THE TRIBE, THE TRUTH AND PRIDE

Initiation rituals among boys from a tribe of the Yao people in Malawi (from here)

This isn’t the first time we have tackled the subject of tribalism. See OF TWISTED WORDS => TRIBALISM. So, what is different about this post? Why get into the subject again? Here we are we are going to talk about how tribalism obscures the truth.

Is tribalism itself evil? No. Historically, the term “tribe” refers to out extended family writ large. Why shouldn’t we love our father, mother, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts, and so forth?

Because we love our self, we love people who love us. That generally includes our family. A problem arises, however, when our ego grows too large. Instead of loving others as we love our self, we care more about our position in the tribe. In fact, we advance the interests of the tribe because advancing the tribe advances our own interests. Then we are using the tribe, not loving the tribe.

Is there a problem expanding the meaning of tribalism to include people with whom we have something in common? No. Not necessarily. Then how does using the tribe instead of caring about the tribe obscure the truth. When we grow prideful, think only about me, we lose objectivity. Instead of considering the viewpoints of others, especially those outside the “tribe”, we care only for that which magnifies our self. We get so busy promoting our own tribal interests we end up trying to elevate the “rights” of our respective “tribes”, tribes defined by race, economic class, religious choice, sex, gender choice, disability, occupation, ethnicity, politics and so forth.

Consider a preposterous “business decision” here of late. The “tribe” in this story is the NBA, and it began with Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s “harmless” tweet.

The rift between China and the NBA started late last week when Morey tweeted a now-deleted image that read: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” in reference to months of pro-democracy demonstrations in the semiautonomous Chinese territory that has been mired in escalating violence between protesters and law enforcement. (from here (foxsports.com)

The Chinese government did not like Morey’s tweet. The Chinese government, a Communist dictatorship, does not allow sports heroes and their managers to speak freely about their government. So what did the NBA “tribe” do? They did what Communists do. They pressured Morey to recant and confess his “sin”.

People delete tweets, but news stories tend to hang around (see here (usatoday.com))

Of course, a corporate communications guy followed up.

In a statement, NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass said: “We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.  While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.” (from here (usatoday.com))

That response, of course, upset the NBA’s American audience. Oops! So now the NBA is in full damage control mode.

When the tribe that calls itself the NBA tried to please everyone, they pleased no one. The Truth is that what the Chinese government is doing in Hong Kong is wrong, but the NBA’s tribal interests demand a profitable enterprise in China. So, the NBA’s management tried accommodate the Chinese Communist tribe’s definition of the Truth. That exposed the NBA tribe as a group people willing to live a lie for the sake of money. Unfortunately, before any of us self-righteously points a finger, we need to admit that this capacity for lying hardly makes the leadership of the NBA tribe unusual.

We are all sinners. We all need a Savior, and no basketball, football, or baseball player has what it takes to be our Savior. There is only One who matters. To join the Kingdom of Heaven, we must have faith in Jesus and seek to please God. The only thing we can do to please God is to try to live in accord with the Truth. The Truth may or may not be what any of our worldly tribes desire. The Truth may or may not be what we each desire. It just is what it is, what God has chosen to be. To please our Creator, we each must set aside our pride and humbly strive to learn and accept the Truth as He made it to be.

Proverbs 16:16-19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

16 How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil;
He who watches his way preserves his [a]life.
18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
19 It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.

82 thoughts on “THE TRIBE, THE TRUTH AND PRIDE

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  1. Shameless, cowardly action by the NBA who back in 2017 pulled the All Star Game out of Charlotte, NC because of their refusal to bow on the altar of allowing transgenders to use their bathroom of preference. Said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, “think in this day and age, you really do have to stand for something.”

    Really? So sticking up for a free Hong Kong doesn’t meet that standard? Unbelievable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tricia,

      We aren’t talking about a gospel jamboree here. This is guys bouncing balls around for a fortune in tennis shoe sales. From what I’ve read, the Chinese market is worth billions of dollars. For billions of dollars, the NBA will play all their games in makeup and drag (or if the Chinese prefer, in Moa Suits). For billions of dollars Trump would throw his own sister under a bus (wait, I think he did that already).

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      1. @tsalmon

        For billions of dollars, the NBA will play all their games in makeup and drag (or if the Chinese prefer, in Moa Suits).

        That’s the point of this post. Would each of us do the same as the NBA? Would you? Would I?

        You get your “news” from corporate news media organizations. Look at the behavior of the NBA. Do you think those newscasters would do their news shows in makeup and drag? Would they throw us under a bus? Are they telling us the truth or propagandizing us? Are they protecting and hiding the truth with an army of falsehoods?

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        1. How do you know where I get ALL my news? Actually, I read a good many books. I guess that puts me under the spell of big book publishing?

          I’m not that naive Tom. However, your conspiracy theories about the media are overblown. Yes, they run on money, but most of the news media has the the sophisticated diabolical attention span of rabid squirrels. On the other hand, we have some amazing investigative reporting around the world (mostly print media) that actually risk their lives for the sake of our 1st Amendment’s principles.

          Regardless, facts are facts no matter who reports them or how inconvenient they are to your chosen tribe.

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          1. @tsalmon

            I don’t have conspiracy theories about the news media. I just read the Bible and watch how we behave.

            Large corporations own the news media. Those corporations have business interests, and the news media they own serve those interests. Sometimes how that works becomes transparently obvious, as it did with the NBA.

            Are there reporters doing good work? Some, but not enough. Because we have a government-run school system, we lack the understanding of earlier generations. We don’t know what to do with the news so we don’t consume it properly.

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          2. “I just read the Bible and watch how we behave.”

            I confess that we (myself very much included) could all benefit from more fully living the Jesus of the Gospel.

            The doxology in the current Catholic Mass says this well:

            1 Through him, and with him, and in him,
            2 O God, almighty Father,
            3 in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
            4 all glory and honor is yours,
            5 for ever and ever.

            Amen.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Actually, after thinking about this, because I can’t see much wrong with it, for billions of dollars, yes I absolutely would wear makeup and a dress anywhere required and indefinitely. Because I already have far more than I need, I’d like to think I could do a lot of good in the world with that kind of money. It would only be a sort of misplaced righteousness that would stop someone from doing so, don’t you think. I sure would make an ugly old lady though. I think, with your blue eyes, you’d be much prettier. 😉

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          1. @tsalmon

            Don’t see anything wrong? For the sake of Mammon, would you hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil?

            These big corporations “working” with China happily ignore and contribute to the coverup of the atrocities of a communist police state. Then they criticize the United States for the sake of conscience, or is it money? You figure it out.

            You are a smart boy. Would really be happy to used as a diversion so long as those using you, so long as those running a police state, stuffed your mouth and your ears with lots of money and made you a blindfold of million of dollars?

