EDITOR’S COMMENT: This question clearly raises the stakes in the Middle East, and I’m not sure that there are any easy responses to this escalation. My own sense is that Putin has made a major mistake on his part, and is now inviting the West, namely the U.S., to supply portable stinger missiles along with other equipment to the rebels as a response. If you recall, the Russian helicopters, that were flying over Afghanistan years ago in their unsuccessful war, were eventually grounded by the increasing use of such stinger-like missiles.
This decision by Putin is also another slap-in-the-face to President Obama, who naively feels that he can trust and work with this former head of the KGB. Just remember Obama’s recent “flexibility” comment on the open mike to the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev “that Obama would have “more flexibility” after the election to deal with missile defense.” I wonder if Obama still wants to cave in to their demands about our missile defense system? Probably, still does!
By Jim Yardley for American Thinker
Reports surfaced Tuesday that Russia is supplying Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime in Syria with MI-17 attack helicopters. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to this issue publicly, and voiced concern that these attack helicopters might be used to attack the resistance to the Assad regime.
Ya think, Hillary?
Weapons, in and of themselves, do not cause deaths or injury. The users of the weapons do, and in each report that has surfaced there is much hand wringing about this “escalation” and the “intractable” opposition of Russia to aiding in any way to rein in the Syrian government. A single question about these helicopters seems conspicuously absent, however. Not an answer, it must be admitted. But not even this question is being put forward.
Who exactly is flying these helicopters?
Are Syrians going to pilot these new helicopters? Training a pilot is an extremely time consuming effort. In fact it is arguably easier to build a fighter aircraft or helicopter than it is to train the pilot. It is therefore highly unlikely that Assad has a barracks full of trained helicopter pilots sitting around playing canasta because they have no machines to fly. So absent a trained pilot pool, who is going to be flying these new helicopters? Russians? Or perhaps Iranians?
If anyone other than Syrians are the pilots, this puts the transfer of these helicopters from Russia in an entirely different light, and presents a even greater threat to the stability of the Middle East. Of course Russians, when known as the Soviets, have often provided “technical advisors” as they did in Vietnam. The United States did the same thing as well, until the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, when we committed actual combat troops to the war. What will the Russians do if Assad doesn’t appear to be winning? Iran is open in its support of the Assad regime, and the same question must be asked of what they will do if their pet dictator begins to look as if he is losing.
Yet the question of who is going to be actually piloting these new helicopters has not been asked. Why not?
Perhaps it’s because neither the Clintons nor Barack Obama have any personal experience in the military. They are openly dismissive and derisive of our military. The fact that the question isn’t uppermost on their minds illustrates this quite clearly.
I hope this is a wake up call for Mitt Romney should he succeed in November. He was never in the military either, but there are a lot of people who have. And he should be asking them what questions need to be answered. (my emphasis)
By Jim Yardley for American Thinker
By permission American Thinker
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a Vietnam veteran and an independent voter. Jim blogs at jimyardley.wordpress.com.Print This Post Send To A Friend