Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Anger And Wisdom Don't Go Together


Writing in yesterday's Globe and Mail, Bob Rae repeated some advice he once received from a good friend: It’s hard to be smart and angry at the same time. Justin Trudeau needs to take that advice to heart as he wrestles with the problem of ISIS. Rae writes:

More than a decade ago, September 11 generated an angry response from the United States. The assumption was that eliminating the Taliban, which had without question aided and abetted al-Qaeda, would be a quick, surgical operation, to be followed by the democratic reconstruction of Afghanistan.

A short two years later, George W. Bush decided that regime change needed to happen in Iraq as well. Several hundred thousand casualties and trillions of dollars later, Mr. Bush’s ally Tony Blair admitted that the ham-fisted way the invasion of Iraq had taken place contributed directly to the creation of Islamic State and the brutal chaos in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Afghanistan remains deeply unstable.

The invasion of Iraq -- which was supposed to be a demonstration of Shock and Awe -- created ISIS. We would be foolish to repeat Bush's mistake. Rae writes:

We are indeed in a war, because of the violent and extremist ideologies and techniques of jihadi extremism and their incompatibility with any kind of world order. A statelet that enslaves, oppresses, kills and tortures is an affront not just to “the West,” but to every conceivable standard of decency and the rule of international law.

But it is not a war like others in our past, and it will require imagination, solidarity, courage and extraordinary resilience for us to succeed. We need to learn from our mistakes. The urge to strike back is human and entirely understandable. But it has to be matched by a full range of non-military responses that thus far we have not been capable of in any systematic way.

This is the opportunity for Canada – we have been engaged in this struggle for the past 15 years, and have learned much. Our soldiers are wise, as are our aid officers and diplomats. We have to share these experiences with others as we wrestle with the choices ahead.

This is a time for wisdom to prevail over anger. 


Danneau said...

Sometimes, there just is no wisdom, as evidenced by Bush II. having had lots of cool-down time between WTC and the invasion of Iraq. But, then, I don't think a lot of folks have ever taken W to task for a surfeit of wisdom.

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps that's because, from the very beginning, people understood that W. wasn't very smart, Danneau.

Lorne said...

It is far too infrequent that we see articles in the MSM that discuss some of these inconvenient truths, Owen. It is good to see the Globe doing its job for a change.

Owen Gray said...

The Globe and Rae are philosophically opposed, Lorne. But, to its credit, it publishes his opinions.

Anonymous said...

You are correct Owen, George W wasn't very smart. Unfortunately he was influenced by some very devious and callous war mongers that should be charged as war criminals. That cabal includes Cheny, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Rice

Scotian said...

I would nitpick with Rae about one element of what he said. It wasn't two years later that Bushco decided to go after Iraq, it was less than six months after 9/11/01 as witnessed by the pre-positioning of forces to do so, which in turn seriously undermined the international Afghanistan reconstruction from the outset because the other nations saw what was going on and wanted no part of it, even to the extent of doing the Americans job in Afghanistan. Aside from that I do not disagree with Rae on this one.

Anger is a very dangerous mindset in general, and not only wisdom is lost to it but basic critical thought in any form. Foreign and military policy made when riding a wave of powerful emotion does not tend to be good or effective policy, this is not something new nor complicated to understand. We all get in our personal lives how we have to be careful in so many situations to not let anger rule us when something goes wrong because of the spillover effect and the unintended consequences/Murphy's law aspects. So clearly the same translates to the nation level as well.

So far Trudeau seems to be being deliberate and being careful not to allow emotion to rule nor guide his decisions, and that is a welcome relief from the belicosity we lived with during the Harperium. We are in a conflict with the ideology of religious extremism as a major global religion has started to wage a conflict within itself for leadership/dominance (of which Saudi Arabia is a primary mover) as well as with the rest of us. It is hard enough to fight and defeat a political secular ideology, when we are talking about a religious one, and one connected to one of the largest religions on the planet, clearly careful nuanced thought and response is demanded. The "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" kinds of responses we see from far too many from the right only feeds fires like this one. However, those on the far left that see this as being nothing about western imperialism and believe we can solve this with apologies, reparations, withdrawal and disconnection are also IMHO equally deluded. Their actions may not be as fire fueling as the right, but in terms of actually working, I fear that approach only creates a different set of problems for us in the end.

So this is an area of thought and action which cannot be driven by neither rage nor idealism, this is an area which calls for, as you said, wisdom, and wisdom is neither easy nor most people's first thought when in the aftermath of things like Paris. Yet it is the only effective way to deal with such, and while ISIS may be more of a nation than most of the Islamic extremist groups, we cannot afford to forget that which is at its heart.

Owen Gray said...