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          2. I said I’d where a dress for billions of dollars to give away to others in need. Don’t see the evil in this hypothetical, but high heels could be quite a sacrifice. Jesus debased Himself and painfully sacrificed Himself on a cross for us. I think you may think too highly of the trappings of masculinity if you don’t see the small trade off presenting here.😏

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          3. @tsalmon

            Jesus suffered to pay the price of our sins. He did not hide anything. He exposed our sinful nature. He paid a price for exposing the hypocrisy of the Sanhedrin and the Roman Empire.

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          4. I was in Hong Kong in the early 80’s during the negotiations with Britain to hand them back to the Chinese. (We got a great deal on a dining room set during the daily Hong Kong dollar flux). Most of the Hong King elite with money got duel citizenship in places like Britain and Canada so they could make an escape if it went badly. I’m guessing those avenues are long closed.

            No disagreement there on your condemning the NBA Tom. Perhaps you should stop watching pro basketball. I don’t. You may also want to quit using Apple products, most appliances and a host of other products whose parts the Chinese supply.

            If you are truly enraged that there is pandering to Chinese authoritarianism going on here, you may also want to quit supporting Trump who has already signaled that he would throw Hong Kong under the bus if China will just pretend to give him a victory that will make a great photo op for him. Like the NBA (and most corporations) Trump is transactional, not ideological.

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      2. @tsalmon

        BTW. Don’t defend the NBA’s action as harmless. It is not. That’s why the Chinese government shrieked indignantly at Morey’s tweet. That’s why dictators always demand control over the news media and suppress free speech. Evil people do their dirty deeds in the dark, not in the light of day. Where men and women know the truth — cannot hide it from themselves — their consciences compel them to act.

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          1. “Democrat/news media clowns are your clowns?”

            Actually, I’m more of a baseball fan.

            Are the Republicans/Trump your clowns? Lately, those clowns are making the old Barnum and Bailey look pretty sedate.

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    1. SW,

      Putting every issue in such stark “either/or” “black and white” terms is a cognitive distortion that is actually symptomatic of our current tribalistic derangements. As much as some tribalist victims of this and other cognitive distortions want to claim the mantel of Christianity for their side of the psychosomatic pathology that plagues the extremes of both political parties, Jesus is the cure, not the agent, of such diseased tribalistic thinking.

      As Jesus showed us in so many stories where the outcast Samaritans featured as His heroes, furthering tribal hatreds is not the answer to tribal hatreds. Hate doesn’t defeat hate – love is the answer. Thus through of the eternally incarnate Christ manifest in Jesus we may transcend our sinful and tribalistic nature and the divisive cognitive distortions where we corrupt the message of Jesus in order to moralize our own selfishness. The wisdom of Christ manifests in mercy, sacrifice and love, not the hyperbolic distortion of grievances into an imagined choice between cartoonish villains and angels.

      Do you see what I’m saying here?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your explanation is as clear as the day in my eyes. Unfortunately hatred has a blinding effect on others. In my opinion that serves to cloud visions and perceptions as well as distort brain waves in us more mortals.

        Regards and goodwill blogging
        S

        Liked by 2 people

  2. @tsalmon

    Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “What is the truth?” He did not wait for the answer.

    If pride of certainty is a problem, then why are you voting for big government Democrats, people who think they have all the answers?

    Do I think Trump has “unmatched wisdom”? No. I just wonder about the inability of the network news broadcasters to detect self-deprecating humor.

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    1. Yes, the fact that Pilate asked that begged the question of all times. Don’t you see? Jesus’ truth about faith transcended this partisan tribalism.

      You think Trump, our “very stable genius” President, is funny? Do you think the our special forces who have worked along side the Kurds while those Kurd soldiers sacrificed their blood to defeat the ISIS caliphate think this is funny? Do you believe our military commanders who saw a small American footprint achieving big results think this is funny? Do you think the leadership of your chosen tribe, the Republican Party, thinks this horror show is just a hilarious joke?

      Maybe it’s not just network news that can’t get Trump’s humor? But tell me, just where is your wisdom goddess hiding in Trump’s prideful divine comedy of faithlessness and cruelty?

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      1. @tsalmon

        Here is the complete tweet.

        Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Oct 7

        ….the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!

        Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Oct 7

        As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over…

        The Turks are moving into Syria. Was kind of inevitable given the guy they have in charge => https://www.foxnews.com/world/turkish-troops-cross-into-syria-iran-launches-military-drill-near-turkish-border-reports.

        The Iranians don’t seem to be happy. Neither will anyone else. Turkey makes anyone who has studied a little history nervous. So, it is “great” to see that even Democrats are committed to using humongous military force, 50 special ops guys, to stop the Turks.

        Seriously. Do you really want to leave fifty of our guys in Syria indefinitely? What the hell for? To stop the Turks? Stupid!

        Either the rest of the region, including those gutsy Socialists in Europe, gang up on Turkey and apply economic pressure, or the position of Kurdistan (which is what the Kurds want) is what it has been for centuries, indefensible.

        Trump is making it clear we are not the world’s policeman. You don’t like his position? BULLSHIT! What you don’t like is Trump, and that is the Truth.

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        1. Where the bluster of pride in “unmatched wisdom” can’t trump up an actual argument that most of your own Party buys is profanity supposed to somehow compensate?

          Do you really pretend great expertise on the quagmire that is the Middle East, or, unlike your very stable genius President, do you listen to apolitical military experts or even the majority of experts from both parties? You want good arguments for why Trump’s knee jerk move is precipitous and unwise, then just read your own propaganda. Did you even note Sen. McSally’s comments in the Faux News article you posted?

          The fact that such a small military footprint could achieve such incredible strategic influence to OUR long term national security is the whole point of wise American leadership. Don’t you see that there is a difference between inserting ourselves into endless wars as the world’s policeman, and maintaining strategic partnerships with our allies that actually prevent corrupt and rapacious despots from spreading war and corruption around the planet? (What allies should even trust us when our president is so mercurial and dishonorable?). The wise strategy lies somewhere between your newly discovered head-in-the-sand isolationism and W’s idiotic military adventurism. You’re so wrapped up in defending Trump’s endless blustering stupidity, that you’ll eat whatever nonsense he cooks up, even when most of your own party can’t stomach it anymore.

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          1. @tsalmon

            Knee-jerk? This was the second time Trump proposed taking out those troops. People made a fuss so he reconsider. Trump ran on keeping our troops out of situations like that.

            Remember when Reagan took our guys out of Lebanon after suicide bombers killed a couple of hundred of them. Reagan belatedly decided he did not want to be dragged into a quagmire. Trying to fight Turkey on the ground in Syria would be even worse, especially if our Muslim allies decided they want no part of such a bloody mess. 50 troops is nowhere near the number required to force Turkey to stand down.

            Count the cost. You are not willing to pay the price. Just because you don’t like Trump is no reason to pretend otherwise.

