October 12, 2019

"Goodbye, America. Goodbye, Freedom Man."

I'm just reading NYT headlines. I read it out loud, not knowing what it meant, and laughed. Meade said, "And who is 'Freedom Man'?" I said, "I don't know, I'm just reading NYT headlines right now."

All right, I'll read the subheadline. It's: "Under Trump, the U.S. becomes the world’s fair-weather friend." Okay, I can see where that's going.

It's a Bret Stephens column. It begins:
The time is the early 1980s. The place is the South China Sea. A sailor aboard the U.S.S. Midway, an aircraft carrier, spots a leaky boat jammed with people fleeing tyranny in Indochina. As he helps bring the desperate refugees to safety, one of them calls out: “Hello, American sailor — Hello, Freedom Man.”

It’s the sort of story Americans used to like hearing about themselves. So much so, in fact, that Ronald Reagan told it in his 1989 farewell address, by way of underscoring how much went right for the United States when, as he put it, “We stood, again, for freedom.”

Not anymore. When the world looks at the United States today, it sings a sorry song. Goodbye America. Goodbye, Freedom Man....
It ends:
[Trump’s Kurdish betrayal] means that American sailor or soldier seen on the horizon is no longer “freedom man.” He’s fair-weather friend.

Even now, this is not how most Americans, including many of Trump’s supporters, would wish to see themselves. People on their way to the bottom have their occasional moments of clarity, seldom seized. In the Syria debacle, Republicans have a chance to see, if not save, themselves.
Now, am I ashamed of myself for laughing at the headline? Stephens's idea is that we ought to get wrapped up in the fantasy that the American military is perceived around the world as the "Freedom Man." It's our brand, and people love it. I certainly believe that a refugee on the verge of death called out to the nearest source of help and used the words "Freedom Man," but I have no idea if that's what that person really believed at that point or whether he had an informed basis for his opinion. If you were drowning, anyone in a position to help would be your savior, and you would call out with whatever words could expedite your salvation — flattery, bullshit, anything.

I remember when the American military plunged into Iraq. How did the people there express themselves? The NYT reported on April 3, 2003:
In the giddy spirit of the day, nothing could quite top the wish list bellowed out by one man in the throng of people greeting American troops from the 101st Airborne Division who marched into town today....

''Democracy,'' the man said, his voice rising to lift each word to greater prominence. ''Whiskey. And sexy!'' Around him, the crowd roared its approval....
Oh, how the war supporters loved that! Democracy, whiskey, sexy! How many times have you seen that line repeated? What did it mean to you? What was really going on in that man's heart (and what did he really know about salvation by American military)? I'm thinking he was shouting out American words that he imagined would help him the most. It wasn't an informed, serious opinion about what America really means, and it would be absurd to make American military decisions based on the notion that democracy, alcohol, and sex are what everybody wants and that America can swoop in anywhere in the world and deliver it and that the people will rejoice, accept the democracy, whiskey, sexy, use it well, and never pay for it at all, except with eternal love for their American benefactors.

167 comments:

DavidUW said...

Credentialed. Not educated.

wild chicken said...

Yeah I remember reading the democracy whiskey sexy story at Andrew Sullivan's blog. Before he went crazy when he realized DoD hadn't planned for the aftermath.

He wasn't wrong, but there we were.

Amadeus 48 said...

whiskey tango foxtrot??

In order to maintain its incursion into the body of the NYT, the invader (Bret Stephens) has had to mutate.

Is that like going viral?

Goodbye, Freedom Man.

Bay Area Guy said...

Ahh, the lament of the thoughtful war-monger Bedbug Bret Stephens....

Instead of the nostalgic handwringing, Bret could have chosen to explain what the US military objective is in Syria, why US troops are needed there, and what our NATO ally Turkey seeks to do.

Of course, Bret would rather wistfully lament, because .....Orange Man bad.

Here's a better article actually assessing things in Syria.. Not saying it nails the issue, but unlike Bret, no crying in baseball.

alanc709 said...

The Boat people in the South China Sea in 1980 were fleeing the results of our policy of cutting and running in Vietnam.

David Begley said...

I think Trump’s basic point is that the insane tribes of the Middle East have been fighting for centuries. Sunni v Shia. Muslims v. Jews. Lutherans v. Catholic. Opps, last one not in the Middle East; just in bloody Wisconsin.

Those people are nuts. They’ve always been nuts. They will fight each other for centuries more. But what exactly are they fighting about?

When I was a kid in grade school we used to pray for peace in the Middle East. Fifty years of praying hasn’t worked.

The US should do two things: 1. Make sure Iran never gets nukes; 2. Sell lots of weapons to Israel and KSA.

The above is the Trump-Begley Doctrine.

rehajm said...

DEMOCRATS GOAD TRUMP INTO PERPETUATING ENDLESS WAR

William said...

I think it's possible for us to make thing worse in the Middle East, but I doubt our ability to make things better.....I hope Trump is making the right decision but that presupposes that there is a right decision to be made.

narciso said...

and then there's the mp 5 facing elian Gonzalez, shepherded by craig and holder,

traditionalguy said...

Good post. You are connecting Trump's changing of our eternal middle eastern of policing duty there with the clear reason why it has to stop. We cannot succeed at fighting the Shia vs. Sunni blood match for them.

With Hussein Obama's help by arming ISIL , the Christians living in Syria ( The home of Christianity) have already been exterminated. And the Prophet Mohammed has commanded war to the death on infidels ( that is you and me) and the Sunni decided 1200 years ago that the Shia are infidels, and we can't change that unless we convert all of them all to Christianity.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

Let's take this post to its logical extension - credibility, national integrity and alliances mean absolutely nothing! They are a charade created by the liberal/"fake" press, MSM, General Mattis, and of course, every single military commander who won a battle. Fuck the Kurds! (Except when we need them, of course - which it seems Trump really did at one time. But that was then!). Let's leave friends on the battlefield, leave the legacy of WWII behind in the dirt (the better for FDR's then and current political antagonists), and return to the geopolitical status quo ante ca. 1940. Somehow that will all make everything better.

Whatever it takes to avoid any criticism of this Trump guy, apparently. Which I'm sure is a lot.

Michael K said...

The New York Times is all for invading Iraq and all those other hellholes. Does nobody remember the "Pentagon Pares" there?

Big Mike said...

There still are Vietnamese living right here in the US who remember how steadfast the US was in 1975 when Democrats took over Congress. Perhaps the Times can go interview them? More recently this country cut ran, abandoning its friends, in Somalia (Bill Clinton), and Iraq (Obama). Is the Times going to talk to any of them?

Danno said...

I would guess Bret Stephens doesn't know anyone who has served in the military, or probably even know anyone who knows someone that has served in the military. Don't you just love these elites that want to send our armed forces into harm's way?

Gahrie said...

So Bush was evil because he didn't bring the troops home, and Trump is evil because he is bringing the troops home. I get it.

What's happening to the Kurds is tragic, but entirely foreseeable when they didn't get a country after the Iraq War. Turkey's actions are regrettable, but understandable, and for the moment at least Turkey is still a part of NATO and is entitled to our support. (We should have never added Turkey to NATO, we should have created a new organization for the near and middle east like we did for Asia with SEATO)

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Traditionalguy said...
Trump's changing of our eternal middle eastern of policing duty


"Less Than 24 Hours After Saying 'Time to Bring 'Em Home,' Trump Orders 1,800 US Troops to Saudi Arabia."
"Remember when Donald Trump tweeted that he was 'trying to end the endless wars?' That was yesterday."

Jon Burack said...