It appears that W's father agrees with you, Anon.

Toby said...

Owen Gray said..., "Perhaps that's because, from the very beginning, people understood that W. wasn't very smart, Danneau."

The one who understood that best was Vice President, Dick Cheney.

Owen Gray said...

Good policy -- of whatever sort -- requires careful deliberation, Scotian. Making it up on the fly is a sure recipe for failure.

Owen Gray said...

And Cheney knew how to get his way, Toby.

Mogs Moglio said...

We need to reserve our anger for those who are funding them. Putin disclosed and presented evidence at the G-20 that individual businessmen in 40 countries including from member states of the G-20 were funding ISIS.

How did a rag tag leadership fresh out of American prisons,

in Iraq manage to put ISIS together assemble arms munitions and vehicles then take over 1/2 of Iraq and 1/2 of Syria? What happened to prisoner surveillance, unwanted by big brother USA in this little terrorist cocoon? Have you ever heard of such an anomaly? I have not. And of the House of Saud's role?

They also are allowed to drive crude in tanker trucks from stolen oilfields in Syria and Iraq have it refined in Iraq and sell it through Turkey [NATO] to the world.

Can you imagine a tanker convoy 2 miles long and not be seen? Have you ever heard of this kind of bizarre behavior from The Excited States and its Imperialist allies before? They usually boycott the oil why not now? Hint the US WANTS ISIS to succeed. See this video interview where former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency General [ret.] Michael Flynn admits rise of ISIS was "willful". Just so you know he warned against it and predicted it and is flummoxed the US Administration went ahead, he was not in favor. He says they wanted what is IS.

ISIS has acquired allot of US military gear,

and it is not just M-16's.

All of this under the watchful eye of US satellite surveillance. Conclusion; ISIS is their pampered baby still suckling from Uncle Sam. So those military equipment arms and ammo airdrops inside of ISIS lines by the good Uncle? US says mistake I ask why does it keep happening?

Owen Gray said...

ISIS is the product of bad policy decisions, Mogs. Making more bad decisions won't make it go away.

Mogs Moglio said...

Owen you missed my point, it was their choice of policy decisions, which set into motion this train wreck of human lives across the Middle East and North Africa. They KNEW the consequences of what they were doing they care not for human life. Who profits in the long run? American oil. Obama's response to Putin's admonishments that Obama is allowing the oil to be trucked in 2 Km [correction from above 2 Km not 2 Mile] long convoys into Turkey a NATO member since the 1950's. American response: Bombing Syria's oil wells that belong to the Syrian people not in ISIS hands looking to the future for the gratification for American interests to rebuild them like in Kuwait after Saddam torched those, American companies made billions. Instead of shutting down ISIS convoys of stolen oil they destroy Syrian oil infrastructure. These are not bad policy decisions these are "willful" choices [that reek of 'genocide'] as retired General of Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn states on record. Now here is a map that will show you how it is done. The US demanded a "Safe Zone" look carefully at the location on the Turkey/Syria border and the location of the US Air Force Base at Incirlik in Turkey. Study that. I was there in the 80's long before this all came to pass trust me the Syrians already hated the Americans then gee I wonder why? Not.

See the highway that goes from the American Airbase directly to the "Safe Zone"? Now here is how it works. In the 1980's I was living in the US when the 'Iran Contra Affair/Scandal/Criminal deed' exploded into the public eye. I was riveted by the ongoing Senate investigations. National Public Radio [NPR] reported on it regularly MSM did not cover it hardly but not nearly as completely. C-SPAN American equivalent of CPAC covered the live Senate hearings anyone could tune in.

"In October 1986, the Sandinista army shot down a C-130 [variant C-123k] carrying arms to the Contras and captured a cargo kicker named Eugene Hasenfus, the only crew member with a parachute."

I remember before the Senate investigation Eugene was in the news. The Sandinistas captured him and the headlines rang out. My peers colleagues and I were so sure due to American propaganda that Eugene would appear in the news after his interrogation in a public execution with a bullet to the head. We were so dead wrong the Americans were the lying snakes in that lair as they are today in Syria. Their MO is worn out and those with two brain cells left to rub together can figure out what is happening today.

The Sandinistas sent Hasenfus back to the US. Huh? We all thought what is this? Then it became apparent Daniel Ortega was a duly elected representative of Nicaragua that stood in the way of American business interests in the region [Central America] so they through the CIA's Contras were going to inflict regime change is it starting to fall in place now?

Mogs Moglio said...

Regime change? Ortega was better than George Herbert Walker Bush at Geo-politics. The reason Eugene's return trip to America all expenses paid by the Ortega government became clear in the aftermath Vis a Vis the Senate Investigation into the 'Iran-Contra Affair'.

