make sure the Taliban will have a firm hold on Afghanistan for centuries, but with a few differences: whereas in the past the Taliban were merely an Afghani phenomenon, now they threaten their entire region, most notably Pakistan, a proud member of the nuclear club.

So now the brilliant boys and girls at the White House want us to intensify the rate of the killing of innocent civilians, weighing in on the side of the “good” rebels. Judging by their record so far, it is virtually certain that the result of our efforts will be a Sunni Al Qaeda state, where all the Allawites, Druze and Christians have been murdered, and Israel’s northern border with Syria—largely dormant since 1973—will come back to life.

And all of it because we think Assad mass murdered his people using chemical weapons instead of tanks and planes.

I yearn for the day when we’ll have a president who understands the value of not intervening in the Middle East. This region is not a Europe with darker complexions. This region is where tribes of all manner of color and dress have been doing war since the time the hunter-gatherers and shepherds ran into the first cultivated wheat fields and everybody got their bats and sticks and sharpened stones and went at each other. And each time European powers land here, they turn the occasional suffering into permanent pain, with ever larger numbers of dead and mutilated.

US, Setting Example For Israel, Releases Taliban Terrorists

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

On 28 July, Jonathan Tobin asked, at Commentary, if the U.S. would release terrorist killers as a precondition for talks – the measure Secretary of State John Kerry was demanding of Israel.

A couple of days later, in an almost supernaturally handy turn of events, we had the answer: yes.  The U.S. did exactly that at the end of July, agreeing to release five Taliban terrorists we’ve been holding at Guantanamo, in order to jumpstart the initiative – mainly ours – for talks with the Taliban.

Daniel Greenfield points out at FrontPage that in June, the Taliban offered to exchange U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for the five Taliban at Gitmo.  The Haqqani network of the Pakistan Taliban has been holding Bergdahl since late June or early July of 2009, shortly after he went missing close to Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.

But the Gitmo Five were released without an exchange for SGT Bergdahl taking place.  This will have to be a blow to his family in Idaho (not to mention a blow to Bergdahl).

It will also be another blow to U.S. credibility, already on the ropes.  It certainly dents the credibility of detention as a deterrent to terrorism.  Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, had a hilariously timed oped in Friday’s Washington Post online in which he argued that the Obama administration should declare that the “war against al Qaeda” – yes, that al Qaeda; the one that has our embassies shut down across the Muslim world this weekend – is over.  Instead of acting on a war footing and killing terrorists, says Mr. Roth, we should be going with President Obama’s own expressed preference to “detain, interrogate, and prosecute” them.

Now, I have been a critic myself of Obama’s overreliance on drone killings as a method.  And detention and interrogation, while important for intelligence gathering, are not methods of deterrence, nor is prosecution.  I don’t argue for them as a substitute for drone attacks.

I’m getting those points out of the way so we can focus on what matters here, which is that detention is as close to meaningless as makes no difference, if we’re just going to turn terrorists loose anyway, to everyone we might have a yen to have “talks” with.  The Obama administration, just a few days before his oped appeared, provided Kenneth Roth with a conversation-stopping answer to his proposition that we should kill less and detain more.  The answer leaves Roth in the dust:  whether we stop killing terrorists or not, we should release the ones we have detained in order to get terrorists to have talks with us.

I guess, technically, there would be a purpose for detaining a few from time to time, on the assumption that we may want to have talks with their comrades in terror in the future.  This kind of preemptive hostage-taking is gang-and-guerrilla behavior, of course.  The degrees by which the mode of thinking shifts from “responsible statesman” to “mob boss” are not subtle here.

In any case, we can reassure Mr. Roth that the U.S. ended the war on terror in 2009.  Perhaps that’s not the same thing as the “war against al Qaeda,” but in the latter regard, Roth would do well to try and keep up:  al Qaeda has been “decimated” and has been “on the path to defeat” for a year or more, according to the Obama administration.

The die seems to be cast; we can at least hope that God really does watch out for fools, drunks, and the United States, because our president certainly isn’t doing it.  Given the reigning jumble of confused soundbites and incoherent actions that now masquerades as U.S. policy on the global threat of terrorism, we may justly ask, with our former secretary of state: what difference, at this point, does it make?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/us-setting-example-for-israel-releases-taliban-terrorists/2013/08/06/

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