It needs to be said that the US never made any open-ended commitment to "save" the kurds. We are not really even talking about the Kurds, we are talking about the armed YPG fighters in Syria who are aligned with the PKK (and friendly to Iran also by the way), which our own government considers a terrorist outfit that has killed thousands in Turkey. Turkey apparently was planning on moving against the YPG already, so Trump simply stepped aside to avoid a war with Turkey - a NATO ally. Do Bret Stephens and all the Republican warriors up in arms want us to defend the Kurds by going to war with a NATO ally? Don't get me wrong. I think Erdogan is horrible. But there never was going to be one shred of support in America for defending them at all costs forever, nor should there be. Washington was right - no permanent alliances.

Mr. D said...

The good life was so elusive
Handouts, they got me down
I had to regain my confidence
So I got into camouflage
The girls they love to see you shoot
I love a man in a uniform


And we have drones, too. Some of them write for the NYT.

Michael K said...

Pentagon Papers

narciso said...

now the meo people, who Sheldon whitehouses father was envoy to in the 70, the Nicaraguan resistance, the anticommunists of Cambodia, well they know who is on whose side,

mccullough said...

Typical neocon drivel. Stephens is free to go fight with The Kurds. He won’t do it because he’s not Freedom Man. He’s a Coward.

Ray - SoCal said...

The article linked by Bay Area Guy added more details on the why, when, and whom of Obama’s intervention in Syria, that Trump’s extricating the US from.

M Jordan said...

The rational we are given by NeverTrumpers and EndlessWarrers is we owe the Kurds for their support in our time in Syria. But we were fighting a common enemy there: ISIS (if you believe the rationales we are told). For us now to stay as a wedge between Turkey and Syria is for us to become an ally of the Kurds and a foe of Turkey. But Turkey is not our enemy no matter how thuggish Erdogan is and in fact, as a member of NATO, is an official ally.

We can reward the Kurds in many ways for their support in Syria but we can’t reward them by saving them from Turkey.

rehajm said...

Son of Bitch! Shit! Son of bitch! Shit!

Limited blogger said...

wow. when Trump's dictatorship is overthrown it's gonna get boring around here

Narayanan said...

In the ME I'd like to take K out of KSA and give Mecca to UN for heritage site.

chickelit said...

American reporters are too timid these days to even travel to Kurdistan to report on the genocide. They'd rather stay in New York, eat bonbons, and disparage Trump.

Bob Boyd said...

Why were those people in that boat in first place? Because we pulled out of Vietnam.
Bret Stephens has kids. Is he willing to bury one of them to save a Kurd? How about two of his kids? How far should we go? If there was a boat full of drowning Kurds bobbing in the sea, I'm sure the US Navy would pick them up. But the Kurds in Syria are not on their way to freedom in the States. Are we going to be able to make them free there in Syria? No matter what we do?

Ken B said...

The soldier is a synecdoche. The underlying point is that for decades people around the world have relied on American guarantees. I have friends in Romania and the Baltic states who rely on them still and ask me if they still can. Bedbug's argument is that now, for the first time, the world cannot rely on American guarantees. You don’t have to agree with Bedbug (and I don’t) to see that the issue isn’t about gleeful men in the street.

steve uhr said...

The Hong Kong protestors - another group trump will prob throw under the bus - have been waiving American flags. Who do they have think they are?

Jon Burack said...

"The Boat people in the South China Sea in 1980 were fleeing the results of our policy of cutting and running in Vietnam."

First off, the Vietnamese boat people first set sail in 1975, not 1980. But no, they were not fleeing the results of our "cutting and running." They were fleeing the results of the Communist takeover of South Vietnam, which we delayed, but never, ever had a plan to stop or could have stopped short of three million men and a credible nuclear threat to keep the USSR and China out. From the Tonkin Gulf resolution on it was nothing but a delaying game and a very murderous one. It was simply was not worth it to us to make the sacrifice that would have been necessary, and the architects of the war knew that. It was a disgrace we ever put one soldier into that land, and some of us at the time knew it and tried to stop it. To see Republicans now join in the same mindless saber rattling is nauseating. Not a one of them is willing to make the sorts of sacrifice it would take to truly defend the Kurds or anyone else in that god-forsaken region.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

I canceled my WSJ subscription in response to similar drivel from Bret Stephens. When he went to a place more appropriate for squishes, I re-subscribed.

BUMBLE BEE said...

THE KURDS from the folks who've dissected Male and Female into How many genders? Self awareness totally absent. They just want to kill more American patriot's sons and daughters.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Well, it is nice to be perceived as the saviour of the World. I guess. Maybe. ...... We saved Europe in WWI and in WWII. Die in the Middle East. Die in the Pacific Oceans. Picture American Men as being super heroes in Camo Capes going out to selflessly save the world. America EFF YEAH!!! TEAM AMERICA Come to save the MF Day!!!

Then after we use our youth as cannon fodder, squander our wealth, we get reviled and dissed by the world. And then we get called Deplorables, Dregs of Society, by our own Countries leaders. Told that we must not only tolerate but need to support things that are an anathema to generations of moral teachings.

So. Is it any wonder that the flyover people, who send their kids to die in the name of Patriotism and love of Country, are sick and tired of it all. Being propelled into endless and pointless wars that we aren't even allowed to fight to win. Propelled by people like Biden who get rich and sell out to make their families rich. Sold out by people who hate the country they expect you to die for.

Freedom Man may have decided to concentrate on his own country where our freedoms are being stripped away one by one. Protecting our selves and our own interests first. For a change.

Freedom Man. EFF YEAH!!

Mr. Majestyk said...

steve uhr said: "The Hong Kong protestors - another group trump will prob throw under the bus - have been waiving American flags. Who do they have think they are?"

Should the U.S. invade Hong Kong, steve? If not, what should we do? Serious question.

Seeing Red said...

The Kurds want it. Now we find out how much.

That doesn’t mean we won’t be supplying arms, tho.



mccullough said...

Let the English go rescue Hong Kong. China breached the deal with the English. So the English can take it back.

steve uhr said...

For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values.

Ken B said...

It's gonna be a rough day, I think I agree with Uhr this time.

Bob Boyd said...

Last year I read about a US soldier preparing to deploy to Afghanistan who wasn't even born yet when the war started.

Remember the Powell Doctrine?

1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
7. Is the action supported by the American people?
8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

Is Powell a "fair weather friend, Bret? Is his doctrine taking the Party to the bottom?
And speaking of fair-weather friends, Bret, what are you doing at the NYT? Fighting for freedom?

Ken B said...

Next up, Althouse mocks JFK for his Berliner speech.

Big Mike said...

@Jon Burack, when Nixon negotiated the pull-out of our ground troops the US pledged to provide air support to South Vietnam. Could North Vietnam have raced south if we were bombing the Hell out of their troops and tanks? I rather doubt it. But the Democrat's post-Watergate Congresscritters blocked Ford from fulfilling our treaty obligations.

This is a matter of historical fact. You could look it up.

Gahrie said...

For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values.

Not me. I support neither democratic nor Democratic values. I support republican values however.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Some of us are old enough to remember what the NYT actually thought about Reagan and US foreign policy back in the 80s

Dust Bunny Queen said...

steve uhr said: "The Hong Kong protestors - another group trump will prob throw under the bus - have been waiving American flags. Who do they have think they are?"

What do you think that the United States Government should do about Hong Kong? Send in troops and start a real war with Communist China? IF Trump did that, he would be the biggest Hitler EVAH!! If he doesn't do it....Trump is a weenie traitor.

Should we start a war with Turkey? Egypt? Iran? Russia!! How many "Police Actions" do you think we should take on. How many wars? How much money should be spend? How many dead or maimed military personnel should we count on losing? Do you even WANT us to win IF we do start a war?

There is no making you and your type happy. If we start Wars. America Evil. Orange Man Bad.

If we don't get militarily involved and put the economic screws to them. America Bad. Orange Man Bad.

Narr said...

Look everybody! CEL-WWT can do reductio ad absurdum!

