Tag Archives: syria

Obama’s failure? Syria

In 2013, Bashar al-Assad gassed his own people. President Obama had to figure out what to do with Syria. He could have bombed Syria. He could have tried to do some sort of joint military action with western allies. There was lots of hand wringing as there should have been. We are talking about life and death. Instead of making a decision to bomb Syria, Obama threw the decision to Congress which did not give him authorization to strike Syria. I’m not sure that he was all that whipped up to strike Syria. So, he turned to Russia who helped (Russian help is kind of an oxymoron) broker a deal for Syria to destroy all of their chemical weapons. Well, we know that this “deal” wasn’t what anyone would have hoped since al-Assad just gassed his own people again. It is completely unclear if al-Assad has more chemical weapons. We have to assume that he has.

Many Americans have applauded Donald Trump’s bombing of Syria. I’m not so sure. I think that Donald Trump did the only option that was open to him. He can’t make another deal. That’s out. There is no coalition of “the willing.” No one wants to invade Syria. So that’s out. What’s left? Bomb them. That’s the only other option.

I just don’t know how bombing Syria will help the problem. As far as we know there were no significant military leaders killed. I think that we know we did not kill or even injure al-Assad. So I’m not sure that we have changed any behavior.

Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban – Update

In my opinion, the best lie is the one that is just a little bit tainted with truth. Those lies are the best lies. About two weeks ago, President Donald Trump (yeah, it still does not sound right) signed an executive order which asked for increased scrutiny of persons wanting to immigrate to this country from several lands. I say “several lands,” because if you actually read his executive order; first of all, it is kind of a headache, as it is long and nonspecific. The order does not actually specify Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. So, let us actually read what the order says I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

Now, this whole thing quickly gets complicated. It appears that President Trump’s executive order refers to the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.” This bill was tacked onto the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. So, it is kinda hard to say that this was an Obama administration initiative. The bill was actually written by former Congresswoman Candice Miller, a Republican. To make matters even more confusing, this bill, HR 158, simply canceled the Visa Waiver Program. So, essentially, what this did was force travelers from Syria and Iraq to get visas the old-fashioned way, through interviews at the American consulate. So, President Obama had the choice of signing this huge, omnibus spending bill into law, allowing our government to continue to operate (or to veto it), because of this bill’s being tacked on by Congresswoman Miller. You tell me, does this sound like an Obama program?

So, because this is not confusing enough, Donald Trump said, “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” Um, this is not exactly true either. So, in response to the May 2011 arrest of two Iraqi refugees on terrorism charges in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Obama Administration decided that immigrants from Iraq warranted increased scrutiny. This was not a ban. It was increased scrutiny. So, on one hand, Donald Trump was right. President Obama did do something in 2011, and his policy was relatively similar… kind of, but not really.

This is not the kind of thing you should NOT be arguing over at the water cooler. It is simply not worth it. There are tons of details. For the most part, when you are arguing over at the office water cooler, nobody knows the details. The reason I bring this up is that I heard the argument in the emergency room. Two doctors were going at it. One was accusing the other of hypocrisy because “Obama did the same thing.” No, Obama did not. Go back and read. While it is important to engage our fellow Americans, it is not important to discuss the details of a ban that is an actual ban; verses Obama’s ban, which was not, in reality, a ban. Got it.

Finally, I think that the President has the power to control who is coming into this country. I think that’s in the Constitution. I don’t think we can argue that. Instead, the argument is what kind of convoluted nonsense Trump put in his executive order.  Oops. I just got an email from my (our) constitutional scholar Linda Monk. I was wrong!!! Article I gives the power of immigration to Congress and NOT the president.  Article I, Section 8 – The Congress shall have Power to establish as uniform Rule of Naturalization. There it is in black and white.  Article II deals with the President. It says in Section 2 – The President shall be Commander in Chief of the  Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States. The president’s powers, with regard to immigration, are implied. So, Congress needs to pass a law restricting immigration from those 7 countries. That would be lawful!

News Roundup – Scott Brown, ISIS / ISIL, Syria

Scott Brown was known for decisive action when he was in the Senate. He’s now running for Senate, again, in New Hampshire. This time he understands the Islamic threat. He is not confused. He is serious, very serious (if he says so).

Last night the US struck targets in Syria. We have a coalition. At least that is what we are being told. I have no idea if this is true or not. Obama said, “The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone… Above all, the people and governments of the Middle East are rejecting ISIL (ISIS), and standing up for the peace and security that the people of the region and the world deserve.”

F-22 Raptor flew some of the bombing missions. This makes the first time that the F-22 has been flown in combat. I’m surprised. The F-22 has been around for awhile. I thought that it flew missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was wrong.

I understand the threat of ISIS / ISIL. I didn’t really understand… Well, to be honest, I had never heard of Khorasan. This is reportedly a militant group that was associated with Al Qaeda somehow. They were some type of growing threat and we took them or some portion of them out with missile strikes. From WSJ – U.S. officials have viewed Khorasan with growing alarm in recent weeks and some have said it would be irresponsible to strike in Syria and not take aim at an al Qaeda affiliate long considered to be dangerous to the U.S. and its allies. Islamic State militants are seen as primarily focused on taking and holding territory in Iraq and Syria, with attacks on the U.S. representing a secondary goal. It severed its ties with al Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan.

I don’t really understand the deal surrounding the White House fence jumper. So, we were first told that this was some harmless knucklehead. Then we find out that Omar Gonzalez was stopped earlier this summer with rifles, 4 handguns and ammunition. Now we are told the Secret Service had a major security breach. Gonzalez had over 800 rounds of ammo in his car. This guy jumped the fence and sprinted into the north entrance of the White House. From what I understand he did get inside before being tackled. What if he had a bomb strapped to him? Secret Service studied this 20 years ago. It looks like they did nothing to fix the problem. Omar Gonzalez is a Vet. I hope that he gets the help that he needs. Continue reading News Roundup – Scott Brown, ISIS / ISIL, Syria