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Progressive Democrat  *  Retired U.S. Marine   *   Vietnam veteran   *  U.S. Diplomat in Iraq  *  U.S. Congressional Commission on Wartime Contracting, Iraq/Afghanistan  *  DoD Contract Program Manager   *  Sr. U.S. Analyst in Saudi Arabia and Egypt  *  Air Port Director in Iraq   *  Father of 2 combat veterans and a Wounded Warrior  *    Lifetime Member of the NC Society of Hispanic Professionals..... and now he wants to go to Congress... Watch his "Meet Marshall" video.

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I was watching a news/commentary program on TV this morning while making my breakfast in the Middle East where I am on business.  I have the benefit here of watching Arab commentary as well as US commentary (I am able to stream MSNBC and CNN on my computer).
It now appears that President Obama has decided that a U.S. Strike on Syria is a real likelihood. Not all  the countries friendly to the U.S. in the Middle East are supporting that decision.

The Saudis are firmly on the side of U.S. military action in Syria. Why? Well there are a few reasons. One of those reasons is because the people in power in Syria are Alollite Muslims who relate closely to Shia Muslims. The Saudis are Sunni Muslims. All Saudis are Sunni Muslims.  So it kind of makes sense that they want whatever will harm the Shia Muslims with whom they do not agree on almost anything. Syria also supports Hezbollah and Hamas, also Shia Muslims.  Iran, also a friend to Syria, is a Shia nation. The point I am making here is that without exception the struggles in the Middle East are all related to Islam to one extent or another. Additionally Qatar, a friend of Saudi Arabia, has a great deal to gain by the overthrow of Assad and the Russian influence which restricts Qatar’s gas expansion into Europe.

Syria’s leaders have allegedly used Chemical weapons on their own people, much as Saddam Hussein did to his own people in Iraq. (With gas sold to him by the USA).  Using Chemical weapons is in violation of international treaties and laws. Consequently if Syria has used chemical weapons, there needs to be some punitive measure to ensure they do not do it again and clearly understand and appreciate the ramifications of using chemical weapons.

So I asked myself; Why would Assad use chemical weapons, knowing it would cause international intervention, when the Assad government is winning the civil war in Syria?
Is it the role of the United States of America to deliver that punitive measure?  If so; Why?
Is a military response to an international Treaty violation which resulted in the killing of 1,400 innocent women and children the right response?
Who had the most to gain from the use of Chemical weapons in Syria?
Is killing more people an appropriate response to the killing of people?

Saudi Arabia is the powerhouse in the region who possess more than enough military capability to deliver punitive action against neighboring Syria which Syria would not be able to respond to effectively.  Among the Middle East States Saudi Arabia and Syria are not friends. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has already been sending arms, food and equipment in mass quantities to the rebel forces fighting Assad. In essence the Saudis and America are ensuring the rebel forces have what they need to keep the fight going forward although many of the rebels are jihadist who basically hate America and , given the right circumstance, would turn those U.S. provided weapons against U.S. forces. It happened in Iraq and continues to happen in Afghanistan.

Of the factions fighting in Syria today, there is not one who would openly align itself with the United States if they prevail in Syria. No Islamist is going to align itself with the United States. Saudi Arabia, who does have a close relationship with the United States, also supports and equips many jihadist groups throughout the world.

Turkey is also a powerful nation militarily and could easily deliver punishment to Syria’s Assad regime for killing civilians with Chemical weapons.  The Turkish people however are foursquare against being the country who delivers the military message to Assad’s Syria. They want to cheer on America as we deliver the blows. Iraq is allowing Shia fighters to cross into Syria at will; and why not? Syria allowed over a hundred thousand Iraqi refugees to find refuge from war in Syria and Assad did all he could to house them and feed them.

We can’t allow Israel to deliver a punitive blow to Assad’s regime because that would bring Sunni and Shia, who equally hate Israel, together to wage war against Israel. (Assad would love that to happen) and America would end up defending Israel at a cost of American blood and treasure (mostly blood) which would be so great as to be unimaginable. We can’t let Israel get involved at all.

The President of the United States has indicated that he intends to deliver the punitive action to Syria which no other country will sign up for. One thousand four hundred innocent civilians were killed whose only crime was living in a city that does not support the Assad regime in the bloody civil war now raging in that country. Some say; “Whats the big deal?  One hundred thousand people have already lost their lives in the Syrian civil war. One thousand four hundred is just a drop in the killing bucket in Syria”, and that is true. Many more people have been killed by bullets and bombs in Syria than saran gas did in Syria. That point creates another dilemma for justifying a military action against Assad. We have stood by and watch Assad slaughter his people for some time now and have done little more than send a few rifles to the rebels who have done pretty despicable killing themselves. Wasn’t there a moral imperative to stop the slaughter long ago?

