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Bryan Preston

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September 4, 2013 - 11:07 am
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My colleague Ron Radosh does a fine job of laying out a case for conservatives to support President Obama’s drive for military strikes on Syria. Radosh draws from his considerable knowledge of history, focusing in on the dangers of “isolationism,” to make his case that isolationism both left and right should be rejected and the president should be supported. Radosh joins the Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens in making this case.

Today, as Bret Stephens pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, isolationism seems to be rearing its ugly head, although he writes, “Most Republicans don’t want to become, again, the party of isolationists.” But, he cautions, “the Syria debate is also exposing the isolationist worm eating its way through the GOP apple.” His fears were justified at yesterday’s Foreign Relations Committee hearing, especially when Sen. Rand Paul got engaged in a testy exchange with Secretary of State John Kerry.

As Stephens writes, Sen. Paul would be right at home with the views of Robert A. Taft, since Taft in his day and Paul today are oblivious to how failing to use American power to create a safe world endangers our vital national security goals. Writing at his “Postmodern Conservative” site at First Things, political scientist James Ceaser, like Stephens, urges his fellow conservatives to support an authorization of force resolution in Congress.  “Nor is there any way,” he cautions, “to get around the fact that this vote begins to set the future direction of the Republican Party — whether it will be an internationalist or an isolationist party.” He worries that “many in the Republican Party are itching to use Obama’s mishandling of this situation to establish a new isolationist center of gravity for the Republican Party in international affairs. That’s not the place the Republican Party should be.”

These are all fine arguments, but miss the proverbial elephant in the room: Barack Obama. His leadership matters a great deal as we consider whether to strike Syria or not. The personnel he has chosen to surround himself with also matter.

As long as we are citing history, it may be wise to pass over the debates that preceded World War II and look directly at the current war and what this president’s actions have left behind in the here and now. Surely this president’s intentions and actions matter?

President Barack Obama came to power waging war against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He utterly disregarded the threat of radical Islam when he was a candidate for the presidency. He blamed George W. Bush for every ill in the world, and continues that juvenile blame game today. Barack Obama as president has presided over a government that dishonestly downplays the threat of Islamic jihad to comical levels, describing Nidal Hasan’s terrorist attack at Fort Hood as “workplace violence.” His government has gone out of its way to fundamentally redefine Islamist terrorism as “man-caused disasters.” His current director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, dubbed the Muslim Brotherhood, the fountainhead of Islamist terrorism, a “mostly secular” organization. If Obama objected to any of these glaring mischaracterizations, he never showed it. Not once. Clapper was eventually promoted.

The Obama government has carried its fundamental dishonesty regarding the global war on terrorism to its overseas adventures. Obama helped drive Egypt’s secular and pro-American dictator, Hosni Mubarak, from power. Mubarak was replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has since been ousted by the military. Egypt remains on the brink of civil war and could become a massive failed state. The Muslim Brotherhood wages pogroms against Egypt’s Coptic Christians, and Obama’s government says precious little and does even less about it.

Obama waged war against Gaddafi in Libya under the guise of “kinetic action.” That war is likely the template for whatever action Obama intends to take, or where his actions will likely lead, in Syria. To put it bluntly, after Obama’s war Libya is in worse shape than when the thug Gaddafi ruled it. It is fast becoming a failed state. It is already incubating terrorism. When that terrorism boiled up into a military-style assault on the U.S. facility in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, Barack Obama and his lieutenants lied to the American people, brazenly and repeatedly, about the nature of the attack. He and his lieutenants assaulted the First Amendment. Why should we trust them to tell the truth now?

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Top Rated Comments   
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” ― Sun Tzu

Military planning follows 3 connected steps...Strategic, Operational, and Tactical.

Launching cruise missiles (just because you can) in the absence of a strategy (desired end-state) logically connected to a concept of operations is nothing but a stand-alone act (tactic). And is by definition....illogical....a waste of resources.

