As a C-141 Flight Engineer in the Air Force Reserves. I was involved with copious humanitarian missions. Bosnia; Cuban refugee relocation; Rwanda; Somalia, and Cambodia to name just a few. The Bill Clinton foreign policy was much more laissez-faire when compared to the Bush doctrine. I evoke poetic license when using laissez-faire when talking of foreign policy. Bill Clinton did more with less. The Bill Clinton military budget was $300 billion. Bill Clinton’s use of military force was a last resort. I recall how long it took for Bill Clinton to react to both the Bosnia and Rwanda genocides. In addition, Somalia was a halfhearted affair. Of course theRepublicans skewered Bill Clinton on national security every step of the way from the Cole to Libya. When Clinton launched a missile strike after Gaddafi, the republicans said it was to take our minds off of Clinton getting a Lewinsky in the coat room of the oval office.
For the most part, all of Clinton’s military interventions were low cost humanitarian missions when compared to the Bush Doctrine. We were also safer. Much safer. Many of the humanitarian support missions were conducted using USAF assets. The cost of fuel, equipment, aircrew and aircrew logistics went well beyond the cost of humanitarian goods. Many times, we would haul $10,000 of food at the cost of $100,000 a mission. The cost of hauling Cuban refugees back to Guantanamo was insane.
After 911, that would all change. The Bush Doctrine used the symbol of 911 to destabilize Iraq. However another aspect of the Bush Doctrine was expanding the DOD air bridge assets to places that were hands off during the Cold War. The logistics of the Bush Doctrine were untenable. The USAF was called upon to support troops in parts of the world that were pointless and unnecessary. 100,000 pounds of cargo would end up costing $3 to $5 a pound to airlift. Magnify this number by tens of thousands of sorties and the logistic costs became the GDP of a mid sized country. The logistics of the Bush Doctrine made the Stalingrad supply line look like child’s play.
In Syria, humanitarian goods can be transported via shipping. This allows most of the costs of humanitarian missions to go to food and not fuel.
We can fix Syria by gaining a coalition with Jordan, Russia, France, and Britain and NATO allies. Safe zones with humanitarin support could be created allowing moderate Sunnis to escape the war torn regions of Syria. As people move to safe zones, ISIS can be taken out by NATO The UN forces could then move in. Concurrently, NATO and UN troops could bolster the Shiite in Iraq and press northward while offering the Sunni safe zones and more representation in the current Iraq government. After awhile, the Sunnis will come to the table. The borders of ISIS held territories must be sealed and any arms transfers must stop. Then it is only a matter of time before they run out of bullets. As we recall, it took Lebanon 30 years to burn themselves out on war. It is clear however, that the Sunni and Shiites will have to come to terms with their hatred of each other. It is clear that the Shiite dominated government of Iraq does not work for the old Saddam Hussein Sunni Muslim construct. Some method of power sharing will have to occur.
Bill Clinton made inroads with Muslims when he intervened in the Bosnia genocide. As a nation, we maintained the moral high road. This moral high ground was squandered in Iraq. So, now we can either abandon the Middle East as in the case of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, or we can create a humanitarian coalition and seek to end the Sunni Shiite carnage. Once Syria is secured, the international community pushes for free Syrian elections.Then again, the Sunni population does not care about free elections or democracy. We found this out in Iraq. As far as Iraq, we might want to invite Iraq into NATO and put a base there. Especially since Iran has been green lighted to produce weapons grade uranium. A NATO base would serve as a bull work against Shiite dominated Iran and provide Sunni’s with a little more security. Besides, someone has to fill the nation state power void left by the Bush Doctrine and Obama ineptitude…..
Rand Paul will have to formulate a solution to Iraq and Syria.