CEL-WWT, since you bring up successful generals and FDR, you bring to mind an anecdote about Montgomery, addressing his officers before Alamein:

"Gentlemen, as the Lord God has said, and I agree with Him . . ."

Anyway, how is the result of the US redeployment "the geopolitical status que ante ca. 1940" now? Really, give us some parallels.

Is Western civilization itself in danger of murder at the hands of two savage totalitarian
empires driven by stupid ideologies? Are other brutal and quasi-genocidal empires maintaining or expanding in Asia and Africa?

I usually avoid cheap cracks about war-wimpery, but in your case I'll make an exception: when do you ship out? You can't do any better than repeat yakking-points from the Ghouls of Imperial Washington, whose lives and livelihoods depend on the fiction that American military presence is a sine qua non.

Narr
(For Truth, Justice, and the American Way!)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Stever Ur: For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values.

Ah...yes. The tried and true tactic of "Virtue Signalling".

Maybe we should have some sternly worded signs printed. Super glue ourselves to...something or other?

GatorNavy said...

I am surprised that the tremendous intellectual heavyweight, Bret Stephens, didn’t also invoke the sacred Sykes-Picot agreement to bolster his argument of Orange Man Bad.

To paraphrase a wily old Prussian, the Middle East as a whole is not worth the single life of a terminal lance.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

For some reason the left had no concern for Iranian protesters during Obama’s reign. Strange.

Bob Boyd said...

What would the anti-Trump left and the NeverTrump Republicans say if Trump announced he was deploying 10,000 US troops to Syria to fight our NATO ally Turkey and protect the Kurds?

"Good job, Trump"? Please...

Gahrie said...

First off, the Vietnamese boat people first set sail in 1975, not 1980.

They were still leaving in the 80's.

But no, they were not fleeing the results of our "cutting and running."

Actually, they were.

They were fleeing the results of the Communist takeover of South Vietnam,

Which was caused by the Democratic Congress's failure to support South Vietnam when they were re-invaded.

which we delayed, but never, ever had a plan to stop or could have stopped short of three million men and a credible nuclear threat to keep the USSR and China out.

When we left South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese Army and the Vietcong were defeated and nearly wiped out. The South Vietnamese had a relatively stable government, a functioning economy and a functioning military. The Democrats then rolled over for the Communists, as they are wont to do.

Bay Area Guy said...

Bret is so outraged at this latest military blunder, that he may start tweeting again....

Mark said...

The more important part is how, once again, Trump is uniquely blamed for all sorts of bad things that have happened repeatedly under prior presidents and Congresses.

See how Clinton treated the people trying to flee from Cuba. See how Kennedy treated the people trying to free Cuba. See how presidents going back to FDR and before would tell the people of a country that we supported them, and then turned out backs on them.

And as objectionable as some people think that Trump is, the Democrat alternative would be far, far worse. And most Republican alternatives that the NeverTrumpers hold up to us, such as The Weasel, would be far worse too.

Narr said...

Yeah steve uhr, let's "take sides in favor of democratic values."

Start by boycotting ME oil, Chinese goods, and Apple products. If I had Apple stock or used their products knowingly I would sell/cease; I hope the market punishes their sorry asses to extinction.

Narr
Anything that makes Stephens and Boot cry can't be all bad

Mark said...

And the contemptible people who suggest that we stand by and do nothing while innocent peoples are indiscriminately raped, maimed and slaughtered because it doesn't harm our sorry asses (which was Hillary's response too, by the way), are worse too.

Ken B said...

So Dust Bunny Queen, do you remember when Carter hugged Brezhnev? Because that was a rank betrayal, and is still resented in Eastern Europe.
You are seriously attacking Uhr for suggesting we should even SAY anything in favor of freedom and democracy? Go join the NBA.

Anonymous said...

Superfraud Steve Uhr is gonna parachute into Wan Chai and kick some PLA ass!!!!

So obviously knows SFA about HK. Absolute embarrassment.

Mark said...

You know, reading the comments here:

When your family members are being raped and you are being robbed and your house is burning down -- deal with it yourself. Don't expect any help from others to save you. It doesn't affect the rest of us, so FU. Reap what you sow.

As you would treat others, so should you be treated.

RNB said...

CEL: "Let's... leave the legacy of WWII behind in the dirt (the better for FDR's then and current political antagonists)..." WWII started over pledges from France and Great Britain to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Poland. How did that work out for Poland? FDR didn't make it to the end of the war, but he lasted long enough to sell out the Poles to the Soviets. (Not that he had much choice.)

Narayanan said...

Blogger steve uhr said...
For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values.
_________
Why not Give it try at home first?

And

Blogger Bob Boyd said...

Remember the Powell Doctrine
_______
Are these congruent?

Did any war Powell participate or conduct meet his criteria?

Discuss.

Mark said...

The Hong Kong protestors - another group trump will prob throw under the bus - have been waiving American flags. Who do they have think they are?

Who do they think WE are?

We ought to be straight with them now and tell them that they are on their own. Screw them.

At least that is the sentiment too many people really have.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You are seriously attacking Uhr for suggesting we should even SAY anything in favor of freedom and democracy? Go join the NBA.

Not attacking for "saying" to being favor of freedom and democracy. I'm attacking at the vagueness of thought processes and hypocrisy of thinking that if you are just "saying" without a follow up plan of action and purposeful end in sight, it is going to have any real world effect.

The sternly worded signs and superglue stunts to show your commitment are not really effective or even impressive.

Standing up and saying you are opposed or in favor of something is a good start. Then what?

What is the PLAN of action? What are the consequences of that PLAN? What is the effing END GAME?

What can we DO that will actually work and what will not be criticized by our political opponents. Is it always going to be knee jerk military action? Or perhaps a long game of economic actions and diplomacy behind the scenes. I don't know but just saying things is not a real plan of action.

Brett criticzed Trump....everything Trump does or doesn't do is criticized by the Brett Stephens of the world. Just WHAT is the correct thing to do? My sense is that there is nothing that Trump or America can do that is going to be considered good.



mockturtle said...

The Middle East doesn't want democracy, whiskey or sexy. A cursory view of its history would show that even nationhood is to them an undesirable concept.

Rusty said...


"Which was caused by the Democratic Congress's failure to support South Vietnam when they were re-invaded."

Which was a direct result of the Ted Kennedy sponsored bill denying S. Vietnam military aide.

Ken B said...

FDR: “Arsenal of democracy”
DBQ: Virtue signaller!

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

Is Western civilization itself in danger of murder at the hands of two savage totalitarian
empires driven by stupid ideologies?


Freely criticizing leaders gets you killed in parts of what you'd call the "west" by an increasing number of junior level tyrants. No Hitlers and Stalins yet, just a number of amateur imitators. But everyone has to start from somewhere. 1933 didn't start in a vacuum either. And these folks are ambitious by definition. Let's see where it gets them.

If you think of Putin's Russia as an example of "Western civilization" you might want to question your standards. But now this country is led by someone who looks up to him. Deplorable. The land of Washington admiring the land of Ivan the Terrible. This is beneath anyone decent who would call himself "American."

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

I usually avoid cheap cracks about war-wimpery, but in your case I'll make an exception: when do you ship out?

As the citizen of a country with a civilian CIC, I get to have a more important role than cannon fodder. I actually get to choose and elect and criticize and determine my country's command - even when under minority Republican leadership gerrymandering the bejesus out of the electoral maps. Founders made it that way. Not all of them fought - most didn't. Neither did they avoid service and shift it to poorer kids by falsely claiming they had "bone spurs." So I absolutely do get to agree with every general on this and oppose the clown in the Oval with toilet paper stuck on his shoes as he boards AF1. Honor is honor. You might have none of it, but that doesn't make you a better fighter and it doesn't mean I lose my first amendment rights or voting rights. Trump is a duplicitous, deplorable, indecent, dumb douchebag - no matter how we do our fighting. Try defending his actions first before you so desperately take aim at mine.

