To say that I am disturbed about the various articles that have been posted in regards to our seemingly inevitable intervention in Syria is quite an understatement. Ladies and Gentlemen, the possible action to be taken in Syria will only endanger the United States and will serve to do nothing except place our national security interests in harms way.
Before I get into the aspects of Syria, there is a little matter I would like to settle. When I was in college, I had the opportunity to take a 400 level media course as part of my certificate in Communication and Culture studies where the class analysed various media sources that published information about protesting though the 20th century. We looked at all sorts of protests from the Vietnam war, the Civil Rights marches, and up to the Iraq War after 2003. My professor was pretty liberal as were the students in the class and as such the material was heavily slanted towards the anti-war side of things and overall there was a hatred for the Bush Administration. My final project involved me demonstrating (rather clearly) that the media covered anti-war and pro-war protests quite differently. My professor was so skeptical of my project she asked me point blank “How do you plan to prove something like THAT?” as though the notion was so absurd it couldn’t possibly be true.
That moment was one that has stuck in my head for a number of years, and there have been plenty of instances where I say to myself “man I wish I would have had this evidence” during that class as I would have schooled every single individual there about the bias in media reporting. Today, I would like to say happily that my feelings and instincts about the war protests that took place during the Iraq War when ran by a Republican President has been proven correct.
Anti-war groups like Code Pink and Peace Action aren’t swarming the Mall in Washington to protest Barack Obama’s planned intervention in Syria. Why not? Because the economy is in the pits and the movement is a “shadow of its former self,” according to Medea Benjamin, founder of Code Pink.
The whole article from Buzzfeed is worth a look if you think I’m joking about the above statement. All the big named figures from Cindy Sheehan on down are suddenly too busy working or are out of money and cannot be bothered to protest this country starting yet another military conflict which will put American solders into harms way. I am glad we have FINALLY settled the debate and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that organizations like Code Pink and other such anti-war organizations are not anti-war but simply were anti-Bush and hooked onto the war as a means of sticking it to the republicans. It had absolutely nothing to do with saving American lives and instead was all about politics. I’m glad we could finally get that straight.
Which brings me to today’s topic of Syria. The President is right when he said Syria isn’t Iraq, it is in fact much worse than our intervention in Iraq. Here is a brief summary of the situation behind Iraq so we can compare and contrast the two situations. Saddam Hussein was no friend of America and there was plenty of evidence showing that Al-Qaeda had retreated to Iraq by 2003 after the United States went into Afghanistan and made it an unsafe place for them to operate. To begin, Saddam had violated 16 specific UN resolutions that he was required to abide by after the first Gulf War where he invaded Kuwait.
“Saddam Hussein has repeatedly violated sixteen United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) designed to ensure that Iraq does not pose a threat to international peace and security. In addition to these repeated violations, he has tried, over the past decade, to circumvent UN economic sanctions against Iraq, which are reflected in a number of other resolutions. As noted in the resolutions, Saddam Hussein was required to fulfill many obligations beyond the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Specifically, Saddam Hussein was required to, among other things: allow international weapons inspectors to oversee the destruction of his weapons of mass destruction; not develop new weapons of mass destruction; destroy all of his ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers; stop support for terrorism and prevent terrorist organizations from operating within Iraq; help account for missing Kuwaitis and other individuals; return stolen Kuwaiti property and bear financial liability for damage from the Gulf War; and he was required to end his repression of the Iraqi people. “
Saddam continued his quest to obtain the capability to create Weapons of Mass Destruction but not because he intended to point them at America but instead as protection from Iran. The fear, from the perspective of the United States, is that Saddam would engage in assistance to Al-Qaeda and provide these weapons. Why bother pulling the trigger when you can get someone else to do it for you. Now, we know that the intelligence that came out of Iraq painted a different picture than the reality. The intelligence suggested that Saddam had stockpiles of WMD’s that were unaccounted for and even perhaps new programs seeking the production of new weapons.
What we found was significantly less, but make no mistake that weapons were found in Iraq and while they might not be the weapons grade material used to slaughter thousands of people, they could have been weaponized in some form that would have killed plenty of people.