            The alternative? Economic sanctions. That is what Trump has proposed. It is doable, but it depends upon our allies, not just us, and that is as it should be.

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          2. Tom,

            Why did Trump reconsider his first “knee jerk” decision? What makes you think Trump’s decision this time was the result of thoughtful consideration in consultation with our diplomats, our foreign policy experts, our military commanders, our allies and partners on the ground, or even the leaders in both parties in Congress? Nope, just his mercurial “unmatched wisdom” to go on.

            Do you seriously think Turkey would risk attacking our troops if just one were there? The “Great Negotiator” just caved like a wet noodle, sacrificed our allies, and ceded a huge influence at low cost in a vital region to the corrupt Russians, the corrupt Iranians, and the corrupt Turks.

            Once Turkey gets their hands on the oil production regions, do you think that they are giving that up after they wipe out the Kurds? Do you think that this makes Israel safer? Do you think that this helps spur new Iranian aggression in the area? Why do you think the Russians aren’t just turning tail and bugging out like we are? What happens when the Kurds release thousands of ISIS prisoners in order to now fight a muli-front war on their own? We’ll sanction everyone? Yah, well with whose army will we enforce these sanctions?

            Don’t listen to me though. If you must distort all the truth you deem to see through a partisan tribal filter, then listen to your own Republican leadership who is horrified by Trump’s pompous idiocy.

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          3. @tsalmon

            You said Trump’s decision was knee-jerk, and it was not. Why didn’t you know better?

            Do I think Turkey would risk attacking our Troops? Yes. The conflict between the Kurds and the Turks is longstanding. If we take the side of the Kurds, the Turks will view that as meddling in their internal affairs. Like it or not, the Kurds and the Turks don’t get along. I don’t know much about their conflict, and neither do you. So we are supposed to use military force to resolve it? Because of Trump? You know as well as I do that if H. Clinton were in the White House she wouldn’t leave those troops there. In fact, ISIS would still be operational, and the discussion would still be about helping the Kurds fight ISIS, if they were still able.

            Will the Turks seize the oil production regions? In Syria?

            What if? Whataboutisms don’t make for a moral argument. ISIS was a mutual enemy. So, we worked with the Kurds. Turkey is a NATO ally. Let’s see if it remains one.

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          4. Do you seriously think Turkey would risk attacking our troops if just one were there?

            What was Operation Olive branch? Turkey has attacked the Kurds numerous times during our occupations. We let them. The PKK is a terrorist organization.
            See Iraq no fly zones. We’ve protected the Kurds for decades.
            Trump is right, and this was number two on my list of most important things to accomplish (first was changing our policy with China).

            Liked by 1 person

          5. Liz,

            I appreciate your massive study, expertise and graduate degrees in this area, but you do know that the SDF has been our most important partner in destroying the the ISIS caliphate in Syria, don’t you?

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          6. And I appreciate your sarcasm, TSalmon, and your extensive studies as well.
            Are the PKK not a terrorist organization?
            Dors Turkey not have a vested security interest?
            And for that matter, don’t the Kurds have a vested interest in combating ISIS too? Does our mutual interest now require that we involve ourselves in a centuries old conflict that was never the mission?
            Have we not permitted Turkey to attack them numerous times throughout the decades (you might want to google Iraq there also, around 1996…that was the big one).

            Liked by 1 person

          7. Oops…just looked it up and the year was 1997.
            My spouse had done about two or three deployments at this point protecting the Kurds from numerous enemies. Numerous more after. Yeah, I don’t know squat.

            Liked by 1 person

          8. Liz,

            My wife’s expertises and experience in my Middle East service as a flying line officer aircraft commander and missions department head with a subspecialty in intel and intel collection (among others) is now decades old, but like you, I still appreciate her service (if not her strategic genius) as being far greater than my own. 😉

            Here is an article by someone who, unlike either of us, actually knows about which he is talking:

            https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/599632/

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          9. Here is an article by someone who, unlike either of us, actually knows about which he is talking

            As interesting as the article was, it didn’t answer my questions. A former CENTCOM commander would certainly have a better understanding of the situation…but expecting him to make an objective argument as to why we should stay or go is a bit like expecting the Secretary of the Airforce to make an objective argument about whether Airforce funding should go up or down, or should the Navy really get more instead. I’ve never heard a CENTCOM commander make an argument for troop removal…nor have I heard a PACAF commander make an argument for troop removal in the pacific. It’s always more troops, resources, and kit needed.

            Perhaps I was too vague above. My point was:
            1) It cannot really be said we haven’t given the kurds a solid for the last several decades. We have protected them for years.
            2) The no fly zone that protected the Kurds (“tent city”) had our troops stationed in Saudi. The land of Mecca and Medina. For almost a decade. And we know the rest of that story. It was one of the primary motivations for the 911 attack.
            Actions have consequences. We’re all familiar with the word “quagmire” as it refers to Iraq but our goals for Iraq, unclear as they were, were far more clear by comparison to Syria. And those goals have changed at least 3 times in almost as many years.

            Back when folks were flying test patterns over Iraq and sitting in tent city, as the average pilot (or maintenance person) why we were there and they really couldn’t tell you. Sure they could offer the standard bromide but at the end of the day everyone knew we could mobilize troops if anyone tried to invade Kuwait again…instead of keeping them out there. Everyone knew it was a disaster waiting to happen (with the possible exception of high leadership).
            I see the same thing with Syria. I know many people who have flown over there and have no idea what we’re really trying to accomplish (after ISIS was essentially defeated). One person came very close to getting shot down (he was temporarily mistaken for an Israeli). YOu’ve mentioned the troops deployed over there who have worked for the Kurds, as though it’s a foregone conclusion they’d all agree we should stay. I have to wonder…not my experience, but it would be interesting to take a poll (one of only grunts, not generals).

            Liked by 1 person

          10. Liz,

            Yes, how could the general who was most recently in charge of this whole AOR have any objective opinion about anything? Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned basically over this very issue and former ISIS Coalition envoy, Bret McGurk left the Trump Administration early over this and has continued to be quite vocal about how stupid and short sighted Trump’s thinking(?) on this is. Even, Trump loyalist, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, has come out against this betrayal of our allies. What the heck do any of them know? After all, we have the magical power of Google and the unqualified expertise of many minutes of vast study and experience to draw on. Nobody is unbiased so expertise and expertise is just another form of corruption and fake news. Each person’s gut instinct and emotional feelings are all that matters.

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          11. Yes, how could the general who was most recently in charge of this whole AOR have any objective opinion about anything?

            You’ll never hear a commander over any AOR say “You know what, we can draw this down now. We have enough assets”. This is a fact. If you spend five seconds thinking about why, the answer should be pretty obvious. Even when things are good, the message is, things are good now…but oh boy if we pull assets out it is bound to all go south. In a world of endless resources and no consequences, they might be right. But we don’t live in that world and everything is a trade-off.

            Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned basically over this very issue and former ISIS Coalition envoy, Bret McGurk left the Trump Administration early over this and has continued to be quite vocal about how stupid and short sighted Trump’s thinking(?) on this is. Even, Trump loyalist, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, has come out against this betrayal of our allies. What the heck do any of them know?
            After all, we have the magical power of Google and the unqualified expertise of many minutes of vast study and experience to draw on. Nobody is unbiased so expertise and expertise is just another form of corruption and fake news. Each person’s gut instinct and emotional feelings are all that matters.

            My spouse reminds me that saying “the Kurds” is similar to saying, “the gang”.
            Which ones? The bloods/crips/et al. I too feel for the Kurds but how long will our stay last and at what cost? If there’s no answer to that, “indefinitely” does’t cut it. Furthermore (as stated above) the PKK aren’t angels. They’re terrorists. So we have terrorist factions helping us as well. Remember the Mujadeen? They were allies too. That didn’t end well.

            Liked by 1 person

          12. We had so many assets in Kuwait and Saudi to patrol, with no end in site and no real plan other than to stay…indefinitely. The military leaders in charge of that AOR felt very strongly that we needed more and more and should never leave there either. These verses always rhyme. This is why we have a civilian as commander in chief.

            Liked by 1 person

          13. Each person’s gut instinct and emotional feelings are all that matters.

            BTW, if you want considered rejoinders instead of emotional outbursts, best not mischaracterize a person’s statements. I’ve offered fact, honest questions, and historical perspective (and experiencing it first hand I don’t have to use google). Perhaps an emotional, thoughtless response is what you’re looking for? It might be more comfortable than a considered one.

            Liked by 1 person

          14. Liz,

            You know that your supposition that no one in military service ever actually acts unselfishly in the national interest leads to a rather hopeless cynicism, the logical conclusion of which is that there are no higher American values worth sacrificing to protect and exemplify. Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” is just a mirage and real politic is the zero sum transactional competition of each filling up his own rice bowl at the expense of his neighbor, his country and his allies. I like to think that I’m what Judge Richard Posner called “an every day pragmatist”, but by this level of cynicism; it appears that I am just a hopeless dreamer. I can’t imagine my 20 years of military service having any meaning at all in this sort of selfish cynical reality.

            You want to talk about “quagmires”. Well, ultimately the world is a quagmire. Read Paul Kennedy’s monumental work, “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers”. Kennedy shows that economic power and military power go hand in glove with one another – without military power, a great nation cannot protect its economic power, and without economic power a great nation can’t afford its military power. As either one fails, the nation falls. In short for a long book, unless we wish to be a vassal state enslaved to greater powers, then strategic isolation is not an option. Naval military history 101 constantly emphasizes the existential importance of military protection of sea lanes of trade. The work is never done because our hegemony will constantly be challenged by up and coming powers who may or may not be as sold on the silly idealist concepts of individual rights and as we are. In other words, it’s all an endless quagmire.

            However, you must realize that there are quagmires and there are quagmires. The real question is when a quagmire becomes part of what Historian Barbara Tuchman called in her book by that name, “The March of Folly”. In my “unmatched wisdom” it seems to me that if we, as the leading Great Power in the world, at very low cost can maintain through an excellent ally a foothold of control and influence in an entire AOR where other rising powers and terrorists are trying to exert influence and diminish ours for their own far more nefarious purposes, then that is both a very cost effective and morally effective quagmire to be involved in, not folly. However, if you really want to know why this Trump decision is dumb, then you have to trust the basic altruistic national security motives of virtually all the real experts in this area. Without that, trust then it seems to me none of this really matters anyway – indeed nothing at all really matters.

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          15. You know that your supposition that no one in military service ever actually acts unselfishly in the national interest leads to a rather hopeless cynicism, the logical conclusion of which is that there are no higher American values worth sacrificing to protect and exemplify.

            I haven’t read past this.
            You have already completely mischaracterized my statements.
            I’ll read the rest, though there probably is no point if the above is really what you’re getting from this conversation this isn’t even “talking past each other”, it’s simply mischaracterization and misdirection.

            Liked by 1 person

          16. You ignored this bit: In a world of endless resources and no consequences, they might be right. But we don’t live in that world and everything is a trade-off.

            Commanders aren’t acting selfishly when they take care of their areas of operation. They are acting pragmatically, from that perspective, just as the secretary of the airforce is acting pragmatically when he/she asks for more funding. Funding is always needed. The combatant in Syria is worried about combat in Syria, and the ROK is a different theatre and the combatant in the ROK will be worried about that one. The big picture is we don’t have unlimited resources and there are consequences (as I’ve mentioned many many times) to these actions.
            Think I’m done.

            Liked by 1 person

          17. Liz,

            Now I’ve gone and hurt your feelings. Not my intention. I don’t claim superior knowledge or ideals – just that others aren’t as inferior in this regard as you obviously suggest.

            You don’t see your argument as being ultimately cynical that virtually every expert can’t be trusted because he or she is just practicing a form of rice bowl protection and CYA? Somebody like Mattis has no historical prospective or understanding of limited resources (and Trump does)? Seriously? Im just being mean spirited and debating unfairly if I find this rather insultingly presumptuous that all the experts aren’t as altruistic or objective as we “stable geniuses” are? And you can’t get past this criticism to find that I also addressed your limited resource argument as well?

            Ah well, I guess Im done too. No hard feelings I hope. If it makes you feel any better, I think you are perhaps the smartest of all of us here. Some of us have just perhaps lived a little longer and experienced more. Besides, I have the advantage of being retired now with nothing to do but study and think about this stuff. Sounds like your plate is pretty full, and yet you still find time to try to put me in my place.😊

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          18. @tsalmon

            Did not mention Trump in this post. You dragged him in to talk about the Kurd/Turk conflict simply because he seems vulnerable on this topic. That’s how tribal you have become.

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          19. Tom,

            With all due respect brother, you haven’t a clue what you are talking about do you? That’s ok, I don’t claim to either.

            Trump, the “great negotiator” of “unmatched wisdom” can’t use his “very stable genius” to figure out how to keep Turkey from invading Syria and attacking our own troops when they are along side a force multiplier ally that has served us well and would have continued to serve us well? Why do you suppose virtually every expert, whether apolitical or from either political party, thinks Trump’s green lighting a Turkey invasion and possible genocide of the SDF is a massive strategic and moral blunder? Do you think Erdogan really sees the SDF as a strategic danger, or do you think he sees the Turkish economy under his increasingly authoritarian regime heading south and needs to storm south to wag the dog of nationalist threat somewhere? Meanwhile, as we bug out and lose influence, the influence of our rivals in Russia and Iran just grows and grows.

