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August 8, 2014 - 7:55am

Today's Poll: Should the U.S. take military action against ISIS?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Dave Olsen
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"When will they ever learn?"

[video:www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pZa3KtkVpQ]

Beth Kinsley
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Thanks Dave. This song will be completely stuck in my head all day now. Great song though with a powerful message.

Dave Olsen
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You're welcome. Don't be afraid to just stand right up and sing it either

terry paine
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Nothing but a continuation of the violence perpetrated by the last two leaders that were granted their power by the majority of the minority.

Billie Owens
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Judy Collins -- "Sons of"

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruuxFQODKvc]

RICHARD L. HALE
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Well......I guess that question has been answered. 500 pounds at a time.....

C. M. Barons
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Has anyone considered that the rampant instability in Iraq (not to mention the rest of the Middle East) didn't arise until we (the American government) decided to stick our noses (and military forces) into it? Granted there were instances of repression (against the Kurds, for example) prior to our "intervention." ...But comparatively-speaking, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan (as well as Egypt and Lebanon) were relatively peaceful until Bush/Cheney decided to kick the hornet's nest. The only positive outcome (a loose interpretation of "positive") for all of the killing and destruction: a few American subcontractors made out like bandits. We've spent trillions of dollars and killed and maimed tens of thousands. Was it worth it? I don't think so. Who besides the profiteers would assess our decade of mayhem as prudent? This is not just a peacenik dismissal of military action. I defer to those who served and those who were injured or killed. I recognize the commitment of those who dedicated their lives to these "wars." I do not take their sacrifice lightly. Ultimately, though, when the beans are all counted, was it worth it? Frankly, I don't think so. The rose-colored glasses required to make our campaign look tidy would have to be two-foot thick and basted in snake oil. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/01/international/middleeast/01IRAQ.html

Kyle Couchman
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LOL Basted in snake oil..... I thought it was already basted in crude oil.

Dave Olsen
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Not arguing with you CM, I agree, just adding to it,.I'd say the problem with Iraq goes back to when Bush #1's ambassador told Saddam, we wouldn't stand in his way if he decided to invade and claim Kuwait. So, he did. Then we got a coalition of countries together and had the Gulf War. Then, Bush told the Iraqi people that if they didn't like being at war, (the Iran-Iraq war had gone on through the 80's and drained Iraq's economy) they should rise up and overthrow their government (Saddam), so they tried, thinking that the inference was that we would help. We didn't, we let Saddam gas and kill whole villages and surrounding farm land , polluting it so badly, that no one could move back. Then, we decided to essentially blockade the whole country for about 10 years, not allowing any food to be shipped in and froze the assets in banks elsewhere. Then came the 2002/2003 accusations of terrorist support and WMD searches and then, finally we invaded and removed their entire government infrastructure and tried to install our own loyal puppet government. Now this new crisis. I'm sure the ISIS people are bad, but haven't we mucked this country up enough? Is it any surprise that there are many Iraqis who hate us? Don't get me wrong, Saddam Hussein was a brutal and nasty dictator and the human race is better with him and his sons gone, but how many others are there and have there been? I'm no fan of Saddam and I'm sure neither is CM.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/gulf-war-documents-meeting-between-saddam-h...

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/27/magazine/27SANCTIONS.html

Dave Olsen
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Of course, actually it goes back to the aftermath of WW1 and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. http://lostislamichistory.com/how-the-british-divided-up-the-arab-world/

I'll ask again "When will we ever learn?"

Jeff Allen
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Can the hatred of Bush/Cheney be so consuming that it ignores millennia of sectarianism, religious conflict, despots, and tyrants? Whether or not you agree or disagree with our intervention, blaming us (Bush) for the unrest is not intellectually honest. Certainly our presence there brought it and subsequent conflict in the region out of the box of locally controlled state media and prominently onto the world stage, but being a causal factor for something that has been simmering and erupting on and off for thousands of years just doesn't square.

Howard B. Owens
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It's intellectually honest unless you believe what has happened there over the past few years was inevitable without our intervention. But if it were inevitable, that hardly argues in favor of our intervention.

Everything anti-war activists warned against in 2002 has proven to be a very accurate prophecy.

Dave's right. Will we ever learn?

Millions of lives lost over the past 100 years all because we got involved in a European War that was none of our business.

[video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlYKrA8m8ak]

Jeff Allen
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I believe what has happened over the over the past few years would have happened with or without our intervention. As technology advances, smaller and smaller groups of radicals can do bigger and bigger things in terms of disruption. To take something that has been ebbing and flowing for millennia with ebbs rising higher in terms of impact, then stick a pin at a recent point in time and say this is the cause isn't logical.

Jack Dorf
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Howard, what do you think the world would look like if we had not supported our allies in Europe? How do you figure we had no business being there. Were we not supposed to support other countries that believe in freedom. Keep your head buried in the sand and what ever happens happens.

Howard B. Owens
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So you're saying George Washington had his head buried in the sand?