The existing treaties, regarding war, forbid the use of chemicals of any kind notwithstanding, one day, in an already war ravaged country, a sort of rain drifted from the sky and fell on children playing on the street, mothers standing in their kitchens making a meal, teenagers trying to get a car’s engine to run and bakers concerned with getting enough bread made for the next morning’s customers. It fell on babies in their cribs and grandparents hoping for an end to the struggle which has killed so many of their countries youth. The chemical rain fell on the makeshift schools filled with children who had nothing more on their mind than playing outside during the next recess time, not realizing that they were only minutes away from an excruciating and slow death.  That rain was in all likelihood sent by their President Bashar Al Assad. I will not try to describe the pains of their experience which took their lives, least I begin to cry at this laptop in front of me. It was horrifying and that is enough to know.

There is a sense of cowardice that pervades the people in the Middle East with the exception of those living in the West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza Strip areas of Palestine who are born fighting and struggling for their own freedom.  A feudal struggle which has only brought them pain, misery, poverty and death. Nevertheless they continue their struggle to establish self-rule as a sovereign state.
That sounds noble, but it’s not. The poor innocent civilians of Palestine who have no choice in their cowardly leaders struggle are the perennial victims of an almost hopeless vision of their hardline leaders to destroy Israel. A vision which has brought them decades of destruction, death and apartied existence while Middle East countries use them as pawns in a rhetorical war with Isreal.  It is heartbreaking to see these people, sentenced to more decades of praising those who blow themselves up in an effort to affect Israelis which then has the justification to tighten the noose on an already unhappy and depressing existence. Their struggle, however hopeless and unnecessary nevertheless expresses a courage not seen anywhere else in the Middle East. Renouncing violence as a tool to gain their statehood would bring them closer to that state of existence faster than anything else, but that will never happen.
The Palestinian leaders are heavily vested in violent struggle. They need it so they have something to blame their utter failure to lead on.

It takes courage to lead. It takes strength of character to stop trading in blood. Like the Palestinian leadership who joyfully watch the misery of their followers, so to the other leaders in the Middle East remain unwilling to lead, sacrifice and risk for a brighter and productive future in the Middle East. That reluctance to lead and risk some failure is what creates the Syria’s and the Iraq’s in the region.
America’s willingness to step in uninvited as though it were the ultimate arbitrator is what keeps the Middle East unable and unwilling to solve their own problems.

My message to President Obama and to the U.S. Congress; If you decide to go it alone and militarily punish Baser Assad for allegedly gassing his own people, I will, as an opposition voice, stand with my government, but you will be wrong in your decision to initiate war against Syria nevertheless.

Mr. President, I am asking that you sit down with Russia, enter consultations with the new Iranian leadership, talk to Iraq, Assad’s neighbor and bring the force of international condemnation and sanctions, perhaps even a type of blockade, against Syria. Or even charging Assad with Crimes against humanity at the International Court in The Hague.
If you are able to do that and Assad persist in thumbing his nose at the world while his people suffer, then increase substantially the aid the U.S. already provides to the rebels trying to over throw him, but be prepared upon their victory, to be utterly rejected by them and even threatened with war if you continue to mettle in their affairs and plans which will include the destruction of Israel as is the mantra of all Islamic states. Accepting that probable outcome must be part and parcel of your expectations.

I would hope that we learned that in Iraq and Afghanistan as well. We should know by now that in the case of the Middle East, War is not the answer, but is the choice they, in the Middle East, have made. Sometimes war is the only way to settle a dispute between enemies, but war is the very worst method of containment, settling disputes, or changing regimes.

Lastly I am the father of three veteran sons. Two of whom are combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan wars. One of my sons was critically wounded in Battle in Baqubah Iraq in 2006. Another son, my youngest, spent a total of 40 months in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thank God he was not physically injured, but being a Vietnam Veteran myself and having spent almost four years in Iraq as a civilian, I know the scars that can occur mentally are as serious as some of the physical injuries.

An expansion of a U.S. incursion into Syria will most certainly include U.S. Troops on the ground in Syria. The American people are not prepared for that Mr. President. We are war weary and we have seen the futility of U.S. involvement and investment in Middle East disputes.  Please consider carefully your decision to engage U.S. Military might into the Syria Civil War.

I fear the outcome you hope for, Mr. President,  has never really been any of the realistic probabilities and the U.S. will have a third failed war which also will have costs us everything and taught us nothing.  

Discuss

John F. Kennedy, to a ten year old boy in the 1960s, was like superman. He even liked animals. I wanted to be like him when I was ten. I still do.
“An individual can make a difference, but everyone should try”.
JFK said that and I believe it. I have taught that to my sons and daughters.
 Martin Luther King, another Democrat, was fighting for our freedom at the very same time JFK was President. The forces of hate and fear assassinated Dr. King. Bobby Kennedy took up the mantle of liberty, freedom and civil rights. Those same forces killed Bobby too. If our modern American history has shown us anything it has taught us that fighting for the rights and liberties of others in America is risky business and not for the faint of heart. Since then Democrats have continued the difficult fight for the rights, liberties and dignity of all Americans, regardless of their personal beliefs, or politics. To most committed Democrats it is a sacred duty.

