Incredible! Even as United States Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Coastguardsmen continue to be sacrificed in Afghanistan for a failed understanding of that culture, we are speeding toward the likelihood of doing the same in Syria.
Yes; the Administration has repeated the mantra; 'no boots on the ground' until I can hardly sleep without hearing it, but, that was also what was supposed to give us peace of mind as we intervened in Libya.
We were chided by the "save the world folks" that the Rebels in Libya simply wanted "peace" and "freedom" even though we knew they were littered with Al Qaida operatives.
It is approaching one year ago that the CIA black house in Benghazi was hit - by Libyan rebel elements whom, we were told, would be grateful for our intervention or at least, that was the premise.
Four dead Americans later and not one single question answered, and this nation herds its way toward yet one more intervention in yet one more fundamentalist Islamic culture sans any evidence that we have learned a thing about the driving force in all of these cultures; the religion!
And make no mistake about it; the religion is key!
If you are a person who thinks religion doesn't matter, then you are a person not given to a religion or who has lost understanding of your own. Our God(s) instruct us, direct us, compel us. We are given to their admonishments and exhortations, led by their Pastors, Teachers, Rabbis, Clerics, Imams, Leaders and we willingly conform to the image of the one God we claim to serve.
If the God of that religion teaches compassion, we will strive to be compassionate. If that God displays anger and violence or even instructs his followers to propagate by the sword, we are very likely to comply.
Choosing to ignore a person's religion or his adherence to it is both insulting to him and foolish. A man given to his God is someone whose character and walk is disciplined by his teaching and compelled to act on his commands. It is both an act of faith and a sense of responsibility. It is internal, external, eternal and all encompassing. Even when that person seems not to exude the nature of his God or to be living the perceived teachings of his religion, he is never-the-less, personally hounded by the knowledge that he has fallen short and is content to change even the midst of "moral" failure.
So how is it that the 'best and brightest' in our government can't seem to comprehend this? Why would military strategists intentionally ignore so vital a piece of information about the enemy they are about to face? When in history have men ever purposefully suppressed information about a man's religious proclivities? And most important; why would the citizens of, arguably, the strongest nation in the world not demand that its elected leadership do a better job of assessing its enemies before embarking on an adventure that will surely lead to the shedding of the blood of its Sons and Daughters?
The answer is simple; the people have become lax and far too many no longer hold to any principles steeped in the teachings of the God of their Fathers. We are a people without a compass and sadly, without an historical perspective of our current enemies. Many in this nation carry with them a sense of compassion but compassion by itself can be a deadly and foolishly applied emotion if not followed up by "personal" action. If a person feels so compassionately about something, they should feel compelled to act accordingly - and personally! If you truly believe intervention on the part of the "innocents" in Syria is of paramount importance, then prove it; mount an aircraft bound for the Turkish/Syrian border and help, don't demand that this government send in War Fighters whose religion is denied them and who have been denied the right of self-defense. If you feel morally bound to help those "innocents"; then go if you are so convinced.
My point; there has been a growing concern about Syria and the "innocents" there without a corresponding understanding of the government, the makeup and belief of the rebel forces or even the "innocent civilians" our actions are purported to help.
Do we actually "know" who the bad guy is in this fight? How is it we can be so certain that the "good guys", are good; measured by their perception of us and their future plans, based on their religious convictions about interpersonal, interfaith and international relations? Even as the "innocents" who have been rushing toward the Turkish border were pleading for our help, they were also defiantly clear, 'don't send in your troops'. There were also embedded threats that inaction would likely turn the "good guys" into bad guys.
So how good is good, if it can so easily be turned into bad? Isn't this beginning to sound, just a little, like Libya 2.0?
The only supportive evidence that Chemicals were used has been in the form of Administration commentary ending with "trust me". Keep in mind that the UN, at least initially, was responding to accusations that the Rebels had used these weapons. One day later, without any definitive evidence and having not reached the site of the attack, the UN had predictably changed its tune and lodged accusations of their own against the Regime. As of this writing, there still isn't any hard evidence of a chemical, or which chemical or the delivery method or even the culprit.
And yet, there remains a strong and steady voice to intervene, militarily; a voice that says; "send them - not me". And even if the Administration's tarot cards are correct, the truth is we cannot know what the unintended consequences will be once we unleash one or many Cruise Missiles into another sovereign and fundamentalist Islamic land; keeping in mind that the internal strife in Syria is not a clear and present danger to the US….And knowing we possess not the will to fight definitively!
For as we now know by gleaning our recent history, in Libya, our War Fighters can wind up paying a price for our willful blindness of the more egregious doctrines of a religion we have so vehemently scrubbed from our assessments of this enemy.
So, should we feel compassion when women and children and the aged suffer during combat? The answer is, yes. But that is not the question to be asked in this instance. Rather the question is whether our compassion should lead to unstudied, unshackled, historically voided aggressive action against someone - anyone, in our knee-jerk attempt to stop ravages against an element of society we have deemed, innocent. For as we have seen in Afghanistan, parsing the good from the bad, the innocent from the guilty, those deserving of our compassion from those deserving of our wrath, is no easy task and far too often we get it wrong.
Until the time comes that we are ready to again come to terms with what we have always declared to be our religious heritage and until we decide to make proper and complete assessments of our enemies, we will continue to make decisions based neither in morality or historical fact and we will continue to flounder as a legitimate military force in the world.
And our War Fighters will continue to pay the price for our arrogance, our ignorance and the selfish demands of people who do not possess the courage or tenacity to send themselves.Semper Fidelis;