Why Syria?

Much is being made about the issue with Syria.  Do we send munitions or not?  Do we aid the rebels or not?  Why should “We” be the ones to help Syria?  I don’t ask that question as a war monger or peacenik.  I’m curious as to what types of actions determine whether we respond as the “World’s Police Force” or not.

My personal feelings on Syria are conflicted.  I’ll admit that I don’t like seeing rulers attack and kill their own countrymen with impunity.  When you add chemical warfare to the mix, that should be something that every single person in the world should rally against.  I don’t honestly see how anybody could back a country’s ruler who has no qualms about using chemical weapons to kill his own countrymen.

That said, I don’t know if there’s been 100% irrefutable evidence to show that Assad’s military is responsible for the deployment of chemical weapons.  From what I’ve read, they are the only ones who have the capability to use them in the method they were used, but that, in and of itself, isn’t verifiable proof on its own.

On the other hand with Syria, where is the Arab League’s response to the killing in their own backyard?  In my opinion, they should be the first ones to step forward on this issue.  Instead, we have this per NBC News:

PARIS – Arab League nations agreed that Syria’s President Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons Sunday and that it crossed an internationally recognized red line, but none have publicly endorsed the U.S. proposal for punitive air strikes against the Assad regime. 

Secretary of State John Kerry said that Saudi Arabia has backed airstrikes, but the Saudis have stopped short of saying that publicly.

He told told reporters in Paris that all members of the regional bloc had indicated they would add their names to a G-20 statement – already signed by 12 countries – that calls for a strong international response to the Aug. 21 poison gas attack near Damascus, but not military action.

So, they think something should be done as long as it’s not military action.  Good!!  Let them deal with it then.  It’s a regional issue, a region that has more anti-American sentiment than it does pro-American sentiment.  Regardless to what we do, we will still be hated for it.

By supporting either side, we give support to groups we are ideologically opposed to. Siding with the rebels puts us on the same team as Al Qaeda and Hamas. Siding with Assad teams us with Iran and Hezbollah. h/t to the Washington Post

As I said earlier, I don’t like seeing unnecessary killing, but why should we get involved in their localized conflict?  Did we send troops or munitions across the border to Mexico when thousands and thousands of their citizens were killed in conflicts between drug cartels and the government?  According to Human Rights Watch, more than 60,000 have been killed between 2006 and 2012.  Color me jaded if you wish, but instability and chaos less than a mile from our national border is much more of a national security issue than instability more than half a world away in my book.  I’ve personally seen photos and videos from Mexico that are far more gruesome than anything I’ve seen from Syria.  Our corporate owned media is far too sanitized and selective to show any of these things though.

Our “allies” in the Middle East have the capability of handling and containing Assad without any intervention from the US.  Israel has the ability to bomb fortified underground facilities thanks to the United States.  In addition, Israel was recently announced to be the first country to receive F-35 fighters from defense contractor Lockheed-Martin.  Saudi Arabia has armed themselves substantially by way of contracts with the United States as well.

*This only includes contract purchases since 2010.

You still have others, such as Jordan, who also have enhanced military capability thanks to the US of A.  Given all that hardware in the area, why should America be the one to initiate any type of strike?  We should be focused on cleaning up our own home before we try to tell someone else how to run their country.  If it were a significant threat to our own sovereignty, then I could see us taking a more hawkish position here.  As it stands now, our domestic issues are more of a threat to us than Syria currently presents.  In this aspect, I find myself in agreement with the Rude Pundit in his assessment of the whole situation although I wouldn’t express it quite as explicit as he does.  *[Edit] NSFW language in linked blog post!!!

“Across this America, city after city and state after state, the basics of daily life (and death) are being wrecked, in part, by our failure to spend on things that matter to Americans, things that actually would make this a great country. A nation that has a city that, even briefly, couldn’t provide death or birth certificates because it didn’t have paper is a nation that has absolutely no business spending millions, perhaps billions of dollars to bomb Syria just because the mad president there did something insane.

No, sorry, but f**k Syria. When we don’t have to tell schoolteachers to take a pay cut and we can assure the children of Chicago they won’t get shot, we can talk about being the moral authority in the world.”

