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.