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The road to Damascus

Two of my more strongly-held beliefs in the current war on terrorism is that 1) the Bush strategy is based on pragmatism, with the idea of each stage being aimed at an achievable goal that advances our position closer to victory, and 2) there actually IS a Bush strategy. And lately in the news, I think I might see the next step.

The first step was obvious -- Afghanistan. We had to demonstrate to the world that we would respond to terrorist attacks in a military fashion, and woe unto any government that openly gave aid and comfort to our enemies. We had to establish as legitimate precedent the idea that fighting terrorism was a job for the military, not the police.

The next step was the invasion of Iraq. Now, alongside the many stated reasons were the unstated ones -- and they are, to my thinking, just as important, if not more. (I've gone into the stated reasons numerous times, so I'm not going to repeat them here.) Support for terrorism, on many levels both overt and covert, exists in nearly every Mideast nation. By invading Iraq and toppling Saddam, we instantly established several things:

1) We are willing and able to topple governments that repeatedly threaten us, violate agreements with us, attack us, and in general piss us off.

2) A sizable, battle-proven military presence right smack dab in the geographic center of the problem.

3) A reminder of just how superior the American military machine is to any other force in the region -- and perhaps superior to every other force in the region, COMBINED.

4) A training ground where our forces can learn just what sorts of tactics terrorists will develop -- and how to defeat them.

So, what's next on the agenda? A few items in the news over the last week or two draw me towards one conclusion:

1) Unconfirmed reports that US Marines, pursuing terrorists in crossed in to Syria and clashed with Syrian forces. (Accounts here and here.)

2) The United Nations, under pressure from the US and others, is pushing harder and harder on Syria to "cooperate in the investigation" of the assassination of Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri.

3) Noted asshat, scumbag, and former Klan leader (but I repeat myself) David Duke has traveled to Damascus, giving his ringing endorsement to the Syrian government and loudly condemned the war in Iraq, as well as the "Zionist-controlled US" and other similar charges (sounding a great deal like Cindy Sheehan, whom Duke has publicly supported). (Full transcript here)

There is a great deal of pressure on Syria right now, from within and without. I strongly suspect that they are next on Bush's hit parade.

This is not to say that we will be invading Syria any time soon. We swung Libya around without firing a single shot; just some very delicate and quiet diplomacy persuaded them to give up their WMD programs. But right now the Dorktator (thanks to Meryl Yourish for coming up with that particularly memorable and well-suited nickname for Bashar Assad) has to be sweating bullets. He's got that peculiar itch right in the center of his back that he can't quite reach, and just knows it's a bullseye.


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Comments (26)

Did you see about George Ga... (Below threshold)

Did you see about George Galloway doing the same thing, speaking at Damascus University and basically endorsing minority rule of Syria by the Alawite Assad family? It should still be in the MEMRI archives from last weekend.

The problem is, Iraq has be... (Below threshold)

The problem is, Iraq has been a catastrophic political failure. Mistakes we made there will make it almost impossible to have an aggresive, interventionist foreign policy moving forward.

Bashar Assad is just a play... (Below threshold)
JAT0:

Bashar Assad is just a playground bully - if confronted - he will run!

If your theory is correct, I expect to see a small build up of troops on the Syrian border, and a big push in the UN.

The clock is ticking for Assad!

Tom, With all ... (Below threshold)
lowmal:

Tom,

With all due respect, Iraq was a political failure before we got there..

Any mistakes made on our part are dwarfed by the dictatorially imposed, insufferable hell of which was forced by the Hussien regime..

Foreign policy does not mean make nicey with scum just to keep the waters calm.. It also does not mean yielding to the wishes of one's "friends" so as not to stir the simmering pot..

Realistically, these "mistakes" make it all the more believable that we could advance on an "aggresive, interventionist foreign policy".. There's a pissed-off bull in the room..

In other words, the US doesn't fuck around- so think twice..

The name "dorktator" has al... (Below threshold)
querent:

The name "dorktator" has already been allocated to George W. Bush, the dictator who believes that being president means you can do anything you want to, with or without approval of the people, the Congress, or even your own advisors. If this man is operating on the basis of pragmatism, then how is it he refuses to hear or even encounter anyone whose opinions diverge from his? What grasp of changing conditions is possible for him to base his "pragmatism" on? George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, et. al., are war criminals, and must be tried as such by an international tribunal.

