Well to no one’s surprise, the United States commenced bombing ISIL targets inside Syria ensuring we continue to wage war as we have done for the last thirteen years. The MSM immediately began quoting “Pentagon officials” on how the battle had just begun and that this was going to take years. Even Rudy Giuliani was trotted out today to make a few bucks. Additionally, a new “Al Qaeda associated group, more dangerous than ISIL” was targeted as they were in the “final stages of attack plans for the U.S………or Europe”. Sounds like the Cheney / Bush war.
We were “supported” in this air assault by a “broad coalition” of Sunni Arab countries, including Qatar, the U.A.E., Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan and of course, Saudi Arabia all of which are run by Kings, Princes and Royal families.
The Arab “contribution” to the air strikes remains to be seen – did each country simply allow us to use air bases or fly over it’s territory or were actual Arab planes flying over Syria? And if they were did they actually drop any bombs? I doubt it. It probably took plenty of arm twisting on our part to get each to admit they allowed use of their territory. The Arab coalition is a sham – it was Saudia Arabia and the Gulf states that provided ISIL funding to begin with.
Each of these countries, particularly Saudi Arabia is now threatened by ISIL since the Saudi Royals are keepers of the Islamic holy places and consider themselves the leaders of Islam. The Caliphate seeks the leadership position for itself. Jordan is under threat because it is on the border with Syria.
The one name you don’t see on the list is the only Muslim military power in the region that means anything – Turkey. The Turks, a NATO member on the border with Syria, with a million soldiers under arms, could crush ISIL forces – but have chosen not to participate. It is interesting that we could not twist the Turkish arm.
Well I for one am not participating either – neither through service or by paying a “war tax”.
I no longer know anyone in the military – none of my children, nieces, nephews, their children faces conscription. None of my friends have children or grand children in the military. And Congress will not pass a “war tax”.
So I don’t give a rat’s ass about bombing Syria.
Neither does the rest of America – because war is no long personal. War is for other people. War is for those who volunteer.
War is for those people from military families (Dad was an Admiral) and poor kids from the rust belt with high school degrees and no prospects. It’s not for my kids or the kids of Congressmen and Senators and movie stars. War is not for the people with money, the one percent. Nope. It’s kind of like hiring the Hessians.
I was Regular Army in the ’60s at a time when the ranks were filled with draftees most of whom didn’t want to be there.
What they gave the Army, instead of desire for a military career was a connection to the rest of America.
Different backgrounds. Different points of view. They had lives outside the military. Many in the ranks were well educated, successful with wives, parents and girlfriends who couldn’t wait for them to get out and come home.
When drafted they answered the call and served with honor; but they never compromised their view that there was more to life than the military. They were true “citizen soldiers” in the footsteps of Cincinnatus.
In the ’50s and ’60s every young man had to face the possibility of conscription – and so did their parents. Those who could afford to go to college got a deferment. Those who couldn’t had to deal with the eventuality that they would receive the dreaded “The President of the United States sends greetings” letter.
So long as the United States was at peace parents had little to worry about. Those who fought in WWII and Korea were in their late 40s and early 50s and for a young man a stint in the military was viewed as part of growing up.
Vietnam changed all that.
Conscription could now mean the death of your son. Conscription makes you think about war. Conscription is personal.
Those that could stay in college, like Bill Clinton, did so. Those with influential families, like Bush the Lesser, obtained slots in the reserves and guard units which were not being deployed. Poor kids got drafted.
The perceived unfairness of conscription and the feeling of many that Vietnam was not worth the death of tens of thousands of young men eventually brought about massive war protest, the dreaded draft lottery and then the abolition of conscription entirely.
With the end of conscription the anti-war movement faded away. It seemed that people would only get off of their asses to oppose war if they had to fight it. Once they were disconnected from war it was no longer their primary concern. Nixon knew that all along.
The military can now be sent anywhere at the direction of the President. Congress hasn’t issued a Declaration of War since FDR. Now it simply passes a Gulf of Tonkin style resolution and the President does what he likes. This time he didn’t even get that – he got an authorization to spend money on training Syrian “moderates”. It is the imperial Presidency that now makes war enabled by a volunteer army and the lack of connection between war and the vast majority of Americans.
Congress then adjourned until after the elections – no need to vote on air strikes. Congress went home to campaign to a constituency among whom very few are affected by a new war.
Now its easy to be a war hawk. You don’t have to worry about your kid. He won’t be drafted, given 4 months training and dropped outside Damascus. We don’t even have to pay a war tax. Sure there’s a war going on but it doesn’t affect us. It doesn’t affect me or mine.
A ground war will come; ISIL cannot be defeated without troops seizing it’s territory and occupying it. The Iraqis can’t do it without outside support. Arming the Syrian opposition “moderates” is also a sham. So where do you think the troops will come from? Obama will wait for the next beheading.
Yesterday Congressman Charlie Rangel introduced a bill to reinstate the draft, for men and women, and to establish a “war tax” – a surcharge on the wealthy. Charlie has argued that the only way to get Americans to think about the consequences of war is to make it personal and make us pay. Is this war worth the death of your son? Or a friend? Or is it only worth the death of some poor kid you don’t know?
The bill had only one co-sponsor. Congress went home without a thought.
SSG. E-6 Toritto – U.S. Army
11/18/63 – 11/17/67
I totally support Rangel’s bid to bring back the draft. It’s high time some of the war mongers in Congress were asked to sacrifice their own children to these ridiculous wars. Instead we have a poverty draft, where the only choice low income disenfranchised Americans have is enlistment or the streets.
Interesting your comment about Turkey. Radio New Zealand reported this morning that Obama had notified the Assad government (via Turkey) of the impending air strikes. The Wall Street Journal denies this: http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-arab-allies-launch-airstrikes-against-islamic-state-targets-in-syria-1411467879
With 88% of Syrians re-electing Assad a few months ago, the US doesn’t have a prayer in hell of winning a military assault against Syria. At least in Iraq, the majority Shiite population opposed Sadam Hussein. Imagine trying to occupy a country where most of the population supports the deposed leader. It would definitely require a Pinochet-dictatorship in which any whisper of opposition is crushed via assassination or arrest and torture.
Hi Doc – This country was a hell of a lot more interested in our wars overseas when young men were routinely drafted off of the streets to fight them. As for Turkey, there has been denial here that Assad was notified before the air strikes.
We look pretty stupid now – The Iranian ambassador pointed out that (a) we were fighting against both sides in Syria – Assad and ISIS – supporting “moderates” who control no territory and can’t win. Secondly, Iran says it was pointedly told it could not join h the coalition against ISIS – Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states would not cooperate if Iran joined.
Iran suggested the Arab coalition stop sending money to ISIS and men to fight in its ranks. He pointed out that new recruits don’t fly into Damascus – they cross the border from Turkey.
You are right Toritto. When war is not so far removed from us and we have a stake in it then we get all ‘up-in-arms’ over it but so long as it’s only affecting those that we don’t care about anyway, why who cares? I’m off to shop at the mall and fill up my SUVs gas tank, so again, why should I care? I’ve got no stake in this. None of MY kids are going to die in war and so I can sit back in Starbucks and drink my latte and think about my next Hawaiian vacation. Yep! That’s about how it is alright!
Shelby – You are welcome. To get young people off their asses and iphones you gotta stick it to ’em. And their parents. Sad but true. That’s why we will never see conscription again unless we are attacked here at home. It’s easier for the government to hire “contractors”. Regards
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