Friday, August 30, 2013

Red Line

"...we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old." --Winston Churchill, June 4, 1940

"...uh. This kind of attack is a challenge to THE WORLD, uh ....uh, so uh I have SAID BEFORE, uh and I MEANT what I SAID, that, uh, TH-THE WORLD has an obligation to make sure that WE maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons.  Now, I have NOT made a final decision, uh, about, uh, various actions that MIGHT be taken to HELP enforce that norm, uh, but uh as I’ve ALREADY SAID, uh I have had MY military uh ... look at a wide range of options.  ...uh in NO event are we considering uh ANY kind of military ACTION that would involve BOOTS ON THE GROUND, uh that would involve a long-term campaign, uh but we are looking at the POSSIBILITY of a LIMITED, uh NARROW uh ACT....  Uh, buh AGAIN, I REPEAT, uh we’re NOT considering ANY open-ended uh COMMITMENT, we’re NOT considering ANY boots-on-the-ground approach, uh what we will do is CONSIDER uh options that uh meet the NARROW concern around chemical weapons, uh understanding that there's NOT going to be uh a solely MILITARY solution...." --Barack Obama, August 30, 2013
...until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.  It's not that we owe them.  To owe is an element of a contract, where there is mutual benefit and obligation.  We receive from them not even a vague hint of present or future respect or loyalty.  They understand that the purpose of a family or a State or a culture is to promote its own best self-interest.  Governments are not benevolent associations.  They exist as competitive organizations, to advance their own goals over those of some other.  Alliances and loyalties can be a good and noble part of this.  Self-sacrifice is not an element in the calculus of nations.

We do not owe them.  We owe ourselves.  What do we owe to the ingrate?  Only what we actually owe.  Gratitude is insubstantial and not a fungible commodity.  As an element of honor and integrity, it carries profound weight.  But we're talking realpolitik here.  And that's a good thing.  God may, and does, note the falling of sparrows, but he doesn't as a rule keep them from falling.  God cares, but he does not act.  He's acted already, on a Cross.  Job done.  Now it's on us.  That's religious, which is in the same category as gratitude.  Insubstantials.

But because we owe ourselves, to be faithful to our better angels and loyal to our best principals, we must be worthy of our power and might.  Because we must be honorable, we must be generous -- an impractical and costly thing, and very often fruitless and indeed foolish.  It's not that we must be foolish; it's that wisdom is far more complex than a glib mind can see, and its benefit can developed so far into the future that cause and effect cannot be discerned.

The frankly inevitable outcome of Obama's Libyan leading from behind "leadership" can be found in the massacre and murders in Libyan Benghazi.  The Incompetent-in-Chief doesn't even know what the term "shot across the bow" means.  It would be better if the ship of state had no hand at the wheel, rather than the direction our re-elected "captain" (what a joke) is taking us.  It's not that our course is random, but that we are adrift and guided not by stars but by winds, not principles but emotions.

Churchill looked to the United States for salvation, and his faith and hope were not disappointed.  That was another age, and a different New World, peopled here not by the Greatest Generation, but by the last decent generation.  What can we expect from the drug abuser who currently occupies the Oval Office?  The very minimum it will take for him to save face.  Tough talk like 'red line' re the use of Syrian chemical weapons ... well, what are words for?  Manipulating people into having a nice opinion of you?  Dictators may be cowards, may be fools, certainly are "bullies" (murdering monsters), but they are very good at recognizing empty-suit weakling lying pols, and will be excellent at noting the frequency that warnings are not acted on.  You know, Obama's foreign "policy."

Where the innocent cry out for rescue, oh God let us be men.

What should we do, re Syria?  We should identify our own best self-interest, and act on that, with fierce resolve.  I find that I am, still, after all these years, a fool.  We must do what is right.  We must find monsters and slay them.  I wish I were smarter, more prudent, wiser.  But murderous injustice is intolerable.  We can wait forever for God to rain down fire from the sky.  If we want fire from the sky, we have to do the job ourselves.  Kill the Syrian hierarchy.  Target their palaces and their families.  Pick the winners, and back them.

There is no best outcome.  There is only being true to your nature.


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