The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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I'd Go with Them

Rich Galen

Monday November 16, 2015


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  • It is unfortunate, but no surprise, that everyone running for office, working for someone running for office, or writing about someone running for office is searching for the perfect rhetorical and political response to Paris.

  • After the initial horror of the Paris attacks began to fade, my first thought was, "Let's go get the bastards."

  • ISIS, in the past few weeks, has bombed Beirut, brought down a Russian passenger jet, and now launched Friday's complex attack in Paris.

  • Someone raised the question over the weekend why Vladimir Putin hasn't moved a couple of divisions of Russian soldiers, along with heavy artillery into the region to exact revenge for the aircraft bombing.

  • I said it was one thing to put soldiers and materiel on planes and fly them 1,500 miles due south from Russia to Syria. It was something else again to have barracks, mess halls, latrines, food, water, power, communications, fuel and maintenance facilities to support them once they landed.

  • And, as we've learned, putting troops and guns into a region is a hell of a lot easier than taking them back out.

  • On the other side of the equation - and the other side of the Atlantic - the big discussion has been over what to do about people trying to get out of the region. The easiest and, truthfully, safest approach is: Close the borders TFN.

  • That's hard to argue with.

  • The White House has determined that 1,500 Syrian refugees have been granted asylum in the United States. President Barack Obama made it known in September that he intended to increase that number to 10,000 this year and perhaps another 10,000 next.

  • Twenty thousand people in a country of 320 million adds about six-one-thousands of one percent to the total.

  • I get that it's not just the gross number of immigrants, but that if only eight of them are trained terrorists …

  • As I discovered when Mullpal Tim Hyde and I went to Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Austria to visit with migrants/refugees in early October, is that they were a blend of people from a variety of countries, with a mixture of reasons why they wanted to get from where they had been living to where they hoped to live.

  • Michael Smerconish said on his CNN program over the weekend, the people who are flooding into Europe are trying to get away from the very horrors that were visited on the people of Paris. Good point.

  • And what about the nations of the region taking their share? Jordan has been the go-to country, but it's bursting at the seams. The royal families in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and UAE might consider giving up some of their personal 747s and palaces and build out some reception centers for their neighbors.

  • I don't have a good answer for that, either, but if they did, they would need to fund those operations by raising oil prices and we could kiss $2 gasoline goodbye. As they expanded their defense capabilities to meet prospective threats from ISIS, we could wave bye-bye to $3 gasoline in the near future.

  • Finally, I would like to call a moratorium on the phrase "boots on the ground." Those boots are being worn by American men and women. Largely young American men and women.

  • If we increase our military presence in the Middle East in response to the growing threat let's not hide behind "boots on the ground" or any other euphemism.

  • Let's tell the truth: We are going to send young men and women into battle. Again. Some of them will be killed. Many will be injured. Again.

  • It will not be pretty. It will not be romantic. But if we do, it will be because we deemed it necessary to our national security.

  • As many of you may remember, I spent about six months in Iraq from November 2003 through May 2004. If I were called upon to go back to the region, I would, even though I couldn't physically do, at almost 69, what I could do when I was 56. I would do what I could.

  • I'd go. I'd put my boots back on and go.

  • I'd go with them.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: The NY Times coverage of the President's call to accept more immigrants, to the Iraq Travelogues and to the refugee columns: The Hungary Games.

    Also a drawing from an as-yet unidentified artist that most closely expressed my feelings about the Paris attacks.

    -- END --

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