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Syria Political Backlash

by John on 05/30/2012

Syria is back in the news.  Hundreds, maybe thousands of people died at the hands of another Middle East dictatorship over the weekend.

The media bias and distortions coming from the media and the political campaigns are – in a kind word – expected.

Take a look at some of the home video shot from Syria.

Let’s get some historical and political perspective.

  • Massacres in Syria are not new. Assad’s father, also a dictator and butcher, leveled the town of Hama in 1982 killing up to 40,000 while possibly using chemical gas on them.
  • The uprising is connected to the Arab Spring.  Syrians want to throw off a military dictator.  But sadly, this is another Sunni-Shiite battle within Islam.  Iran and their Shiite instigators are allegedly helping the Assads, who are Alawites, a branch of Shiite Islam.  The majority of Syrians, though, are Sunni.
  • China and Russia have stopped any UN efforts to end the fighting.  The Chinese and the Russians have their reasons.  They don’t want the UN invading their territories like Georgia or Tibet.  Also Russia is one of the biggest providers of military hardware to Syria.  The business relationship goes back to the Soviet era.  Still, both countries may regret their stands.
  • Senator John McCain is blaming President Obama for not being more aggressive and leading a US coalition to attack Syria.  Mitt Romney wants us to get angry at Russia.

Let’s see the dilemma through Informed Not Inflamed

  1. Arming the Syrian Rebels is an unknown.  We could see weapons ending up in the hands of enemies of Israel.  We still don’t know the effect from arming the Libyan rebels.
  2. US boots on the ground will not be allowed by US citizens and voters.
  3. Bombing raids could kill more innocent people than government troops.
  4. This could be Iran enticing us into a war, giving them a reason to attack Israel.
  5. Unfortunately, and coldly, Syria has no strategic benefit for the US. 
  6. We cannot afford any more military expenditures or another war.  Thanks to the Bush administration and a debt-drunken Congress, we can’t afford our swagger any more.

When I hear comments from Romney and McCain, I am reminded of a great book in the 1990s written by the late David Halberstam, “War in a Time of Peace.” 

It was about the Bosnian War and the 1992 U.S. Presidential election.  Candidate Bill Clinton hammered George H.W. Bush on not doing enough to help the Bosnians from the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia.  Later, Halberstam would interview then-President Clinton who admitted running on a war was easier than managing one. 

Then we can assume two things about John McCain and Romney.

  • This conflict has far greater consequences for the US: oil and Israel.
  • They are way out of touch with Americans and foreign interventions or
  • They will do anything – including damaging U.S. foreign policy and the economy — to bring down Obama.

This is another chapter in the Obama Doctrine. 

  • We need to stay out of other people’s business as much as possible.
  • Economically we cannot afford to be the world’s police force.
  • Military force is used only for strategic purposes.
  • American military will engage with coalitions of other nations.
  • Sadly, some groups of people will die.  This could be one of Obama’s Churchill moments.

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