Sep 06

The Syrian Civil War and America’s Involvement

American Imperial Overreach

I hadn’t thought I would post a piece on the Syrian Civil War until several friends asked me for my views and suggested I post my position on this blog. I stated that I am opposed to American involvement. I provided the reasons set forth below. They are in no particular order of importance.

War is Hell. The simple fact is that all war is truly Hell, civil war or otherwise, regardless of the weapons used. The American Civil War was a Hell that was bloody, cruel and wasteful of human life and property. The Syrian Civil War is no less so.

Before giving my reasons for opposing America’s involvement in yet another Middle Eastern war, it is important to make one thing absolutely clear. Whichever group gassed and took the lives of innocent humans, whether that proves to be the Assad forces or the rebels, the act was beyond reprehensible. Lest readers think Americans wouldn’t commit such a heinous act, they have, not just in foreign wars but right there in the USA. Regardless of where or who the perpetrator was, the act is deeply inhumane and thoroughly reprehensible.

My Reasons—

1) As of this writing, we don’t know whether the Assad regime or the opposition gassed the victims. The opposition includes, contrary to the mendacious assertions of Secretary-of-State Kerry, al-Qaeda, which wants Syria to become part of the Islamic Caliphate rather than the secular society it is under Assad. I think you would agree that al-Qaeda is certainly not  committed to caring about innocent lives. Other rebel opposition groups want much the same as al-Qaeda while still others want a multi-cultural democratic society (good luck with that!).

2) Like the laws of physics, the law of unintended consequences is a constant. Examples are plentiful in the Middle East: the United States helped bin Laden against the Soviets; Iraq was supposed to be a cakewalk and would be transformed by the Americans into a peaceful, democratic society; the Taliban were vicious fanatics who killed to keep little girls from going to school, but now the USA is negotiating with them to take control even as they are killing American soldiers and their own opponents. And on and on. “Blowback” is the word that has come to express what has actually occurred. All are unintended consequences.

3) Obama and his spokesmen assure us that the NSA is observing restrictions required by the 4th Amendment and the Constitution only to have a new document or revelation—even from the FISA court—show clearly that the NSA is urinating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. If the Obama administration told us tomorrow that the sun rises in the east, I would go outside just to check. Until it is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, should we believe their as-yet unseen “proof” and assurances that Assad is the guilty party? [See Reason # 1.]

4) The USA is congenitally driven to use the military to get its way rather than sitting down at a negotiation table. Always! Obama looks like the Bush/Cheney gang more and more with each passing day. He put his foot in his mouth with his “red line” comment in mid-August and now he’s trying to wriggle out of it with comments made in Stockholm on September 4.

5) Innocents will die in any strike, but that doesn’t register with Obama or the American military that has all these fancy weapons it is eager to use. Already, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have become refugees since it became known that the USA would make a ”limited strike.” That has already evaporated with the announcement yesterday of a broader strike against Assad’s forces than originally planned (does that ring any bells?). That doesn’t register with the Americans either. It’s imperial military muscle-flexing in all its glory.

6) I voted for Obama in 2008—there was no other choice—believing he would bring change as he promised—but the only meaningful change we have seen is that he now subscribes to the Bush/Cheney doctrine of empire. Like a number of others I have talked with, I did not vote for him in 2012.

Some friends have suggested there is a middle way such as ”degrading” Syrian runways so supplies can’t be flown in by the Russians or other friendly nations. My response is that war is war whether it is ”degrading” or ”limited strikes.”

All of that said, I believe that President Obama will order a military strike against Assad’s forces even if congress votes against military action. It’s what an imperial superpower like the USA does best.

I oppose American strikes on Syria.