What a way to start my long weekend — a pot of freshly brewed coffee, the concerns of the Cyprus banking sector theft, the Wall Street Journal headline “CIA Expands Role in Syria Fight,” and last but not least, did the Gonzaga men’s basketball team really deserve to be rated #1 in the country?
I’m able to report that the coffee was good, the Zags lost and thus have been eliminated from the NCAA tournament, and all is well — at least for now — with the banks in Cyprus (to be discussed in another column.)
Yet, what continued to gnaw at me the most was the Wall Street Journal headline. Considering the successful overthrow of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, only to be replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood (how’s that workin’ out for ya, Hillary?), I’m a wee bit concerned when U.S. officials report “fears that the fall of (Syrian) President Bashar al-Assad would enable Al-Qaeda to flourish in Syria.”
If my memory serves me correctly, it was Al-Qaeda that brought down the Twin Towers, not al-Assad. It appears that our president shares my thoughts when he said, “I am concerned about Syria becoming an enclave for extremism, because extremists thrive in chaos.”
Yet, our unofficial Mideast defense experts, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), urged airstrikes against Syrian Air Force bases and missile batteries. By the way, both McCain and Levin are being considered for the Nobel Peace Prize on the same grounds that President Obama received his Peace Prize — go figure.
When asked if “the devil we know” (al-Assad) is better than the “devil we don’t know” (Al-Qaeda) — though who can ever forget 9/11 — McCain and Levin both hinted at Alfred E. Neuman’s famous response, “What, me worry?”
I have taken more comfort in the recent announcement that the “CIA has sent officers to Turkey, the Pentagon is helping to train Jordanian forces,” and, of course, the construction of our military base in Mali in order to protect our drones aimed at Pakistan.
I’m a little less comfortable in our supplying of anti-tank weapons and other arms to the rebels after our government acknowledged that “arms can be used for years and passed between groups, reducing U.S. controls over where they end up.” Consequently, the most recent episode of Operation Fast and Furious continues to haunt me.
I’m also reminded of what the legendary Will Rogers said during our 1920s adventure in Nicaragua, “Here is the humanitarian nation of the world fixing so more people can get shot.”
Oh well, back to my coffee and some really important stuff, namely what to make of my NCAA bracket now that the Zags have lost.
(An important interview) Saving the Net from the surveillance state (And Crony Media): Glenn Greenwald speaks up (Q&A) | Nick Sorrentino