President Obama authorizes airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq.

     Much to my dismay President Obama authorized airstrikes in Iraq. I realize that President Obama had only bad choices in this matter, but in Iraq again. Really? We supposedly stopped military operations in 2011. We were supposed to be teaching Iraqi forces to handle these situations without losing control. It seems the only military presence in Iraq is militias. As of now President Obama has limited military action to airstrikes. How long will that last.

As always the Republican war machine has its wheels turning. John Boehner said the bombings were appropriate but will not be enough. John McCain, the biggest war monger of them all, referred to the strikes as pin pricks. Then followed by saying the Obama administration will not move forward to finish the deal. Peter King said the strikes will not be enough alone. Are these leaders calling for boots on the ground? Of course Democrats are calling for no more then air strikes. Nancy Pelosi commended the President saying that air strikes will help and that she admired his commitment to not putting soldiers in danger.

Why did it take us so long to get involved? Iraqi official have asked the President for help earlier in the year. He said no, because he wanted Iraq to stand on their own as a soveirgn nation. He said that Iraq needed to learn how to handle these situations themselves. Essentially to grow as a government and country. Was this the right strategy? Of course the opinions are split. I do not want soldiers on the ground and it seems as if the American people do not either. But honestly what choice was left.

ISIS is the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. It is essentially Al Queda in Iraq. It was also very involved in Syria. It is a self proclaimed caliphate and claims authority of Muslims all over the world. It aspires to bring much of the Muslim inhabited regions of the world under its direct political control, according to Wikipedia. ISIS us currently targeting the Yazidis. The Yazidis are a Kurdish minority that is isolated from the majority of the population due to their ancient beliefs. Members of the group are believe in an ancient religion linked to Zoroastrianism and are considered herectics by radical Ialamists. ISIS growth in power has made it easier for them to target the Yazidis.

President Obama said these strikes may save women and children stuck on a mountaintop. His decision seems to have been made by ISIS. Iraqi militias stopped the ISIS march into the capital. But ISIS has been very successful in other regions. I am disapointed that it has come to air strikes. I believe we did the right thing allowing Iraq to handle the situation themselves, we essentially did that in Syria. This is a rock and a hard place situation. Any decision will involve loss of human life. I am happy to say President Obama waited until he could wait no longer. I just home the war machines reach ends at air strikes.

President Obama’s decision to seek Congressional approval on Syria attack is brilliant.

             President Obama has been criticized for how he has handled previous attacks on the Syrian citizens. Most recently the Syrian government has used chemical weapons to kill about 1400 Syrian civilians and bombed a bus full of kids. Our war weary country is split on whether to help or not. Many Republicans have criticized President Obama, calling for U.S. military involvement and saying his planned bombings were a weak show of force. Then they criticized him for thinking about attacking Syria. He put them on the spot now.

Despite the criticism, none of the members of Congress are rushing back from vacation to help come to a decision. Congress comes back September 9 and works for 9 days in September. They want to debate the Syrian situation. Despite calling for a decision from the President, Congress wants to spend tine debating it. Democrats have been for the most part silent on the issue. Of course every talking head media fool was calling for immediate action, all now seem confused by President Obama going to Congress for clearance. Shows the true difference between Republican and Democrat Presidents, Democrats respect the Constitution, Republicans think they are monarchs.

Of course there is the moral issue. How do we, the worlds big brother and policeman for the last 50 years not immediately help those in need? How do we watch genocide? First of all, we allowed the genocide to go on in Tibet for many years. The Chineese decimated that country and their spiritual leader, the Dali Llama, is no longer allowed in the country. We as a country only help countries of strategical interest. Morally, all countries should be obligated to help. Britain voted not to. How many others will follow suit? No President has been able to calm the tensions in the Middle East. Religious fervor cannot be reasoned with, that is why this region will never be stable.

