2013 Favs: Smoke Signals, Courier, Carrier Pigeons, Telegraph, Telephone, Email and Now Tomahawk Missiles? You Gotta Be Kidding Me.

Bombing in warfare can serve tactical purposes.

Say, for instance, that you are at war with a country that has actual war-making capabilities. This hasn’t happened to America in a long time, so let my refresh your memories.

Remember Pearl Harbor?

The Japanese people who attacked us were able to build airplanes, aircraft carriers and guns of all types. They had the ability to train their own pilots, navigate their own ships and come half-way around the globe to launch a devastating attack that sank most of the Sixth Fleet. Then, they had the ability to turn around and go back across the ocean to their home port.

That is war making ability.

You know, the ability to wage actual war on a global scale.

If you are at war with a nation with war-making ability, bombing can serve the purpose of leveling their factories where they make these planes and ships. It can cut the supply lines they use to feed these factories and move their troops. In short, dropping bombs on or shooting missiles at an industrial power with war-making ability during an actual war can serve a strategic and tactical purpose.

This raises the question, at least in my mind, of what, exactly, the backers of the president’s proposed “intervention” in Syria expect to accomplish by lobbing tens of millions of dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles at innocent civilians because their government or maybe their government’s opponents … because somebody used sarin gas.

Sarin gas is a gas. It can be carried in a canister. There are comments in various news stories that Syria has “stockpiles” of chemical weapons and that it also is “manufacturing” them. But I find even more sources theorizing that they got these weapons from Saddam Hussein, or even that the United States gave them to Syria a long time ago.

So far as I can tell from this, Syria has no munitions or chemical weapons plants where it is manufacturing this gas that would make legitimate tactical targets. I haven’t found anything except vague, unsubstantiated claims in the popular press that such sites exist.

So, are there military targets that are linked to the sarin gas or not? I keep remembering the way President Kennedy outlined the menace to the American people at the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He spoke to us in a straight-forward 1,2,3 manner. That was a serious threat to our survival as a nation, not some we-can’t-explain-it nonsense. But that president trusted the American people with the truth.

If there is such truth now, we have a right to hear it. Based on the fact that we haven’t heard it, I am assuming that the only reasons for creating this war are the reasons that we’ve been given, none of which claim any threat to America or the American people.

That raises the question: What does our president and the war-promotion machine that’s hammering us think they are going to accomplish by hitting these already miserable people with Tomahawk missiles?

What is the military objective? What tactical purpose does this proposed attack supposedly serve?

The only explanation I’ve read as to what they hope to accomplish came in an unintentionally silly little article from NBC News. According to them, we want to use these missiles for “sending messages” (I kid you not.) to the Syrian government. For instance, the article says (emphases mine),

The U.S. Navy can use those capabilities to send a message to Syria’s leaders about their chemical weapons program, just as it sent messages in the past to leaders of IraqYugoslaviaAfghanistan, SudanYemen and Libya.

Almost as important, the Tomahawks can send messages back — in the form of real-time battle damage assessments. As in those earlier conflicts, Tomahawk cruise missiles are America’s point of the spear for the Syria crisis. President Barack Obama and his aides, members of Congress, leaders of other countries and U.N. officials are continuing to debate if and when to attack Syria. Meanwhile, Pentagon leaders have their battle plan ready, and the Tomahawks are expected to deal the first blow.

Now, I’m familiar with the use of the phrase “send him a message” as it is used in trite movies to describe wreaking some form of mayhem on a character by other characters in the screen play. The dialogue usually begins with a command to burn down someone’s house, kill their family, beat them to a pulp or some such and “send him a message.”

I assume that may be what the writer of this article is talking about.

What kind of message are we supposed to be sending by firing thousand-pound bombs at the people of Syria?

Is the plan to devastate the infrastructure so that the government crumbles and the rebels win this civil war? Do we want the rebels to win this war? Who, exactly, are these rebels, and who is backing them? What kind of future war would we create by getting into this?

I wonder if the president and his crew have considered other means of sending messages. I mean, have they tried email? Or how about sending a courier or using carrier pigeons?

Anything  makes more sense than “sending a message” with Tomahawk missiles.

Unless these missiles are sarin-seeking, or known stockpiles and manufacturing plants we haven’t been told about exist, we’re not going to get at the chemical weaponry. What we are going to do is kill people, create even more havoc and entangle America and Americans in somebody else’s civil war.

I listened to Secretary of State Kerry’s testimony before Congress as he flatly refused to “take the option” of “boots on the ground” “off the table.”

Aside from the question, Do these people really talk in unending strings of cliches? I wondered how many of the people listening to this understood what he was saying. He wants authorization for Tomahawk missiles now, with whatever the president decides he wants to do to follow.

He’s saying this vote is a blank check.

Also, for those people who seem to keep forgetting this, he wasn’t talking about sending boots to Syria. He was talking about sending American men and women over there to die.

Maybe the reason for all the hackneyed cliches is because nobody, either in Congress or the White House or the press for that matter, wants to say precisely what it is that they are proposing. It just doesn’t have the same Rambo/Corleone-esq macho block-headedness to say the truth.

