Tahoe Pine Nuts: Taking sides in a prison riot | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Pine Nuts: Taking sides in a prison riot

McAvoy Layne
Special to the Bonanza

While sitting on the shores of the Wise River in Montana last week, surrounded by the tenderest of fall colors, I couldn’t help but feel I might actually be sitting on the banks of the Unwise River.

There was a time when Lewis & Clark were out of food, and out of luck here, and who came to their rescue to feed them and get them back on their feet?

The Nez Perce Native Americans. And what did we do to thank the Nez Perce? They don’t allow me to use the language necessary to adequately answer that question in this fine family journal, but I encourage you to look it up if you don’t already know.

Moving right along with the current, I reflected upon Syria. Here is Vladimir Putin taking sides in a prison riot while we try to distinguish jihadists from moderate rebels, which leads to conversations something like this between an American military officer and a Syrian…

“Sir, are you a moderate rebel?”

“I am a moderate rebel.”

“Okay, then you are with us, the democratic coalition.”

“Ah, what exactly is democracy, anyways? Is that when you have the right to shut your government down when you feel like it? Because if it is, I’m in.”

“That’s what we like to hear. When a man walks like a moderate and talks like a moderate, he is a moderate. Step over here and pick up your ammunition. Here are your orders: Ready, Fire, Aim! You do know who to shoot at, don’t you?”

“Well, not exactly, does ISIL wear red uniforms? And what color are the pro-Iranian Alawite uniforms, anyways?”

“Listen, you have to tap a gentleman on the shoulder and ask, ‘Ah, excuse me, but are you with us moderates, or are you with Al Qaeda, or Assad, or ISIL?’ Then, depending upon their answer, you can either hug them or shoot them, your choice. But be careful, if Russia finds out you are a moderate they will bomb you right back to your ancestors.”

There on the shores of the Wise River in Montana, I couldn’t help but wonder about Russia.

The Soviets tried military intervention in Afghanistan in the ‘80’s and got their asses handed to them.

We tried the same thing in Iraq more recently with the same result. Now we are both bombing Syria, but with divergent and comingling adversaries.

The Wall Street Journal characterized this scenario as a schoolyard, where Putin is stealing Obama’s lunch money. What could possibly go wrong?

I got up to go, wondering if I had been sitting on the shores of the Wise River or the banks of the Unwise.

I leave it to better minds than mine, but I strongly suspect that there is no such thing as a moderate combatant in Syria.

In my humble opinion, when examining the conundrum that is Syria, we should fish or cut bait. Were I superintending, we would cut bait.

To learn more about McAvoy Layne, who’s spent many of his years at Lake Tahoe impersonating Mark Twain, visit http://www.ghostoftwain.com.