            However, don’t take my word for this. Just read what the most recent CENTCOM command wrote in the article I provided. Read what McGurk, the former ISIS coalition diplomat has written. In fact, just read what the entire leadership of your own Party has said. Argue with them – unlike either me or you, they actually may know what they are talking about.

            Like

          20. @tsalmon

            If I have learned anything it is the fact that being in the majority does not make anyone right. We vote for the people who lead us because we cannot figure out a better way to choose our leaders. If we were smarter, we would have “experts” select our leaders. Unfortunately, we cannot trust the experts.

            So how do we discern right from wrong? We go to the only “expert” who is expert. We turn to God, and He has given us guidance in His Word. Does the Word have anything to say about the conflict between the Kurds and the Turks? No. The Bible just tells us that we need to be on God’s side (1 Corinthians 1:10-18).

            Do we ally with other countries and organizations from time-to-time? Yes. When the choice it clear, we should, but in this case it is not. That’s why you have not argue based upon what is right and wrong.

            Check out http://www.biblehelp.org/sides.htm. Do you even know why the Turks and the Kurds are fighting? I doubt it. You can look “it” up now, of course.

            When you look “it” up, you will run into a problem. You will be confronted with so many trees you won’t have much luck seeing the forest. That is, you will be presented with a great many details, but a failure to address basic question. What makes it so difficult for the Kurds and the Turks to get along with each other?

            I suspect James 4:1-10 offers us a clue as to why the Turks and the Kurds fight, but it does not tell us any about that specific conflict. Maybe there is not a specific reason. Maybe each tribe just thinks itself superior to the other. Tribalism. A good reason for us to join with the Kurds in fighting the Turks? Do you really think so?

            Like

          21. “Did not mention Trump in this post. You dragged him in to talk about the Kurd/Turk conflict simply because he seems vulnerable on this topic. That’s how tribal you have become.”

            So now you think Trump is vulnerable? Why pray tell?

            If the whole NBA debacle is a cautionary example on the topics of tribalism, truth, wisdom and pride, then Trump’s self forced error in this case seems like an even better topical example of what not to do, don’t you think?

            Like

          22. @tsalmon

            When W. Bush led us to invade Iraq, you had a fit. I just shrugged my shoulders. I was not happy about it, but I conceded that Bush had offered a decent justification. I had no idea if we could turn Iraq into a democratic state, but it looks like we are unwilling to sustain the effort, even if we could.

            Now Trump is trying to get us out of the area, and you want us to stay? In Syria? Why? To protect the Kurds? We have no national interest in doing that. We don’t have either the power or the right to create a Kurdish state, and that’s what it would take. So all you are doing is complaining, complaining even though you obviously don’t have a better idea.

            Like

          23. This argument is specious. God may be my ultimate copilot, but I still want someone flying the airplane who is an expert. I don’t want to become an expert on all the tribal rivalries in the world. That’s why we have a State Department. Unfortunately, we have someone for President who thinks he doesn’t need expert advisors.

            I voted for HW Bush, twice, the second time because I thought his handling of the first Gulf War was an act of great statesmanship. I never voted for Clinton. I voted for “W” but, as you remember correctly, broke with him over the stupidity of the Iraq War. If you look at the differences between Bush 1’s and Bush 2’s Wars, you’ll see all you need to know about what I think about the necessary and proper use of strategic power in concert with our allies.

            Like I said, it’s not an either/or choice between Trump’s isolationism or Bush 2’s senseless adventurism and nation building. The SDF is good ally that acted as a force multiplier. Trump’s betrayal of them is a disgrace.

            Even the best statesmanship is fraught with unintended consequences and blowback, but withdrawal from leadership on the world stage is not an option if we want our kids to be free. Trump doesn’t have a plan and he doesn’t listen to anyone who does.

            Like

          24. This interview with former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pretty much captures the prideful incompetence of Trump:

            I know, shoot all the messengers no matter how many you find.

            Like

          25. In my “unmatched wisdom” it seems to me that if we, as the leading Great Power in the world, at very low cost can maintain through an excellent ally a foothold of control and influence in an entire AOR where other rising powers and terrorists are trying to exert influence and diminish ours for their own far more nefarious purposes, then that is both a very cost effective and morally effective quagmire to be involved in, not folly.
            The best way to do that is through tacit agreements.
            We’ve always had many secret defense pacts with allies. For example, we now know that during the 1960s we had a tacit agreement with Japan that allowed U.S. warships to carry nuclear weapons into Japanese ports, granting unrestricted use of U.S bases in Japan in the event of a renewed Korean conflict. The Japanese government always denied it publicly, but it existed. In Pakistan, we had a tacit agreement to allow our forces to launch strikes against Al Qaeda from their territory…they even pointed out the targets for us. For years. Yet publicly they admonished us harshly, and this is what the media would publish and the ignorant masses (including many ostensible experts) would believe.
            Anyone simply paying attention to facts, and having rudimentary grasp of logic 101 could have discerned that for domestic political reasons the Pakistanis could not formally admit to the drone arrangement, but it existed. Eventually this arrangement ended with the bin Laden raid (and some public slip-ups) but it was mutually beneficial until that time.
            The destruction of the entire world was averted by the agreement that ended the Cuban Missile crisis. The key item that saved the peace was the informal agreement that the US would remove its obsolete missiles from Turkey provided that nobody ever had to admit that this was part of the deal. If it had been necessary to formally acknowledge every element of every agreement, well imagine what the social media pundits and “experts” of today would have done with that information. Kennedy is bowing to the USSR! He’s a Russian shill! Well…really there would have been no debate because if it were necessary to publicly acknowledge that deal at the time, it wouldn’t have happened and we’d all most likely be dead.

            I see no reason to believe there are no tacit understandings in this case, just as with others. I say this because things are going really well on most fronts. And the experts “trade wars are always bad! We’ll lose to China!” “Don’t anger KJU, he’ll drop a nuke!” and so forth, have been wrong. From foreign policy to the economy.
            Yeah, guess it was just all luck. W, by contrast, had really bad luck listening to experts like Dumsfeld.
            Better lucky than good as they say (but I don’t think it’s just blind luck).
            And being unpredictable isn’t ipso facto a disadvantage. I’d say it’s a disadvantage to our enemies, and a big advantage in the age of social media.

            Liked by 1 person

          26. Que Doug, after that writeup I just did, to write couple of sentences about what a trump worshipper I am, and TSalmon to agree.
            And THAT is why political discussions just devolve into hostile and condescending meme wars. Memes are far more powerful, and take so much less time than considered discussion.

            Liked by 1 person

          27. As a related side note, Last month the USAF dropped 39 tons of firepower on Qanus Island (aka “ISIS Island”), and a great deal of firepower in Afghanistan. Israel bombed targets in Syria with their new F35 (not possible if we were still doing test patterns over that territory). So, respectfully, I would say it is a deep deep fallacy to assert that we’re just abandoning all commitments arbitrarily and letting Islamic militants take over. The facts do not back that up (and Israel, mentioned before, seems to be doing just fine).