Congresspersons voting for a tactic, without understanding or even asking about the underlying strategy, or in the absence of a strategy, are fools.

I note McCain, Boehner, and Cantor are supporting this exercise in futility. They too, are fools.

32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
If supporting the Jefferson ideal of "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none" is isolationist, then by gawd, i'm an isolationist.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
We have no business supporting the insanity of Obama's love affair with the damn mooslim bruthahood that he calls "foreign policy". Obama is a menace, a liar, and a criminal; He's not a world leader. Ron Radosh insulted many conservatives by comparing us to commies like Henry Wallace; he was wayyyyy off base making that comparison.

Remember BENGHAZI!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (82)
All Comments   (82)
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So Tolbert thinks we should have shipped arms to Nazi Germany, as Ron Paul seems to apply?

P.S. Bryan makes a very good non-isolationist case for not supporting the President. My general problem is that 9/11 was caused by Clinton's bug-out (as bin Ladin stated explicitly), and a lot of that was caused by carping by Republicans like myself. But in the case it's hard to argue with Bryan, althoguh I have yet to read Ron's column.

I have a personal reason not to want Obama to bomb. The standard Arab/Islamist response to being attacked by thre US is to shoot missles at Israeli civilians, and I live one minute from the Lebanese border, as the missile flies.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
imply
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
No. no. This article will convince you all we should bomb Syria.

http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/09/syria-mounts-human-shield-operation-with-help-from-international-activists/

Imagine, 1000 "activists" of the sort who make Code Pink look patriotic. All standing there, perfect targets.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
n the other hand, the real fate they deserve is to have them end up in the middle of the fighting, and to suffer the fate they are actively trying to bring about for me and my family:

“. And after the killing, the real fun began. The Arab way of war is to quite explicitly “feminize” the enemy. And in ’47-’48, the Aravim(*) castrated and mutilated, in ways that I will not describe here, the fallen or captured Jewish soldiers. Incidentally, the “portraits” of their Jewish victims both boys and girls were afterwards peddled in Arab Jerusalem. ”

http://zionism-israel.com/ezine/Arab_lie_1948.htm

And yet, I can’t wish this on them, although they certainly deserve it. I guess we should just go ahead with the saturation bombing after all.

(*) Arabs in Hebrew. No nasty name, nor did the soldier hear of one during the war or afterwards.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama is simply a child playing with his toy soldiers, blithely unaware of the consequences of his actions. Its not that we shouldn't intervene in Syria, but that we should force the fool Obama to formulate a plan that would make a genuine difference. Our efforts need to be directed at destroying the chemical and biological weapons, some of which were shipped from Iraq, to prevent them from falling in the hands of Al Qaeda or Hezbollah. Sadly, there are no leaders left in Washington to lead us to a happy conclusion of this debacle.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Too late for that. Had he not utter that foolish red line speech he would not need to have his ego involved. Helping the rebels is another foolishness. The Us has done a lot of stupid things in the last 40 years. Because the leadership never considered the endgame. Our frenemy Saudi Arabia is saying they will fund this adventure(yeah right). But in the end having these factions kill each other off is a best solution.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't care about Obama's color. I care about his judgement. And I fundamentally distrust it.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even when the country is in trouble there are people with their "Hate Obama" nonsense. Doesn't deserve Conservative support? When have Conservatives given the President any support either in domestic or foreign affairs matters? In fact, Conservatives have used every chance to savage this President with the American people collateral damage. The real question confronting the US is whether chemical warfare is a legitimate weapon to deploy against any civilians in the 21st Century. That is the President's dilemma. How can he get a Mad mans attention without totally destroying his ability to make peace with his adversaries. Tough call for the President. It's about Syria and the problem Assad poses. Not about ad hominems and support for Conservatives and their hate machine. American White males led the White House for 223 unbroken years. Perhaps you can allow the first non White a little latitude. USAF Retired
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Look in the mirror and say "Bush" instead. Gee, kind'a sucks, doesn't it?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
You had a good argument going until you pulled out the race card.