The sheer brilliance of President Obama’s decision is purely political. He put the Republicans who criticized his decision and non-decision on the spot. It is now on them, they can’t step back and criticize, they have to play a part in the decision. They are now on the hook for the outcome. The President no longer be the only object if hateful rhetoric. He has made it put up or shut up for his critics. Now we will see what is more important to Republicans, lobbyist, constituents or the proper moral decision. This should be interesting. Nice opening move President, lets see if the GOP can play chess.

Arming Syrian rebels is an iffy proposition.

                 President Obama with the support of many Senatorsand Representatives has decided to arm the Syrian rebels. Of course according to some Republicans he is not doing enough. Yet there is bipartisan opposition to increasing U.S. involvement in the conflict. Once again a difficult decision for President Obama is made worse by the polarization in Congress.

The Syrian rebels record with handling the Humanitarian Aid we have sent them is spotty, to say the least. The food, medicine and other lifesaving supplies often face long delays because of political rivalries between rebel factions. One shipment was held up for 2 weeks over whose label should be attached to the goods. Planes filled with supplies have landed in neighboring countries with no trucks at the landing sights to move the goods into Syria. Funds the U.S. was prepared to provide to an opposition political office were rejected. Do we know who the wespons are really going to go to?

Despite this being nothing new, it is getting increased scrutiny because of the decision to send weapons to the Syrian rebels. Though the administration has not publicly said what they were going to do, Secretary of State John Kerry held 2 classified briefings with members of Congress. Obviously this is not something that should be released to the press because of Russian and Chineese dissent.

No details emerged about the type of weapons to be sent. The lack of clarity has caused problems for the warmongering right wing and the left who are against it. Republicans didn’t want any military in Libya, so President Obama effectively helped overthrow a dictator without any American lives lost. Senator John McCain believes we need to put American lives at risk, despite his party’s resistance to a Veterans Jobs Bill, to take out the Syrian air assets. While Senator Tom Udall, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Chris Murphy abd Senator Rand Paul introduced a measure to prohibit the President from using any money to increase U.S. involvement. Specifically it bans the Pentagon, CIA and othet itellegence services from funding military, paramilitary or covert operations in Syria.

We can all agree something needs to be done about tg e Syrian rebellion. Obviously what needs to be done is a contentious issue. For the people in that country and the region itself something has to be done. But any action taken we lead to consequences. No action leads to more deaths and more doubt about America’s place in the world. Military action can lead to involvement from Russia and China. There is no easy or right decision, but I believe we have the right man and staff in the White House to make the best decision possible.

Radicalism and Terrorism, Introduction

               Many of us have the same question, what is causing the radicalization of so many young people? Why the need to hurt others for a religious belief? What kind of political statement are you making by bombing innocent people? Then after they commit an atrocity, they don’t seem to understand why people would hunt them down. Claiming we just go after them because of their religious beluefs, no people chase you down because of your actions. The man who killed the British soldier said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. To hold anyone responsible for the actions of several hundred years ago is ludicrous.

I am going to do several pieces on Radicalization, the why, the how and can it be stopped. Hopefully it will be a window into a world where murdering innocents is praised. A sane person cannot understand this, but maybe we can find a way to keep their recruitment lower. I will focus on Islam, although other religions might nit produce terrorists, they do produce some things that are disturbing.

We need to truly understand what terrorism is, by definition. Wikipedia defines it as, the systematic use of terror, often violent, especially as a means of coercion. The International community does not have a legally binding, criminal law definition of terrorism. Another definition, the use of violence and intimidation in the pursiit of political aims. According to Laura Beth Nielsen, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Legal Studies at Northwestern University, said n a write up fo ALJAZEERA English. She said that the most obvious definition is that terrorism is meant to terrorize. All these definitions say basically the same thing, using force to make a political statement.

Where did terrorism begin? The concept of terrorism dates back to the days when Rome invaded Judea. In the first century zealots and Sicarii would break into the homes of the Roman soldiers and kill them in their sleep. The attacks were selective and occurred in heavily defended areas. It continued until the Sicarii committed mass suicide. During the 11th century the Hashshashin (assasin) an offshoot of Shia Muslims opposed Fatamid rule. They attacked various forts and were successful, but did not have a large enough force to attack directly. The greatest perpatrators of terrorism were the Thugi cult of India. The Thugi (Thugee) existed for centuries attacking anyone, at anytime, in any part of the land. Theur weapon of choice was the garrote. The total death count varies anywhere between 100, 000-200, 000 because the total number of Thugi was unknown, as was India’s population. In 1883 the British army killed of the Thugi cult.

