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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Robert Gates

I really need a neck brace, such as the one Robert Gates, the former Secretary of Defense, wore as he was being interviewed and denigrating the Obama administration's foreign policy. When I sleep the wrong way, I get a kink in le col which is a great pain in le cul  (as the man in the Bay of Biscay said when asked whether he listens to cable TV.)

Mr. Gates was critical of Mr. Obama on Syria.

It is a tough position to be in.
Remember that when all this started, most of the best and brightest wanted the USA to oppose Assad and back the rebels with might and main. Unfortunately, this ignored the fact that Al Qa'ida was an ally in the rebel opposition.
The best and  brightest believed that we could control the outcomes and sideline Al Qa'ida. They have been easy to control. I believe they are in control of Falluja right now, almost eleven years after the War in Iraq started.

They wanted a clear mandate to bomb Assad's chemical weapons where they stood, ignoring any potential effect of the Syrian population.
Since these weapons are now being dismantled in the middle of the ocean, it seems likely that bombing while they remained on the ground in Syria could have been disastrous. Otherwise we should have brought them to New York and worked on them, just as we tried to put various militants on trial (and failed).

It is a difficult task to create a new foreign policy. You have the great bulk of people brain-washed into the old ways and means of thinking; their first reaction is to bluster and bomb.
Bluster and Bomb have worked in the past, by Gadfrey! Should work just fine now, too! Neville Chamberlain should have sent bombers into the Sudetenland and given a black eye to Herr Hitler!

Worked well on Dresden, too. Burnt the bloody city to the ground. Hiroshima was another gold star. Vietnam worked well.

Ooops! Somewhere in that litany of the gods of war, things began to go wrong.
Somewhere we missed a beat and the triumphal parade took a wrong turn, sort of like a cute Santa Day parade on Thanksgiving taking a left instead of a right and taking the route into a very, very tough neighborhood...
... things still look rosy for a while; Santa's on his sleigh and all's right with the world... then shots ring out!
Christmas Carol maces a group of roustabouts, and Santa is mugged and forced to hand over his surveillance list of Naughty-and-Nice!

When the best and brightest have a motto that we must win Hearts and Minds of some targeted populace, and they go about it with guns and bombs and drones, it is no wonder the President hesitates to pay attention to the best and brightest.
How would you respond to an overture of friendship that involved bombing a relative's wedding party?

Although we seem to not be able to see it, there is a vast difference between being "tough minded" and being "bloody minded".


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