Setting aside the ad homine... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Setting aside the ad hominem attacks, querent, I will merely point out that Meryl Yourish appears to have invented the term. As such, she has the rights to assign it to whomever she wishes. And since we haven't passed into your socialist utopia, where individual rights are subsumed to the "collective good," you have no right to "allocate" the name without her permission.

As for the rest? Blow it out your ass.

J.

The US marines entered Syri... (Below threshold)
travis:

The US marines entered Syria chasing terrorists that had crossed the border to get away. The Marines gave Syria a chance to give them up, but the Syrians "failed to respond" to the US offer. Is there any person out there(NOT wearing a tinfoil hat) that doesn't think Syria is a big part of the terrorist problems facing the world today? I think we need some major US/Syrian firefights in the near future. The Syrians are next on the list, and I think it's time we told them.

I think you'l find if Syria... (Below threshold)
David:

I think you'l find if Syria is a problem for anyone its Isreal and since the majority of your politicians are in Zionist pockets this is the only reason the US is picking a fight with them, its cool as long as there are idiots like Jay Tea and some of the other fools in here American blood and money will continually be wasted on the cause of protecting Zionist Isreal.

querent said:"If t... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

querent said:

"If this man is operating on the basis of pragmatism, then how is it he refuses to hear or even encounter anyone whose opinions diverge from his?"

He hears you, he just thinks you are full of shit.

Its funny, all these asshat... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Its funny, all these asshats come out of the woodwork claiming US is operating under the zionist conspiracy, yet no one is bitching about the influence of the Arabic money has been spreading in the EU, UN and the Looney left let alone the Dhimmicratic Party.

Actually, J, <a href="http:... (Below threshold)
cat:

Actually, J, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka seems to have used the term dorktator a full year before Yourish. But, among the world's problems to be solved, that question probably ranks somewhere near the bottom.

On a more serious note...no, on second thoughts I give up. The absurdity of your post reduces me to stunned silence. Well, almost. I'll just remind you that you have already taken one bad country and made it worse, while vastly multiplying the number of terrorists who want to kill Americans.

OK, I'll just make one more comment, before I go to bed:

"A training ground where our forces can learn just what sorts of tactics terrorists will develop -- and how to defeat them."

1) You have provided terrorists with a training ground - and most of them weren't terrorists until you invaded their country.

2) Even if your upside-down reasoning here were right, it shows an utter contempt for the lives of Iraqis. Why should they have to die so that you can have your "training ground"? Perhaps that's why 80% of them want you to get the hell out.

Cat wrote:" You ha... (Below threshold)

Cat wrote:

" You have provided terrorists with a training ground - and most of them weren't terrorists until you invaded their country."

Well that explains all the Iranian money and weapons my unit found on the Syrians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis, Kuwaitis, and (of course) Iranians killed or captured during the "uprisings" by a supposedly homegrown resistance movement. Actually, it doesn't explain it at all. What was your point again?

Talk to some Iraq war vets, read their websites (not mine, it sucks), and educate yourself. The real world is not the one presented by the Associated Press (or the Guardian for that matter!)

As for who has contempt for the lives of Iraqis, I'm pretty sure no one could beat Hussein in that area. Good thing he's gone. I wonder who did that?

I've been talking about Syr... (Below threshold)

I've been talking about Syria and Iran for months and everyone keeps telling me that I'm full of crap and that I worry too much. Now we've got troops going into Syria and Ahmadinejad is pushing Iran's nuclear program and talking of eradicating Israel. I'm glad to see someone else talking about it now too. We'll see where this all takes us.

File Closer. Everyone knows... (Below threshold)
cat:

File Closer. Everyone knows there are foreign fighters in Iraq. But they are a minority - and they wouldn't be in Iraq if you hadn't gone in there first.

But that wasn't my point, as you well know. By being an unwelcome foreign occupying force in someone else's country, you have pushed people who would never have been terrorists to take up arms against you. And they have learned from some of their mistakes since you were fighting al-Sadr's militia.