Why do terrorists kill innocent people? Terrorists target people least prepared for an attack. In the terrorists eyes these people are not innocent as part of a community that is their enemy, therefore in the eyes of the terrorist they are the enemy. Hypocritical, I know, they do not want us to judge all Muslims, but they judge all others. The way terrorists view it, being innocent is impossible if you live in their enemies country. Why do they attack other Muslims? Easy answer, different offshoot of Islam. Their term Jihad, means broad struggle. If you do not agree with them, you are the enemy.

Why do they hate America? One answer is that after WWII, we sat down and drew borders for these countries without their input. We backed leaders, who were unpopular with their people, but friendly to us. We intervened in a lot of their affairs, creating dissent. Another reason is our support for Israel. After 9/11 Al Qaeda said they attacked because of the Pro-Israel and anti-Palestine foreign policy. Obviously there are many different and ddifficult reasons why we have become a focus of terrorism. But in the mind of the terrorist it makes perfect sense.

To me it is hogwash. None of these reasons are important enough to kill children and innocent people for. These terrorists are willing to provoke other countries but act as if they are persecuted for no reason other than religion. Any religion that rewards you for killing others must have been perverted. I cannot see how any God or cleric can condone that. But then again I am rational and not a zealot. I am writing this for insight for myself and anyone else who reads them. Not to humanize an animal who kills non military combatants puposely.

What should we do about Syria?

           President Obama said that if chemical weapons were used in Syria that would be too far. As of yesterday our intelligence agency said they are somewhat sure that chemical weapons were used. We are somewhat sure, not verbatim, but you get the gist.

          Senator John Mccain believes that we need to do something now. Thousands of Syrians have been killed in what started as a peaceful uprising. But how often to uprisings stay peaceful? The Assad government was asked by many other countries to step down, he simply refuses. If it is found that they definetly used chemical weapons on their own citizens, we most certainly need to do something.

             But of course here again is where Republicans and Democrats differ. Republicans seem to believe we need to be more involved, possibly leading to another military intervention. They don’t seem to realize that President Obama is winding down 2 wars, we are not ready to start another. Is the right thing to arm the rebels? Like we did in Afghanistan, we saw how helping those rebels affected our country. 9/11 terrorist attacks, just to remind some.

             Democrats want to take a lighter tone and try to force them to the table. If we can somehow stop the killing we can possibly help Syria without losing American lives. But and it is a big but, if they used chemical weapons on their people we may have no choice. But can our country or our economy handle that.

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What should we do about Syria?

         This is a tough question. Morally we should be there helping those people in every way. But we have just conpletely exited one country, our country is war weary as are our soldiers. We are economically not in a position to help militarily and I dont think the Syrians want us in their country. Sticky mess getting worse daily.

           Over 70,000 civilians have been killed. Now as of yesterday it comes out that chemical agents were used on more civilians. That is unacceptable. But what can we truly do? The Assad regime will not stand down, the rebels will expect nothing less than that. We have given supplies, medical help and we are gelping in various other ways. Is it enough? Can America afford to go into Syria militarily?

                Another question us can we afford not to? The signs point to tge government using the chemical agents. They had a stockpile that we knew about and were in more of a position to use it. This has gone on for quite some time, there is not an end in sight. Can that region handle another foreign incursion? If we do go in, what is our end game? Are we sure the rebels are not guilty of killing civilians? If not how do we put them in charge of anyone? How would we set up a new government? How many Americans would die?

              I imagine all of these questions are going through Republican, Democrat and President Obamas heads. It is not an easy decision to not attack or to attack. That is what it boils down to. But however and whatever we decide it must happen soon. These people are dying and someone needs to help them.

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