AllenS said...

Big Mike @ 9:40 AM is correct, and so was Gahrie @ 9:51 AM.

Drago said...

HoaxPPT: "Fuck the Kurds!"

Obama and the dems were certainly on board with that!


"Obama Betrays the Kurds"
https://www.nationalreview.com/2014/09/obama-betrays-kurds-robert-zubrin/

"The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey"
https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/29/the-politics-of-betrayal-obama-backstabs-kurds-to-appease-turkey/

History began 15 minutes ago.

Here's a more complete look at this issue which doesn't let any administration off the hook though its a source I do not always agree with:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/11/kurds-betrayal-syria-erdogan-turkey-trump/

MD Greene said...

If only there were a world organization devoted to promoting freedom in the world. If only there were a North Atlantic organization to cooperate on such projects. Or one in Southeast Asia.

There was a lot of talk about sacrificing "blood and treasure" in Iraq when Bush was doing it. There was a lot of talk about American intervention in the Balkans when tribal peoples were attempting assorted genocides. There was a lot of talk about American invention when Hutus were hacking 800,000 Tutsis dead with machetes in Rwanda over the course of weeks.

We're the only country ever held to account. One of our richest partners, Germany, broke its promise to devote 2 percent of its national budget to defense, saying 1.25 percent was plenty. Our tariff on Audis and Benzes is 2.5 percent, while the EU tax on imports of Ford cars (if there are any such imports) is 10 percent. How much help was Germany when Russia seized and occupied Crimea? Not much, IIRC.

As for making things right in the world, we have no firm allies but only shifting alliances depending on issues. It's time we acknowledged that explicitly. We need to represent our interests, to weigh in on the side of justice when people are being oppressed and to see which other countries, if any, are willing to join us. Usually none of them is.

If the NBA wants to abandon its conscience for sales in China, I hope that US fans will display "Free Hong Kong" signs in the stands in such numbers that not all those fans can be thrown out. (Think of the concession losses!) It's an every-man-for-himself world, and we might as well do our bit as individuals

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

Turkey apparently was planning on moving against the YPG already, so Trump simply stepped aside to avoid a war with Turkey - a NATO ally.

He didn't "step aside." He kissed Erdogan's ass on the phone and told him that whatever the Tyrant of Turkey wanted was ok with him. He excused it - just as those dozen thugs got their charges droppedafter assaulting Americans - by Trump's own DOJ.

This is just a case of one sociopath loving and admiring another. The U.S. is not as debased as Turkey... yet. As much as Trump would want us to be.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

DEMOCRACY! WHISKY! SEXY!

What a country! What a country that love alcohol and hate God must be Great Satan!

chickelit said...

What do you think that the United States Government should do about Hong Kong? Send in troops and start a real war with Communist China?

I think Trump would ramp up the already existing trade war with China to the point where everyone would feel it -- from toy-hungry kids in America to starving peasant children in China.

narciso said...

yes, he also believed we had an 'inordinate fear of communism' something ana Navarro seems to think, despite her family history,

daskol said...

Goodbye Freedom Man, and goodbye Statue of Liberty and our founding doctrine delivered over a century after our founding by a mediocre poet. The attachment to childish symbols and their elevation to philosophically and geopolitically meaningful doctrine would be funnier if there weren't so many people engaged in it.

Original Mike said...

How about we start out by sending pallets of cash to the Chinese government, steve uhr? There is precedence...

Iman said...

I think we should do right by Bret Stephens. Put him in battle fatigues, give him a weapon and put his boots on the ground in Syria. Make a real man out of his pansy ass.

CWJ said...

"(We should have never added Turkey to NATO, we should have created a new organization for the near and middle east like we did for Asia with SEATO)"

That would be CENTO; the forgotten treaty organization. It might have been hard to have included Turkey since I believe Iran was the lead dog in that organization.

CWJ said...

I take it back. Apparently Turkey WAS a CENTO member.

Seeing Red said...

Stever Ur: For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values.



Bwaaaaaaaa. Tell that to the democRAT party.

They’ve willing taken us back to The Salem Witch Trials.

I will never understand what it is with you Progs you want to live Olde World. No vaccines, no electricity, and turn those you don’t like into serfs-chattel.

whitney said...

It's funny how they're willing to change all their positions just to go against Trump. Here's one. Tell the environmental loons that we should put 50% tariffs on all goods from China until they clean up their act. Watch their eyes start rolling around in their head

Narr said...

Mark@957 and Ken B958-- have you put your asses where your mouths are?

If so, I'll thank you for your service, and tell you you're now in a delusional state.

If you have not, then I'll tell you you're a fraudulent, petulant, whiny little beeyotch whose ignorance is amusing--do you not realize that "innocent peoples are indiscriminately raped, maimed, and slaughtered" every day? Every single day on our planet.

Narr
Tough shit for most people but that's History for you

Bob Smith said...

Iman said:

“I think we should do right by Bret Stephens. Put him in battle fatigues, give him a weapon and put his boots on the ground in Syria. Make a real man out of his pansy ass.“

Iman beat me to it.

Francisco D said...

For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values.

Gee. It wasn't that long ago that leftists told us we needed to be more sensitive to other countries cultural values.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

“means that American sailor or soldier seen on the horizon is no longer “freedom man.” He’s fair-weather friend.”

WTF? The American military is a tool of American interests and policy? The American soldier isn’t a free agent? I’m shocked!

“Well, it is nice to be perceived as the saviour of the World. I guess. Maybe. ...... We saved Europe in WWI and in WWII.”

Exactly. My entire life American foreign policy has been informed by The Great American Postwar Fantasy. With all the consequent disasters when the action du jour didn’t result in grateful Frenchwomen showering our jeep-riding GI’s with flowers. It’s long past time to wake up.

michaele said...

Back in the 1980's during the Reagan years, our national debt progressed from just under 1 trillion to well over 2 trillion and was under 50% of GDP. Now the national debt is over 22 trillion and 106%of GDP. We simply can't afford to be the world's policeman. I hate, hate, hate when a politician describes us as the "richest country in the world".

Bob Boyd said...

Are these congruent?

My point in citing the Powell Doctrine is that Trump's policy toward further entanglement in Syria is a legit argument that has been in the public forum for a long time. It's dishonest to characterize it as a mindless, self-serving betrayal of fundamental American values.

Did any war Powell participate or conduct meet his criteria?

Perhaps not, but maybe he learned something.

bagoh20 said...

What was our long term objective in staying there? Was it achieved? If not, when will it be?

If you can't answer those, then you can't justify being there with lives at stake. Virtue signaling with other people's lives should not be an American value, and definitely not policy. We can't ask people to volunteer to sacrifice everything for such endless, dangerous pretending.

Bill Peschel said...

Mohamar Kadafy could not be reached for comment. Neither could Nyguyn van Thieu.

Drago said...

"He didn't "step aside." He kissed Erdogan's ass on the phone and told him that whatever the Tyrant of Turkey wanted was ok with him."

It appears Adam Schiff is posting under the name "HoaxPPT", amongst others.

I cant wait to read the next made up conversation by the dems! I bet it will include hookers and urine!!

Drago said...

HoaxPPT: "I actually get to choose and elect and criticize and determine my country's command - even when under minority Republican leadership gerrymandering the bejesus out of the electoral maps."

HoaxPPT now claiming Trump changed State boundaries for the 2016 election!!

Thats probably just the ritalin and meth talking.

Josephbleau said...

My take on today’s comments are that people demand that the US invade Hong Kong because they want to impeach Trump. Obama saved the Nigerian girls by posting hash tags. Clinton saved the Tutsi’s by, what, watching them get slaughtered. All the Trump is evil because he won’t save the freedom of everyone in the world blather is under false colors, I was here reading their posts when Democrats were in the White House. I know the hypocrisy of their tactics. This is another tool to control public opinion on Trump. Don’t be fooled by platitudes.

