ADD: (Saturday, 8-31-13) Since dashing this off last night I thought I should note that this whole Syria thing is two-fold. On the one hand there is a humanitarian concern and on the other a geopolitical concern. The Russians are opposing any action on our part. Since the days of the USSR and the Cold War they have held sway there. It makes no sense for the U.S. to get into an East-West proxy war. On the other hand we have what appears to be a government gassing its own people on a large-scale (whoops sounds like Nazi Germany). Do we stand by and do nothing? It seems that much or most of the world would rather we (the U.S.) take the risk and leave everyone else out of it. France has indicated it is on our side. Syria is a former French colony (let’s see, what was the last war France won? well by itself? UPDATE as of 9-6-13: And now through the magic of the computer I can go back in time and amend what I just wrote somewhat, that is to say I forgot that the French have had some success in thwarting Islamists rebels in the African country of Mali, another former holding of France — viva la France!).
Some thoughts on the Syria situation:
It does seem that U.S. President Barack Obama is between a rock and a hard place. No matter what he does, he will be criticized. But then again he’s the president. It’s the job he wanted — two times now. Leadership is rough.
The United Nations is useless. If a nation, such as Russia (the former Soviet Union), can make it powerless to act by way of its veto power (or for that matter if we did), what good is it? I’m not big on a new world order anyway. I want to live under the laws of my own country, thank you.
But anyway, is there a clear interest for the United States to take some type of military action in reaction to the Syrian government apparently using nerve gas and/or other types of chemical weapons on its own people? In humanitarian terms probably so. In practical terms, not so much, unless we are prepared to go in there and take over or maybe topple the outlaw regime in power. But the president, I believe, has already stated that he is not into regime change.
And that is part of the problem. We (he) say too much. Too much talk. Action speaks louder than words. Also telegraphing to the enemy what we are going to do and for that matter what we are not going to do is not a good idea.
A big problem here is that the U.S. lost a lot of credibility when it sent the clueless Colin Powell out a decade ago to do that picture show that purported to show that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction”. It was an Adlai Stevenson moment — remember back in the 50s and the aerial photos of the Soviet missile sites in Cuba? Problem was, Mr. Stevenson’s photos were accurate. Powell’s, apparently not.
Here the evidence seems much clearer — but then again we really don’t know for sure who fired the gas-laden missiles that injured and killed hundreds or thousands of Syrian people. It was most likely done by the regime’s troops and under direct command. But it could have been done by rogue soldiers or commanders — well maybe. It does not seem at all likely it was done by anti-government forces. And the fact that the Syrian regime is not cooperating or did not cooperate with the investigation and has tried to hamper the efforts of the UN fact finders pretty well indicates it is behind the whole mess.
It would be nice if the U.S. could somehow surgically and rather cleanly remove the chemical weapons and or the equipment that fires them, but that may not be possible. We run the risk of killing innocent people to save them.
Because of the mess we have gotten into over meddling in the Middle East, and because we sucked in some of our allies, the president has found it nearly impossible to build any type of international coalition. In fact our top ally in the whole wide world, Great Britain, has bowed out. The Brits are now gun shy just like they were after World War I when Neville Chamberlain came back from meeting Adolph with hat in hand and talked of peace in our time.
But really, can we, the U.S., the only super power in the world, sit by and let this rogue regime use chemical weapons (never mind the U.S. did things like drop napalm indiscriminately in Viet Nam — those old enough or who have looked at the history will recall the iconic photos of the little girl running naked as she was burned by napalm)?
(I also heard a report I think on BBC that at one time American advisors actually knowingly, or perhaps not knowingly, aided Saddam Hussein in using nerve gas.)
The president probably must act. I just wish he would not give away the battle plan.
I also wish the rest of the world was not so gutless.
But the U.S. is the super power and no matter what is said, all freedom- and peace-loving people look to it for guidance and help (even though we fumble at times, such as under George W.).
So, don’t talk about it. Do something Mr. Obama. But make sure it’s the right thing. You wanted the job. Now do it. And don’t look to be loved for doing it.
Siding with the Syrian rebels, getting involved with them, would not be a good idea because they appear to be influenced or infiltrated by Al Qaeda and other so-called Islamist extremists who are our enemies. It would be nice though if we could run a covert mission to neutralize the current Syrian regime.
Yeah, and I never did get the low down on the definition of “weapons of mass destruction”. Did anyone ask? I know the U.S. has some. But I certainly agree, we don’t want others to have them.
P.s. P.s. P.s.
And I also wanted to say: so we do something and it does not work. And then what? Oh, we’ve already told the bad guys all the things we won’t do. Yeah, that scares them.