That destroyed everything you said.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
That might be one of the most despicable comments I've seen posted on PJM. You think the President's race matters? You think we should cut our leaders slack when putting Americans in harm way? You think skin color matters when our bombs start falling? You know how no matter how careful we are innocent people are going to get killed, right? I kind of have trouble believing our are a retired Air Force guy. I don't have any trouble, though, believing you are a disgrace.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
"American White males led the White House for 223 unbroken years. Perhaps you can allow the first non White a little latitude."

By your logic, we should allow Obama to start an international conflagration, because he is "non White"?

You embarrass every active duty, veteran, and retired military member with your racist BS.

USN Retired.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
He's half white. Why doesn't that DNA matter to you?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for your service.

You've performed another service with your post. Plenty of latitude available on these boards for disagreement. Go for it. But the 'Conservatives and their hate machine...' comment is false on its face. Ron Radosh calls himself a conservative and very often is. He is probably more eager than you to involve us in Syria. There are plenty of conservatives in his camp. I think they're wrong, not hateful, and I'm sure I don't hate them for disagreeing with me.
So, talk about ad hominems?

As to your last sentence, that "we [sic] can allow the first non White a little latitude," all I can say is, was that the standard that you met in the USAF?
Don't demean your service or yourself.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Don't demean your service or yourself. "

Too late!
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The "country is in trouble" because of the lawless, imperious madman in the White House. The "real question confronting the US" is whether or not we can save the Constitution and the Republic from a Marxist Islamophile ideologue, who thinks that the totalitarian fascist Muslim Brotherhood are his friends, and who routinely orders our armed forces to fight as Janissaries on behalf of the Mohammedan Slave Empire. USAF retired.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
So correct.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The real question confronting the US is whether chemical warfare is a legitimate weapon to deploy against any civilians in the 21st Century. "

No, the real question is whether the U.S. should be expending it's blood and treasure in a another sovereign country's civil war in a way that benefits the folks who flew jetliners into our office buildings just twelve years ago.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your first assumption is that Assad is guilty of this war crime. The problem is, the rebels (Al Qaeda Sunnis) attacked and held a Syrian military depot last year. Guess what was stored at the depot?

Guess who has planted evidence, photo shopped pics and faked videos in past incidents with their enemies? Yes. Al Qaeda Sunnis would be the correct answer. The only additional evidence is provided by parties who have something to gain from 'proving' Assad's guilt in this incident. No, Assad is not a nice guy, but if we're gonna bust his chops, let's do it for a crime he committed, not one that he didn't commit.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh shutup with your race baiting claptrap. We don't care if the president is green or blue, but we care that he's an incompetent ideologue who routinely lies about his intentions.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
You must be an utter idiot or in denial. How can you be such a fool? I do not believe you are retired military. I should know, because I know both retired military and those in active service. Neither, of which I mention, support the stupid that currently runs this show. Why? Because anyone with half a brain know better.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Isn't one of the arguments against term limits for Congress that we need all these really experienced statesmen up there. What a joke. We have people who have been up there since Vietnam and they still don't ask the basic questions any normal person would ask before committing the country to a military conflict.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The -current- primary reason for attacking Syria is that Assad used gas on the Syrian people. The evidence, however, is questionable, at best. The sources of that evidence are either not credible, to begin with, or else they each 'have a dog in this fight.' iow, they are not objective sources of intel.

The rationale and reasoning boils from 'do it for the children' to 'Assad's wife is a spendthrift' and everything in between. iow, the reasoning doesn't make any sense, to begin with.

