Wednesday, March 07, 2012

McCain's Folly

It’s a well-known fact that Senator John McCain will find it if there’s a TV camera within 25 miles or an interviewer most anywhere. He is also given to floor speeches in the Senate, some of them saber-rattling warmongerings such as those he devoted to Obama’s Libyan massacre by the U.S. and NATO last year.

Here is part of his latest hawk-speech, delivered the other day on the floor of the Senate: “Providing military assistance to the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups is necessary, but at this late hour, that alone will not be sufficient to stop the slaughter and save innocent lives. The only realistic way to do so is with foreign airpower. Therefore, at the request of [opposition forces], the United States should lead an international effort to protect key population centers in Syria, especially in the north, through airstrikes on Assad’s forces.” (Politico)

Sound familiar? This was his position on Libya, a nation that posed no threat to this country last year or in any other year and, in fact, turned over most of its weaponry to the U.S. nearly ten years ago. He was joined in that position by Senators Graham and Lieberman, who have expressed their support of his present position, which is simply to bomb the bejesus out of a government of which they disapprove.

There’s no such thing as an actual “Free Syrian Army,” just like there was no such thing as a “Free Libyan Army.” One remembers McCain’s trip to that beleagured nation, during or after which he indicated that he had found the good guys and it was okay to support them. Has anyone ever heard of them since? According to Jim Michaels of USA Today, “Libyan militias that are sitting on stockpiles of portable anti-aircraft missiles will probably not relinquish them until they reach a broad political agreement with the country's fledgling central government, a top state department official said.”

So…Libya has its militias and the country is 97% Muslim, an attribute of which is that killing fellow Muslims is okay if necessary. Militia is just another term for “tribe,” most likely, and one can only wonder how many more Libyans will die as the militias/tribes stake-out their territories.

Syria is 74% Sunni Muslim, 10% Christian and 16% other Muslim, including Assad’s branch, the Alawites. In other words, his is a pronounced minority government, just as was Saddam’s Iraq. Therein lies much of the reason for the turmoil. Assad controls the army, which so far has been loyal enough to obey his orders to put down the insurrection, during which the consensus is that some 7,500 people have perished. Assad seems to have total control, notwithstanding the rebellion.

The “Terrible Three” senators insist that the U.S. should start killing Syrians (guided missiles and bombs targeting military installations, if found, are sometimes grossly misguided) because Assad has no right to remain the president. President Obama, who probably knows no more about the Middle East than most folks, has said that Assad must go. What would he do if the dixiecrats, for instance, should start taking over the southern states and even (gasp) protest in Washington? What did Lincoln do under those same circumstances?

Qaddafi insisted that “outside forces” were fueling the rebellion in Libya. According to Euronews, Assad has blamed such forces for the ten-month bloodletting in his country, those forces, according to him, backed by western powers. Well…of course they’re backed by western powers if one concludes that McCain and his cronies are deemed powerful enough to gain leverage vis-à-vis throwing out Assad, who certainly watched Obama’s bloodbath in Libya last year.

In a Congressional hearing on 07 March, Defense Secretary Panetta made it clear to McCain that he isn’t about to put American GIs in harm’s way in yet another Middle East mess not of this country’s making, though Obama’s foolish statements and those of State Secretary Clinton make one wonder. They should treat their respective mouths with a modicum of respect by simply not putting their feet in them constantly.

After what he suffered as a POW in the Vietnam conflict and in light of what he sees happening now in both Iraq and Afghanistan, how could McCain possibly believe anything good can come from even more military meddling…anywhere right now? He watched as the U.S. and NATO literally bombed Libya to pieces for seven months and now should understand that Libya is no better off now than it was under Qaddafi.

Iraq is devolving into civil war, as is Afghanistan, something that knowledgeable people knew would be the case after the rest of the world got out of the way. In Egypt, the Arab Spring this year has Egyptians fighting each other instead of tearing up things in and around Tahrir Square, with the army still in control. The bloodletting in Muslim countries is just part of the politics. In this country, people vote. In Muslim countries, people choose up sides and shoot at each other.

McCain, Graham, Lieberman (has he forgotten the murderous holocaust?), Obama and Clinton should shut up. The U.S. military has been under far too much stress for ten years. The time has come to chill but of greater import is the fact that Syria is not a threat to this country and therefore should not be bombed to pieces, as was Libya.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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