In my adult life I have gauged just about every political event, on what I believe JFK would have been doing, or how he would have reacted, had he been President. I am sure my imagination has actually made JFK bigger than life than he actually was, if that is possible.  He was probably more of a regular guy than a super human guy, but my image of him has given me a compass in my life that would, at least, point the way for me, a path to follow, and a direction with purpose. I believe it has served me well.  
 In a manner of speaking then, I became a Democrat when I was in the fourth grade.

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“If, particularly in the past ten years, you have become angry at our U.S. Government’s seemingly inability to manage money and assets, particularly in programs where countries who hate us are benefiting from U.S. mismanagement of assets, reading the rest of this article is going to really upset you".

I have heard it said  “War is too important a matter to be left to the Generals”.

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Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 08:17 AM PDT

While Rome Burns

by Marshall Adame

The “We The People” has changed. It has been weakened. Political forces, I believe, have finally succeeded in convincing much of America that, as a people, we exist in two separate and opposing camps which can never reconcile their differences. Something new has reached us…. something bad.… something not cognoscente of how we became so great through the very diversity it opposes…  and its tearing us apart.

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Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 06:26 AM PDT

Coming Out of The Desert

by Marshall Adame

Using our September 11, 2001 national tragedy as his spring board, and justification for every thing his did after that, President Bush led America into the dismal swamp of patently un-American behavior and immoral governance, much of which we shall never recover from.

None of us imagined the passing of anything as anti-American as "The Patriot Act", the formation of the Department of Homeland Security, the despicable practice of rendition which existed for the specific purpose of making torture available in the dark places of foreign lands, or the suspension of an American constitutional anchor, the right to habeas corpus.

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Running for Federal or Statewide office is a consuming experience for the candidate. I have been running full time, full speed and dragging anyone willing to help, for over a year in my quest for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District seat in Congress. I have learned so much about lots of things, but mostly about people. I could go on and on about the different types of people; caring, concerned, aggressive, timid, politically consumed, apolitical and indifferent. So many backgrounds and life experiences, but all, to some degree, products of our  environment.

I have loved meeting all of the people along the campaign trail and I look forward to the many I have yet to meet. I love to hear the life stories of struggle, overcoming, heartbreaks and blessings. Without trying, they have taught me lot.  There is something though that I have noted; a sort of string woven into the being, culture and fabric of North Carolinians and all Americans for that matter. People want their leaders to say what they mean and mean what they say.

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I got a call from my son today. Billy is the son who was wounded in battle in Iraq just outside of Baghdad in 2006. He has shrapnel in his neck and shoulder, still. He has had surgery on his leg and it is well again. He is suffering from, and has been diagnosed with, Traumatic Brain injury (TBI). Consequently he now has a type of Tourette Syndrome and suffers from "tics", sort of involuntary jerks or sudden movements.  I am happy I still have my son.

Anyway Billy called to tell me that he has been informed, by the Army Medical Board, that he is being retired with a 50% disability.  My son understood the risks of being a career Army soldier. He had seen me serving in the Marines almost his whole live as a young man. It seemed a natural transition for him when he decided to make the Military his home. He also had the understanding that the Army too understood and accepted their responsibilities to him. That part hasn’t worked out that well.   Our President must not have factored in the cost of wounded soldiers when he let us borrow the money from China to wage war in Iraq.

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Sun Mar 16, 2008 at 04:40 PM PDT

North Carolinians for Torture

by Marshall Adame

H.R.2082 is the Bill in Congress which would have, if passed, overridden President Bush’s Veto of the bill to prohibit torture, making it illegal for any Agency or Department of the United States to utilized or practice torture. It did not pass.

President Bush went on National television to tell America that torture was a "valuable tool in our fight against terrorism".
Who in North Carolina voted for torture with the President?

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When did it become acceptable for Americans to allow

Torture?

When we all learned about the secret movement of "yet to be charged" prisoners to secret torture prisons in foreign countries, referred to as

Rendition; Where was the outrage?

When we all learned about the Secret prisons, where we took people to be tortured and that our President and Vice President had approved them; Why was our President not impeached?

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In 2003 the US lead Coalition came into Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people, capture and destroy the confirmed weapons of mass destruction, including possible nuclear capability we were assured existed, and overthrow a brutal tyrant who brutalized his people, led genocide in his own country and invaded his neighbor.

In 2004 we had thrown out the tyrant, and were now battling the pro-Saddam Iraqi insurgency and the followers of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada Al Sadr while trying to establish the legitimate Iraq Government institutions to facilitate the fledgling Democracy. Or so it would seem.

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The clamor for the White House is on. Clinton, Romney, Obama, Thomson, Huckabee, McCain and a fountain of other well known Washington insiders, many steeped in years of cozy relationships, cloak and dagger histories of deal making and inside political trading, not focused on Americas well being, but aimed and purposed for the retention of power or extending one’s influence. Political dynasties somehow permitted by the electorate to remain, in many cases, at the expense of America’s democratic health and vitality. We have permitted old money, old influence and all the political experience and seasoning it could buy to get us where we are today, drowning in two wars and a nine trillion dollar debt, trillion with a "T".

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