|Schlacht von Leuthen by Carl Röchling (Source)|
Der ganze Balkan ist nicht die gesunden Knochen eines einzigen pommerschen Grenadiers wert.This translates loosely to, "The whole of the Balkans is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier." Of course, we're not talking about a soldier from Pomerania (in Germany, much of which is now Pomorze, in Poland). No, we're talking about American soldiers from Iowa, Florida, New York, Texas, etc. It's also not the Balkans (this time), no, it's the Middle East.
First of all, is there anywhere in the Middle East (outside of Israel) worth the life of an American soldier? Secondly, is this in the interests of the United States?
Let's take a peek at that all important (and often ignored and/or misunderstood) document, the Constitution, specifically the preamble...
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.The interests of the government of the United States should be focused primarily on those words written above. So will troops on the ground in Syria (or anywhere in the Middle East) advance the following?
- The formation of a more perfect Union?
- Establish Justice?
- Provide for the common defense?
- Promote the general Welfare?
- Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity?
Those concepts apply to the citizens of these here United States, not to the citizens of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or any of a dozen other foreign places where Americans have been sent to die since the end of the Korean War.
Honestly though, from 1950 on we have not fought to destroy our enemies. I know, I know, there are reasons, nuclear reasons, why we have not, but why do we seem to continually do what Lyndon Johnson claimed he wouldn't do (in fact probably one of the few things that man ever said that I wholeheartedly agreed with)...
"We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves." - Lyndon B. Johnson, 21 Oct 1964Yet we did anyway. We still do that and it sickens me.
If we're going to fight, then damn it, FIGHT. Clear objectives need to be established, victory must be the goal.
I am convinced that this involvement in Syria is an inherently bad idea. Do we even know who all the players are? We have the loyalists fighting for Assad, the rebels fighting against Assad, ISIS fighting everyone who isn't ISIS, the Russians are involved, the Kurds are involved (and if the Kurds are involved you better believe the Turks are keeping a weather eye on the situation). Rest assured that every faction with a bone to pick is keeping an eye on this. You also better believe that Iran has their hands in this mess all the way up to their elbows!
I'm also convinced that there are no good answers here. Before getting too deeply involved in this colossal mess we need to consider something else said by Bismarck...
Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.What if that soldier was your son, or daughter? Would you be that quick to commit American troops to some fight which is not directly in the interests of the people of the United States? I will tell you this, some day there will a reckoning. Some day.
We need to think hard, damn hard, before we go much further into this morass.
Rest in Peace Mr. Thompson...