Sunday, June 15, 2014

Iraq: When Will the Nightmare End?

Iraq is a brutal, brutal mess. According to Wapo's David Ignatius, a pretty reliable, thoughtful guy, our choices are to a) try to create a new "security architecture" that brings moderate Sunnis & Shiites together from across the Mid East to help stabilize Iraq and Syria, or b) keep sending guns and cash to try to stem the extremist tide militarily without committing US troops. The first option may take a few thousand years, and the second seems likely to fail while also turning more against the west...and costing whole a lot more money. The murderous, extremist hordes are now fighting their way to Baghdad using American-made vehicles and weaponry we gave to the Iraqi army during the occupation, while innocent civilians who have already been to hell and back are fleeing their homes for their lives. I cannot imagine how bad life under a lunatic, homicidal dictator like Saddam Hussein was...but something tells me we're not going to be getting a thank you card from the Iraqis anytime soon.

The question on my mind is this: how many decades will the US, Iraq and the world have to pay for the Bush-Cheney Presidency? When will this nightmare end? Sure, Mr. Obama has made mistakes--and Maliki is one of them--but he inherited a house on the brink of total collapse (militarily, economically, politically, structurally) and one honest, hard working guy with a hammer and a few nails can only do so much to keep the walls up. The Iraqi people, the American people, and the thousands of American soldiers who served with honor and valor deserve better. But, sadly, there is no path forward to make that happen.

And, it turns out, there never was.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Promise of EU Must Be Preserved

400,000,000 Europeans will go to the polls in upcoming EU elections, but those politicians, left or right, English MPs, Greek candidates for PM, populist Spanish opposition leaders, or fascist-leaning Italian mayors...those who are pinning the 2008 economic crisis and its aftermath on the EU, those who are urging their countries to pull out of the EU, have lost their minds or are knowingly selling snake-oil for votes. And blaming Angela Merkel, warning of a "German State of Europe," is pathetic, entirely ignorant of what the 20th Century looked like for Europe, with war, genocide, fear, hunger, homelessness, displacement, the destruction of millions of lives, of entire families, of cities, of freedom, justice, and for many, of faith.

A unified Europe isn't perfect, and there is much to work on in collaboration with national and regional governments to maintain quality of life, manage debt, and create economic opportunity for ALL. But the promise of a century of mostly peace, stability, liberty, opportunity, and respect for diverse local customs and traditions--and their preservation within each nation and across national boundaries--is a promise that must be kept alive, for the sake of Europe, and for the world. In the words of our President, Forward, NOT BACK.

Admittedly, it appears someone forgot to tell Mr. Putin about all this. But he's isolated, he stands out as a 20th Century leader in the 21st Century, an unstable, unpredictable, egomaniac. Why? Because of the EU and the peace and stability that's been established, the unity that's been achieved, despite the terrible economic suffering that continues, especially in Southern Europe. 75 years ago, Mr. Putin would've had much company.

And that's not an EU failure; it's an accomplishment.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Winners and Losers on Syria--Post POTUS Address

Well, we wanted transparency. And so now we see, exposed to the world, the President's own ambivalence on intervention in Syria--and all of his administration's conflicting thoughts and feelings on the matter. But exposing this process isn't wise, not good for encouraging faith in leadership. Had no choice but to take Putin's lifeline, accepting Russia as leader on the issue. Political winners are Putin and Assad, US Hard Left and Tea Partiers. Losers POTUS, Hard Right, centrists of both parties, good guys among Syrian rebels AND bad guys among Syrian rebels (propaganda opp lost). At least Russia has put its name on no further such attacks. But there will be no justice for the victims of this chemical attack on civilians, the President, and perhaps the Presidency, have been weakened, and those Syrian citizens bravely trying to liberate their country from a maniacal, murderous dictator--while fending off infiltration by terrorists at the same time--must feel abandoned by the world, utterly. 


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