FROM OUT OF THE BLUE
Vladimir Putin is tough and he may be dangerous, but he's right about Syria. Rebel elements, especially ISIS need to be destroyed before Assad goes. The US policy blunders in Iraq and Libya have led to chaos. Assad is a brutal mass killer and needs to face justice, but unless the world wants yet another destroyed state, without a structure of leadership, Assad needs to remain in power until ISIS can be degraded and the world can then tend to a power transfer. This view is basically "Anti American" in some quarters and it plays against the official mouthings in Washington.
George W. Bush created what may be the greatest foreign policy blunder in American history when he let Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld push him into invading Iraq. Barrack Obama created his own blunder when he let the Pentagon push him into Afghanistan. Cooler heads and better minds than Obama were dissed when they argued against it.
The President's ego, he's invested in saying Assad must go, and the Washington whiners, those who try to make us think the US looks weak in the middle east compared to Russia's "strength," and the military industrial bandits, those who make money from war, and all of their various minions are in a big palaver about what to do and how to do it. The simple truth is, they don't know.
Putin has skin in the game. Russia will suffer and pay as they prosecute a war of support for Assad. The US can and should remain focused on making sure justice comes to Assad for his heinous butchery, but some semblance of a government and sense of order needs to be protected. Unless the world is careful about who succeeds Assad a bad situation could be disastrously worse.
Americans don't like to hear it, especially from Putin, but regime change is not our job. Mobilizing support to try tyrants on a stage of international justice could be. For now we should be content to stay out it. We've proven we can't fix it. What happens there is not worth American lives. If someone else wants to take on ISIS, we should support them, stay out of their way and let them get the job done. We are already stretched and committed in the region because two administrations have demonstrated they are incapable of a clear, concise and successful strategy. More lives, more money, more American dignity should not be wasted. This is more profoundly true given that defense contractors and their congressional pimps and ideological idiots choose war as the preferred response.
In this case the politicians from the White House to Capitol Hill should butt out and permit the professionals at State, Pentagon and the intelligence community to build options for power transfer, a structure for change and an understanding of who could and should succeed Assad. An international consensus will be needed. (BTW, the pros in those corridors are not the political appointees. The politicians are the problem)
Despite what the more fervent of "true believers" say or the vain and vacuous posturing of a media that approaches war as though it were a Super Bowl, or the zero sum game of politicians, we should shut up and let Putin take the lead. What's the worst that can happen, he inherits Syria? That would do him about as much good and would be about as successful as our inheriting Iraq? Hows that working for us?
If western diplomats, led by the US work on the mechanics of leadership change in a stable way, we can assure that at worst Syria will be a shared welfare case. Putin will not get out of Syria without cost.
WHO IS IT WORKING FOR
Iraq, Afghanistan and maybe Syria has been wonderful for those who profit from war. If you get bored research some of these names and see how many billions of dollars have come from the US Treasury to these companies.
KBR, Dyn Corp (Veritas Capital), Washington Group International, IAP World Wide Services (Cerberus Capital Management), Environmental Chemical Corp., L-3 Communication Holdings, Fluor Corp., Orascom Construction Industries, Parson Corp., Lockheed Martin, Tetra Tech, Triple Canopy, GS4 Risk Management, Jorge Scientific, Raytheon and there are scores more. You can get more from the Federal Procurement Data System and the GSA. Note that some of these companies are held by money managers. War is big, very big business.
Politics and government in the US have become mega business. It's all about money. We lose when war profiteers push congress, the Pentagon or the President into more military adventurism. When you see a red faced member of the house or senate going on about patriotism, "standing our ground," "showing leadership," or a television analyst blathering on as though they have an expertise, remember they are doing the bidding of the lobbyists, executives and board members of those companies listed above and many more. Those folks who have built the mansions in the Washington suburbs are saying, to paraphrase "Patriotism has been very, very good to me. War has been very, very good to me."
1968, Muncie Indiana. In those days radio stations put up basketball teams to barnstorm games to raise money for charities and schools. Basketball is and was serious business, even when it was a fundraiser-the WERK station playing local all stars or teachers and coaches.
Your's truly is on the left. Coming out of the door with a broom to clown around a bit was Mike Shumaker an Indiana All Star player. On the right is Terry Stillabower now a member of the Hall of Fame. At the time he had been a college stand out and was an Indiana High School State Champion. Ironically Terry's Lafayette Jeff defeated Mike's Huntington squad in the vaunted state championship 4 years earlier. Behind Mike is Big Joe London, a fellow radio staffer.
Joe was 7 foot.
We played in many great old community gyms and field houses and most nights they were packed. Over the years our stations would field teams that featured "ringers" like Shu and Terry, or former pros and college stars.
One night I was struck by the fact that I was on the court with 3 Mr. Basketballs and a former NCAA national champion. All I had to do was stay out of the way.
See you down the trail.