The potential consequences of starting a region wide conflict - and possibly even a global conflict - with this strike cannot be readily dismissed or easily ignored, at least, not by any sane human being.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
which implies a hidden agenda...why its so important to get to the bottom of Benghazi....and to Mr. Radosh who wants to make historical comparisons; the comparisons are only accurate if your read on history as well as the present are accurate. Maybe the hidden agena is the pipeline, maybe the fate of the petrodollar, maybe a prepositioning for the inevitable global economic collapse...but it ceretainly isn't to maintain global respect (vanishing rapidly) or because of outrage over the death of children (which when it occurs on our watch is unfortunate collateral damage). The trouble with democrats is they are transparent in their LACK of forward thinking.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Islamic world, according to their standard doctrine, is attacking the West using total war--no rules, no borders, and no one is spared. Every country that has an Islamic constitution, or that otherwise uses Islam as the basis of its political system and/or legal system, is in a de facto state of war against the United States right now. It is a permanent jihad base.

We should respect the Muslim's choice to make war on us, and treat them accordingly. We should be isolating them totally--no foreign aid, no food, no medicine, no trade, and by all means, no weaponry or technology of any kind. A total quarantine on Dar al Islam "for the duration."

Their Muslim citizens (all, by their own reckoning,Soldiers of Allah) should not be permitted to set foot on our soil for any reason--they are enemy combatants. If they sneak in, they should be rounded up and shot as spies. Any act of aggression by their military or militia forces should be met with an overwhelming (i.e., NOT proportionate) response.

For instance, if they send out a ship to attack ours, we sink their navy. If they hit us with a big terror attack, we level 10 of their cities. If they kidnap one of our citizens, we bombard them continuously until they give them back, unharmed. If they kill the hostage, or burn down a church or temple, we level 1000 mosques, and so on.

We make sure that the Islamic world is kept as weak as possible, and make sure that they understand why we treat them that way. It's their own choice, and we are merely making sure that they reap what they sow.

That kind of isolation is what is needed. Make the Muslim world feel the consequences of their aggression, every day in every way.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know why we refuse to take them at their word.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is not isolationist to insist on using common sense in making foreign policy decisions.

I'm very sorry to report that Syria doesn't pass the smell test.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Now is not the time for armchair isolationism." - John Kerry
Now THAT statement by Kerry is pure provocation and is 100% on target with Obama's organizing rhetoric; it's been that way for years with the left and it's intended to mock the constitution in terms of our relationship with other countries ... "isolationism" has suddenly caught fire and has Conservatives all worried that the GOP might be damaged by it; politics even now in the face of a horrendous situation. WE have Commie agitators that are backing the Mooslim Bruthahood ... that's a fact Jack.
Congress AND the POTUS need to make the right decision ...
I hoipe that through this little episode that Obama's Muslim Bruthahood advisers are exposed for what they really are ... jihadists.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
And exactly what was John Kerry during the VietNam war, but an arch-isolationlist? What is it about Democrats that when they talk office they become a parody of their political opponents? What every crazy, wacked-out, deranged Leftist and Paulite thought George W was, that is what Obama IS. The result, I suppose, of being immune to media criticism.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
My comment to Radosh,
Here is what the GOP should do in the house. Call Obama out for being a LIAR!! Say it loud and on every channel.
Benghazi = lied
F&F = lied
IRS = lied
Green tech scandals = lied
Shovel Ready = lied
Obama-care = lied
Death Panels = lied
Rationing of medical care = lied
Speaking to the families of the Benghazi dead for Christ's sake!! = LIED!!

So Mr. President, until you come clean on these other issues we do not trust your judgment, nor your actions involving our military and going to war in Syria.
We do not believe you are telling us everything concerning Syria so we do not authorize the use of force.
At that point if Obama goes in = violates his Oath of office.

On top of that, why didn't the world do a thing when Iran and Iraq were gassing each other? The red line is Barry's make him eat it. He may be mesmerizing the press here - but not anywhere else on the planet. They know a light-weight when they hear one. Now it is the "worlds" red line. What a punk! Is anything his fault. Does he own any of the last 5 years of misery?
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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