Syria has no way of striking the US on their own.  If we go in aiding the rebels now, there’s no guarantee of exactly who we’re aiding.  At the beginning of their conflict, the rebels were truly rebels.  Based on reporting, the rebel forces have been compromised by jihadists and Al Qaeda members and sympathizers.  The conflict is basically bad guys fighting bad guys with a no-win situation for America.  Assad is backed by Iran and Hezbollah.  The rebels are backed by Al Qaeda and its cronies.  Regardless to who comes out on top, America won’t be better off, so why should we even get involved?

In my opinion, the ship has long sailed on humanitarian aid by directly striking Assad’s troops.  If we’re truly in it for humanitarian reasons, I think our best course is to set up, furnish, and supply refugee camps to all those who choose to get away from that area.  Let them fight each other to the very end while protecting the innocent civilians.  If there’s any reason to get involved by attacking anybody, that should be a job for members of the Arab League or any country that’s directly threatened by conflict in that area.  That does not include the United States.

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8 thoughts on “Why Syria?

  1. More questions in this than answers, in my opinion.

    We signed onto anti chemical weapons treaties after WWI. That being said, there have been times when we turned a blind eye to that (when Sadaam was gassing his own people, for one instance). We seem to pick and choose when to ride the moral high horse, which is really nothing new, at least in my lifetime.

    What is the purpose of action? If it’s regime change, it’s less than 50-50, in my view, that we’d get anything better than what’s there now. If it’s to stop the use of chemical weapons, then you have to go in and take out the weapons (which are likely long gone from where they were when this first started). That requires boots on the ground, which they say they aren’t willing to do. If it’s for punishment, you have to take down and/or kill Asaad. That goes back to part 1 of this section.

    Unless you’re willing to go all in, which it seems the vast majority of Americans aren’t, then it’s best to fold and wait for another hand.

    Assuming action was going to be taken, it should’ve been done and then talked about (at least publicly) later. Shots across the bow don’t mean a lot when the person on the bow knows it’s coming. And if you take the shot across the blow and Assad doesn’t back down or retaliates, then what?

    In my opinion, our foreign policy has been a rudderless ship and while I too am torn about whether or not action should be taken, the window of opportunity for that has closed, if you were going to take that route. Might as well just let this one pass, take our lumps, and be ready for the probing for further weakness that will inevitably come.

    It is interesting to see the total 180 flip by many of the R’s and D’s (not all) from previous situations. That kind of “team spirit” is one reason I don’t care for party politics and look at both with a jaundiced eye.

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    • I’m in 100% agreement on the closed window of opportunity. I wouldn’t turn my back on the innocent people that are trapped in that conflict, but I would not get physically involved in the fighting now.

      Like you, I also am tickled by the 180 degree flip between some of the party loyalists. I’ve grown more and more distasteful of party politics, and this one is just another tick mark on the wall.

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    • I don’t know if the AJC would even let Jay do such a thing, but I appreciate the compliment dearly. This is truly a no-win situation for the US, and I think it’s best we stay out of the fighting. We should send all the humanitarian aid we can, such as food, clothing, and medical supplies. We should not, however, send a single round of ammunition to that area.

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      • Ah, well, my friend. I did post that everyone there should check out your thoughts. Of course, at this time on a Sunday night, many of them are involved with something having to do with a ball. 🙂

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        • Ball or ball(s)??? LOL!!! Last game for the night is done, so they’re probably all asleep. Once again, I appreciate the compliment. I had purposefully not posted anything in relation to Syria because I honestly don’t see any “win” for America. The best thing would be to supply aid to refugee camps, but even that would likely mean we’re supporting those who would conspire against us at the first opportunity.

          There’s another chart that shows the relationship between the different parties involved in this whole conflict. I didn’t think to add it, but it helps explain why this is a “heads they win, tails we lose” proposition. I’ll have to add it in there somewhere.

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  2. The reason SA and Jordan buy all those weapons is to pay for American protection. Its like buying a ferrari for sex with a gold digger rather then paying for a quickie.

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    • LOL!!!! You will not get an argument from me against that thought. I think we should encourage them to use the equipment they have instead of relying on us to fly in and save the day. That’s just my view though. We should be willing to back up any of our allies if they need it, but I don’t think we should automatically take the role of big brother and fight for them.

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