Should we support freedom in the world? Sure. Should we invade and kill to try to give everyone freedom? A fools errand, except in a few carefully selected cases.

Mark said...

The Middle East doesn't want . . .

Not to pick on you, mock, but just as an example -- the "Middle East" isn't some nameless, faceless entity. The "Middle East" is real, human beings. Women and men, girls and boys.

So were the Jews of Europe in the 1920s-40s and the blacks of the American South in the 19th century.

Mark said...

Seems to be a lot of Stephen Douglas/Mario Cuomo self-described "conservatives" here.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

WWII started over pledges from France and Great Britain to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Poland. How did that work out for Poland?

When someone refers to "the legacy" of WWII they're not talking about how it started but about its outcome. If anyone seriously thinks the outcome of that including the US at the top of a liberal international order has been inferior to what preceded it with the League of Nations and everything beforehand, let him say so.

FDR didn't make it to the end of the war, but he lasted long enough to sell out the Poles to the Soviets. (Not that he had much choice.)

The Soviets weren't more valuable to us than Erdogan's Turkey is? Good grief. What's next? A voyage aboard the Mavi Marmara? This psychopath is not our friend. Since the Republican disposition towards Israel seems to be their sole deciding factor for defining a decent foreign policy keep in mind that you're doing the bidding of the guy behind the Gaza Flotilla.

These guys are not our friends. Their interests are not even allied with ours. If you want to pretend NATO has anything to do with it then wake me up when a Turkish-NATO issue arises. For now the rest of our NATO allies see no profit to abetting this shit.

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

How about the 1970s?

Bob Boyd said...

When your family members are being raped and you are being robbed and your house is burning down -- deal with it yourself. Don't expect any help from others to save you. It doesn't affect the rest of us, so FU. Reap what you sow.

To continue your analogy, which is persuasive by the way, I would say:
When their house was burning etc. etc., we did go and help put out the fire and kill or imprison the rapist/robbers despite having no formal agreement or obligation to do so.
Now they want us to stick around and get mixed up in a long standing property line dispute they have with their next door neighbor, who happens to be someone with whom we do have a formal agreement.

Mark said...

Mark@957 and Ken B958-- have you put your asses where your mouths are?

Since you decided to make this personal --
Let's assume for the sake of the argument that I have not served in military combat.

That only brings me to my other point. When your family members are being raped and you are being robbed and your house is burning down -- we should adhere to a strict policy of nonintervention.

Don't expect any help from others to save you. Certainly, I will not ask any to do anything. After all, I haven't "put my asses where my mouth is."

It's a pretty piss-poor argument that says, "if you haven't done X, then shut the hell up about it."

Achilles said...

I remember all of the support these douchey leftists had for me while I was in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It makes their words today seem hollow.

I don’t think they mean what they say. I think they are just trying to get more power and will say whatever justifies that end.

I feel nothing but contempt and loathing for these disgusting people.

Roughcoat said...

Dust Bunny Queen is on fire today.

tim in vermont said...

Looks like a sequel to Team America, World Police is needed to clarify this.

Narr said...

You're hot his morning, CEL-WWT.

First, WTF does Ivan Grozny have to do with anything? Second, fine, my views are, as you say "beneath the decency of anyone who would call himself 'American.'" How risible a jibe.

Third, I'm not for taking away your FA or voting rights, or anyone else's. Speak your truth to power here, CEL-WWT!

Fourth, you don't get to give me assignments such as "try defending Trump's actions before you so desperately take aim at mine." I explicitly called what's going on a redeployment, and I don't need to defend or attack any particular move--especially since my (and your) knowledge of what's going on is partial, partisan, and spun by all parties. (I suspect the Duopoly/Imperialist/Permanent War DC Establishment will win again, though.)

Finally, I'm not desperately aiming at your actions. I'm criticizing your limited mental categories and inability to articulate more than boilerplate interventionist cliches, as
demonstrated so often by your speech acts here.

It's always Munich with some people.

Narr
PS I wouldn't piss on most Ds or Rs if they were on fire

n.n said...

Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, South Africa, Rhodesia, Syria, UAE, Iraq, Planned Parenthood et al, and every other place where social justice rears its bigoted head, where abortion fields are open, where political congruence constructs labels and passes judgment, and immigration reform is instituted in lieu of emigration reform.

Mark said...

My point in citing the Powell Doctrine is that Trump's policy toward further entanglement in Syria is a legit argument that has been in the public forum for a long time. It's dishonest to characterize it as a mindless, self-serving betrayal of fundamental American values.

You mean "fundamental American values" such as when we stood by doing nothing but watch the genocide in Cambodia or the genocide in Rwanda (where UN "peacekeeping" troops were actually on the ground watching it happen within their own personal eyesight)? You mean those values?

If those are fundamental American values, then to hell with them.

These are not American values. They are American shames. And some day, there will be a reckoning.

Yancey Ward said...

You know, Congress could just step up and authorize war powers to protect the Kurds. Take a fucking vote or shut the fuck up.

n.n said...

our national debt progressed from just under 1 trillion to well over 2 trillion and was under 50% of GDP. Now the national debt is over 22 trillion and 106%of GDP.

Most of the public debt is incurred in the medical sector, where costs have been nominal, with some notable exceptions, but prices have been progressive.

tim in vermont said...

"The Boat people in the South China Sea in 1980 were fleeing the results of our policy of cutting and running in Vietnam.”

Where there is no political will to fight and win, never mind an objective that is achievable. I am against sending our boys, and I know a couple personally who would go if so ordered, to fight and maybe die or worse. We can’t fight forever to maintain situations that are otherwise unsustainable. I supported the Iraq War, but it has become pretty clear, that we can’t sustain the will as a nation that would make the loss of the first soldier worth it.

Some terrorist attacks us, use our air power and whatever minimal forces are needed to knock them out of power and let the country sort out who takes their place.

I think the biggest injury to our reputation was overthrowing Khadaffy when he had made a kind of peace with us. If you don’t think that that betrayal is first and foremost in the minds of the Norks as the US tries to finally end the Korean War, you are delusional.

n.n said...

Carve Turkey to establish Kurdovo, right?

tim in vermont said...

Hey Pee Pee Tapes! Nothing stopping you from heading on over and signing up to fight!

I thought you were an anti War type, but it turns out that that was just a little white lie on behalf of your real goal which is that your side is in power, full stop.

You guys want to be the ones collecting the protection money from countries like the Ukraine, end of story.

Retail Lawyer said...

About 20 years ago a person smuggling ship ran aground off shore of Half Moon Bay. A Chinese illegal immigrant yelled to his rescuers, "Cheeseburger". So we are supposed to welcome him in.

Unknown said...

Let me see if I understand this. The Syrian Kurds were fighting both Assad and ISIS, defending their homes, and we helped them with weapons, money and advisers. So now we're obligated to support them in their never-ending fights with Turkey? How does that follow? Did Kurdistan become the 51st state while I was napping?

Anonymous said...

I served with an advisory team in Viet Nam. We never knew if we were a target or "freedom man". Depended on the time, place, person and situation. I don't think anything is any different for the American service personnel serving in the Middle East.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

KenB
FDR: “Arsenal of democracy”
DBQ: Virtue signaller!


So to be clear, you DO want us to send arms, men, tanks, bombs etc to Hong Kong and Turkey? Not that I am opposed to military action. I am just like Powell that Bob Boyd has cited.

There needs to be a clear need. Proof that this is the ONLY solution. I am in the same camp as Powell, as cited by Bob Boyd.

Remember the Powell Doctrine?

1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
7. Is the action supported by the American people?
8. Do we have genuine broad international support?