Now, what resulted from the Iraq War were elements that we never saw coming when we entered into it, namely the aspects that were happening behind the scenes and a future that we will never know. We later uncovered what is still probably the biggest scandal in human history known as the Oil-for-food program. Saddam was seizing the funds that were supposed to help the Iraq people and instead were using it to line the pockets of major leaders of the United Nations including the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. Saddam was using that money to buy influence and control at the UN. For what you ask? For lifting the sanctions that were preventing him from fully pursuing the very WMD’s we thought he had. Saddam intended to buy off the United Nations to free his country of the shackles holding him down and given a few more years he would have accomplished just that. Saddam planned to accomplish this by beefing up the numbers of women and children that were dying under the conditions brought on by the sanctions. Saddam frequently used his death squads to drive up these numbers, executing women and children to make them become nothing more than statistics.
So while we didn’t find the massive stockpiled of WMD’s we expected, we did end up removing a ruthless dictator who clearly had ambitions to crawl out from under the foot of the United States by buying multiple nations off and influence through the UN. After the Iraq invasion, we discovered that France had provided lots of military support from heavy equipment to vehicles and even a stash of blank passports which were used by high ranking members of Saddam’s regime to get out of the country and into Europe before the US invaded. What we would later discover is many of the United States’ own allies had armed Iraq and provided critical assistance in various ways. I have no doubt, in this one blogger’s opinion, that Iraq would have developed into a national security danger for the United States had we left that country unchecked and Saddam still breathing.
Where we went wrong, however, was with President Bush’s “democracy project” and trying to rebuild Iraq in the same manner that General MacArthur rebuild Japan after the Second World War. I admit that I never bought into the notion that a country would be unable or unwilling to accept democracy. I’ve been proven quite wrong. The reason, I believe, that we will not see democracy take hold in places like Iraq and Afghanistan is liberty requires morality in order to flourish. As long as the middle east continues to thrive in the current culture, such democracy will not be able to take hold. When countries still have sizable amounts of the population pushing for Sharia law, which has serious human rights issues, one cannot expect that democracy will yield the kind of results that we have here in the United States. While Iraq did manage to have elections, they were still filled with corruption and the violence within the country continues to this day. In fact, this year nearly 5,000 people have been killed in terrorist attacks in Iraq.
Which brings us to the situation in Syria. Syria, in my opinion, holds the worst elements of the Iraq war and has them amplified. Our intelligence about what is going on is significantly worse than Iraq (if that is hard to believe) to the point where we really don’t even know who used the chemical weapons on the population. Yes my friends, there are theories that the rebel opposition and not Assad were responsible for the attack and that the US government is aware of this. Furthermore, the opposition to Assad are made up of various factions that have ties to Al-Qaeda and are not friendly to the United States. Assad is not making attempts at building or obtaining additional weapons of mass destruction, nor is he under the level of UN resolutions that Saddam was.
Now, I want to make this perfectly clear. Syria does not hold any national security interests beyond further destabilization of the region should these opposition forces come into power. If we assist in toppling Assad’s government, we will result in creating the exact same kind of instability that is currently gripping Libya. Gadhafi was a bad guy, but he kept Libya stable and prevented the country from falling to chaos that we see today. Removing Assad from power, whether formal or with a bullet, will only increase instability in that region and further endanger the United States and our allies by allowing what chemical weapons exist to fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda affiliates who (pay attention now) do not like the United States or Israel. By attacking, we will all but guarantee that these weapons fall into the wrong hands. With Iraq, these weapons could have found their way into the hands of terrorists though inaction, in Syria taking action will produce the same or worse result. Because Assad is a pawn of Russia, the Russian President has already stated that attacking Syria will be “an aggression” towards Russia. Secretary Kerry has been trying to make the case that inaction will provoke Iran but I don’t buy his logic. This administration has done everything possible to ignore the fact that Iran is building a nuclear bomb, yet suddenly they are concerned that showing weakness would provoke the Iranian government into attack when we’ve already shown we’re not willing to do anything to stop them. Frankly, I feel Iran is waiting for an excuse to bomb Israel and might seize on this opportunity should we attack Syria. China is also opposed to US attacks due to the level of commerce they engage in within the country.
