Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Profiles In Cowardice

I take it all back. I have accused Congress, any number of times, of rank cowardice in dealing with a war-crazed president. But now it appears they have gotten tough – I mean really tough. Take this excerpt from today's paper (McClatchy), having to do with the dialog between Congress and the president on Libya: “... the (Senate) resolution says, 'Congress does not support deploying, establishing or maintaining the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is limited to the immediate personal defense of United States Government officials... or to rescuing members of NATO forces from imminent danger.'”

Now... to begin with, who said anything about “deploying, establishing, or maintaining the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya”? When did that enter the discussion? See how the administration sneaks things in under the cover of night, and raises the ante when no one is looking? All of a sudden we're worried about troops “on the ground in Libya”, when only yesterday it was all about “logistical support” of NATO.

So now the decision has worked itself up to – in the twinkling of an eye – whether to start a third ground war in the Islamic world. And this in the face of... well, just about anything that could possibly argue against it.

And get a load of John Kerry, peacenik extraordinaire. Now that it's a Democratic war, it would, all of a sudden, “be ignorant, irresponsible and short-sighted, and dangerous for our country” to not support the Libyan rebels. And just like any just-so story, this will be accepted by the majority of the Congress and the citizenry as an obvious fact, hardly worth debating – of _course_ it makes perfect sense to support any and all rebels against any and all Islamic regimes, even ones we have been propping up for decades. And – even though said rebels are likely to be far more fundamentalist in their thinking than the fat, greedy, greasy dictators that they replace. So we are busy in the Arab world turning old friends into enemies, in the hope that their enemies will turn out to be our new friends, and even better friends than our old friends, who are now enemies. Got that? Well, from a purely political point of view this is foolishness in the first degree. After all, what is our Job One in the Islamic/Arab world/Near East/Middle East? Defending Israel “at all costs”, of course – first, last, and always. So are we really all that convinced that the new rulers across the belt of Islam will be more favorably disposed toward Israel than all the old, long-since-bought-off ones? It doesn't seem likely, somehow. One of the common elements of the so-called “Arab spring” (rapidly morphing into the “Arab long, hot summer”) is that the rebels are more religious – more fundamentalist – than the decadent royalty or dictators they hope to replace. And how friendly are Islamic fundamentalists to Israel? Um... well, all one has to do is look at places that have already gone down the fundamentalist path, like Iran. So... what are we doing supporting, encouraging, and egging on all these movements? “Just sayin'...”

But to get back to the courageous Senate resolution – it is designed, supposedly, to “advance national security interests in Libya” -- by which, I assume, they mean _our_ national security interests in Libya... but the problem is, I don't think we _have_ any national security interests in Libya. Could be wrong, but...

But have a look at the stringent conditions behind the resolution. No troops allowed “unless the purpose of the presence is limited to the immediate personal defense of United States Government officials...” Well, the way to protect “United States Government officials” is to get them out of those hell-holes as soon as possible, not by sending troops in. In fact, an even better way is to not send them over there in the first place. Where is it written that we have to have “diplomatic relations” (AKA “CIA spy posts") with all these shitholes? Nowhere that I'm aware. But a favorite tactic of any administration desiring war is to send poor, innocent government officials into the midst of a chaotic situation in a hopeless place, wait for something to happen, and then declare war because, after all, our “officials” were not given the proper level of protection expected of any half-way civilized society. (And make no mistake, if anyone but Jimmy Carter had been president when the Iranians took our entire diplomatic contingent hostage, we would have been at full-scale war with Iran within 24 hours. That would, of course, have been perfectly justified in view of what they did to the poor Shah, our most photogenic puppet to date.)

But the resolution goes on: “... or to rescuing members of NATO forces from imminent danger.” OK... by “NATO forces” they mean either our own forces, or the so-called “forces” of other NATO countries that are foolish enough to join in our quixotic quest. And again I say, the way to keep “forces” out of danger is to keep them home. Ah, but that's much too simple a concept for our geniuses in the administration and the State Department. Again, the idea is to put our troops in harm's way, and then when harm happens, send in more troops, and so on ad infinitum.

So here we have the Senate, pretending to have some modicum of control over a war-crazed president, pretending to get tough and strict as to the criteria for war. But in fact, they have handed Obama the usual carte blanche. There is no imaginable situation that could not readily be turned into a case which they would consider a valid purpose, according to the resolution. Lest we forget, the government is expert at provocateur activity, of which the Gulf of Tonkin and its resolution (that word again!) are prime examples. You provoke an attack (like Pearl Harbor) – that's one way. Or, you simply pretend there was an attack (Gulf of Tonkin); the result is the same. And does Congress really have “feelers” in places like Libya to detect the truth or falsehood of any claim made by the military or the administration? Of course not – they have to take their word for everything. There is no independent verification; it's impossible. So they are limited to toothless, sorry-assed “resolutions” that are simply laughed at in the White House.

When, oh when, will the members of Congress realize that they have absolutely no power, and simply give up and go home? Ah, but the benefits of those jobs are tremendous, and worth putting up with any level of humiliation.

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