Until then taking a firm stand using your sternly worded signs and superglue stunts is just empty posturing.

Empty threats don't work on your children. Why do you think they will on the leaders of Communist countries and Dictators of the world?

Also, you might keep in mind that one of the tools in our "Arsenal" is economic sanctions. Hurt the economy of the enemy and use some of the tools in that arsenal to make them buckle. A lot less people will get killed and isn't that the goal. To WIN with the least amount of damage to ourselves and to the innocent civilians who are caught up in the pissing contest?

Our economic arsenal is very very strong right now. We are using it to good effect and should continue to do so. Sorry it doesn't produce spectacular death counts and big explosions. But it does work.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Stephens and his fellow Neo-con bleeding heart chickenhawks can take that flaming bag of shit and put it on someone else’s doorstep.

As I commented today at Maggie’s Farm:

The US military is not a global police force to settle inter-clan squabbles that happen to cross national borders, have already lasted for centuries, and will never, EVER end. Wrong solution to a problem we shouldn’t be troubling ourselves with in the first place.

Don’t fight at all OR fight to win with devastating killing power. Nothing in between.

JAORE said...

"For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values."

Wasn't that a primary criticism of those nasty old Neo-Cons?

Nichevo said...

Steamboat Willie : Please, I like America! Fancy schmancy! What a cinch! Go fly a kite! Cat got your tongue! Hill of beans! Betty Boop, what a dish. Betty Grable, nice gams.

[singing]

Steamboat Willie : I say can you see! I say can you see! I... I say... Fuck Hitler. Fuck Hitler!


(Saving Private Ryan, 1999)

Nichevo said...

WWII started over pledges from France and Great Britain to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Poland.


What a terrible lie. The cause of World War II was the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. And don't you forget it!

Jim at said...

For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values.

Seems to me your problem is with the NBA and not Trump.

Unknown said...

How many Iranians have died recently trying to assassinate Khameni? How many Syrians died trying to kill Assad? How many Kurds have sacrificed themselves trying to kill Erdogan?

Perhaps there have been some, but I don't recall hearing about it. It doesn't seem to be a common pastime. But calling for American soldiers to sacrifice themselves to deal with the bad leadership of other countries is.

The situation with the Kurds in Syria and Iran is precisely the kind of entangling alliance that George Washington warned us against.

Limited Perspective said...

I was in the military when Reagan was president. I was sent to places all over the world where we had an "interest." We were not well received by the people in any of the places I can remember (with the exception of England). This is my experience, for what it's worth.

I thought at the time our missions were honorable. I look back now and believe our missions were honorable. I don't care anymore about the people we were trying to help. When I occasionally look up news on their countries/tribes, I think they are getting what they deserve, good and bad. I'm guessing we still have a military presence in those places. I'm also guessing we are making another generation of middle-income guys as jaded as I am-- reluctant Trump guys.

Mark said...

Re: We can't stay and fight forever.

Whatever the basis of this September 10 mentality that thinks we can simply stop the war and go home, the enemy does not think so. And it takes two to make a peace.

We should have learned by now that the enemy which has warred against western civilization for 1400 years will continue to war against us whether we want to play or not.

How long will the war last? Some of us realized on September 11 -- September 12 at the latest -- that there will be a state of warfare for the rest of our lives.

Sometimes you don't get to choose. Sometimes evils get forced upon you. And we can either be proactive about it, or we can shelter in place and suffer the consequences.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

This could all be resolved if only the First Lady would take a selfie while holding a sign that says: #SaveTheKurds or something. But she has to make a really sad face too.

Bilwick said...

Like "liberals" know or care much about freedom. That is, they like freedom okay, as long as you use that freedom in ways they approve.

mockturtle said...

Bill Peschel observes: Mohamar Kadafy could not be reached for comment. Neither could Nyguyn van Thieu.

Precisely. This type of policy has to stop and Trump has the balls to call it out. I hope.

mockturtle said...

Mark fantasizes putting on his Superman [or maybe it's Mighty Mouse] cape and saving every victim on the planet from any and all kinds of oppression. People like him project their values on other cultures without understanding anything about them. One thing we learned in Vietnam is that some cultures view life and death differently than ours. Does that make them wrong and us right? Not necessarily. But to impose our values on cultures more ancient and entrenched than our own we are skating on very thin ice. Not to mention wasting time, lives and resources.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Someone upthread mentioned international organizations and alliances, but did anybody point to the UN? Is there a war, conflict or disagreement anywhere on the planet that the UN prevented? Why is this worldwide alliance, this league of nations never mentioned when it comes to preventing war between nations?

Rusty said...

"For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values."
This from a guy who want's to punish hate speech, take away your guns, dilute the rule of law, and favors Antifa.
I don't think you understand what"democracy" means.

Gahrie said...

Let me see if I understand this. The Syrian Kurds were fighting both Assad and ISIS, defending their homes, and we helped them with weapons, money and advisers. So now we're obligated to support them in their never-ending fights with Turkey? How does that follow? Did Kurdistan become the 51st state while I was napping?

It is a little more complicated than that. The Kurds were very much our ally in the region, really the only trustworthy ones. By all accounts they're the only tribe in the region that is really worth a shit, and if given the chance to form a nation would quickly outperform their neighbors, as Israel did. (Which is one of the reasons Iraq, Syria and Turkey are all so determined to prevent that)

We have no obligations to the Kurdish people, but may have to individual Kurds depending on their actions and situations.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

Hey, why stop there, Drago? Genocide used to be cool thousands of years ago - I guess that means we should be cool with it now according to your reasoning. As you said, history didn't begin 15 minutes ago.

As for Trump's Ritalin and methamphetamine (and cocaine) problem, we're on top of that one, also.

Great president you got there.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

Finally, I'm not desperately aiming at your actions. I'm criticizing your limited mental categories and inability to articulate more than boilerplate interventionist cliches, as
demonstrated so often by your speech acts here.


As a defense of the oh-so non-boilerplate, unlimited mental categories and precise articulations of Mr. Donald Trump!?!?

Too funny.

Again, no matter how simple or complicated you want to make it, I'm gonna place greater stock in the generals' thoughts, over and above what some random grunt has to say about it. Sue me. That's chain-of-command for you. What can I say, life's a bitch. Especially if you want to defend a hierarchical institution while at the same time falsely claiming to be a superior within it.

Narr said...

Mark, I wasn't really counting on your help in the bad times that may befall, or the Kurds' either. Are you a veteran? Active service now? A cop or first responder?

And for the record I didn't tell you to STHU. I pointed out that I disagree with your understanding of the history, stakes, and issues involved, and wondered in public if you're just a keyboard commando.

I'm none of the above, FWIW.

Narr
I was mid-to-late 20s and early 40s during Cambodia and Rwanda; they got over it

rcocean said...

First, Burt Stephens is a self-described Mexican-Israeli-American who believes the USA "belongs to the immigrants" aka the world.

Second, if Stephens had been FOR Trump and the Syrian withdrawl, he'd write an equally emotional column about all the American boys who've been maimed and killed there. Its "Big Muddy - Mideastern Version" and "when is all the killing going to stop"?

That's why foreign policy should NOT be made on emotional appeals. You can pitch the emotion any way you want. Just by not talking about the other side.

rcocean said...

BTW our leaders usually love these interventions and giving aid (Foreign and military) to countries around the world. There's a passage from McCain's last book where he talks about taking a group of his fellow Senators to Israel (or maybe it was Iraq) on an "information gathering tour". Any way, their bus stopped stopped outside the hotel and it was suddenly surrounded by a crowd of Iraqi's (or Israeli's) who surrounded the Bus and broke into song and chants of "We love USA" and "We love McCain".

According to McCain it was one of the greatest nights of his life.

