Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
There are several cringe-worthy headlines in the news today:
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday that he wanted the United States and Afghanistan to complete a security partnership agreement by October, allowing for the continued presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
Gen. Martin E. Dempsey played down the chances that no U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan after the United States formally terminates its combat role by the end of next year. He urged rapid completion of an accord that would pave the way for a long-term American presence here, and he expressed optimism that the agreement could be completed soon, despite public opposition from Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Without a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) the U.S. would withdraw all combat personnel in 2014, as it did in Iraq when the SOFA negotiated by President George W. Bush expired at midnight on the 31st of December, 2011, without a new SOFA agreement.
The House and Senate intelligence committees have approved CIA weapons shipments to opposition fighters in Syria, allowing the Obama administration to move ahead on the stalled program, senior congressional and administration officials said Monday.
Despite ongoing “very strong concerns about the strength of the administration’s plans in Syria and its chances for success,” the House committee reached consensus “after much discussion and review,” Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said in a statement.
The agreement allows money already in the CIA’s budget to be reprogrammed for the Syria operation, a covert action that President Obama approved early last month. The infrastructure for the program, which also includes training, logistics and intelligence assistance — most of it based in Jordan — is already in place and the arms would begin to flow within the next several weeks.
Some lawmakers have criticized the proposal as insufficient to make a difference on the battlefield, and called for U.S. air support for the beleaguered rebels with attacks on Syrian airfields or establishment of a no-fly zone over rebel-held territory.
Others have objected to any U.S. military involvement in the Syrian civil war — a position supported in numerous American public opinion polls — and questioned whether the administration has a realistic long-term plan.
In recent weeks the Assad regime has regained the upper-hand with the assistance of Hezbollah units from Lebanon, as the opposition forces fighting his regime are spending more time fighting each other for control. How we are to identify who the "good guys" are -- indeeed, if there are any good guys at all -- is a question not answered by Congress or the administration. Putting the CIA in charge -- remember the "weapons of mass destruction" intelligence fiasco in Iraq? -- is not reassuring. The U.S. is stumbling into a sectarian civil war. Pentagon Analysis: Military Involvement in Syria Could Cost $1 Billion a Month.
And finally, there is the Neocon war monger, Little Lindsey Graham, who wants to get his war on with Iran. Senator To Introduce Resolution Authorizing War With Iran:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Tuesday that he plans to introduce a resolution authorizing war with Iran if “nothing changes” regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by the end of the year.
“If nothing changes in Iran, come September, October, I will present a resolution that will authorize the use of military force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb,” Graham told a “cheering” audience at a conference put on by the right-wing group Christians United for Israel, according to CQ Roll Call.
“The only way to convince Iran to halt their nuclear program is to make it clear that we will take it out,” Graham said, echoing comments he made last week, calling the war authorization “the last card to play in a very dangerous situation.”
Experts and former top officials have been warning that ratcheting up pressure and rhetoric against Iran — particularly after Iranians just elected the most moderate presidential candidate available to them — would be counterproductive.
Graham may have difficulty winning support for his resolution as many of his colleagues are already on record opposing an Iran war authorization.
There is of course the ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq, which could boil over into a civil war. And there is the ongoing revolution in Egypt, which also could boil over into a sectarian civil war.
Mankind never wearies of war without end. Peace is only a dream.