Why the United States just bombed Syria

I’ve noticed that the typical sources that are normally all too excited to “explain the news” to you are doing reporting on this issue that requires more back-story to make any sense. I suspect that this is the case because the details behind this story don’t fit a sensationalist narrative or partisan agenda. Whatever the case – Since I happen to have been following at least the base components at play, here is my Rich-plaination for y’all on the key points of what just happened and why…

Since 2011 there has been a Star Wars style “Rebels vs The Empire” war going on in Syria.

President Obama announced to the world that if that if the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against the rebels there (really dirty painful internationally illegal cruel way of killing opponents) then that would be a “red line”, implying a line that, if crossed would come with severe consequences.

Assad used the weapons and Obama did nothing, exposing the empty threat and embarrassing the United States to a degree to where even The Obama Administrations Secretary of State John Kerry had to later admit was a costly disaster.

Thanks to this Obama failure, ISIS now has chemical weapons.

Fast forward to 2017: Assad used chemical weapons on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, which, at the time of this writing is reported to have killed at least 85 civilians, 23 of whom were children.

As a direct response to this, the new Trump Administration launched missiles at a Syrian airbase. President Trump explained:

Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread of chemical weapons.

That announcement was made Thursday night from Trumps Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Many are scared about what this means for international policy while others (read: this guy) find it refreshingly badass to have a president working out of his Florida luxury resort where he pauses meetings with foreign leaders to announce that it didn’t take more than a day for the country he leads to follow up with a punishing military response to a country killing children and civilians with chemical weapons. More:

The U.S. fired 59 Tomahawk missiles from the USS Porter and USS Ross destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean against the Shayrat air base, where the U.S. says the planes that carried out a chemical weapons attack originated. The missiles targeted aircraft and aircraft shelters, ammunition, air defense systems and radars.

U.S. officials said planners did everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and are still doing battle damage assessment to determine the exact results of the raid.

Whether you too find this response refreshingly badass or not, you shouldn’t be scared about too much further foreign war entanglements. Trumps stated intentions are to curtail the spread of chemical weapons, so if Assad stops using them, there is no reason to believe there will be further strikes against Syria by the United States. That appears to be the deal.

Trump ran a non-interventionist campaign that was backed with promises to also not allow “red line” moments to happen under his watch. At the time of this writing, this test on those claims appears to have been passed.

For more info, this link at The Guardian has some helpful maps and video on the subject.

Did you know the US won Vietnam before we lost it?

I first heard that we won Vietnam on the ground but lost it in our government at home, years ago, but I never investigated and never fully believed it since it went against so much I thought I knew was just common knowledge about it. Watching this video is depressing. Usually I love finding out something I previously thought was wrong, because it’s a small accomplishment that shows progress (I heart accuracy). This, however, is not happy news. America had this conflict mure more in line than I thought I knew, and congress fucked it up to their forever shame.

More than a million South Vietnamese killed – not because we entered the war – but because of the way we left it. Horrific and inexcusable. And every movie I’ve ever seen a Vietnam scene in or a Vietnam veteran in makes it look like a drug filled slow conveyor belt to death for no reason.

Anne Frank

More proof that I’m on a version of The Truman Show and that everything revolves around me came this afternoon when I saw FoxNews.com’s front page headlining the existence of a short clip of Anne Frank on Youtube, which is the only footage of her that exists. I’ve had an Anne Frank obsession the last week and a half that won’t end until I know every relevant detail there is to know (which is how these things go) and have been watching and reading as much I can.

Synopsis of the story: The Frank family knew shit was going down and started planning to go into hiding in the annex of Mr Franks business building (a company called Opekta which sold a kit to make home made jam). They had to bump up the move after eldest daughter, Margot Frank was sent a summons to report to a work camp. “Fuck that” was the obvious response, and the family moved into the annex attic that night, taking whatever they could carry without looking suspicious and wearing several layers of their clothes since they couldn’t be seen with suit cases.

They were joined shortly afterward in their hiding place by family friends Mr and Mrs Van Pels and their teenage son Peter. Later, their dentist and friend Fritz Pfeffer (see my companion piece to this post I wrote for BetweenShowers.com here) was added after in inquiring to Miep Giess, one of the office workers who brought the hidden families food and supplies, on a place to hide.

Anne’s father, Otto Frank was the only one to survive.


This is one of the few television interviews Otto Frank gave. Sitting in one of the rooms of the Secret Annex, he is talking about his surprise at the things Anne Frank wrote in her diary. Her thoughts on life, her self-criticism: this was not the daughter he had known

Things I learned that everyone should know:

-The “E” at the end of her name is not silent. Her name is pronounced Ann-eh. kinda like “Anna” but with an ehh instead of the “uh” sound an “A” makes.