            Liked by 1 person

          28. While I’m on a serial morning blab I’ll answer this one as well:
            Somebody like Mattis has no historical prospective or understanding of limited resources (and Trump does)? Seriously?
            I have respect for Mattis (for that matter, in spite of your mischaracterization I have respect for the former CENTCOM commander as well…I even know many three and four star commanders personally fwiw). If he would run for president, I would probably vote for him. That said, if he is a man of his word (and I believe he is), it is highly likely he has made promises and feels an underlying loyalty that he cannot go against, in good conscience. He said as much in his resignation letter (which was very respectful toward Trump). Which doesn’t mean our continued occupation of Syria is in our security interest, it only means he had a conflict of interest and decided to resign rather than breaking his word.

            Im just being mean spirited and debating unfairly if I find this rather insultingly presumptuous that all the experts aren’t as altruistic or objective as we “stable geniuses” are?
            My “feelings” aren’t hurt. What I am is highly frustrated when you falsely interpret my comments in a misleading manner. I haven’t disparaged military leadership. What I have explained is the reality with accompanying comparisons. I chose the Secretary of the Airforce, but I could just as well have chosen HUD.

            Liked by 1 person

          29. Blab number 27+
            At the end of the day, Trump might be wrong. But I don’t think so.
            One thing for certain, everything looks a lot better now than it did when he took office. Or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. So far he has a pretty good track record of being “lucky”, so I’m going to go with the assumption there is a lot more going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about.
            Time will tell if he (and I) are right about this.
            One thing for sure, we have a record of absolutely catastrophic policies throughout the middle east and a good many of them were supposed to be “small footprint” influences. I’d put Syria in that category (along with Libya, ad nauseam ect)

            Liked by 1 person

          30. @Liz

            For the life of me I still cannot figure out how Tony can complain about Trump after he voted for Obama and then Clinton. After Obama pulled our troops out of Iraq, they still have the nerve to complain about Trump pulling a mere 50 of our guys out of Syria. Seriously?

            Like

          31. ANd I promise this is the last, but I wanted to clarify something I just mentioned above regarding military leadership, loyalty (Mattis) et al.
            In short: Loyalties influence perspective.
            That’s human nature (the topic even).
            It’s a reason why an outside perspective is important, when these cost/benefit analyses have to be weighed.
            The whole (fairly recent) push for “diversity” is founded on this principle.

            How many lives are we willing to sacrifice for the Kurd/Turkey political crisis?
            Would we bring actual stability or does our military presence tend to undermine stability in the ME (ergo our own security)?

            -nuff said

            Like

          32. @Liz

            Your last? Hope not. 😥

            Another post, maybe?

            There is that old problem we call mission creep. ISIS was a threat. Those people were crazy. The worshipped violence. The other dictatorial types in the area want power. They are still violent, but violence for them is a means, not the end. When ISIS started to spread, we had no choice except to use military force to destroy it.

            ISIS is gone. Turkey does not pose a comparable threat, and we never made a commitment to the Kurds to fight Turkey on behalf of the Kurds. At least, I know of no such commitment.

            Will ISIS rise again now that we have removed our troops? Is there a power vacuum?

            Like

          33. Liz,

            Ah, now I see your alternative arguments more clearly. So your stable genius of unmatched wisdom either has concocted a brilliant secret plan that no one in his own government appears to know about or support, or Trump has the same ignorant luck of fools and drunks?

            The great thing about both your secret genius and your dumb luck hypotheses is that, as in all such logical fallacies, neither argument is subject to either proof or refutation.

            Why not just say that Trump has an alliance with powerful space aliens? That makes about as much sense.

            Like

          34. @Tom

            about Trump pulling a mere 50 of our guys out of Syria

            That did not age well

            https://www.ft.com/content/8139b25e-eda6-11e9-ad1e-4367d8281195

            Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, said the roughly 1,000 American troops stationed in northern Syria would be pulled out because the Turkish offensive would be broader than expected.

            Speaking to CBS News, he said that Washington was “preparing to evacuate” them “as safely and quickly as possible”.

            Like

          35. @marmoewp

            None of us age well. The concept is the same. 50 troops. 1000 troops. They were not put there to stop the Turks, and it make no sense to use them for that. Mission creep.

            Like

          36. I’m really curious, TSalmon, what you will think if and/or when ISIS doesn’t make a comeback in Syria? I’ll bet you’ll just move those goalposts and say it’s only a matter of time because Trump is so damn dumb.

            As I mentioned before, I know a pilot who was almost shot down over there. We were one broken radio away from catastrophe facing off the Russians (who have had a Naval base in Syria since the Warsaw pact years…their presence is not exactly new).
            I’ll state again I’m delighted we removed our planes, and I’m more delighted still that US military people won’t be put in harm’s way for objectives that keep changing and have no history of success.
            But, hey, that’s just me. I don’t have a lot of time to google stuff and my avuncular condescension isn’t so refined.

            Liked by 1 person

          37. “I’m really curious, TSalmon, what you will think if and/or when ISIS doesn’t make a comeback in Syria?”

            Reminds me of when someone asked Moa Tse Tung what he thought about the French Revolution and he said it’s too early to tell.

            If national security experts only made long term geopolitical power strategy based on “I knew some admirals once” or “I know a pilot who almost got shot down”, as if the use of force projection were just a matter of bantering the banal gossip of officers’ club events and the “there I was” tales of pilots we illustrate by attacking our wrist watches with our hands. Like I said Liz, you’re smart as a whip, but if anecdotes counted the same as study and experience, then we’d all be brain surgeons if we just knew one or saw one on TV.

            We fought a successful proxy war using the Mujahideen that very likely was crucial to the collapse of the Soviet Empire. We turned away our very minimal attention and our influence for a minute, and the Mujahideen morphed into the Taliban and 9/11. I think the blowback from Trump’s incompetence in Syria may be 10 times worse, and the possible resurgence of ISIS is just one deadly piece in the complex puzzle palace that is the geopolitical strategy. Even if Trump actually listened to briefs by expert strategists, we risk probably 10 things that can go wrong for each good intended consequence.

            The threshold question, however, isn’t whether a given short term strategy is perfect, or more likely just better than all the other worse alternatives. The threshold question is “what do we stand for?” No matter what the strategy decision of the moment, what is the long game?

            Do we stand for individual rights for everyone or not? Do we stand the Rule of Law or just “me first” corruption?

            Look at the three events plaguing Trump right now and you see a pattern:

            1. Syria – we are abandoning our allies. Despite the fact that the Kurds bled to fight ISIS for us, Trump just says “where were they at the Normandy beaches?” He is too stupid to realize of course that the Turks as the Ottoman Empire chose the losing side in both world wars, and right now are cozying up to Russia.

