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Expanding Self-Defense: Chasing a different Al Qaeda in Syria

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  • Expanding Self-Defense: Chasing a different Al Qaeda in Syria

    There is a pretty rich story developing this week for those who follow U.S. foreign policy and the 'global war on terror.' This past Sunday, U.S. special forces launched a cross-border attack five miles outside of Iraq on Syria's territory. Their target was later confirmed as an Iraqi named Abu Ghadiya, killing him and possibly taking two others captive. Abu Ghadiya was described by U.S. officials as the most prominent smuggler of operatives for Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia (the Al Qaeda inspired Sunni insurgency group) on the Syrian border.

    The New York Times the most complete story on the event and the conditions surrounding it that I've found so far.

    On the surface, at least from an American perspective, this seems straightforward : American forces are in the process of defending and securing Iraq as well as their troops there, and this was a logical and necessary move in that process. There is even a report that Syria was aware of the mission but is denying it (quite harshly, too) due to public image (seems obnoxious but America did the exact same thing when Israel bombed a supposed nuclear site in Syria in 2007). Apparently the Iraqi government was not aware of the mission, and has since denounced it. Minor fallout, probably anticipated, and so it goes.

    Taking the broader view, though, there is a deeper question of justification and long-term effect here - and in my mind an element of time. While Bush has only recently announced an expanding role of self defense that supposedly serves as justification for cross-border raids into countries like Syria and Pakistan, such actions are not covered by current U.N. mandates and could therefore be seen as illegal in the eyes of the U.N. and the rest of the world. If your thinking is their opinions don't matter, I'd be eager to debate that ignorance is rarely a worthwhile interest in the long-term despite the continuous confirmation of the strength of the U.S. dollar in this world. In more ways than not, aggression committed against the U.S. in the form of terrorism is a long-term result of ignorant or overzealous foreign policy. You reap what you sow. To not take that into account is a tremendous mistake, but apparently a lesson still unlearned other than by long-retired Secretaries of Defense like Robert McNamara.

    The element of time is also related to both the question of justification and the perception of that justification by outside entities (the U.N. and other governments). These kinds of cross-border attacks become more difficult to justify the further the U.S. gets from the year 2002 without a foreign terror attack on its own soil, or even on its own troops or civilians outside of a theater of war. If that is true, at what point do the costs no longer justify the means?

    Originally posted by NYTimes
    In seeking to carry out cross-border missions inside Pakistan and now in Syria, the United States government is expected to make the case that these operations will help protect the lives of American troops. It is not clear how far-reaching the White House may be in seeking to apply the rationale, but several senior American officials expressed hope that it would be embraced by the next president as well.
    In the end it's more than just whether or not it will be embraced by the next president, it's a question of whether embracing the policy is actually good for America's interests. On the surface it seems easily answered, but as time rolls on I believe it becomes more difficult than that. Perhaps a better question is whether or not the next president will understand that.

    We'll have to wait for that answer though, because right now we're too busy talking about taxes and wardrobes.

  • #2
    Re: Expanding Self-Defense: Chasing a different Al Qaeda in Syria

    Remember the good old days when we just bombed a Libya compound or two as a message then used various world law enforcement agencies to do the real work and called it good enough?
    Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
    - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
    - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
    - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
    - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
    - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
    - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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    • #3
      Re: Expanding Self-Defense: Chasing a different Al Qaeda in Syria

      Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande View Post
      Remember the good old days when we just bombed a Libya compound or two as a message then used various world law enforcement agencies to do the real work and called it good enough?
      Reagan, is that you? How the hell are ya buddy!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Expanding Self-Defense: Chasing a different Al Qaeda in Syria

        Originally posted by AMosely View Post
        Reagan, is that you? How the hell are ya buddy!
        I forget.
        ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
        No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

        <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

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        • #5
          Re: Expanding Self-Defense: Chasing a different Al Qaeda in Syria

          More fallout - U.S. embassy in Syria says may close to public.

          I'm not at all discrediting or discounting the attack on Sunday, which I agree was hardly an attack on Syria beyond that of the fact that it occured on their territory (which does count for something).

          My point is that if you're looking at the roots of terrorism in the Islamic world, you're watching a new root unfold this week. Again, I am not justifying or agreeing with it - I'm just watching it and trying to look at it objectively. If an attack occurs on American interests (such as the embassy) in Syria, it's not because 'they hate us' or 'hate our freedoms.' It's actually the reverse - they believe we hate them and their religion - which I hope is equally untrue.

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          • #6
            Re: Expanding Self-Defense: Chasing a different Al Qaeda in Syria

            The precedent has been set. We do what we want, where we want and to whom we want; because we are the better, smarter, tougher then anyone else. And God is on our side. What's the problem?

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            • #7
              Re: Expanding Self-Defense: Chasing a different Al Qaeda in Syria

              Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
              The precedent has been set. We do what we want, where we want and to whom we want; because we are the better, smarter, tougher then anyone else. And God is on our side. What's the problem?
              Are you serious? If so, I think that you just answered your own question.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Expanding Self-Defense: Chasing a different Al Qaeda in Syria

                Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                Are you serious? If so, I think that you just answered your own question.
                Don't worry I'm with you. I am seriously against world marshal law. I was channeling.

                Devils advocate-
                I don't believe there is any such thing as winning the war on terror or winning in Iraq or Afghanistan. But at the end of the day aren't we safer for going into the middle east with raging bull like aggression. I know there is social, political and financial fallout, but talking strictly from a domestic terror attack point of view. Any terrorist group will think twice before attacking us if they know they will get the gorilla on their back that's sitting on Iraq right now. The counter argument is that we are increasing our risk by breeding more hate for America. I agree with that except in that statement there is an assumption that terrorists are mindless fanatics acting on instinct. I don't think they are. I see them as organized freedom fighters with very calculated strikes. Don't you think the idea of the American MIC rolling over their country is a huge deterrent to anyone who may want to administer a terror attack.

                We couldn't have just sat and did nothing after 9/11. If we only went into Afghanistan and chased a few hillbillies into Pakistan we would have looked like saps and left us open for more attacks. The fact that we were willing to tear Iraq apart sends a very strong message that we are crazy and capable of anything. I think every Jihadi knows if a dirty bomb detonated on US soil we would nuke half the middle east. The world may hate us but they also fear us. Our aggression towards Pakistan and Syria is a show of whose the big kid on the playground. And a reminder to behave or else.

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