Bombs Away!

Killing Obamacare failed. Banning immigration of folks from unstable countries failed. Monitoring his feuding protégés Bannon and Kushner is proving to be a challenge. Ok, he got Gorsuch – but not really. That was the work of savvy pol Mitch McConnell. 

So what’s a president to do to score big in the first 100 days? Start dropping bombs of course. Syria’s Assad gave Trump a wet kiss in the form of “your predecessor was a weak punk, how bout you?” Never one to shrink from provocation, Trump lobbed 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airstrip. And he did so while enjoying a delicious slice of cake with China’s Xi Jinping.  I think there’s little doubt he was showing Xi by example that no one screws with him. 

A few days later he drops a MOAB (colloquially called the Mother of all Bombs) on an Afghanistan tunnel complex killing a few dozen ISIL members in the process. 

But this is child’s play compared to the real big bully on the block. Yes we’re talking about that nut job Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea. This dude is so crazy he kills his relatives if they piss him off. And he’s got nukes. And his missiles that can carry the nukes get better everyday. So much so, various experts are suggesting we strengthen our defenses. You know what that means, Washington and California, it’s duck and cover time!! 

I think it’s a damn shame that a punk (only in his 30’s) can have the strongest nation on Earth shaking in our boots. And make no mistake, we are scared shitless. While we were sweating Iran getting a nuke and those dangerous Muslims using them in their jihad, old Kimmy was having a grand time bulking up. Maybe if he had threatened Israel, we might have given a damn? 

So now he holds South Korea hostage and he can kill a few Chinese and Japanese while he’s at it. This greatly reduces our options. Can we say to Seoul, “hey, we can greatly damage his nuclear arsenal if you guys don’t mind losing a few thousand citizens.”  Somehow I don’t think South Korea will sign up for that. My history is pretty weak but I don’t think Harry Truman envisioned this outcome of the Korean War, a nation so badass it has the USA pissing in its pants. 

I’m torn on the whole thing. A part of me wants Trump to, in his words, bomb the shit out of them. But I have trouble accepting the massive bloodshed that will ensue. However is the bloodshed not a matter of if but when? 

What do you think? The bar is open. 

Update: As this goes “to press” (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase), Kimmy just launched another missile which was a dud. Don’t let that calm you. Public humiliation will likely only make him madder. 

Shirley, You Can’t Be Syrias

Ok, now that I’ve gotten over the juvenile urge to tip my hat to the disaster movie spoof “Airplane”, let’s break down this Syria thing.

Humanitarian Intervention

Let’s get this one out of the way immediately. Please don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. The folks killed by chemical weapons are a drop in the bucket compared to the total number of folks killed in Syria in the past two years. Where was our humanitarian urge for the past two years?

Basically our policy has been “you can keep killing your people by the hundreds so long as you don’t do it in a way we deem too nasty.” If that is humanitarianism then it defies logic. But then the entire global sanction against chemical weapons makes no real sense. Either we condemn countries for senseless slaughter or we don’t.

Punishment

A limited targeted strike against Bashar al-Assad will punish him for killing people in a really nasty way (as opposed to the nicer ways to kill people). Really? We are going to kill innocent people while punishing Assad. Why don’t we send in a mercenary to kill Assad? Isn’t that the real punishment we want to deliver? Assad is dealing with a civil war. He is managing daily chaos whether we like his methods or not. Do we really think a slap on the wrist will really keep him up at night? Please, we’ll be a minor distraction. Unless of course we sign up for …

Scope Creep

Obama said “Assad must go”. Assad’s natural response is “who’s gonna make me? You and what army?” And in steps John McCain and his merry band of war mongers who never saw a war they didn’t like. That combined with Obama’s secret delight at defying the wimpy liberal stereotype almost guarantees “boots on the ground” despite the President’s claims to the contrary.

This brings us to another totally baffling side of this story …

The Element of Surprise

As in, there is none. I find it profoundly embarrassing that we are having a public discussion about how big a badass we are going to be. I’m not alone in this. Retired Major General Robert Scales writes in the Washington Post

So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.

My only solace is we are not alone in our public hand wringing as Great Britain has already made a spectacle of itself with Parliament telling David Cameron “bloody hell no!”

How ’bout Minding Our Own Business?

Remember back in 1963 when we turned fire hoses and dogs on innocent Americans including minors? Remember how Khrushchev sent ships to our Southern shores and warned Kennedy that if we didn’t stop abusing our own people he would attack the US?

Me neither. In fact when Khrushchev had the balls to put missiles in Cuba we threw a hissy fit that brought us to the brink of nuclear war. So where do we get off putting our ships within striking distance of Syria when they have presented no direct threat to us? How might this story evolve if Assad said “Barack, you’ve got 48 hours to get your ships away from my country or I’ll blow them out of the water.”

He won’t do that because he and everyone else has gotten used to America patrolling the globe as the self-righteous guardian of all that is decent and good. It’s one reason why a handful of nations hate our guts.

To me with each passing day this Syria thing becomes a no-brainer. It’s way too late to play humanitarian; we can’t really punish Assad without overcommitting; we look incompetent and ham-fisted in our public debate about what should be confidential military strategy; and finally, a sovereign country’s civil war is none of our business no matter how nasty it gets.

A no from Congress will humiliate Obama. Tough. There is no reason for us to lose a single American life to protect the street cred of a President.

Respectfully,
Rutherford.