THE MILITARY IS EMBARRASSED AND DISMAYED BY OBAMA’S AMATEURISM.

TRAP BLOG

A war the Pentagon doesn’t want

By Robert H. Scales, Published: September 5

Robert H. Scales, a retired Army major general, is a former commandant of the U.S. Army War College.

The tapes tell the tale. Go back and look at images of our nation’s most senior soldier, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and his body language during Tuesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Syria. It’s pretty obvious that Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doesn’t want this war. As Secretary of State John Kerry’s thundering voice and arm-waving redounded in rage against Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities, Dempseywas largely (and respectfully) silent.

Dempsey’s unspoken words reflect the opinions of most serving military leaders. By no means do I profess to speak on behalf of all of our men and women in uniform. But I can justifiably share the sentiments of those inside the Pentagon and elsewhere who write the plans and develop strategies for fighting our wars. After personal exchanges with dozens of active and retired soldiers in recent days, I feel confident that what follows represents the overwhelming opinion of serving professionals who have been intimate witnesses to the unfolding events that will lead the United States into its next war.

They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.
towel obama
They are repelled by the hypocrisy of a media blitz that warns against the return of Hitlerism but privately acknowledges that the motive for risking American lives is our “responsibility to protect” the world’s innocents. Prospective U.S. action in Syria is not about threats to American security. The U.S. military’s civilian masters privately are proud that they are motivated by guilt over slaughters in Rwanda, Sudan and Kosovo and not by any systemic threat to our country.They are outraged by the fact that what may happen is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about “red lines.” These acts would be for retribution and to restore the reputation of a president. Our serving professionals make the point that killing more Syrians won’t deter Iranian resolve to confront us. The Iranians have already gotten the message.Our people lament our loneliness.
Our senior soldiers take pride in their past commitments to fight alongside allies and within coalitions that shared our strategic goals. This war, however, will be ours alone.They are tired of wannabe soldiers who remain enamored of the lure of bloodless machine warfare. “Look,” one told me, “if you want to end this decisively, send in the troops and let them defeat the Syrian army. If the nation doesn’t think Syria is worth serious commitment, then leave them alone.” But they also warn that Syria is not Libya or Serbia. Perhaps the United States has become too used to fighting third-rate armies. As the Israelis learned in 1973, the Syrians are tough and mean-spirited killers with nothing to lose.Our military members understand and take seriously their oath to defend the constitutional authority of their civilian masters. They understand that the United States is the only liberal democracy that has never been ruled by its military. But today’s soldiers know war and resent civilian policymakers who want the military to fight a war that neither they nor their loved ones will experience firsthand.
Civilian control of the armed services doesn’t mean that civilians shouldn’t listen to those who have seen war. Our most respected soldier president, Dwight Eisenhower, possessed the gravitas and courage to say no to war eight times during his presidency. He ended the Korean War and refused to aid the French in Indochina; he said no to his former wartime friends Britain and France when they demanded U.S. participation in the capture of the Suez Canal. And he resisted liberal democrats who wanted to aid the newly formed nation of South Vietnam. We all know what happened after his successor ignored Eisenhower’s advice. My generation got to go to war.Over the past few days, the opinions of officers confiding in me have changed to some degree. Resignation seems to be creeping into their sense of outrage. One officer told me: “To hell with them. If this guy wants this war, then let him have it. Looks like no one will get hurt anyway.”Soon the military will salute respectfully and loose the hell of hundreds of cruise missiles in an effort that will, inevitably, kill a few of those we wish to protect. They will do it with all the professionalism and skill we expect from the world’s most proficient military. I wish Kerry would take a moment to look at the images from this week’s hearings before we go to war again.

CBS Laments Pope’s ‘Religious Street Protest’ is Anti-Obama, Pro-Putin.

CBS Laments Pope’s ‘Religious Street Protest’ is Anti-Obama, Pro-Putin

By Matthew Balan | September 6, 2013 | 14:58

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On Friday’s CBS This Morning, Mark Phillips all but hinted that Pope Francis had “taken sides” with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and against President Obama in the international debate over military strikes in Syria. Phillips proposed that the Pope’s letter to Putin “must have been music to the Russian president’s ears.”

The journalist also turned to a “Vatican historian” who once publicly attacked Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, as a “dictator”, and likened him to Islamists. He also labeled the Pope’s upcoming prayer and fasting vigil for peace in Syria a “religious street protest.”

Phillips led his report by noting that “popes have urged peace before. Remember, John Paul II was firmly against the Gulf War. This pope, Francis, is now actively arguing against military action against Syria. And the question is, does it matter?