What if the Secretary of State had said,

  • We probably will send ground troops into Syria. We haven’t decided how many or for how long.
  • We are certain that we are going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to fire Tomahawk missiles at non-military targets in a largely defenseless nation which doesn’t have any military targets.
  • This talk about a “red line” is just for public consumption. We created the “red line” a few weeks ago, and are relying on the propaganda press and the short attention spans of the American people to sell it for us.
  •  We are not going to discuss the rumors of Russian involvement in this war because if we didn’t ignore it, this attack would be even harder to sell to the American people than it is now.
  • In the final analysis, after all this bizarro cliche talk about “sending messages” with Tomahawk missiles and the “option of boots on the ground,” what we’re talking about is killing people. Lots of people. For no tactical reason that we will discuss with the American people.

Firing Tomahawk missiles into another nation is not “sending them a message.” It’s an act of war. And this particular war is not our war.

We do not need to go to war in Syria to defend America.

Let me repeat that: We do not need to go to war in Syria to defend America.

Is there some other reason for committing American troops? Is our military a police force the president can use as he wishes to “send messages” to whomever he wants?

Or, is it for the protection of this nation and its people?

I have said from the beginning that I am open to being persuaded about military action in Syria. But persuading me means convincing me that there is a reason for it that has to do with protecting America and that the negative consequences of military action do not outweigh the threat to our safety.

So far, all I’ve seen is an appeal to kill lots of people by firing missiles at them because somehow or other that’s the “humanitarian” thing to do. I have not heard anything that convinces me that there is a tactical purpose to this action, or that there are even tactical targets for the missiles. I also have not heard anything — and I mean anything — that addresses how America is endangered by the civil war in Syria.

What is the tactical, military purpose of firing missiles at the Syrian people?

How does firing missiles at Syria protect the homeland and the American people?

Why are we being pushed into this war?

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!


The Media is Not “Biased” Toward Gay Marriage. It is Promoting It.

So … what happened at the March for Marriage last week? 

If you know, you must have been there because the various news media enforced a near-total blackout on the event. 

Let’s think about that for a moment.

Gay marriage is what you might call a “big” story. The Supreme Court was hearing two cases that have the potential to upend 2,000 years of teaching, law and culture concerning the fundamental unit on which all of Western civilization is built. That makes it an important story. Public conversation about this issue is focused and combative. That makes it a ratings grabber. The March for Marriage was the “other” side of the argument finally getting its act together and stepping up to public protest, which made it a man bites dog story, providing a new twist to a story that had already been done to death. That makes it interesting.

So. We have a story that gives a new angle to an important topic, that draws widespread public interest at a time when public interest is already focused on the issue. Sounds like a win-win-win for the media. All they had to do was cover it.

Which they did not.

I repeat: What happened at the March for Marriage last week? I would not be surprised if most of the coverage of that event that you saw was right here on Public Catholic and other Christian blogs and web sites. You may have, as I did, had to go to the Facebook page sponsored by the March for Marriage organizers to get any news of the event.

This was the news story that wasn’t. Because the media is promoting gay marriage. They are hard-selling it. And this march ran counter to their true objectives, which appear to be not so much to inform the public as to propagandize the public. 

There are a number of reasons why public support for gay marriage appears to be reaching a tipping point in favor of it. The continuous, completely biased and often inaccurate media propaganda in favor of it is one of them.

From The World Tribune:


By Cliff Kincaid

Significant news came out of last Tuesday’s March for Marriage demonstration in Washington, D.C. But it didn’t make “news” in the major media.

As one who covered the event, it was significant that there were so many members of minority groups. This was not a mostly white crowd. In addition to the presence of black, Hispanic and Asian supporters of traditional marriage, there were some notable Democrats, such as New York State Senator Ruben Díaz, and he let people know he was several minorities in one.


“I’m Puerto Rican,” he said. “I’m black, with kinky hair. I am a Democrat and I am a senator. I’m against abortion. I’m against same-sex marriage, and I won the last election with 89 percent of the vote.”

J.C. Derrick of World magazine has a good analysis of how the major media, led by The Washington Post, virtually ignored the March for Marriage. But unless you actually see what happened on the ground, as the thousands of traditional marriage supporters held their demonstration, you would miss the true significance of how dishonest the media’s coverage of this issue has become …

… The video excerpts are interesting, in that a self-proclaimed homosexual man, Doug Mainwaring, co-founder of the National Capital Tea Party Patriots, was also shown opposing homosexual marriage …

… His speech at the March for Marriage included the admonition that the Supreme Court should “ignore the media’s relentless, manufactured urgency to institute same-sex marriage.”

That media campaign, as we revealed in a recent column, includes the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), funded by all of the major news organizations. Natalie Morales of NBC’s Today Show was the host of the March 21 New York fundraiser for the group 

… But the omissions and distortions don’t end there. On the NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night, host Brian Williams claimed that a majority of Americans now support homosexual marriage. But the Reuters Corporation recently released the results of a huge poll finding only 41 percent of America supports it.

The company tried to mask the results by highlighting majority support for benefits for “same-sex couples.” But the story about the poll notes in the fourth paragraph that only 41 percent of people say same-sex couples should be permitted to marry …

… Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council commented, “If 41% was all the support Reuters could scrounge up for same-sex ‘marriage,’ then you know they exhausted every avenue trying to push that number higher — and couldn’t.”

NBC News correspondent Kristen Dahlgren did a story on Tuesday’s Brian Williams newscast on “TV’s impact on the gay marriage debate” which totally ignored the role of NBC News, which like CBS News and Fox News, funds one side of the debate — the NLGJA. (Read more here.)

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the Accuracy In Media Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at cliff.kincaid@aim.org

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!