War And Syria. An Open Letter To My Congressman

The following is a letter I hand-delivered to the local office of my Congressman, Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon, who also happens to be Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services. I’ll let the letter speak for itself.

Brian Baker
(ADDRESS)
Saugus, CA   91390

(661) (PHONE NUMBER)

(EMAIL ADDRESS)

4 Sep 2013

th[6] (3)Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon

Dear Buck,

I want to take this opportunity to express to you my thoughts on the current situation vis-à-vis Syria, as I know you and your fellow legislators will be debating the issue in the very near future.

First some background. I grew up in a foreign service/military family and spent five years in the Middle East (Iran) where I went to high school in the mid 1960s. My Armenian mother, now a naturalized American citizen for over six decades, was born and raised in Iran. I’m a Vietnam veteran, Life Member of the VFW, and student of military affairs and doctrine. Because of this background I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the issues involved in this current situation.

To be blunt, I see absolutely no reason for this country to be engaged in the internal strife in Syria, on any level.

First of all, we don’t even have a horse in this race. Why would we consider backing one group against another group when the reality is that whichever side prevails is still going to hate us? Haven’t we learned anything from history? From Iran? From Libya? From Egypt? From Iraq, which is already falling to pieces again?

Consider Afghanistan. Why are we fighting there? What’s our purpose? How do we define “victory”? How do we get back out of there? When? What’s going to happen after we leave? Do we want to keep repeating the same stupid mistakes over and over and over again?

Einstein noted that the definition of insanity is repeating the same actions while expecting different results. Isn’t that what we’re doing in the Middle East? Or as Santayana noted, those who ignore the past are condemned to repeat it.

There are only two reasons why this country should ever go to war: to defend ourselves, and to protect or extend our own national self-interest. Well, Syria certainly isn’t attacking us, and I can’t discern any national self-interest in what’s taking place in their internal civil war.

Obama babbles about some vague and chimerical “responsibility” that “the world” has to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Iraq, and then threatens to attack Syria with missiles. Well, first of all, if “the world” has such a responsibility, why isn’t “the world” doing the attacking? Why are we “the world’s” police force? And isn’t such an attack absolutely no different from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? That “day that will live in infamy”? We would be attacking a country that hasn’t attacked us, nor any other country beyond its own borders. There are no treaty obligations or commitments anywhere that would attach to or justify such an action.

Let’s examine the strategic implications. First of all, as anyone with military knowledge and/or experience knows, your battle plan lasts only until the first shot is fired. After that, the other guy gets a say, too, and your plan goes out the window. From that point on, everything is improvisation. Obama may think, in his abject ignorance, that he can blithely lob a few missiles at Syria without any repercussions, but he – and we, if he does it – is in for a rude awakening if Syria or its allies decide to respond in some fashion. They have a myriad of choices on what they can do, and most of them are potentially very unpleasant. You’re the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee; I’m not telling you anything there that you don’t already know.

There are also the political considerations of the end result. Obama, as did Bush before him, seems to think that somehow we can accomplish some kind of “nation building” in the region resulting in Western-style democracies friendly to our country. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I say that based on my intimate knowledge of the region. The regional Islamic nations don’t have the cultural or social heritages requisite for such a result. They’re riven by sectarianism, centuries-old rivalries based on religious dogma, clannishness, endemic and institutionalized corruption, and a religion that discourages individuality and independent action. Their social structures are dominated by “strong men” who hold on to power with a death grip. Show me one example where we removed one of these men and he was replaced by what we would consider a “democracy”. There aren’t any such examples.

th[5]The last, and possibly most, important thing I want to mention is this: just who does Obama think he is to drag this nation to the brink of war on his own say-so? The Constitution is crystal clear that the power to declare war rests SOLELY with Congress. The President doesn’t have the power to declare war on his own, nor does he have the veto power over Congress’s own determination.

Obama’s been acting like he’s been coronated with the laurel wreath of an Emperor, instead of simply elected as President. He has absolutely no authority to go around lobbing missiles at other hapless countries simply because he feels like it, no matter what his supposed “justification” is. That’s up to CONGRESS to decide, not him.

And I’ll take that one step further. Obama’s been making not-so-veiled threats of proceeding with his bombing anyway if he doesn’t get congressional approval. In my opinion, that is the very definition of an impeachable offense, and if he does in fact do that, I’ll expect articles of impeachment to follow promptly.

Thank you, Buck, for taking the time to consider my thoughts on this matter. I’m also going to post a copy of this on my own blog site as an “open letter”. I hope you don’t mind, but I want my readers to know my thoughts on the subject.

Here’s the site’s URL, if you’re interested:  https://theviewfromtheisland.wordpress.com/

Sincerely,

 

 

© Brian Baker 2013

 

“Clueless” Was A Very Funny Movie. In A Political Party… Not So Much

The following is an exchange of emails I’ve had recently with my US Congressman, Howard “Buck” McKeon.

This is the text of the opening salvo, which I sent to him via email through his website on January 14th:

buck“Well, Buck, I got your email a couple of weeks ago saying how you and your fellow Republicans had managed to cut a deal with Commissar Obama to avert the fabled ‘fiscal cliff’, and that you’d voted for it.

