For the future in the distance

For the cause that lacks assistance,
For the wrong that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance

– George Linneaus Banks

Jeb Bush, whom I don’t support at this point (and doubt I ever will), keeps getting asked questions about invading Iraq, which he stumbles over continuously.  It’s become almost a ritual to repeat this question and demand a public repudiation of his brother’s decision. I didn’t wholheartedly buy the rationale back then, but I remained hopeful that a free, democratic Iraq would be a very positive development for the entire region.  Whether we could nurture that flower of hope into bloom, I remained skeptical, but truly Iraq seemed more likely than Afghanistan, which had no infrastructure from which to build a modern democratic state.  If I had been voting, I most likely would have voted yes – that’s the truth.

That said, my point is, if we continually debate the invading Iraq decision, we remain stuck in endless political carping that precludes any meaningful efforts to move forward and forge a comprehensive strategy to help stabilize the entire region, repatriate the hordes of refugees, end the constant fighting, and last, but not least, defeat IS.  That’s the thing, defeating IS can only be accomplished if we work with other countries, especially those in the ME, but also including our adversaries, like Russia and China at some diplomatic agreements on some very complex issues. 

This is not a Rambo movie, where one American warrior can take on the world.  We must seriously gauge our American actions to not foster more regional instability.  We could go in and defeat IS in a matter of weeks, if not days, depending what level of force we chose to use, but we would be left with another power vacuum that various factions and neighboring countries would quickly move to seize territory and control – more fighting would ensue.

Without a comprehensive strategy, determined, careful diplomatic efforts and serious, careful analysis of the complex issues involved, talking about upping the op tempo of our military efforts to defeat IS makes good, tough-sounding sound-bites, but it’s just blowing smoke.  Military action is needed to defeat IS, but before we waste any more American lives or military materiel, we need a comprehensive strategy.

Ranting that Bush was wrong to invade Iraq or that Obama abandoned Iraq, unto perpetuity, gets us nowhere – it’s time to look to the future and act like America is not a reactionary, immature, reckless, or clueless country.  It’s way past time for politicians to shut-up about their pet theories and lame, short-sighted, simplistic strategies and do their homework.  The politicians need to seek a wide array of expertise –  from military leaders, academia, think tanks, foreign diplomats and leaders, even ordinary people.  Heck, I’m a homemaker who loves to study military strategy and I am always trying to look for new ways to move mountains in my strategic ponderings, because I believe nothing is impossible.  Why can’t our leaders start looking ahead, instead of squabbling about the past?  America was built by people who believed that the future does not have to be a repeat of the past!

A smart strategist, in my opinion, should seek out those contrarians, whose viewpoint differs widely from his/her own.  If you only read opinions and talk to people who agree with you – you’ve boxed yourself into a very dangerous strategic corner.  We’ve got politicians stuck like barnacles in just such a corner and political pundits and their preferred experts repeating the same tired talking points to a clueless American people – I mean really, who in their right-mind can still believe there are any “moderates” left in Syria fighting after this protracted civil war?  Yet, here we are trying to vet and train “Syrian moderates”.  $500 million American taxpayer dollars are earmarked for this training too and it has ZERO chance of helping to defeat IS.   America needs a foreign policy that isn’t a mishmash of partisan-political posturing and sound-bites.

The other day I read a post at the American Thinker:

“Former Saddam officers form the core of a rampant ISIS horde”

Read more:
Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

I disagreed with the author’s premise and commented under the user name: susanholly, but I enjoyed reading the comments from another poster, Dixie-Pixie, which prodded me to consider some other issues. That’s where we need to go with coming up with a winning strategy – consider more options and be open to new ones. Re-fighting the Iraq war decision and every move since then leaves us flailing about in, to repeat  that popular political buzzword, – a quagmire.


Filed under Culture Wars, Foreign Policy, General Interest, Islam, Military, Politics

5 responses to “For the future in the distance

  1. It is possible to “nation-build” and turn a fascist dictatorship into a free democratic country. The U.S. has done it in three nations since WWII: Germany, Japan and South Korea. In all of those countries we sent occupation troops in 1945 and initially established military governments, eventually fostering and encouraging democracy. In every one of them we still have substantial American military forces. It is possible to do it, but I doubt if the American people have the national will to devote generations of their sons and daughters, trillions of dollars of American tax dollars and the whiny condemnation of the world by occupying Iraq, Afghanistan or any other regional country for 70+ years to make it happen.

  2. Excellent points Kinnison and the truth you stated is why I do not support escalating military action there, until and unless, we commit to something that works . Frankly, Americans believe in those cakewalks we were promised in Iraq and I wouldn’t support an escalated American military operation at this time . We need to rebuild our armed forces -our combat readiness is alarmingly lacking and we’ve got a gutless wonder as CINC. Russia and China are capitalizing on that and the next President will inherit all of this to deal with, so I am listening closely to their ideas. Not impresed with the front runners in either party, to say the least.

  3. JK

    I would humbly suggest where Japan was concerned “the seeds” were actually there from which to build democracy. Too, the ROK.

    (LB, this link is lifted off a comment left on one of Petunia’s posts from Raccoon Arms the August 6th post – you know where to go to get the gist.)

    However. Places where Islam has reigned and has become so infused in the very fabric of what makes a human, a society – “nation building” as a proposition is a whole ‘nother ballgame.

    Again *borrowing from Jeff’s site (he and his wife incidentally LB left AR yesterday back to the ROK – we three enjoyed a delightful visit and then a lunch – you know where to find that “conversation” as well)

    Anyway back to the matter … where Islam has embedded itself into Society and has enjoyed free rein for over a millennium … lifting from Jeff’s post his excerpt from the link (August 10th post):

    “Islam is based on faith . . . . Don’t make any remarks based on the intellect or logic because . . . [Islamic laws] are laws of Allah . . . . The intellect is governed by desires and it is influenced by Shaitan (Satan). Don’t be ruled by desires and rudderless comments.”

    And that comes from Malaysia as opposed to being from the *Greater* Middle East.

    Where Islam has reigned supreme – and enjoyed free rein – the 70 some odd years the US has financed and quartered troops in Germany, Japan, and South Korea will seem as 7.

  4. Thanks JK and Kinnison for the excellent historical background and points – I hear you, loud and clear. I am not sure if I made my point clear – this idea of we (being the US) can single-handedly resolve the IS issues in a way that leaves us better off is not an easy feat. I don’t believe in impossible, but this one seems verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry challenging and beyond a catchy sound bite. I prefer not to escalate things without all the things being in place that I listed – a comprehensive strategy. The Islamic world is collapsing – some might argue it’s best to let it fall fast and others might think it’s best to salvage what we can. I don’t want us propping up fake democracies that are really theocracies. For the moment a coherent IS containment policy might be a more palatable option – secure our borders, ramp up our domestic intelligence efforts, watching and infiltrating likely locations of Islamic radicalization, to protect us here. Offer military advice and training to surrounding countries in the region, perhaps. I believe in cleaning my own house, before trying to tackle a whole other neighborhood’s.

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