Friday, August 30, 2013


I have been exchanging some emails with a long-time friend of mine in the past day or two.  He began it by saying the other day that he couldn't see any reason for the U.S. to attack Syria.  I responded along the lines of Assad being as bad as Hitler and the U.S. being the remaining super-power it has an obligation to at least stop his use of chemical weapons against his own people.  President Obama seems "hoist on his own petard", as someone once taught me many years ago.  In other words he said publicly that any use of chemical weapons would "cross the red line", requiring action by the West.  So now Assad has done just that: used chemical weapons to kill over a thousand of his own people, including women and children, many while they slept.  So can Obama NOT order a strike?  That would virtually gut his presidency, it seems to me.  But, as my friend points out and rightly so . . . what if the strike doesn't really accomplish anything and Assad continues to kill his countrymen.  Then what?  And what if Hezbollah in the West Bank and Gaza are joined by similar forces in Iran to attack Israel in retaliation.  I believe Israel can take care of itself and any war between them and Iran might have a positive side if Iran's nuclear weapons program is destroyed in the process.  I can't believe that either Jordan (which is already caring for over a million refugees from Syria) or the Saudis or least of all the Turks would side with Assad.  There are reports that Russia has sent warships toward the Mediterranean but would Putin actually start World War Three over this?  

It is a conundrum but a very dangerous one.  I believe Obama is being extremely careful in making his decision.  I hope he has luck on his side as well.

But enough of that.  Let's get back to that cat from yesterday.  He is, in fact, hiding in plain sight.  Let's have one more look.

The cat, with color that blends him into the landscape, is at the upper right, below the large cactus plant, the pathway and the rocks.  He is sitting up and once you see him you'll never miss him again.

Have a good weekend and, if you're a religious type, pray for peace.  The rest of us will hope for peace.


Lowandslow said...

But as I posted recently, IMO the Mid-Eastern mind doesn't think like our Western minds do. Logic should have told Assad not to do it, that the US and many others would be highly upset and would probably retaliate in some way. He did it anyway. It improves his stature among fellow Arab Muslim's when he "stands up" to The Great Satan. I don't even think they comprehend the concept of "punitive" action.

Again IMO, if things are so bad that it requires military action, I say give it 100%. Hit 'em hard and often. But these little pin prick surgical strikes? They're laughable. They're likely to show how feeble our war-weary "power" really is these days. We've already spent our human and economic capital in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just my thoughts. Thanks for presenting a calm, reasoned argument, even if we arrive at different conclusions.


Bruce Taylor, a.k.a. Catalyst said...

The problem with the massive attack solution is that the presidential palace and the military sites all lie in and surrounded by the city of Damascus, which is full of innocent people who would be slaughtered along with the evil ones. As I said, it is a conundrum, fraught with peril.

Lowandslow said...

True, Bruce. They will often put their c3 (Command, Control, & Communications) assets in apartment blocks and hospitals, just for the propaganda value when there is collateral damage. Just another reason traditional mano-mano warfare is becoming almost obsolete in many ways. Does it make sense to risk a pilot and a $100M aircraft to hit a truck? From where we sit it's almost a no-win situation, reagardless of what we do. Unless we're willing to take the moral hit when we kill thousands to neutralize a few, we're beating our heads against a brick wall.

Bruce Taylor, a.k.a. Catalyst said...

I'm afraid you're correct, Scott. It is a sad world we live in.

Stephen Hayes said...

I did find the cat but I confess that I used my magnifying glass. As for Syria, their are no good options for Obama and I'd hate to be in his shoes. But situations like this are why I voted for him and I pray he's as smart as I think he is. Our future could depend on it.

Tom Cochrun said...

The Syrian use of gas on their citizens should prompt a response from the UN. That kind of action should not go unchallenged, but such is the state of the world today we are left with the US pondering what is essentially a go it alone posture. Obama positioned the US into our current dilemma, drawing a line as he did. Now we not only face the prospect of an unchecked butcher, but the future credibility of our threats.
Sad affairs. Peace indeed, prayers indeed.

Tom said...

If I might make a contribution from this side of the pond? I think it was a mistake for President Obama to talk of 'red lines', because it ran the risk of having a bluff called. But he's human, God help him. The prime minister of the UK, who was leading a charge for military strikes, has been defeated in the House of Commons. No military intervention by the UK. Of course the French President Hollande immediately jumps in with a statement that he's ready to strike within days, a complete volte face from his position just before the UK vote.

It does seem to me that national egos are playing too big a part in this whole business. I think there is much in what Lowandslow says in his first paragraph. And go 100% by all means, but not militarily! If we have money to throw away on bombs, bullets, aircraft and the rest (euphemistically called assets) then let's spend that money on the refugee crisis. Also, I am unconvinced that Israel would come out of a possible attack from local anti-Israeli groups unscathed, or even with minimal damage and suffering.

We are supposed to be loyal members of the United Nations, so let us listen to what the Secretary General asks of us. Wait awhile for the weapons' inspectors report. There is no doubt that whoever is responsible, the recent chemical attack is an obscenity. Russia and China are clearly refusing to co-operate in any any action that might stop the current bloodshed in Syria - probably for national face-saving, which is just another way of saying national egoism.

But the real problem is in the UN itself. Just like the old League of Nations, the UN is unfit for purpose. And could we please stop using that expression that implies the National Security is at risk, because it isn't at risk, not until we start intervening as we did in the second Iraq conflict. One way or another, a lot of innocent men, women and children are going to get killed if the west launches a military strike. Better to admit we are currently powerless than to kill yet more innocent people. Better to realise we could be wrong.

Lowandslow said...

The UN is indeed unfit for purpose, at least on world security issues. I fail to see their relevancy any longer.