“Sadly, that deal didn’t include one penny of spending cuts that I can see, just some vague promise of maybe doing something about it somewhere down the road… maybe. In other words, you Republicans got snookered, plain and simple. You guys clearly don’t even know how to negotiate, let alone stand firm for any of the principles you CLAIM to represent.

“Now I’m reading in the news that Dear Leader is taking the position that spending cuts aren’t even on the table in the upcoming battle over raising the debt ceiling. And I have to tell you, if I were in his shoes with his goals, I’d be doing the exact same thing. Because from his point of view, he’s not facing any meaningful opposition at all. After all, the only thing you guys seem to know how to do is give up.

“So, what’s going to happen this time, Buck? You guys going to finally grow a spine – and maybe some balls – and actually stand firm for something? Or are you simply going to make a lot of noise just before you hoist up the white flag again? Isn’t that flag getting a little tattered by now?

“This is exactly why four years ago I gave up my GOP membership of almost forty years and re-registered as ‘Decline To State’, which as you know is this state’s equivalent of Independent. Because I’m a CONSERVATIVE first, and any party affiliation comes a distant second. And quite frankly, it’s reached the point where I see little correlation between traditional American conservatism and your political party anymore. Nor any appetite or ability for waging the requisite battle for principles.”

To which he responded with the following emailed letter (forgive the format errors in the letter, which occurred when I removed my mailing address for obvious reasons):

January 22, 2013Mr. Brian R. Baker

Dear Mr. Baker:

Thank you for contacting me in regard to   federal spending and the debt limit. It is a privilege to serve you in Congress   and I value your input.

First of all, as we begin this new   session of Congress, our government must work together to fix America’s   addiction to spending. I do not believe that the President should have sole   authority over raising the debt ceiling. This is a function and   responsibility of the legislative branch.

As we continue down this uncertain road,   we must keep in mind that raising taxes can only get us so far. We must   seriously address the out of control spending that is driving our debt. Already   in just the first two months of this fiscal year, we saw an increase of $57   billion in the federal deficit compared to this time last fiscal year.   Washington clearly has a spending problem that no increase in revenue could   possibly keep pace with. Unless we make serious institutional reforms to our   spending problem, we will never get our fiscal house in order.

As the 113th Congress begins, I can   assure you that I will continue fighting to get our nation’s serious spending   problem under control and get our nation’s economy back on track. I can also   assure you that I am working closely with the Speaker to come to a deal with   the President and the Senate that protects our troops and national security   from the devastating sequestration cuts.

For more information on my work in   Congress, please sign up for my E-newsletter and text message updates and visit   my Web site www.mckeon.house.gov.   You can also interact with me on Facebook, YouTube   and Twitter.   Thank you again for contacting me; please feel free to continue to inform me   of your views on issues important to you.

Sincerely, Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Member of Congress

And here’s my response, sent today:

“Buck, thanks for your response letter, but I have to tell you that I’m very disappointed in what you wrote.

“I expressed some very specific issues and concerns, particularly about how you Republicans have become weak-kneed (to put it kindly), an opinion that seems to have been recently reflected at your own Williamsburg retreat when Bobby Jindal said – accurately – that you have become ‘the stupid party’. Yet you respond to me with boilerplate and standard-issue talking points that are NOWHERE backed up with any action that I can see.

“YOU VOTED FOR THE DEBT CEILING INCREASE! So where’s all this action on ‘out of control spending’ you wrote about, when you guys caved in without getting one single concession in return? Talk is cheap, Buck, and actions speak a whole lot louder than words. And now, apparently, you guys are ready to do it once again, with another three month extension, kicking the can down the road and simply bending over for the Commissar.

“You state that you ‘… will continue fighting to get our nation’s serious spending problem under control…’. Well, at exactly WHAT point do you guys plan on starting to put up that fight, if ever?

“Pathetic, Buck. Simply pathetic.

“I’ll be posting this exchange on my blogs so all of my readers can enjoy the spectacle of another wimpy GOP political hack twisting in the wind, talking tough while cowering in the corner. All hat, no cattle. Talking the talk, with no idea how to walk the walk.

“Here are the links:
https://theviewfromtheisland.wordpress.com/
http://viewfromtheisland.blogtownhall.com/

“I hope you enjoy reading about yourself.

“Brian Baker”

sighThis perfectly illustrates the problem with the GOP. In its perpetual stupidity and uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the drones who run it refuse to learn the very simple lesson of history – that real conservatism sells – and keep nominating candidates who aren’t in the least “Reaganesque” or conservative. Dole? Bush? McAmnesty? Romney? You kidding me?

The “country” isn’t electing Obama and other socialists. Conservatives aren’t voting at ALL, in huge numbers, because there isn’t anyone worth showing up at the polls for. It’s THAT simple.

Run a REAL Reagan conservative and see what happens. Can anyone say “landslide”?

Instead we now have Boehner and McConnell and a bunch of other wimpy, weak-kneed, spineless jellyfish so afraid of their own shadows that they give away the store at every opportunity. And my own congressman, McKeon, seems to fit right into that mold.

Where is a GOPer who will stand up and tell it like it is? Who will actually FIGHT for their principles, without worrying about what the NY Times and Washington Post have to say about them?

I see a VERY few. Rand Paul’s been sounding good (not wacky like his dad). Jindal. A few others.

The rest of the Establishment GOP hacks? A bunch of hot air generators who fold like laundered sheets when it actually counts.

© Brian Baker 2013