If your goal is to stop terrorism, you have failed beyond anyone's imagining - you've made Iraq the most dangerous place on Earth.

If your goal is to make Iraq a better place for Iraqis, you have failed spectacularly. Ask the women who are now subjucated by religious fanatics. Ask families of people whose corpses have been dumped in the streets after being rounded up by the police - their bodies covered in cigarette burns, electric drill holes through their knees and a bullet in the head.

Things were bad under Saddam Hussein. Things are bad now. And they want you to go home.

cat, if your thesis about a... (Below threshold)
Old Soldier:

cat, if your thesis about an occupying force making enemies is true, then we should still be at war with Germany, Italy, Japan, and some others, right? I also suppose the additional schools, hospitals, electric service, potable water sources, cell phone services, free TV stations, free news papers, etc., in place now (over what Saddam allowed) really pisses the Iraqis off, too.

File Closer, ... (Below threshold)
Shak:

File Closer,
So what planet are you from then, your assesment about the insurgency is bollocks, even the American forces own estimate of foreign jihadist is at most 10% of the fighters. Your a good soldier exactly what the American army needs idiots who can be brain washed with 3 or 4 lines of bull shit to go and fight illegal wars, why dont you go back and get your ass kicked like the rest of your boys are....

You know, it strikes me as ... (Below threshold)
Chad:

You know, it strikes me as funny. You've got Querent, saying that our President is a dictator that made a war all on his own, when congress voted to allow it. You've got Cat, who argues with someone who's been to Iraq, about what Iraq is really like. And you have Shak, who basically calls all soldiers stupid, and who obviously has never bothered to listen to any opinion except what he's been spoonfed by our "oh so balanced" media. If it weren't so sad it'd be funny. Read "Disinformation" by Richard Miniter. It'll put some very nice little pinholes in your tinfoil hats, and let the reality in. The most dangerous group in Iraq right now, as we speak (type, whatever) is Al-Quaeda in Iraq. Mostly foreigners. The other insurgent groups have been moving toward opening a dialogue, as they see more and more of their resources destroyed, terrorists killed, and leaders captured. Look for the truth, and this is what you'll find. Yes, some things have been mis-handled, BUT I think you'll have to find that this war IS going our way. We are slowly winning, and when Syria, Iran, and Eastern Africa are facing a non-tyrannical islamic state in Iraq, they'll be pissing in their drawers for fear that their subjects might taste freedom.

I don't know how many are f... (Below threshold)

I don't know how many are familiar with Nidal Kablan of Syria, but he is considered the Peter Jennings of that country and has interviewed heads of state, etc., from around the world. I thought you might be interested in an interview Mr. Kablan did with Dr. David Duke, the racist, mostly for getting a perspective of the current mood in Syria from a well respected Syrian.

Audio file of interview:
http://www.davidduke.com/mp3/nidalkabalaninterview.mp3

Here is an article taken from a Syrian newspaper on Dr. Duke's visit.
http://www.davidduke.com/?p=458

Old Soldier, you answered y... (Below threshold)
cat:

Old Soldier, you answered your own question. There was some residual resistance in Germany and Japan - and some resentment about foreign forces in their countries. But that did not translate into a lethal insurgency. Their countries were rebuilt and they became strong allies. Iraq just wants you to go home. The people have said so...and now Iraq's leaders have said so.

You then go into fantasy land. Electricity and water supplies have been variable over the last two and half years but, overall, both have been in shorter supply than before you invaded - despite sanctions. At times when Iraq's electricity supply has increased, it has only been by importing it from Iran. And denial of both electricity and water have been used as weapons of war. Unfortunately, denial of water is even more indiscriminate that bombs - it affects everyone in the target city.

You missed out food in your list of benefits you have brought the Iraqis - presumably that would come under "etc". Child malnutrition has risen dramatically since you invaded.

As for cell phones, they need them because their landlines have become so unreliable.