Hasenfus was hauled up in front of the Senate Investigation upon his return I saw it live on C-SPAN and most importantly I heard him. The Senators wanted to know 'what's up?" in a nutshell of what I heard live. Hasenfus was an experienced ex-military loader and unloader of C-130's cargo not an easy task but a low wrung on the totem pole but an important position you load the plane wrong and it goes down. He was hired by CIA for his expertise not his drug smuggling know how he had none.

Senate: Mr. Hasenfus could you please explain your role?
Eugene: I was a cargo specialist.
Senate: Meaning?
Eugene: I load and unload C-130's.
Senate: And what were your loads?
Eugene: Coming or going sir?
Senate: Both.
[Complex eye-opener into the world of the CIA]
Eugene: Sir it was a dual mission of sorts if I can call it that.
Senate: Dual mission?
Eugene: Yes Sir I had to secure meals first aid blankets clothing food etc as well as the bulk of the shipment of American military ware arms ammunition grenade launchers shoulder style Sam’s you name it we ferried it by air.
Senate interrupts: Who was on the receiving end of these shipments?
Eugene: Contra's sir.
Senate: What was on your return trip cash for arms?
Eugene: No sir cocaine loads of it.
Senate: So you traded arms for cocaine?
Eugene: Yes sir.
Senate: Then what happened to the cocaine?
Eugene: We brought it back to the US sir.
Senate [outraged]: Back to the US? You are lying US Customs would never have allowed that.
Eugene: Well that's the rub sir it was a CIA Operation and the CIA is allowed unfettered access to US Air Force Bases around the planet. And when you take off from or land in a US Air-force Base around the globe you evade customs officials in every country including ours. [No domestic customs officers allowed within the base]
Senate [flustered]: [Giving in to the truth of the reality uncovered] So then what happened to the return arms for cocaine shipment bound for US military airports?
Eugene: The CIA had a vast harem of vehicles everything from transport trucks to school buses to RV campers to cars and trucks. My job was to unload the cargo plane of cocaine. They took it and loaded it into their harem of vehicles and then exited the base into civilian traffic your guess is as good as mine as to where cocaine worth millions and possibly billions ended up in the streets of America

Mogs Moglio said...

So from history it is demonstrated that the so-called "Safe Zone" between Syria and Turkey pleasantly close to the American Air Force Base in Turkey Incirlik with a direct highway access Turkish customs authorities denied access to? You do the math and figure who is arming feeding supplying equipping and servicing ISIS? I'll give you a hint it is not "bad policy" it is a determined course just like the arms for cocaine Iran/Contra deal was in the 1980's.

I met a lady from Nicaragua in the Exited States in the 1980,s and asked are the Contra's helping? I was innocent until I met GHW Bush. She was upset because the Americans were funding an organization similar to ISIS she stated they bombed our schools our hospitals our day care centers our hydro plants our government buildings. Our infrastructure, she cried when she told me about some of the more horrific crimes the 'Contra's' a CIA American construct carried out in her homeland.

American business wanted "Regime Change" they did not like Daniel Ortega's policy regarding American businessmen. So Americans made the Nicaraguan public at large suffer the brunt of consequences through their 'Contra's' now it is "ISIS" American made American funded and American energized with a little help from their friends Bibi Harper Blair/Cameron to mention a few. To make innocent Syrians suffer suffer and suffer some more. So that American businessmen can steal the Syrian oilfields and reap the profits Syrians who own it as a nation are to be denied for American business interests. That is the reality unfolding before our very eyes. My momma didn’t raise any stupid children I hope yours did not either I see what is happening and it ain’t pretty. Libya? Huh mericans stole the best producing oilfields in North Africa and the populace suffers under endless civil wars while Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi gave them discounted petro prices free education and allot of government state perks bordering on socialism that's what pissed off the American right wingers and led them to depose of him and steal Libyan oil and the Libyans will be impoverished for life.

Owen Gray said...

When you trace things back to their roots, Mogs, it becomes clear that the cauldron in the Middle East has been ignited by oil.

Owen Gray said...

Willful policy decisions often turn out to be bad policy decisions, Mogs.

Mogs Moglio said...

Willful policy is a predetermined death sentence in these cases. Death to the the peasants glory rapture and much profit to big oil that steve harper worshiped. He was one of the first gleeful ones in on bombing and destroying Libya.

Steve has an open jail cell shiny and new of his own creation me myself and I and others are fixing to send him there after his trial....

Mogs Moglio said...

So where was I again?

Determined [un] Intelligent Agents for the west trying to cripple Israel's hated neighbors.

Owen Gray said...

As the cartoon character Pogo used to say, Mogs, we have met the enemy and it is us.