By attacking Syria we are provoking three of the biggest nut-jobs on the block into a possible military showdown. In addition, we risk destabilizing the country to the point where Al-Qaeda gets their hands on chemical weapons that they might otherwise not have access to. We have no dog in this fight considering both sides are opposed to the United States and Syria holds no national security interest.
Assad isn’t a good guy despite the fact that our leaders calling for his destruction were pretty cozy with him only a few short years ago. Even Secretary Kerry referred to Assad as a “”very generous” man”. Hillary Clinton referred to him as a “reformer” in his country as well.
Now, if you’ve followed me this far, we need to address the elephant in the room. Our intelligence about the situation over there might be spotty, but there are some theories being thrown around which should be considered. Namely, what if both sides are using chemical weapons? What if the rebels, not Assad, are the ones who gassed Damascus?
“The regime in Syria … has chemical weapons, but they wouldn’t use them around Damascus, five km from the [UN] committee which is investigating chemical weapons. Of course they are not so stupid as to do so,” Muslim told Reuters on August 27, 2013. He believes the attack was “aimed at framing Assad and provoking an international reaction”. Muslim is convinced that “some other sides who want to blame the Syrian regime, who want to show them as guilty and then see action” is responsible for the chemical attack. The US was exploiting the attack to further its own anti-Assad policies and should the UN inspectors find evidence that the rebels were behind the attack, then “everybody would forget it”, Muslim shrugged.”
Al-Qaeda does not value human life. We’ve seem time and time again where they are willing to use women and children as shields, hide weapons in civilian locations to prevent bombings, and even blow themselves up to kill innocents. If I was part of the rebel opposition and I knew the only way we would win is if the United States got involved and bombed Assad’s military back into the stone age, how would I go about provoking the US to do just that? I would get my hands on chemical weapons and gas innocent people and make it look like the military carried out orders from Assad to do just that. The man cannot possibly be that stupid. Assad has been winning this conflict! He has no reason to use chemical weapons at this point because conventional military methods (a.k.a bombs and bullets) have been getting the job done just fine. We’re supposed to believe all of a sudden he decided it was time to drop sarin nerve gas into Damascus as well? I don’t buy it.
Folks, we’re being manipulated here. We’re being lied to. The President isn’t interested in saving the Syrian people anymore than he was interested in saving four Americans from being killed in Libya nearly a year ago. The President felt like he was being picked on so he decided to open his mouth and proclaim his “red line” which I’m sure he was hoping would never be crossed. The President expected the American people to support a strike and do so without the support of Congress and be able to form a grand coalition beyond anything that George Bush formed for Iraq. We know that never happened. The President cannot even get a single country to publicly support (supposedly privately some will) us to perform a 30 minute to 5 hour bombing attack let alone something grand involving boots on the ground. The President doesn’t realize he was a laughing stock to the entire world before Syria, but this situation has proven beyond a doubt that he has no foreign policy skills and is only good at deflecting blame and avoiding decision making.
If we attack Syria, we’re risking an all out World War beyond even the wildest imaginations during 2003. We are risking a provocation of Russia, China, and Iran as well as literally arming Al-Qaeda with chemical weapons. We’ve already been arming them with tons upon tons of military weapons we stole from Libya and furnished them with the help of Turkey. Like Afghanistan, I expect those weapons to be shooting at US solders or civilians within the decade. If we attack Syria, it will be an even bigger disaster than Libya and it will be OUR fault. It is our fault Libya is up in turmoil, it is our fault Egypt is destabilized because we backed the Muslim Brotherhood and now we’re going wreck Syria. We have no clear goal set, we have no clear intelligence on who can be trusted (if anyone), and we have no case to be made to the American people other than “humanitarian” reasons.
Where were the humanitarian cries on September 11th, 2012 when we had a dead ambassador and two ex-Navy Seals fighting for their lives? Are the lives of American men and women worth less than strangers in middle eastern countries? Are American lives perfectly okay to sacrifice in an effort to save face because of a bluff made by the United States President? Are we expected to live with the consequences of a major military conflict simply because our President is incapable of keeping his mouth shut and having to pretend to be tough? This is being done for all the wrong reasons.
Tell your House Representative if they vote for this resolution they will be risking a war we are not prepared to fight.