Getting the Love of Foreigners. And getting some Hunter Biden like kickbacks. No wonder Congressmen want to stay in Syria forever and always want to increase foreign aid.

Narr said...

I wonder if the original quote isn't a mis-hearing of "Friedman Man!" (what with accents and all).

I like Democracy Whiskey Sexy myself, but understand that staider types might be wary of all of them all of a sudden. It took us centuries of secularism to get this far, and the folks over there may be slow . . . to change . . . by nature, leave aside the obscurantist antics of their shepherds.

Narr
Booze and Sapphic Pron rule!

narciso said...

Mccain and graham lavished 500 million on a group of Syrian rebels, who mostly defected to al queda and took their weapons with them, one faction, sold james foley to Islamic state, if memory serves,

Quaestor said...

Tell us all about your combat experience, Ritmo.

narciso said...

take Rwanda, that was the setpiece of ambassador powers deep dive into genocide, the leader of the massacre kagame, who directed the assassination of the previous president, and subsequent events is still in office, now with saloth sar, aka pol pot, he was the cracker jack box in the Nixon embrace with mao, he was subdued when the Vietnamese intervened at the price of 1-2 million lives, and hun sen as the designated puppet,

Narr said...

Try to focus, CEL. I haven't defended Trump's understanding of anything much--except that doing the same unsuccessful shit over and over and over is for fools, fanatics, and embedded (in TV studios) retired flag officers. (BTW your last three sentences at 320 are unintelligible to me-- not sure what they have to do with my comments.)

Also, you haven't established that Genocide is taking place. Might be relevant to some people.

Generals and admirals are political creatures in our system. Anyone who wears a star is a politician, and the more stars the more political the wearer. You prattle about chain-of-command and squawk when the CIC--an elected official--decides to ignore the advice of careerists and self-serving Deep State profiteers.

Now Mark, what is this shelter-in-place nonsense? Is it your understanding that our longstanding adversary (Islam including BTW and FYI the gallant Kurds) is best fought with US boots on the ground in the most contested areas of Islamoshitolia?

It makes more sense to attack the foe relentlessly with ideological, economic, and common-sense stand-off capabilities, if we must fight them.

Narr
Our ground troops in the GME are already de facto hostages

Kirk Parker said...

"For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values."

This is such an easy question, because it's just so blindingly obvious, between the Turks and the Kurds, as to which of them better exemplifies "democratic values".

And then there's Mark, who wants the U.S. to conquer the whole world so we can rule it.

narciso said...

more to the point, what actually happened Iraq, the will of the majorities, didn't matter so much as the sunni militants which had already made contact with kindred elements through out the arab word, and certain shia elements, directed by Iranian revolutionary guards, in the kingdom the awda or awakening which safer halawi and another figure, both who are now facing execution, for what can be called 'corruption of the blood' a term I learned from the terry hayes novel, we were the strongest tribe, as bing west put it,

bagoh20 said...

You can't use September 11 as an excuse for foreign involvement forever and it should have stopped years ago. Terrorists could easily kill thousands tomorrow right here in the USA regardless of where we are militarily in Syria or any other place. The two things simply are not connected. Why it hasn't happened is beyond me, but I know it's an incredibly easy thing to do. A loner with very little resources, and even lacking creativity could do it. There is no doubt that a well-funded terrorist group could, and there are many of those.

Did you hear about the woman who walked on to an American flight with no ticket or boarding pass a couple weeks ago? She was only discovered becuase she chose the wrong seat - one that was taken. And that's the most heavily secured civilian area of our society, where we spend billions to prevent exactly what she did, and still it's easily penetrated - only 4% effective at stopping weapons from getting on board when tested. Our security measures are for show, and not capable of stopping an attack. Most of our critical systems are not really protected at all. A kid's model rocket and some anthrax or Ricin would kill thousands at a typical stadium on game night. Imagine doing it at 10 stadiums. How hard would that be? We will be attacked when they want to.

Sending men to fight where the fighting has always been and will likely never stop isn't not going to stop any of that. It may prevent some attack by killing Hitler as a baby, but that's all it is: a long shot gambling with our best men's and women's lives.

Would you personally send a young recruit to fight one of these endless wars and tell him it's worth it. Would you send your own son for it? A few years back I would have said yes, and if young enough even volunteered myself. I was just wrong. It's not worth it, becuase it cannot do much for us, and we can't do much for them, at least not with politics as they are here today. We can't do anything decisive and truely demanding anymore. Infighting is our new character as a nation, and it makes us impotent.

Mark said...

I was mid-to-late 20s and early 40s during Cambodia and Rwanda; they got over it

Notwithstanding your flippant response, several hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people did not get over it. They only got dead.

bagoh20 said...

""For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values."

Which is why some have been trying to overturn a legal and fair Presidential election for 3 years. Am I right? If some corrupt sandbox in the middle east was doing what we are, we'd have no problem seeing it for what it is - a bloodless coup.

Quaestor said...

steve uhr writes: For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values.

The ethnic minority farmers of Zimbabwe applaud you, Steve. But don't blow a gasket, it's just that old devil, unambiguity, doin' his mischief.

narciso said...

we're talking about the intelligentsia, of course the letters of sirik matak and lon nol, at the time, expressed the despair, with Rwanda it's probably a hardier exercise,

tcrosse said...

""For starters, we should unambiguously take sides in favor of democratic values."

It's a fine thing to stand up for democratic values, as long as it's some other poor schmuck who gets to go out and get shot at.

Michael K said...

Would you personally send a young recruit to fight one of these endless wars and tell him it's worth it. Would you send your own son for it? A few years back I would have said yes, and if young enough even volunteered myself. I was just wrong. It's not worth it, because it cannot do much for us, and we can't do much for them, at least not with politics as they are here today. We can't do anything decisive and truely demanding anymore. Infighting is our new character as a nation, and it makes us impotent.

Well said. What 9/11 should have done was to intensify our immigration and visa system. Mohammad Atta got his visa renewed 6 months after he died in the WTC. Instead, we got TSA theater and open borders. Not to mention a few hundred thousand Somalis who hate us but wound up in Minnesota.

It was a Kurd in Sweden whose daughter got westernized so he killed her. They have been fighting other Muslims in the middle east for a thousand years. Ditto for Afghans. The CIA stopped watching our enemies and decided politics would be easier about that time.

Original Mike said...

"Which is why some have been trying to overturn a legal and fair Presidential election for 3 years. Am I right?"

That's different. Right steve?

narciso said...

orange man bad, again;


https://claireberlinski.substack.com/p/the-sick-man-of-europe

mockturtle said...

Michael K asserts: What 9/11 should have done was to intensify our immigration and visa system. Mohammad Atta got his visa renewed 6 months after he died in the WTC. Instead, we got TSA theater and open borders. Not to mention a few hundred thousand Somalis who hate us but wound up in Minnesota.

BINGO!!!

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

You prattle about chain-of-command and squawk when the CIC--an elected official--decides to ignore the advice of careerists and self-serving Deep State profiteers.

Let him go on and keep puking on the will of the people to whom he is answerable. That's the chain of command, and support for his impeachment is already above 50% and growing. They don't seem to be as cool with those love affairs of his with Ukraine, Erdogan, and whichever other tyrant recently proclaimed their flattery of him and his easily excited, very weak ego.

Word is out in the U.N. Give Trump a compliment, and he'll give you the world. Only the weakest of weak minds and weaker characters find that to be leadership material. But hey - he's annoying to liberals and the other 50%+ that didn't vote for him. How else can conservatives feel good about themselves?

That's a hell of a price to pay for one's politics.

No one has offered an intelligent defense of Trump's rolling over for Erdogan. Just like when he refused all protocol and congratulated him on his "winning" Ankara's last election.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Why aren't you in there Mark? HUH? Sissy Butch? Whats the battle plan. Goin to south central stand between Crips and Bloods? You lack it. Theorist bullshit.

