Wednesday, April 20, 2016

But, Wait, Those Are Our Friends !!

I remember when a certain nation, whose name will go unmentioned lest I be denounced an anti-semite, began to go after a bunch of militants who had gone to hide in a refugee camp. That nation's forces didn't go in after them with vehicles and soldiers to clean them out. That nation simply attacked the entire camp with vicious, indiscriminate aerial bombing.

This was well before 9/11 when we had much different sensibilities about these things. Back when we believed it wrong to attack civilians indiscriminately. We even had laws prohibiting that very thing. We still do only they don't matter much any more.

Did I mention America has a new drone policy governing acceptable civilian casualties. The new Butcher's Bill provides that, if the target - or what you suspect to be the target - is of sufficient value, it's okay to whack up to 10 innocent men, women and children - from your air conditioned drone console just outside of Las Vegas.

David Deptula, a retired three-star Air Force general who led its intelligence and surveillance efforts, said easing the restrictions was a necessary but insufficient step toward defeating the Islamic State, or ISIL.

"The gradualistic, painfully slow, incremental efforts of the current administration undercut the principals of modern warfare, and harken back to the approach followed by the Johnson administration," said Deptula, who now leads the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

General Deptula seems to think America lost in Vietnam due to insufficient mass mayhem, a shortage of bombing. That is twisted thinking.

The officials all say commanders go to great lengths to avoid killing innocents. They attack at night, for example, when buildings are less likely to be occupied.

Okay, did you get that? You avoid killing civilians by bombing buildings at night because there's far less chance of killing innocents at night when everybody has come in to sleep than during the day when they're outside in the fields ar at their shops trying to eke out a subsistence living. Shit, oh dear.

So much for our American friends. What about our Egyptian friends, the guys who deposed democratically elected Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government. al-Sisi's bunch even managed to get Egypt a seat on the UN Security Council. I wonder how that's going?

The move last month to prevent the appointment of Yemen specialist Said Boumedouha, which has not been reported previously, comes as Cairo enters the fourth month of its two-year term on the U.N. Security Council. In that time, Egypt has watered down Security Council measures designed to combat rights abuses from Burundi to the Central African Republic. During its presidency of the 15-nation council in May, Egypt plans to host a public debate on the need to fight incitement to terrorism and extremism, a move that Western diplomats suspect is aimed at securing international legitimacy for squelching free speech at home.

The behind-the-scenes diplomatic activism has fueled concern among human rights advocates and some Western governments that the Sisi regime is using its newfound powers at the U.N. to extend its crackdown on dissent beyond its own borders while weakening international human rights norms abroad.

Geez, I like that "not previously reported" line.  See no evil, hear no evil, speak... you know the rest. That seems to be today's foreign policy operating system. Seriously, we have to find a better class of friends. We're running with the wrong crowd.

Hey, what about Saudi Arabia. You know, the House of Saud, the guys Canada is giving the armoured vehicular lap dance. Even as Canada has been cozying up to that bunch of thugs, America's once incestuous relationship with Riyadh has been steadily cooling.

Obama will meet King Salman in Riyadh on April 20, during what will likely be his final trip to Saudi Arabia during his presidency. Such meetings between national leaders are usually used for discussions about common interests rather than detailed agendas. The common question is: Are the allies on the same metaphorical page? But with the United States and Saudi Arabia today, it will be more interesting to see whether they can plausibly suggest they are still reading from the same book.

Although the upcoming visit is being touted as an effort in alliance-building, it will just as likely highlight how far Washington and Riyadh have drifted apart in the past eight years. For Obama, the key issue in the Middle East is the fight against the Islamic State: He wants to be able to continue to operate with the cover of a broad Islamic coalition, of which Saudi Arabia is a prominent member. For the House of Saud, the issue is Iran. For them, last year’s nuclear deal does not block Iran’s nascent nuclear status – instead, it confirms it. Worse than that, Washington sees Iran as a potential ally in the fight against the Islamic State. In the words of one longtime Washington observer, "Saudi Arabia wanted a boyfriend called the United States. The United States instead chose Iran. Saudi Arabia is beyond jealousy.”

Quick, the Saudis are feeling jilted. Dion, suit up, you're going in.

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