            2. Ukraine – Trump fires a veteran apolitical diplomat who is fighting corruption in Ukraine because he knew that she was not corrupt enough to let Trump’s personal attorney corrupt our own government’s foreign policy and make Ukraine’s worse. Exhibit A: Trump’s own Justice department just charged Giuliani’s cronies there.

            3. Hong Kong – it’s been reported that Trump promised Xi (in another phone call mysteriously buried in the SCI vaults) that he wouldn’t critique repression in Hong Kong as long as the Chinese returned to the negotiating table and said they’d throw the bankrupting farmers some scraps. You doubt this is true? When those patriots in the deep state blow their whistles and it all comes out, will you damn Trump like your damning the NBA or will that suddenly be “a perfect phone call” (whatever the Hell that is) too?

            All nations have interests and there are pragmatic limits to how much we can bomb other nations into a belief in the rule of law, democracy and individual rights, but hiding our heads in the sand and pretending that the world can go to Hell without dragging us down into that pit with them sounds more like the bar stool diplomacy of a spouse club cocktail party.

            One thing I learned as a military pilot. If no one wants to shoot you down, then your not a threat. If your not a threat, then what are you doing in the military? The question is whether the risk is worth the objective. Helping the Kurds kill ISIS rapists and terrorists sounds like the kind of objective that any military pilot worth his wings would jump at. After that, the key is not to get shot down.

            Like

          38. “I know a pilot who almost got shot down”, as if the use of force projection were just a matter of bantering the banal gossip of officers’ club events and the “there I was” tales of pilots we illustrate by attacking our wrist watches with our hands.

            The point was (I mentioned it before and assumed, obviously incorrectly, that you’d read it) the pilot was almost shot down accidentally by the Russians. They thought he was an Israeli plane. That’s the type of confusion that was happening in the airspace over Syria. Or is the “longterm strategy” to go to war with the Russians now?
            Good Lord.

            Like

          39. Helping the Kurds kill ISIS rapists and terrorists sounds like the kind of objective that any military pilot worth his wings would jump at. After that, the key is not to get shot down.

            I like how you’ve stumbled on the truth here (contradicting your own previous statement)
            The Kurds didn’t “bleed FOR us”, we helped THEM.

            Liked by 1 person

          40. If national security experts only made long term geopolitical power strategy based on “I knew some admirals once” or “I know a pilot who almost got shot down”, as if the use of force projection were just a matter of bantering the banal gossip of officers’ club events and the “there I was” tales of pilots we illustrate by attacking our wrist watches with our hands. Like I said Liz, you’re smart as a whip, but if anecdotes counted the same as study and experience, then we’d all be brain surgeons if we just knew one or saw one on TV.

            Some of my spouse’s squadrons were the ones deployed in Syria.
            Furthermore, my spouse’s predecessor (whom we know very well) was in charge of the entire air operation over there for a year. The opinions of pilots who flew those missions differ from what the “experts” are saying. So, respectfully, it isn’t like I’m simply watching television. It’s more like my spouse was the hospital director, and the brain surgeons have told me the conditions in the OR….I see no reason to doubt what they say.

            Liked by 1 person

          41. Liz,

            “They thought he was an Israeli plane. That’s the type of confusion that was happening in the airspace over Syria. Or is the ‘longterm strategy’ to go to war with the Russians now?
            Good Lord.”

            So as soon as Putin injects his corrupt influence somewhere, then you think we should just bug out? I think that you’re missing the point about who is our allies and who are the threats and why we should be a threat anywhere, what do we even stand for?

            The first time that I “almost got shout down” by the Russians, I was a brand new pilot searching international waters between between Sakhalin Island and Vladivostok after Soviet fighters “accidentally” shot down KAL 007 because they believed it was one of our RC135s. Much as our corrupt president thinks he and our military work for Putin, Russia is not our friend. Indeed, the corruption fomented in Ukraine is no more an “accident” than it would be if he shot down one of our planes in Syria or when we wiped out a band of his Russian mercenaries who threatened us In Syrian territory we controlled through the Kurds. Why do do you think Putin isn’t pulling out to avoid such “accidents”? Why is Putin not abandoning his ally, Assad, but instead “accidentally” helping Assad use chemicals on his own people. Good God indeed!

            That’s the problem with Trump and his fans. Trumpism means there aren’t really and good guys or bad guys, no higher values and virtues, no allies with shared ideals worth risking for – there is only short term transactionism of “what is in it for us right now?”.

            When Trump looks at Putin, he sees a brother in corruption. When virtue driven institutionalists like Mattis and the fired ambassador to Ukraine look at Putin, they see the enemy of all we value, and when they look at the SDF, they see us abandoning brothers in arms fighting for a common cause.

            Like

          42. So as soon as Putin injects his corrupt influence somewhere, then you think we should just bug out?
            Once again, the Russians have been based in Syria since the Warsaw pact years. Their military “influence” isn’t new. By contrast, OUR military “influence” is what is new.

            I think that you’re missing the point about who is our allies and who are the threats and why we should be a threat anywhere, what do we even stand for?
            The first time that I “almost got shout down” by the Russians, I was a brand new pilot searching international waters between between Sakhalin Island and Vladivostok after Soviet fighters “accidentally” shot down KAL 007 because they believed it was one of our RC135s. Much as our corrupt president thinks he and our military work for Putin, Russia is not our friend.

            Indeed…the world would be a safer place if we began a new Cold War. Good times! Let’s do that again. Even then I was under the impression that both our countries tried to keep direct military confrontation to a minimum (or we would have bombed the ships coming in to supply Ho Chi Minh).
            Guess I was wrong. Here in my ignorance, I also thought there was a reason Clinton met the Russians at that Pristina airport in the Balkans to “welcome” them instead of having our militaries face off each other.
            Yeah, let’s just have dog fights over Syria. What could possibly go wrong?

            Liked by 1 person

          43. Liz,

            I think that view myopic and momentary. Putin is a former KGB thug who is now the head of a government that is really just a crime syndicate with a military. The Cold War never Really ended for Putin or for us – it just evolved into something else. In some ways WWII hasn’t even ever ended. Hell, down here where I live they think the Civil War never ended – every other pickup has a confederate flag decal and we still worship at monuments to Jeff Davis.

            I suppose, however, if you want the real history of all this, then you should just ask my wife. After all, she knows me, and I, of course, have the big, long term picture? No reason to trust the opinions of career diplomats and generals. Everybody’s opinion is equal. 😏

            Liked by 1 person

          44. I think that view myopic and momentary.

            And I think you know, in your heart of hearts, that if the following facts were common public knowledge:
            1) The Kurds are actively, purposefully harboring a group we have designated a terrorist organization
            and
            2) Air occupation over Syria placed us in very heavy jeopardy of getting into a serious military skirmish with the Russians.