You may like murder and death. I don't. There would be a lot less of it if the US had not gotten entangled in WWI.

WWI wasn't a battle over freedom. It was a battle over egos and ambitions of a bunch of old men.

Jack Dorf
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Who do the hell do you think you are saying I like murder and death, how dare you. What about WWII Howard, what would Europe be like now? WWII had nothing to do with freedom??

Kyle Couchman
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I'm confused here..... How does Howard suddenly drop George Washington's name in the discussion. First we are talking about Isis then WWII and WWI.

Howard the opinion that there would have been less death if we hadn't been involved in WWI isnt necessarily a fact. WWI was a war, not a battle. We would have had less death and murder had we not tried to exterminate the Native American populace as well. Our biggest war as far as casulties murder and death go... The Civil War need not have happened either if it wasn't for the inability of the elite industrialists of the north and the elite Agriculturalists of the south to compromise. Many many of those fighting in that war had no real stakes. Slaves were emancipated yes, but really life had not changed much until the 1960's civil rights movements.

You can rehash the past all you want, but when you ignore the lessons to make a point, you dishonor the fighting men who went fought and died for what they thought was right. Til you have put on a uniform, or held and fired a gun attempting to kill an enemy trying to kill you. You don't have a concept of what a battle truly is.

Just sayin...

Howard B. Owens
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Kyle, read George Washington's Farewell Address.

Jack, if the US stays out of WWI, there is no WWII. Hence, if you think US involvement in WWI is OK, then you're saying you're OK with all of the atrocities of WWII.

And now history repeats. Our unnecessary and often unconstitutional entanglements and invasions and wars in the Middle East have given rise to ISIS, an enemy we may have no choice but to engage.

Thanks, neocons.

Dave Olsen
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Howard has worn the uniform of this country, Kyle.
Just sayin'

Also, 2 wrongs do not make a right, we're trying to fix a problem we created by starting a war, by bombing and killing. Also, who believes the President when he says, no troops will sent to Iraq?
For the record, I'm good with humanitarian air drops of food, water & medical supply.

Jack Dorf
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You make alot of assumptions on what other people believe Howard. War is the worst thing that could ever happen. I just don't share your view. For you to assume how others feel about war because they don't share your view is very pompous on your part. That's usually what happens when you believe you are smarter than others.

Scott Ogle
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"Jack, if the US stays out of WWI, there is no WWII. "

Howard, the rationale for this assertion? Also, the world of George Washington had little to do with the post industrial-revolution world of 1914.

Howard B. Owens
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There's plenty of historical scholarship on the notion that without U.S. intervention in the European war, there never would have been a WWII. I'm hardly presenting a novel concept. Actually, from the history articles I've seen over the years, it's pretty much a mainstream theory.

Here's just one link:

http://hnn.us/article/1531

Which also makes the point that no less than FDR was critical of Wilson's handling of the war.

Scott Ogle
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"There's plenty of historical scholarship on the notion that without U.S. intervention in the European war, there never would have been a WWII"

There's been a great deal of speculation, perhaps. But you overstate it. And I'd say such conclusions are far from mainstream. As one of the commentators on your link states:

". . . I see counterfactual thinking as integral to historical analysis, but only when used carefully and in small arenas. This kind of "alternate history" writing (which I enjoy in other venues) is not the same thing as real historical analysis."

This is especially true if trying to bolster the view ". . .if you think US involvement in WWI is OK, then you're saying you're OK with all of the atrocities of WWII". (The implications of which are both beyond the pale, and without any mainstream support or foundation.) The weight of the year and a half of AEF involvement in France, even with the phony American (free market) neutrality, did not change the center of gravity in the European conflict -- which had been running on the surface or just below -- since at least the French Revolution, that much.

Some in the mainstream, or very near to it (like economist/historian Niall Ferguson) maintain that a German victory in '18 would have been the best outcome, as then there could have been no Treaty of Versailles, which the US unsuccessfully worked to moderate, and which was the true proximate cause of the course to World War II. But counterfactuals are really just fun-house mirrors, only caricatures of alternative realities, at best.

Scott Ogle
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Howard, the section on Niall Ferguson's views on WWI in Wikipedia might be of interest. I don't know how much I buy it, but it's interesting.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niall_Ferguson

Ed Hartgrove
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Actually, Howard, I believe Jeff Allen's comments were right on target.

Throughout recorded history, and even before that, we have learned that there are men, or groups of men, that want to conquer & control others. And, some of them will stop at nothing to succeed at it.

Their reasons are myriad: Some of them don't like the way you look, the way you think, or the way you pray. Others of them crave power and/or riches. Some want the 'life of luxury'. Some believe they've been "chosen" to rule. Still, others act out of envy or jealousy. And, to be truthful, I believe there are some that just enjoy the 'thrill' of battle, murder and mayhem.

