Space Coast Progressive Alliance

The Future of the American Experiment is in Your Hands
Sunday, 09 November 2014 11:42

Commentary: 'New' Conflict in Iraq & Syria

Written by  Bob Serody, Spence Guerin, Team SCPA

Posted Nov. 9, 2014

re: The 'New' Conflict in Iraq & Syria; America's Role

1st Thursday Nov. 6 program:
The 'New' Conflict in Iraq & Syria; America's Role
Panel discussion on current affairs in Syria + Iraq region of the Middle East.
THREE PANELISTS with Q+A from the audience
Hassan Shibly, Chief Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations - Florida (CAIR-FL)
Robert Taylor, Chair, School of Arts and Communication and Associate Dean, College of Psychology and Liberal Arts (Historian), F.I.T.
Wanfa Zhang, Associate Professor , School of Arts and Communication (International Relations, Political Science), F.I.T.
http://www.scpaflorida.com/item/2932-scpa-1st-thurs-conflict-in-syria-iraq-america-s-role

Dr. Taylor and Dr. Zhang from Florida Tech expertly provided background of the situation.

Syrian-born Hassan Shibly added a valuable new dimension for this audience. Be sure to see his excellent blog and 'What the say about Hassan Shibly' see:
http://www.hassanshibly.com/p/what-they-say-about-hassan.html

This excellent program was organized by SCPA Vice President Phil Stasik and member Joel Moss.

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COMMENTARY

By Bob Serody, Nov. 7, 2014

The discussion on the Syrian crisis in the middle east was very timely. When the Bush administration deceived the American people in order to invade Iraq and control the region with its oil deposits, I was then and am now still amazed at the gullibility of so many of our citizens. It is almost impossible to repair the backlash from the political instability and personal tragedies we caused in that region of the world. Unfortunately, today, Obama has no real strategy to deal with this problem. As Professor Taylor pointed out, relying on high tech weapons to keep ISIS in check is not enough. If there is a strategy here, I fear that Obama is hoping that things won’t get worse for the next two years before he retires.  

Professor Taylor also mentioned a book that shows how we got into this mess.  It is called Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, by Thomas E. Ricks. (see book review below)

When I publicly protested against invading Iraq with many other citizens in downtown Melbourne, I recall being filmed on camera by either the police, the Sheriff’s Dept., or the FBI. (Select one).  

The results of the recent election, where only a third of our citizens voted, may show disgust with politicians in general, but it also shows how public opinion can be easily swayed by the most expensive election ever in terms of campaign contributions, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United. Those who didn’t vote have allowed corporate interests to further commit us to costly health care, tap our computer messages, send our jobs overseas, give tax breaks to the wealthy, stop giving us benefits that we payed for in taxes (such as retirement benefits), keep us from knowing what’s in our food, destroy public education, and this is only a partial list. These same politicians will, as the Middle East continues to deteriorate, most likely be asking for U.S. combat troops as our allies stand by.  After all, we don’t have to declare war to be engaged in present conflicts.

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Bob Serody is a member of Space Coast Progressive Alliance

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Book Review
Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
By Thomas E. Ricks

From planning to warfare to occupation, how Iraq went wrong
New York Times, by Michiko Kakutani

The title of this devastating new book about the American war in Iraq says it all: “Fiasco.” That is the judgment that Thomas E. Ricks, senior Pentagon correspondent for The Washington Post, passes on the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq and its management of the war and the occupation. And he serves up his portrait of that war as a misguided exercise in hubris, incompetence and folly with a wealth of detail and evidence that is both staggeringly vivid and persuasive. ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/25/books/25kaku.html

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On Nov.6, Robert Taylor reminded us that US Army General Colin Powell had warned the GW Bush administration about attacking Iraq.

Powell's words on Iraq still ring true
By John Farmer, The Star-Ledger, Aug. 17, 2014:

As we pick up the military burden again in Iraq (in a limited way for now), memories come flooding back about how and why we got in there in the first place all those years ago, 11 to be precise.
Lots of things were said by lots of people about that misadventure that deserve remembering today, none more so than Colin Powell’s warning to then-President George W. Bush on the eve of the war.

“If you break it,” Powell cautioned about Iraq, “you own it.”

That “ownership,” which cost some 4,000 American dead and more than 20,000 wounded, seems a never-ending responsibility despite President Obama’s dogged effort to unload it. ...

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/08/post_47.html

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By Spence Guerin, Nov. 9, 2014

Bob Serody, above, mentions the 2003 anti-war protest marches in Melbourne.

The Space Coast Progressive Alliance was born during those protest marches, in the months before and after GW Bush's now infamous attack on Iraq. In a vain attempt to prevent the attack from happening, millions around the world marched in the streets. Corporate news media intentionally underreported the protests, thus miserably failing to provide critical press required of a functioning democracy.

Independent news Democracy Now! on Feb. 17, 2003, headline: The world says no to war! Millions march in New York, Rome, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Melborne, Sydney and France
http://www.democracynow.org/2003/2/17/the_world_says_no_to_war

In Melbourne FL, about 500 people marched in the first protest march, organized by a loosely defined local group calling themselves Patriots for Peace -- forerunner of Space Coast Progressive Alliance. The late Col. Robert Bowman was one of several speakers. Popular folk singer Arlo Guthrie marched with us. Typically, Florida Today hardly mentioned any of it.

Some of the posters read: 'Books, not bombs!' But common sense did not prevail.

And so it came to pass that GW Bush attacked Iraq, condoned by failed corporate media. The attack had no precedent in American history. It was the first time in history that the USA had launched a 'pre-emptive' strike on another country. Some legislators said it was a 'violation of international law.'

While American citizens watched the infamous 'Shock and Awe' attack as infotainment on TV, thousands of civilians were killed and maimed on the streets of Bagdad. Some estimated a million Iraqi citizens were killed. And hundreds, if not thousands, of new enemies were created.  

A situation was created from which there is no easy way out for the USA.

Meanwhile, as Robert Taylor advised, many college students today cannot even find Iraq or Afghanistan on a map.

This was a superb panel discussion.

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Spence Guerin is a member of Space Coast Progressive Alliance

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Compiled by Team SCPA.

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