-If only whoever betrayed the family (no one knows who made the anonymous call to the Gestapo that gave the tip) had waited a month, Anne and maybe more probably would have survived (Anne died one month before the camp was liberated).

DEATH:

-She suffered. Her last months were pain filled in every sense, starting with seeing her precious diary thrown away by the German police as they ransacked the attic and ending with her death among piles of sick, dying and bodies in the infirmary hut at the camp where she died 3 days after her sister.

-If Anne had not been infected with Scabies (a skin infection caused by mites burrowing into your flesh), her whole family most likely would have lived. 1) because her mother and sister were selected to leave the death-work camp they were in and go to an actual work camp where most of the slave laborers lived but Anne was denied due to her scabies infection and her sister and mother chose to stay with her. and 2) Anne’s expected cause of death, Typhus, was caused by the scabies.

-If Anne had known her father (whom she was closest to) were still alive, I bet she too would still be alive. When the family arrived at the camp, families were immediately forced apart into 4 groups: first the men and women were separated and then each split into either off-to-the-work-camp or straight-to-the-gas-chamber. One of Anne’s friends who ended up in a neighboring camp from her heard from Anne that she believed her father was put into the straight-to-the-gas-chamber group and died that night. She (accurately) believed her mother to be dead and her sister Margot died while Anne was taking care of her. Anne died 3 days later, evidence would suggest, because she just gave up. Her whole family was dead and there was no light at the end of the pitch black hell tunnel she was in, and she just let her illness claim her. If she had known her dad was alive, I believe she could have hung on those 4 more weeks to be liberated.

Using war as population control

While getting some fillings done at the dentist, the assistant and he started talking current events. Politics where touched upon, but nothing ideological – just some reporting that they both have been hearing a lot of buyers remorse from people who voted for Obama and are disappointed that his promises about foreign policy, the war on terror and the economy were not fulfilled. The dentist said that the economy is headed down a path that is not likely to be revived soon without a war.

The effect a war can have on an economy is uneven. World War 2 (and not any of FDR’s economic policies) got us out of the depression for instance, but the war on terror helped nudge us in the opposite direction for instance. The reason is because in a situation like World War 2, the government issued mass production of war making devices. This can work as a quick pick-me-up, but unless its followed by a 1950’s era of continued production and growth, then all you’ve done is create a ton of jobs creating a ton of products that you then dumped in the ocean and blew up in the skies. Obama could do that today with any field. He could open a new government wing that will increase paper clip production by a million percent and that would bump the economy by creating jobs, but then slump it when we’re met with no way to profit from the paper clips.

My mouth was propped open with a dental damn over it and mental objects prodding around my Novocaine induced face, so my engagement in the conversation was limited to a Frankentien like eeehhhnnn uuuuhhhnnnn grunt here and there.

Then a 2nd assistant, sitting to chat with the 3 of us but performing no job at the moment chimed in on the heels of the dentists war comment…

“What’s really a shame is that Obama is going back on his promises about the war so now they’re just going to stay there longer and get depressed and killed and have a terrible time when they come home”. I gave the eyebrow signlanguage equivelent to a “wtf” as she continued.

“I think a lot of times they send people off to war just for population control. you know? its not the people making the war who have to go die in it, so I think thats just what they do”.

What in the sh#t? Luckily my mouth was JUST becoming free at that point, so I was able to issue a “no way” response and briefly explain how that theory doesn’t make any frigging sense. I couldn’t go nuclear on her because she clearly was not convinced of the charge herself, nor felt very passionate about it so I gave a reply equal to her initial statement. I’m guessing that she heard the claim made in a convincing way by someone who sounded like they knew what they were talking about, so she brought it up still thinking it was a valid observation.

It’s a frigging retarded observation.

The US population as of 2008 is 304,059,724 (roughly 3 hundred Million).

US casualties in Iraq as of June 2009 have been 4,300 (roughly 4 thousand).

If 4 thousand out of 300 million doesn’t sound like a large percentage, then you probably passed the 2nd grade on your first try. But to really see exactly HOW off base this theory is, you’ve got to calculate what % of our population has been exterminated in this alleged population control.

4,300 is 13 thousandths of 1% of 304,059,724.

In other words: .0000013% of our population has been killed in Iraq.

Does that sound like effective “population control” to you?… If so then you probably voted for Nader.