MikeR said...

wow. Vietnam? Have people forgotten that we abandoned that country to death and torture, with the willing agreeing of both Democrats and Republicans?

Milwaukie guy said...

The YPG is allied with the PKK, which is designated a terrorist organization by the EU and the U.S. In no way should the U.S. favor a terrorist-allied group over a NATO member. Turkey's concerns are real and the YPG should just pull back. It's tough out there.

As noted above, while it might be nice, Kurdish independence is not our fight.

bagoh20 said...

" Give Trump a compliment, and he'll give you the world. "

If that's true then the Democrats are about as dumb as a bag of hammers, because they could actually get what they want, without ruining their chances in 2020, but stupid is as stupid does. 4 more years!

Original Mike said...

"If that's true then the Democrats are about as dumb as a bag of hammers, because they could actually get what they want,..."

Apparently, what they want is to be in charge. Period.

Jon Burack said...

This exchange with Gahrie and me (I put it in below here) is the Sixties left mantra I heard all the time back in Madison in the 70s. I used to sing this song very well. I no longer do. First, it lets off the hook LBJ and those who got us into Vietnam knowing they would not defeat Ho and never actually intending to. Secondly, it distorts the weakness of the North Vietnamese in 1975. Yes, yet more air power would have delayed the inevitable for a time but the inevitable time would have come. When it did the North Vietnamese rolled in over that "relatively stable" government that could not hold them back for a day. Yes, the VC were wiped out (during Tet), but the North Vietnamese army was formidable still. As to holding it off longer, how much MORE alienation and cynicism and war weariness does Gahrie think were okay for us to endure just to hold back that inevitability another year, ten years, ten decades? Yes, the Democrats gave way. There is a reason those Democrats were elected and put where they could give way. People were drained. The society was frayed. It STILL is living in that shadow. The Democrats to hold responsible for all that were the Cold Warrior wannabe tough guy/smart guys - JFK, LBJ, Bundy, MacNamara, etc. - who got us into a worthless mess, not the ones who lamely backed us out of it.

ME: They were fleeing the results of the Communist takeover of South Vietnam,

Gahrie: Which was caused by the Democratic Congress's failure to support South Vietnam when they were re-invaded.

ME: which we delayed, but never, ever had a plan to stop or could have stopped short of three million men and a credible nuclear threat to keep the USSR and China out.

Gahrie: When we left South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese Army and the Vietcong were defeated and nearly wiped out. The South Vietnamese had a relatively stable government, a functioning economy and a functioning military. The Democrats then rolled over for the Communists, as they are wont to do.

bagoh20 said...

The only lasting thing these military exploits are accomplishing in the middle east is the death and maiming of our best people. Lasting, done, and beyond remedy, but the same problems remain. The condition that makes it hopeless is that the culture, economy, and religion in these places will continue to replace every asshole we kill, and probably replace that one with two new ones.

What we should be doing is redirecting much of that money and effort to isolating them economically and building a sword of Damocles over their heads. If they need continuous low grade killin, they are pretty good at that themselves. Sorry, but after all these years and lost lives, we just don't think you want what we want for you, so bye bye.

bagoh20 said...

"Apparently, what they want is to be in charge. Period."

And if they weren't so stupidly emotional, they could have probably just told Trump he's adorable and got all the legislation they wanted passed, which would have given them the recession they pine for, which would be blamed on Trump, and would give them a decent shot at 2020. At least the what smart people would do if they really believed Trump was a vain fool who just needs stroked. Instead they have proven themselves to be unhinged while Trump gets to enjoy the best economy in history. Maybe the economy is just trying flatter him.

Ken B said...

DBQ
You weren’t talking about intervention. You attacked Uhr for saying we should say something. Uhr didn’t advocate intervention either, just a statement.
Take responsibility for your own comment.

Narr said...

Yeah Mark, they got dead and stayed that way. Were you around then? Do you know what the situation of the world was? What our military capabilities with or without allies were?
What effective military responses would cost even if the will had been there? Do you have any slight clue about any of that?

Really CEL? Is that what your sources at the UN tell you? I'm impressed. Especially if it's true, and Trump can masterfully bid up the price of America's favor . . . I'm not saying it's so, but one could argue.

I assume by Trump's love affair with Ukraine you mean Bad Ukraine? Please clarify, I wasn't paying close attention when they split the place up. So the new guy in Kiev is Bad Ukraine; where is the main strength of Good Ukraine, and should we send troops? You seem to know so much about The Ukraines.

Cite some polls. For the record, dumbass--print this down largely and pin it to the mirror while you primp in your He Man underoos--polls are taken of masses of people who generally know nothing about any topic. Also, print this too-- Narr is not a conservative.

Narr
(Nor a Christian, nor a Humanitarian, nor a Martyr for those who hate me)

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

If that's true then the Democrats are about as dumb as a bag of hammers, because they could actually get what they want, without ruining their chances in 2020, but stupid is as stupid does. 4 more years!

Integrity much?

MAJMike said...

Bring the legions home.

We face a continued invasion on our southern border. Blackshirt thugs assault peaceful citizens in the streets. Time to spend funds on our infrastructure rather than on endless exercises in nation building in places that will never advance beyond the 8th century.

I'm old enough to remember when the DemCong resisted military expansion overseas.

Bring the legions home.

Martin said...

Are Bret Stephens' kids in the military and subject to being put in harm's way? Or is he in the NG or Reserves and subject to being call-up?

If not, I am open to geostrategic arguments about US foreign policy, but he has no standing to make moral claims.

Taleb's "Skin in the Game"--I don't think Stephens has any.

Narr said...

TOP SECRET

The Virtuous Battalion under Col. CEL will assemble at 0530 hrs, and begin re-enforcing Col. Mark's detachment from the Manly Brigade at 0600. The movement must be completed by 0630, when the first waves of Democrat Primary Voter Volunteers begin their movement on Ankara.

Support will be provided by BBC and CNN cameras, and the first phase line must be secured by 0730, when the Kurdish Crusaders will move through the initial wave for the assault on the Erdogan Bunker Complex.

All troops must be aware at all times that unpatriotic and subversive elements are potentially everywhere.

Narr
Extreme chastisement will be applied to all who hinder the Khaleesi

stlcdr said...

bagoh20 said...
What was our long term objective in staying there? Was it achieved? If not, when will it be?

If you can't answer those, then you can't justify being there with lives at stake. Virtue signaling with other people's lives should not be an American value, and definitely not policy. We can't ask people to volunteer to sacrifice everything for such endless, dangerous pretending.

10/12/19, 11:03 AM

Exactly.

Personally, I’m all for forces to be deployed ‘over there’ as long as it has a purpose, a goal, and a timeline. If the goal cannot be achieved, then it’s time to leave.

Further, rhetorically, isn’t Turkey part of NATO? What is the farce that one NATO force is defending that another NATO force wants(?) to attack?

This further demonstrates that these treaties, or international laws are absolutely nothing, and don’t exist (except as political entities - who are demonstrating as the days go by that they are the scum of society).

Nichevo said...

Again, no matter how simple or complicated you want to make it, I'm gonna place greater stock in the generals' thoughts, over and above what some random grunt has to say about it. Sue me. That's chain-of-command for you.

Ritmo, this is very, very wrong. If you want actual truth, never go above O-6. If you want actual, knowledgeable hands-on truth, you're safest at the enlisted level, E-4 and up. What you said is the opposite of Truth.



Blogger Ken B said...
DBQ
You weren’t talking about intervention. You attacked Uhr

Ken, I've been watching you, and I'm avoiding broader judgments, but hall monitors aren't popular at Althouse.

Steve Uhr claims to have been a federal prosecutor. I'm skeptical that he needs you to keep a retired accountant from beating him up for his lunch money.