We're winning the war against Al Qaeda. The cost? Turning an entire region against us in the long-term, including former ally Pakistan.
Three successful drone strikes in recent days have killed some VERY high-ranking Al Qaeda members. Good news, right? Yes, no doubt. But, those drone strikes have occurred in Pakistani territory. Leon Panetta has come out condemning Pakistan for allowing safe haven to fighters who attack U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, who then retreat to Pakistan for relative safety from retaliation. Panetta says we’re “not going to take it” any more.
I find it amazing that Repubs still attack Obama for being soft on defense. It sure helps when the entire Republican party seems to be made up of a bunch of dim-witted fools who believe anything their leaders tell them. Repubs continue to use the attack because their idiot backers continue to believe ANYTHING that’s anti-Obama. This despite the incredible successes Obama has had in combatting terrorism and dismantling Al Qaeda.
The continuing, bold drone attacks in Pakistan continue a very aggressive defense policy from Obama, policies that Republicans would be DROOLING over…IF it were a Republican in the Oval Office.
With that said…it’s a loser of a long-term strategy. Afghanis themselves want the U.S. out. It’s been over 10 years for god’s sake. We’re occupiers in their minds now, not liberators. Pakistanis? I’m definitely not sympathetic to Pakistan for their role in underhandedly supporting violence in Afghanistan, but despite any recent successes in killing Al Qaeda personnel within Pakistani territory…it’s a loser of a long-term strategy.
Obama’s long-term military strategy clearly puts an emphasis on Asia (e.g., China) with a de-emphasis of the Middle East. But the damage has already been done in the Middle East. 10+ years of active war in the region will do that. There’s no doubt that U.S. actions in the Middle East in the past decade have further strengthened the impression that the U.S. is a bully in the region, uncaring about the people themselves, and only interested in protecting oil resources. It’s a HELL of a tough line (heck, an impossible line) for Obama to walk…keeping a continued, active, and aggressive military presence in the region, while attempting to sway regional powers to support the cause.
Despite the successes in killing Al Qaeda leaders with cross-border drone strikes, there is also no doubt that hundreds of innocent Pakistani’s have lost their lives. Despite Panetta’s bluster…it simply can’t continue long-term. We’ve dismantled Al Qaeda in the Middle East. Obama has had been an aggressive, extremely effective leader in the war on terror. But at what cost?
We already had a boatload of enemies in the Middle East. We’ve also been doing a hell of a good job at turning one-time U.S. allies into likely long-term enemies. We can now add Pakistan to the ever-growing list of countries in the region that resent the U.S. influence in the region. In the short-term? We can survive it, given the devastating blow we’ve accomplished against Al Qaeda in the region.
In the long-term? We’ve alienated another nationality in the region, and created yet another long-term breeding ground for anti-U.S. terrorists. We’re winning the battle against Al Qaeda…but losing the war in the region.
Posted in Politics
Tagged Afghanistan, Al qaeda, casualty, civilian, defense, drone, kill, Middle East, obama, Pakistan, policy, strategy, strike, terror, terrorist, war
Some random thoughts from perusin’ the web…
Hispanic Students Vanishing in Alabama – After an appeals court refused to block a tough new Alabama immigration law from taking effect, schools are reporting very sharp drops in attendance from Hispanic students. Many Hispanic families have said they plan to leave Alabama, which I’m sure is cause for celebration for the
bigots Alabama people who support the law. If they keep at it, maybe they’ll be able to achieve their dream of having a lily-white, minority-free Alabama.
Black Oystercatcher Faring Well in California - It’s always nice to focus on good news for a change! There’s been concern over the status of Black Oystercatchers on the Pacific Coast, but a recent survey in California found many more nesting pairs than expected. Great to hear, as these are one of my favorite birds. I’ve been fortunate to get a number of very good photo opportunities on a few trips to California and Oregon.
Bachman Says China Attacking U.S. Satellites with Lasers!!! - During an interview on the Laura Ingraham show, Michele Bachman said China has been attacking and “blinding” U.S. military satellites with lasers. Uh…Michele…maybe it would be best if you just slowly faded from the public spotlight. You seem incapable of opening your mouth without complete BS coming out. But when you’re talking on conservative talk radio, the audience demands right-wing wackiness, and Bachman certainly delivers.
Morality of U.S. Killing a U.S. Citizen with a Drone Strike - The first reaction upon the U.S. confirming the killing of American-born Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen seemed to be overwhelmingly positive. We had, after all, just killed someone described as the highest priority target since bin Laden was killed. After a day or so though, many articles appeared questioning the morality of the U.S. government targeting and killing a U.S. citizen. It’s a tough issue. I’m against the death penalty, and think it’s simply barbaric for us to deal with criminality using the death penalty as a punishment. But even for me, war is another issue. I certainly don’t agree with the reasons nations go to war, but, unfortunately, even I recognize that at times, war is unavoidable. Given that we simply do not have the capability to capture, jail, and try people like al-Awlaki, there’s often not a lot of choice in terms of how to conduct a “war on terror”. Even with al-Awlaki technically a U.S. citizen, as distasteful as it seems, I’m not sure there’s not much else that could be done. What a world we live in…
Israel Approves New Settlements in Occupied Territory - On the other hand…maybe there IS more the U.S. can do to combat terrorism, than rely on the military and drone strikes. It ALL comes back to Middle Eastern attitudes towards the U.S., and that basically boils down to Israel and the issue of a Palestinian state. This week after Palestinian President Abbas went to the U.N. for support of statehood, Israel announced they were approving the construction of 1,100 new homes for Jewish “settlers” in East Jerusalem. I REALLY get sick of those that insist the U.S. continually, and seemingly unquestioningly, support Israeli interests. If Israel had ANY real interest in a two-state solution, it wouldn’t be continually provoking Palestinians through actions such as this. For once, I wish the U.S. would put their foot down and threaten to withhold Israeli aid, if they continue to build settlements in the occupied lands.
Traveller Arrested with Hummingbirds in his Pants - A Dutch traveler was arrested when airport authorities found a dozen live hummingbirds sewn into his underwear. Evidently, this same idiot already had a previous arrest for smuggling hummingbirds. I guess I didn’t realize there was a big black-market out there for hummingbirds. This is pretty sick though. I can’t imagine they would live very long all wrapped up like that, in someone’s underwear.
Posted in Birds, Education, Perusin' & Musin', Politics
Tagged Alabama, china, Citizen, drone, dutch, hispanic students, hummingbird, immigration, Israel, Israeli settlements, laser, law, Mahmoud Abbas, michele bachmann, morality, Palestine, satellite, smuggler, smuggling, two-state, underwear, United Nations, yemen