            They would not be supportive of military engagement in Syria.
            Really….All it would take is one Southpark skit, with just those two above facts exposed.
            Look what their episode about China. The Chinese had been committing mass espionage, harvesting organs from human rights activists, committing genocide, polluting the land, sky, and oceans, selling faulty products as planned obsolescence is their entire market strategy, exporting poison under the guise of “food” and “medicine”….the list goes on.
            But that was all okay until South Park did their episode.

            Which says…what, about the government we deserve?
            #SAD! 😦

            Liked by 1 person

          45. Forgot to add:
            No reason to trust the opinions of career diplomats and generals. Everybody’s opinion is equal.

            If you’re interested in the opinion(s) of a career diplomat who worked for the state department for decades, I’ve linked to him many times, but here you go again:
            https://www.thediplomad.com

            Liked by 1 person

          46. @Liz

            Some people do confuse getting in the “best insults” with logic.

            Supposedly, we are deserting the Kurds? We helped them fight ISIS. Now we are leaving them to the tender mercies of the Turks, and that is desertion? Has anyone looked at the population of Turkey?

            Like

          47. Liz,

            My heart of hearts??? South Park? !?!?

            I referenced an article by the most recent head of CENTCOM and you site the right wing equivalent of MAD magazine?

            I know this gets said over and over, but I think you Trump supporters just hate Democrats more than you love facts or the basic long standing virtuous American policies of both Republicans and Democrats. (I’ve voted for both).

            If a Democrat were doing any of the dumb, precipitous, unprincipled nonsense Trump is doing, the screaming here against it would be deafening. It’s not that you love Trump (you know he’s a corrupt, demagogic fraud as much as I do). It’s that preventing the Dems from being right is worth risking all credibility for.

            I don’t like many of the Democratic candidates’ policies as being too extreme to ever work, but I also don’t think they are inherently amoral to the point of being dangerous. We’ll be making payments on Trump’s moral bankruptcy for decades to come.

            Liked by 1 person

          48. @tsalmon

            You did not say anything that made any sense. Trump is just dealing with the absolute mess the Democrats left. Compared to the cost of Obama’s legacy, Trump is doing great!

            Like

          49. My heart of hearts??? South Park? !?!?
            I referenced an article by the most recent head of CENTCOM and you site the right wing equivalent of MAD magazine?

            And with that, I will take my leave of this thread. :
            It couldn’t be more obvious you don’t read for understanding, you’re just picking out words. Good Lord above, TSalmon, don’t you realize the fact “Mad magazine” has more impact than facts was the point?
            Every voter should know the two facts I pointed out above.
            They don’t. These two small important facts aren’t brought to their attention.
            If everyone did know, they would be against our interference Syria.
            The way to make them care is to post it in “mad magazine”.
            Because…for direct example, it wasn’t until the past week anyone even cared about China’s decades of horrible behavior. But, hey, an episode of South Park came out and now everyone is on board.
            Nevermind.
            We truly are doomed. 😆

            Liked by 1 person

          50. I don’t read for comprehension?

            What do we believe in common? The Rule of Law, individual rights (including freedom of conscience), basic systemic institutional democratic principles (as exemplified in our Constitution), liberal trade policies governed by international property principles, etc.

            What are the threats to those beliefs? The radical religious fundamentalism (represented by Iran’s Hezbollah, the Saudi Wahhabis, and ISIS), the mob as government corruption you see in the revanchism of Nationalist Neofascism (Putin’s Russia, but it is rising throughout the old Soviet Union), the new rise centralized government and economic control (China, China, China).

            The war to protect what we believe in against what threatens it may end after the second coming, but until then it is as constant, dynamic and as unendingly as the battle in every human heart.

            In my opinion, the fickle nature of our ability to be influenced by South Park isn’t near as dangerous as the amazing esteem with which we each hold our own opinions as superior over those who are actually wise by sensibility, study, experience and virtuous habit.

            It’s not that these people are always right or that there is even a perfectly right answer most of the time, it’s just that the alternative is the corrupt demagoguery and worship of ignorance that is Trumpism.

            Like

  3. “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” Trump tweeted.

    Hum…I see what you mean about pride going before the fall.

    Like

    1. @tsalmon

      Pride tends to a common problem. Not especially difficult to find examples of pride obscuring the truth. The problem is the difficulty of getting people to agree which examples are correct.

      Curious how about 50 US Army soldiers is holding the entire Turkish military at bay. Yet it is enough to
      turn the Democrats into a bunch of warhawks. After Obama, we are suppose to take this convenient change of heart seriously?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What is the truth? The truth we accept on faith through the grace of God and the truth we each ascertain through discovery and reason each derive from different realms of knowledge. Pride of certainty on the former runs anathema to the character of the very wisdom of faith. Pride of certainty on the latter might be based on the wisdom that comes from expertise and experience, or it might just come from blowing smoke out one’s posterior.

        I doubt we have much disagreement about the wisdom that comes from faith and grace. As for geopolitical military strategy, do you think Trump really has “unmatched wisdom”, or do you think that he’s mostly farting vast clouds of smoke?

        Like

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Author Alexander Hellene - Sci-Fi - Urban Fantasy - Fantasy - Culture - Art - Entertainment - Music - Fun

John Branyan

something funny is occurring

Because The Bible Wasn't Written In English

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Fr. Pietraszko's Corner

Discovering Truth and Love

Victory Girls Blog

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Through Ink & Image

...Pursuing a God Inspired Life

D. Patrick Collins

liberating christian thought

Healthy Mind Ministry

Sharing the Gospel message of hope, strength, love, and peace through Jesus Christ to those who are hurting in their soul or spirit. This is the mission of Healthy Mind Ministry

Conservative Government

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Night Wind

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

In Saner Thought

"It is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to detect and expose delusion and error"..Thomas Paine

SGM

Faithful servants never retire. You can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God. – Rick Warren

Communio

"Fear Not, Only Believe." Mk. 5:36

All Along the Watchtower

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you ... John 13:34

The Bull Elephant

Conservative and libertarian news, analysis, and entertainment

Always On Watch: Semper Vigilans

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Family Foundation Blog - The Family Foundation

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Dr. Luis C. Almeida

College Professor

praythroughhistory

Heal the past. Free the present. Bless the future.

Dr. Lloyd Stebbins

Deliberate Joy

Lillie-Put

The place where you can find out what Lillie thinks

He Hath Said

is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort; let it dwell in you richly, as a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life

quotes and notes and opinions

from a Biblical perspective

partneringwitheagles

WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT...

nebraskaenergyobserver

The view from the Anglosphere

bluebird of bitterness

The opinions expressed are those of the author. You go get your own opinions.

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

atimetoshare.me

My Walk, His Way - daily inspiration

Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

Kingdom Pastor

Living Freely In God's Kingdom

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