Free TV stations? You're talking about the US-sponsored al-Hurrah, aren't you? Well that's a really popular station! For a measure of how good Hurrah's propaganda is, before the invasion some bright spark in the US thought it was a good idea to broadcast jokes about Saddam Hussein's moustache - to a country where most men have moustaches. So I bet the Iraqis are thanking you for that. Well, actually, they're not - they laugh at it.

Now let's get back to the most plentiful thing you have brought to Iraq - terrorism, on a truly grand scale. That you have brought them in horrific abundance and the longer you stay, the more there is. And despite this orgy of killing, Jay thinks it's a good thing and wants to extend it.

No. It's time you went back where you belong - in your own home, your own country.

and now Iraq's leaders h... (Below threshold)
joe:

and now Iraq's leaders have said so.

Funny, the leaders have recently said that a rapid withdrawal would be insane.

Free TV stations? You're talking about the US-sponsored al-Hurrah, aren't you?

Actually, no. There are MANY TV stations now run by the Iraqis themselves, as well as many newspapers. They run the whole spectrum, from looney to normal, in all political stripes.

That you have brought them in horrific abundance and the longer you stay, the more there is.

Really? Do a count of the occupants of mass graves we've found so far and divide by 30 (the number of years Saddam was sole ruler). I think you'll find that the annual body count was rather extraordinary. But keep ignoring that.

Also, it is remarkable that you don't blame the people doing the killing for the killings they carry out. Apparently, if I try to stop a rape, and the assailant kills the victim, I'm at fault in your mind.

When I served in Iraq we fo... (Below threshold)
Chris:

When I served in Iraq we found Syrian weapons by the case and Syrian night vision equipment. They are involved and have been since 91. Syria and Iran need to fall. With Afghanistan on one side and Iraq on the other we are in a position to advance on Iran from both fronts. We just need to finish Syria off first so they aren’t at our backs in Iraq. They are our enemies and should be destroyed.

Cat, you are hopelessly los... (Below threshold)
Old Soldier:

Cat, you are hopelessly lost in never never land. You better hope the wind doesn't blow your tinfoil hat too far away and that your Kool-Aid fountain doesn't dry up. You wouldn't recognize the truth if it bit you on the arse. Have a good live and thank a vet that you aren't speaking German. For that matter, thank a Yank vet! And if you feel real radical, join the service and make it better.

So we cannot believe the Am... (Below threshold)
Shak:

So we cannot believe the American army when they say the foreign insurgents number no more than 10% and of course we cannot believe the media or any of the other studies that have taken place, so who the hell are we suppose to belive.

Chris,
Your funny, you getting your arses kicked by a bunch of people in flips flops carrying no more than RPG's and Klashokovs even then the coward american soldiers dare not venture into enemy cities before they have been flattened by B52's from the 30,000 ft above, lolzzz.....you really think you gona just walk into Iran and Syria and take down the regimes......hillarious

Sorry, Old Soldier, I'm too... (Below threshold)
cat:

Sorry, Old Soldier, I'm too old to enlist. And speaking of old, the "You'd all be speaking German" line is...well...getting boring. If it was a dog, it would be put out of its misery.

Yes, we wanted your help, we got it and we were grateful. But it's time you stopped slapping yourselves on the back quite so much. The Soviet Union played just as big a role defeating the Germans as the United States did. (Though unfortunately, for half of Europe, the Soviet cure was almost as bad as the disease.) And, just like the Soviets, you stayed well out of the war until you were attacked yourselves.

Not quite the same now. Now it's you who starts the wars.

The carping on this site ab... (Below threshold)
Robert:

The carping on this site about the mainstream media is hilarious (much funnier than Rall, IMHO).

The mainstream media was "head cheerleader" in the run up to the Iraqi war. They backed every statement coming out of the White Houes ("unnamed sources high in the administration") and marginalized those that were against the war.

Now they've figured out they were the ones who helped pull the wool over the eyes of Americans, and they've started to ask questions (we should all be lucky enough to get 3-year do-overs).

Take the final step with us and blog about how they put Bush in the White House in 2000.

Thanks

The media bashing is amazin... (Below threshold)
Shak:

The media bashing is amazing check the left wing sites they are doing the same, but site like this amaze me the bash the media for showing explosions and killings and total chaos in Iraq, so much for press freedom




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