The CBS correspondent continued by outlining Pope Francis’s recent actions on the Syria issue:

MARK PHILLIPS: This pope with the common touch has been uncommonly active, lobbying against an attack on Syria. He’s used his last two major public appearances in St. Peter’s Square to appeal to world leaders – and that primarily means President Obama – not to do it….Pope Francis has followed up his appeal by writing to Vladimir Putin as current president of the G-20. ‘Armed conflicts create profound divisions and deep wounds, which require many years to heal,’ he said. It must have been music to the Russian president’s ears.

The Pope may be taking a moral position, in his mind, but in arguing against military action, he has entered into the world of partisan international politics. He’s taken sides.

Phillips then played his clip from British author Michael Walsh. An on-screen graphic labeled Walsh a “Vatican historian“, but the journalist didn’t once mention that Walsh is a former Jesuit priest who maligned then-Pope Benedict XVI in the dissenting Catholic publication The Tablet in 2012:

The present Vatican regime, despite the obviously incompetent and dysfunctional administration, is a dictatorship….Whether the Pope [Benedict XVI] is a benevolent dictator or not rather depends on one’s point of view, but a dictator is what he is….And what do dictatorial regimes do when they are challenged? They lash out at all possible challengers to their power base, as we have seen across North Africa and the Middle East.

This isn’t the first time the CBS correspondent has given a platform to dissenters inside the Catholic Church. On the night of Pope Francis’ election, he singled out two radical feminists who were present in St. Peter’s Square, and let them spout in favor of women’s ordination and “LGBT issues [and] reproductive health care“.

Near the end of the segment, Phillips pointed out that the pontiff has “called for a mass prayer, fast, and peace vigil for St. Peter’s Square this Saturday“, but then referred to it as a “religious street protest“.

Pope Tweets Against Syria Strike, Writes Putin, Plans Saturday Vigil

Pope Tweets Against Syria Strike, Writes Putin, Plans Saturday Vigil

By Elizabeth Dias @elizabethjdiasSept. 05, 2013
    • Pope Francis greets Catholic faithful during his arrival at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro
Stefano Rellandini / ReutersPope Francis greets Catholic faithful during his arrival at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, July 25, 2013.

Pope Francis has written a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, host of the G-20 summit that President Obama is attending, urging world leaders to oppose a military intervention in Syria.

“To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution,” the Pope urged. “Rather, let there be a renewed commitment to seek, with courage and determination, a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties, unanimously supported by the international community.”

The move is the latest in a series of efforts by the Holy See to prevent military action in the already civil-war torn region. On Sunday, the Pope declared in his Angelus teaching that Saturday Sept. 7 would be an day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria. The prayer rally will take place in St. Peter’s Square from 7 p.m. to midnight, on the vigil of the birth of Mary, the Queen of Peace. “Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love,” the Pope asked people around the world. “She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children!”

Next Pope Francis took his views on Syria to Twitter. On Monday he tweeted, “War never again! Never again war!” and “How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake.” On Tuesday, he tweeted “We want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out!” and “With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons.” Today his social media message was, “With all my strength, I ask each party in the conflict not to close themselves in solely on their own interests. #prayforpeace.”

Cardinal Dolan and leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops followed the Pope’s lead and wrote to every member of Congress today urging them to vote against military intervention in Syria. Yesterday the USCCB also wrote to President Obama, reminding him that the Pope and Middle Eastern Bishops “have made it clear that a military attack will be counterproductive, will exacerbate an already deadly situation, and will have unintended negative consequences.” Dolan also asked Catholics to urge their representatives in Washington to vote against a military strike.

The Vatican, which almost always stops short of taking sides in international issues, historically holds to just war theory, which requires a military defense meet a set of strict qualifications, including that “the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain,” “all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective,” and ”the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.”

Pope Francis’ response to Syria is in line with how his predecessors handled international conflicts. Pope Benedict XVI expressed concerns over the military intervention in Libya. Pope John Paul II continually and strongly spoke out against the US-led war in Iraq. The US and the Vatican squared off during the 1989 Panama invasion when dictator Manuel Noriega took refuge in the Vatican embassy.

US seals tried to blast Noriega out with deafening levels of rock music and only stopped the “rock-’n’-roll offensive,” as TIME called it, after the Vatican complained to President George HW Bush. Pope John Paul II kept quiet on the crisis, and left it to the hands of Vatican officials.