The Cowardice of Omission

by William Skink

As pathetic partisans exploit the refugee crisis to score political points against their political opponents, Obama’s State Department approved a 1.29 billion dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia. That’s right, just three days after the Paris attack, the Obama administration is resupplying the brutal regime in Saudi Arabia which acts as one of the main conduits of weapons flowing to extremists and jihadists in Syria. It’s a good thing the focus here, domestically, is on the refugees, otherwise partisans may have to deal with the awkward reality that their party is a big part of the problem, and we can’t have that, now can we.

A few days ago, on Democracy Now, Amy Goodman interviewed Barbara Lee, the one politicians who voted against the Iraq war. Goodman asks Lee about this arms sale and her response is telling:

AMY GOODMAN: The U.S. has just sealed, the Obama administration, yet another arms deal with Saudi Arabia, in the last year signed the biggest arms deals in the history of the world with Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia behind a lot of the militant activism from al-Qaeda to ISIS. Do you condemn these sales?

REP. BARBARA LEE: Well, first, we need to reduce the sale of arms throughout the world. Also, I think when you look at the—for example, trying to rid Iran of the ability to develop nuclear weapons, we engaged in a strong, robust diplomatic effort. Many years ago, I introduced the first resolution calling for the end of no contact policy, for a special envoy and for us to begin to negotiate with Iran the elimination of their program of developing nuclear weapons. So far, those negotiations and that Iranian deal has worked. And so I think that we need to move in that direction in terms of diplomacy, in terms of trying to seek global peace and security without selling arms to all countries, because what you will have is an arms buildup throughout the world, and then weapons will be pointed at—each country will have weapons—of course, a nuclear weapon is the ultimate weapon—pointed in all directions. And so, we need to determine ways, as the president has done with regard to Iran, ways in which to engage to reduce the threats and to reduce the sale and the use of force and armaments and military weapons, because these can only make the world more dangerous.

See how Barbara Lee deftly wiggles out of actually answering the question then shifts to talking about Iran? Pathetic. But that’s what we get with Democrats. It’s more important to score political points than to acknowledge the reality of what’s actually happening in the world with America’s continued role spreading death and misery.

Calling out Republicans for being mean and cowardly is easy. Calling out the leading Democrat candidate for the office of the president, less so.

If Democrats truly want to change the dynamics fueling this refugee crisis, they need to acknowledge that Hillary Clinton’s plan to “smash ISIS” is only going to make things much, much worse. Here is a portion of Clinton’s speech from last Thursday:

Let me start with the campaign to defeat ISIS across the region. The United States and our international coalition has been conducting this fight for more than a year. It’s time to begin a new phase and intensify and broaden our efforts to smash the would-be caliphate and deny ISIS control of territory in Iraq and Syria. That starts with a more effective coalition air campaign, with more allied planes, more strikes and a broader target set.

A key obstacle standing in the way is a shortage of good intelligence about ISIS and its operations, so we need an immediate intelligence surge in the region, including technical assets, Arabic speakers with deep expertise in the Middle East and even closer partnership with regional intelligence services. Our goal should be to achieve the kind of penetration we accomplished with Al Qaida in the past. This would help us identify and eliminate ISIS’ command and control and its economic lifelines.

A more effective coalition air campaign is necessary, but not sufficient, and we should be honest about the fact that to be successful, airstrikes will have to be combined with ground forces actually taking back more territory from ISIS. Like President Obama, I do not believe that we should again have 100,000 American troops in combat in the Middle East. That is just not the smart move to make here. If we have learned anything from 15 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s that local people and nations have to secure their own communities. We can help them, and we should, but we cannot substitute for them. But we can and should support local and regional ground forces in carrying out this mission.

What worthless drivel. More airstrikes, more death, more misery. This is precisely what the extremists want, and they are going to get what they want.

The refugee crisis will worsen because there is absolutely no political will from Democrats to stand up to the insanity of the neoliberal hawks who are promoting a foreign policy indistinguishable from what the psychotic neocons have proscribed for the region.

What does cowardice look like? Look in the mirror, Democrats.

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About William Skink

I'm a poet and political cynic living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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