Did it never occur to these people that perhaps issuing cheap or free birth control, increasing abortion, federally legalizing euthanasia, speeding up wait time for inmates on death row, or restricting health care benefits to the elderly and drug addicted – MIGHT just be more logical, and definitely more effective measures of going about controlling the population? Think those suggestions are just a tad more prudent than risking a political career and reputation to make some shit up about why its a big deal that we have to go fight a war for some reason other than the REAL one which is to get our strongest, hardest willed men and women ages 18-30sent to their deaths, while spending hundreds of billions of dollars in the mean time to train and arm them… just so we can execute them. Really?…

UPDATE: Martin, from a UK e-mail address says:

Take your head out of your ass, its not only americans who die. It’s also not just people in Iraq. There are many other ‘wars’ happening all over the world.

Thanks for that 100% irrelevant notation that changes nothing (he’s just pissed that I used America – the country the person I’m responding to was talking about – as an example because he’s got hater issues).

Parody War: Beck vs Colbert

Two weeks ago, Glenn Beck turned a Friday edition of his show into an hour long special titled the “War Room“, covering possible disaster situations and how we would/would have to/should deal with them. The full show is here below, and a decent watch, but if you’re only interested for purposes of the Colbert relation then hit play and then you can move along after the first minute.

Naturally, Stephen Colbert thought it was over the top and parodied it with his bigger, scarier alarmist special: the “Doom Bunker“. (go here if the video below becomes unavailable)

SO… in what is a unique occurrence – a parody reply to a parody reply – Beck parodied Colbert parodying HIM with Beck’s new faux segment with the shows “Fear Consultant” coming to him live from the “Doom Room” (a padded room within the Doom Bunker). I loled…

Black Holes are “crushingly dense sucking things, like giant Paris Hiltons”?…. Dude… Colbert’s been zinged with funnier writing…by FOX NEWS…..

Donlad Duck – Der Fuehrer’s Face

A German brass band (including Hirohito on sousaphone and Mussolini on bass drum) marches through a small German town (where everything, including the clouds and trees, is decorated with the Nazi swastika), singing the virtues of the Nazi doctrine. Passing by Donald’s house, they poke him out of bed with a bayonet to get ready for work. Because of wartime rationing, his breakfast consists of stale bread, coffee brewed from a single hoarded coffee bean, and a spray that tastes like bacon and eggs. The band shoves a copy of Mein Kampf in front of him for a moment of reading, then marches into his house and escorts him to a factory.

Upon arriving at the factory (at bayonet-point), Donald starts his 48-hour daily shift screwing caps onto artillery shells in an assembly line. Mixed in with the shells are portraits of the Fuehrer, so he must interrupt his work to do a Hitler salute every time a portrait appears. The pace of the assembly line intensifies (as in the classic comedy Modern Times), and Donald finds it increasingly hard to complete all the tasks. At the same time, he is bombarded with propaganda messages about the superiority of the Aryan race and the glory of working for The Führer.

After a “paid vacation” that consists of making swastika shapes with his body for a few seconds in front of a painted backdrop of the Alps, Donald is ordered to work overtime. He has a nervous breakdown with hallucinations of artillery shells everywhere. When the hallucinations clear, he finds himself in his bed—in the United States—and realizes the whole experience was a nightmare. The short ends with Donald embracing a miniature Statue of Liberty, thankful for his American citizenship.

Remember when Bill Clinton thought Iraq’s WMD was a big deal?

Ya… Didn’t think you did. Because you’re more interested in scoring political points than knowing basic bullet points of recent history and American foreign policy.

I’m only indignant because it’s been years of this history revision as if Iraq was a total invention by the current President as being an issue at all when the not-so-distant history is that Iraq has always been on the radar as a looming threat that requires more action than just containment and hoping things go well.

Dude, come on though. It’s been years of this. I used to balk at the “liberal media” cries but the mass cover of how the President directly preceding this one was using the exact same foreign policy based on the exact same national security advice of both his administration, his friends and even his not-so-friends – while attacking that same strategy by a different president of the non-liberal party is kindov an argument ender.

It’s fine to criticize any policy decision, but why does the left rely on such manipulation and distortion to make their emotional appeals? It’s unnecessary. There is plenty of legit criticisms to be made about the war on terror and Iraq as a battlefield in it. Why is literally anyone anywhere still peddling the “Bush lied, people died” nonsense? And why is there not a concerted effort among all mainstream publications to just inform the public and THEN editorialize on what is good or bad or a mix of the two?

Every intelligence agency in the world including those who didn’t support the Iraq invasion like France, the KGB, but also the Mossad, German intelligence – everyone looking into the subject concluded Iraq was probably illegally harboring deadly weapons with the ability to destroy on a mass scale.

If you want to argue that after having 3 thousand innocent civilians murdered on our soil by groups in the Middle East, THAT was the time to all of a sudden drop our foreign policy from the previous administrations regarding a different Middle Eastern enemy then do it. Have the guts to do it.

Don’t be a coward and lie about lies that were never lied about.