We know a lot of their names. Attila the Hun. Hitler. Kim Jong-il. Pol Pot. Genghis Khan. Stalin. Idi Amin. Mao Zedong. Joseph Mengele. Ted Bundy. Jeffery Dahmer. Pablo Escobar. Slobodan Milosevic. Jim Jones. Charles Manson. Boko Haram. Arthur Shawcross. And hundreds (possibly tens of thousands) of others.

Some were 'small-timers'. Others were mass murderers, on a grand scale.

But, they all had one thing in common: As the Al Pacino character in “Scarface” would say, “They are cock-uh-roaches”. And, unless you are the spokesperson for PETA, you do what should be done - You squish the cock-uh-roaches. Because if you don't, they will overrun everything in their path. You may see them as human beings. But, if you check their DNA, you'll find that such 'people' have an extra chromosome - the Cock-uh-roach Chromosome.

At the moment, they estimate ISIS (or ISIL, if you prefer) has somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 followers.

NOW is the time to step on the cock-uh-roaches. It does absolutely no good to let them multiply. Does anyone really believe that such beings will stop at their present location? How long should pass before someone acts to decimate this scourge? They are a bane of civilization.

We would hope that their mere existence would be found out, and eliminated, before they can sow their wrath on innocent, helpless people. But, as we see, when they are allowed to flourish and multiply, they begin to be too much for some entities (gov'ts) to handle. The current Iraqi gov't is in no shape to do much. What forces they do have are either too corrupt, or too scared, to stand up to such groups.

We would also hope that other peoples would come together and say, “NO MORE”. We would like the civilized countries to march alongside us in eliminating these murderers. We were, until fairly recently, able to garner our allies to 'do what it takes'. But, most of our 'allies' have been alienated by the current White House resident, to the point that they now turn a blind eye to helping us.

Do I want the U.S. to be the 'world's policemen'? Of course not. But, at this point, I don't think we have much choice. If we don't do our best to decimate them, they will gain more and more - More power, more atrocities, more arms and more venues of death and destruction.

Left unchecked, the cock-uh-roaches will multiply.

Can we eliminate them all? Of course not. But, we must do what we can to control them. If we don't, they will be here. Maybe not this year. Maybe not in this decade. But, eventually, they will come. If YOUR children aren't the ones forced to do something about them, then your grand-children might be. Or, it might be their children. But, left unchecked, it will happen.

Should we send 'boots' over there to accomplish that? Not at this moment. We have air superiority, and should use it. As one general recently said, “The only people riding around in MRAP's, Humvee's and Toyota pickups with personnel in the back, armed with AK-47's and machetes, in NW Iraq right now are from ISIS. We should hit them at every chance we get. The ones that survive will scamper, re-group and multiply. Just like cock-uh-roaches. And, like cock-uh-roaches, when their number become intolerable, they must be decimated. Again and again. It will never stop, but it can be slowed. That's about all we can ask for.

If you just let them run amok, they will win.

Howard B. Owens
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I haven't argued against taking on ISIS. I haven't expressed an opinion one way or the other on that topic.

I've argued against the 100+ years of foreign interventions that have led to countless unnecessary deaths and untold destructions and created the likes of Hitler and Hirohito and Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden and now ISIS.

The issue of what to do about ISIS is a separate question from that of developing a sensible foreign policy that aims not at intervention but peaceful neutrality in almost all foreign relations.

From today's New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/11/world/middleeast/us-actions-in-iraq-fueled-rise-of-a-rebel.html?_r=0

That once-peripheral figure has become known to the world now as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-appointed caliph of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the architect of its violent campaign to redraw the map of the Middle East.

“He was a street thug when we picked him up in 2004,” said a Pentagon official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. “It’s hard to imagine we could have had a crystal ball then that would tell us he’d become head of ISIS.”

At every turn, Mr. Baghdadi’s rise has been shaped by the United States’ involvement in Iraq — most of the political changes that fueled his fight, or led to his promotion, were born directly from some American action. And now he has forced a new chapter of that intervention, after ISIS’ military successes and brutal massacres of minorities in its advance prompted President Obama to order airstrikes in Iraq. (emphasis added).

Me again: As for ISIS, there's something to be said for "you broke it, you fix it." But I would be much happier about it if I could trust we wouldn't be such meddlesome jerks over the long haul.

Ed Hartgrove
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Howard. I went in to edit (corrected one word), but I didn't know it was set up to repost my comment, with the current time/date. I thought it would remain at the old time/date slot.
Guess I'll have to re-read my Website Protocols for Dummies, again.

Your loyal reader, The DUMMIE!

Howard B. Owens
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For whatever reason, editing comments marks them as new again.

Howard B. Owens
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Scott Ogle
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"The case against war with ISIS"

It's a good argument.

Don't tell my liberal buddies, but I often find Buchanan's viewpoints of value -- even when disagreeing. (Except when he was in Nixon's bunker. Or when he's running for president -- when he plays the outright crank.)

He was an early opponent of Dubya's Iraq folly.

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