What is a "tiehacker"?
"Tiehacker" is a term originating in the Ozark hills of southern Missouri. It referred to a class of people from WAY back in the hills that made a living cutting trees into ties for the railroad. I first heard the term from my wife shortly after we married. I had been working outside all day and was dirty and stinky. She had learned it from her father, and thought it just meant "a bum". Never having heard it before, I looked it up. Although I am not really a bum, I thought it was interesting, and I do have a life-long love affair going with the Ozark hills, so ... there you have it!
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
My take on our possible "involvement" in the Syrian civil war
Back towards the end of July, the United Nations estimated that the Syrian civil war had resulted in over 100,000 deaths. That number would be much higher by now of course. Different sources come up with different numbers, ranging from 83,000-plus to 125,000-plus.
But, the bottom line is that even by the most conservative estimates, many tens of thousands of people have died. A great number of them were innocent men, women, and children, non-combatants that either got caught in the cross-fire or were killed during indiscriminate bombing and missile strikes.
One given in all of this is that Syrian President President Bashar al-Assad is, by all accounts, a monster. Syria, under his leadership, has long been considered a major human rights violator, a supporter of terrorism, and a long-standing obstacle to any hope for peace in the Mid-East.
It has also long been known that many of the groups fighting to overthrow the Syrian government have ties of one sort or another to the uber-terrorist group al-Qaeda. This bunch has long been known to be seeking to obtain WMD's, including nuclear weapons.
So was it any real surprise to anyone that a weapon such as nerve gas was finally used in this fight? And given the nature of the parties involved, on both sides, it comes as no surprise to me that the United Nations has had trouble determining who, in fact, actually used the gas. Was it Assad's government troops? Was it a pro-Assad militia? Or was it one of the al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups? Other than our President, nobody seems to know for sure.
President Obama has been trying to make a case for using our military to intervene on behalf of the rebels by firing missiles and/or dropping bombs on Assad's positions. I am slightly bemused that his point man for this is none other than Secretary of State John Kerry-Heinz. After all, Kerry has always been known as the pacifist Viet Nam war protester and virulent critic of our war in Iraq. So his sudden transformation into a hawk is just a bit hard to take seriously.
Let's face it. The 1,400 people killed in the gas attack on August 21 are just 1% or so of the people killed in this civil war alone. There have been atrocities committed all over the world on a fairly regular basis. There are North Korea, the Sudan, Rwanda, and Somalia, just to name a few off the top of my head. More Kurds were killed by Saddam in his gas attacks on that minority than were killed in Syria, yet we did nothing about it. The same can be said for Iraq's use of gas weapons in their war with Iran. (Our later war with Iraq was unrelated to those atrocities.)
So something tells me that there is something else going on here, besides just simple outrage over war crimes. It reminds me just a bit of President Clinton's decision to intervene in the Balkan war, which was the only other time our country involved itself in a regional conflict because of alleged atrocities. The timing then was highly suspect: he was coming under intense scrutiny over the Lewinsky affair, and needed to stage a major distraction. It worked, for awhile anyway. And so it is now. Is it any coincidence that this is coming to a head on the twelfth anniversary of the attacks on New York and the Pentagon? And, more to the point, the one-year anniversary of the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of our ambassador and three other men? I think not. I think that is PRECISELY why this is happening. There are growing demands for the impeachment of this President, his removal from office, and subsequent prosecution for what happened there, as well as for other fiascoes such as Fast And Furious, the NSA spying scandal, and the IRS targeting of conservatives. And I believe that is why this has become such an issue now. In reality, no matter who fired those gas-equipped weapons, they did our President a HUGE favor by providing him with the perfect thing to distract us from his own criminal incompetence.
Let's not let him get away with it. Contact your senators and representatives, and let them know that they MUST vote against our involvement in the Syrian civil war, and that they MUST hold his feet to the fire over Benghazi and the rest of his criminal bungling. Let them know that YOU will hold THEM responsible for how they vote on this. Do it now!