NOTE: I recall a friend of mine, an Iranian, back when George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq, he told me that it would be the biggest mistake that America had made since the Vietnam War.  This guy is not some pointy headed intellectual but he is a Middle East researcher at the Library of Congress here in D.C.  Even back then I was not a fan of Bush's action based on fake "intelligence" since as far as I knew Iraq - once a firm ally of the U.S. under Saddam Hussein -  had had no involvement in the 9-11 terrorist attacks or any other terrorist attacks either here or overseas.  Well, he was right.  We are still embroiled in Iraq, still have troops in Afghanistan (at least that's where Osama Bin Laden was holed up at the time) and we're now involved in Syria and the Middle East is in much worse shape than it was in 2003 when we invaded Iraq.  In the end, we need to pull out of the Middle East, stop supporting with money and armaments any country (including Israel) and just let what are in fact age old sectarian battles move on to whatever conclusion they might come to.  It is simply not our fight. 

And here's why:

By:  Mark E. Anderson
The Daily Kos
May 28, 2107
What happened in Manchester, England, last Monday is inconceivable and horrific. It’s impossible to imagine what it would be like to send your child to a concert and have some madman blow himself up, killing innocent children for no reason.
Terrorists are nothing more than cowards. Attacking the innocent, the unarmed, and untrained by blowing yourself up is not an act of bravery, and it is not an act that will get you into heaven. It serves no purpose for the terrorists’ cause. The only thing it will do is cause hellfire to rain down upon them, which in turn will create more terrorists, who will then take more innocent lives. It’s a never-ending cycle.
“Extreme vetting,” racial and religious profiling, and fearing people who follow the Islamic faith will not do anything to end terrorism. All of those things are exactly what the terrorists want: they want us to change our way of life. They want us to live in fear. They want us to fight them, because they know they can use all of those things against us. To them, these reactions are merely recruiting tools.
Which is why President Trump’s words do not lend any comfort.
So many young, beautiful innocent people - living and enjoying their lives - murdered by evil losers in life.  I won't call them monsters because they would like that term.  I will call them losers from now on - because that is what they are - losers.
The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out from our society forever. This wicked ideology must be obliterated, and innocent life must be protected.  All civilized nations must join together to protect human life and the sacred right of our citizens to live in safety and peace. (Emphasis added)
Other than having the vocabulary of a 12-year-old, our president has no idea of what he is dealing with. “This wicked ideology must be obliterated.”  Terror is not an ideology. It is war by other means.

Written in the fifth century, there is a passage in the Art of War by Sun Tzu that is relevant today. Sun Tzu wrote: If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
Look at President Trump’s statement above: suicide bombings and attacking innocents are often looked upon as a sign of weakness. Trump even arrogantly calls them losers. Suicide bombing goes against our very nature as a civilization. We view it as barbaric. Gen. George S. Patton once said, “You don’t win wars by giving your life for your country. You win wars by making the other bastard give his life for his country.”
These kind of attacks anger us, for in our society we see no value in the taking of one’s own life to further a cause. They cannot defeat us head-to-head in a traditional battle, so they attack us in ways we cannot defend, which makes them appear weak to us. Our already-arrogant president  is even more arrogant with the full force of the U.S. military behind him. But this is not a war we can win in the traditional sense. There are no front lines, and there is no rear area. We may have the most powerful military in the world, but we cannot win this fight. If we break up one terrorist group, another one will form in its place. 
Sun Tzu also stated, “There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.”  The War on Terror started on Sept. 11, 2001. It has been almost 16 years of warfare, and what do we have to show for it? We are still at war, we have taken no territory, and have held no ground. We have solved no problems. If anything, we are in a worse position than we were when we started.
This is the world we live in today. What we are doing to end terror attacks is clearly not working. Defining it as Islamic terror and them as Islamic fundamentalism does not change anything. They are terrorists, using the weapons they have available to attack our weakest points. It seems that killing just begets more killing. 
How do we end this cycle of killing? 
That is the question begging for an answer. What is obvious is that the “War on Terror” has been going on for all of a high school sophomore’s life. A war that started the year they were born will be recruiting them to fight in it in just two short years. Money that is spent on bombs could be spent on schools, space exploration, infrastructure repairs, or a health care system that covers everyone.
In 2016 the United States dropped 26,171 bombs on Iraq and Syria. Tens of thousands of bombs dropped, and we cannot stop ISIS from bombing a concert. We cannot stop them from driving a truck through a crowd, or shooting at a holiday party. We could drop a million bombs on Iraq or Syria and ISIS, or whatever rises up in its place, will keep coming. 
It is time to change what we are doing. We have been bombing the Middle East since 2001, and it is not working.

PS:  The growth of ISIS has one singular root: Saudi Arabia.  By exporting their ultra-conservative brand of Islam - Wahhabism and Sharia - our second biggest ally in the Middle East after Israel, has succeeded in planting the roots of radical Islam in Africa, Asia, Indonesia and throughout the Muslim world.  Obama understood this and backed off what had been the United States' unbending support for the autocratic, undemocratic, women hating regime that is Saudi Arabia.  But Trump and his Administration doesn't have the vaguest clue that this is what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been doing for decades.  Never forget that 15 of the 19 9-11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia.  It was no coincidence, no accident.  The 9-11 attack on the U.S. is the logical outcome of Saudi Arabia's embrace and export of a radical form of Islam that condones not only the death of Christians but the death of fellow Muslims who do not adhere to the ironclad strictures of Wahhabism.  As a side note, please note that outside of the Israeli - Palestinian conflict, the entire Middle East is currently engaged in settling age old disputes between the two major branches of Islam - Sunni and Shiite.  It's a sectarian battle that has no relevance to America and has no strategic value to us.  This centuries old internecine warfare will only embroil the United States in deadly conflicts that have no value for us strategically or politically.  It's time we just pulled the hell our of the hellhole that is the Middle East today.

Unfortunately In Trumpland Analytical Thinking Has Never Been A Hallmark.


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