Monthly Archives: September 2013

Syria and Sarin: How America got into another war it cannot win

I’ve been reading a lot about Syria. The recent use of chemical weapons and the US reaction to it.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist – I believe chemical weapons were used. Though it was unclear of what exactly happened and who was involved when the US and then the UK proposed military strikes – I was baffled, jarred and increasingly disturbed as to what grounds they justified this action. I cheered when the House of Commons made a stand against military invasion WITHOUT any evidence of who/what/where. Increasingly reports, seem to be pointing to a picture showing that yes, the Syrian military likely used chemical weapons. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/graphic/2013/sep/03/syria-chemical-weapons-dossiers-compared)

I understand the legal argument to respond to this chemical weapon attack – they used chemical weapons against civilians and there needs to be punishment/consequences. After all we have made an international law stating that countries will not use chemical weapons. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/09/05/the-real-case-for-syria-strikes-makes-sense-so-why-isnt-anyone-making-it/) Though Syria is one of 5 countries not signed up to the convention on chemical weapons. But I’m not sure that even a thoroughly effective military strike on chemical weapons will be a particularly useful response, even if it can be justified in internal law. Sarin can come from a multitude of sources, supply will not be contained by bombing known national facilities. And then you have the common sense notion that violence begets violence. When did we last have an effective military strike on WMD facilities? Because the last one in Syria sure as hell didn’t work.

So what’s the best response? Declare war! Last week, when there was yet to be evidence, Obama seemed to be rushing head long into military action. I was perplexed until I saw that it fit in with his schedule (http://www.debka.com/article/23230/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook). Or maybe it’s a strike-while-the-iron-is-hot kind of deal? But after the catastrophes of Iraq and Afghanistan, politically, militarily and from a PR standpoint, why the hell would Obama rush head long into this quagmire of useless military action? Now it is being run past congress, an unusual but smart move. The Republicans are jumping at the chance to show some military might and pay for it with Obamacare… I love that this is reportedly the thing that has made Obama stop and question whether he is doing the right thing. (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport) Yes the neocons are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect a military pissing contest.

Obama’s strength (at least from my perspective) is his openness, his willingness to engage in diplomacy. The showdown between him and Putin has ensured there cannot be engagement and so we are left with Bush Jr like isolation, alienation and military action. Putin was quoted in saying the chemical attack was “utter nonsense”. (http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/357441) It’s been leading up to this point – this is the most dismissive, brick-walled comment I’ve heard in a long time. There are no channels open.

And so Obama is going for tactical strikes on chemical weapons…  and  where we get into mission creep is because what’s the point of getting involved unless you want to do something and stop innocent people getting killed? The US is backing the rebels (along with the extremists) against Assad. “I feel in the strongest terms that we need to have that provision that calls for reversal of momentum on the ground in the battle against Bashar Assad,” McCain told reporters. (http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/committee-mulls-syria-vote-delay-96260.html#ixzz2e2mSSBiI)

The US will not get UN support. And let’s not call it a civil war – there are far too many proxies in this – Russia, Iran, Hezzbolah and China in one corner, America, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan Israel, and UK (kind of) in the other. And so we have America in another war. Why? Because innocent people were killed with nasty, illegal weapons. For what purpose? To stop Assad using these weapons. The only effective way this will happen is if Assad is removed. Regime change. Hung drawn and quartered. Wonder who/what will fill the vacuum.