It would appear that some sort of U.S. military action (the
Obama administration is hellbent
on avoiding the phrase "act of war") will take place against
Despite this potential intervention being incredibly unpopular
among the American people, said operation has bipartisan support at least among
Congressional leaders. Personally, I would prefer there being a way where this
can be avoided. However, I can't say I am adamantly opposed to a response
either, given that radical Islamic elements may acquire nuclear weapons if the
U.S. does nothing.
Several thoughts have gone through my head the past week, so
I will attempt to convey them here (in no particular
- The President boxed himself in last year when he indicated
the use of biological and/or chemical weapons is a red line that must not be
crossed by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Whether the President fully contemplated the weight of his
statements is anybody's guess. But his actions since June (when chemical
weapons were allegedly used against rebel forces looking to oust al-Assad)
would suggest that he never really thought the regime would cross that
proverbial red line. It's almost as if this potential military action is merely
an exercise in saving face. Hence, the President used house money (i.e.
America's reputation) when conveying those warnings.
- There were members of Congress who were indignant over the
possibility that President Obama might bypass them and act unilaterally. Of
course, the comeback from Obama apologists was Bush did the same thing
concerning the war in Iraq. That is utterly false. Congress voted to give
President Bush the authority to conduct the Iraqi conflict as his
administration saw fit. It was only when things went south in terms of the
war's popularity that the leftist politicians bailed, knowing full well the
mainstream media wouldn't call them on it.
Anyhow, there was no way Obama
consult Congress. It was his one
opportunity to avoid the potential Syrian conflict altogether by having
Congress (especially the GOP-led House) not sign on to this (which is a
). Therefore, he can lay blame at the feet of
Republicans (his favorite pastime) while also placating Constitutional
Heck, even if Congress gives its blessing, President Obama
may well use the matter as a cudgel to get other things done, i.e. raising
of the debt ceiling
. Since sequestration will
take effect next month
, in turn hitting hard the Pentagon budget,
House Republicans would have to acquiesce to a debt ceiling increase to pay for
a conflict that could easily cost billions of dollars.
- There's been a popular chanting point among the
isolationist wing of the Ron Paul "WIBERTY!" crowd concerning the
Syrian situation. The theory is the Democrats (and their supporters) will
suddenly become the "chicken
" while the GOP and its ilk will all of a sudden be the
staunch anti-war zealots. Both scenarios would be a complete role reversal from
the Iraqi conflict. Meanwhile, the "WIBERTY!" crowd can lay claim to
how they've been the only section of the populous who has been consistent on
matters concerning war or military intervention.
Alas, it's not that simple.
Lest we forget a good number of the pro-Iraq war
Congressional Republicans were swept out of office in 2006 and 2008. But when
the GOP regained control of the House in 2010 and made a dent in the Dem
majority in the Senate that same election, many of the new elected officials were
of the Tea Party/libertarian wing of the party. Therefore, the fact more
Republicans might oppose intervention in Syria has more to do with another
sect within the party
McCain/Graham/Boehner/Cantor establishment wing.
- Speaking of war opposition, where are all protesters
drawing Hitler mustaches on the Commander in Chief or putting the word
"Murderer" beneath his portrait? And what about media darling Cindy Sheehan
, a grieving Gold Star Mother who was used as a prop at every opportunity to make the case against "Bush's
war?" After all, Mrs. Sheehan did
weigh in on a
potential war in Syria. So why hasn't
she been given a platform here?
Oh that's right. There's a Democrat
the Oval Office these days.
- President Bush's most vocal critics regarding the Iraq war
often bemoaned the lack of a strategy despite the plan being laid out
incessantly. Bush (again, for better or worse) believed in "regime
change", in that a dictatorial government (in this case, Saddam Hussein's
regime) would be overthrown in favor of a democratic system where the citizens
would be allowed to choose their leadership. Once that government was in place,
the U.S. military would ensure security until the Iraqi military would be up to
the task (hence the Bush administration mantra of "when they stand up,
we'll stand down"). Unfortunately, the amount of sectarian violence waged
by the insurgents was woefully underestimated.
With all that in mind, what exactly is the objective for a
military strike in Syria and how do we avoid the same miscalculations? We've
heard the goal is to send a message to the likes of Iran, North Korea,
Hezbollah and any other country/organization that America will not tolerate the
use of biological & chemical weapons on innocent people. If indeed that
is the goal of this operation, is bombing an aspirin factory or launching a
million dollar missile into an empty tent and hitting a camel in the butt going
to send the desired message? Highly unlikely. The prevailing thought is to
launch a big enough military operation to impact the direction of the Syrian
civil war, ultimately removing al-Assad. Then what? At this point, the majority
of the rebel forces looking to take out al-Assad are al-Qaeda subsidiaries,
similar to what the U.S. was attempting to drive out of Iraq. Do we honestly
want another country in the Middle East to fall under rule of a radical Islamic
Unfortunately, the opportunity to turn over Syria to a
moderate faction of rebels dissipated
earlier this year
. Since many of the "moderate" forces are
now on the sidelines, the only way for them to wrest any meaningful control
would be for the current rebel forces and the al-Assad regime to wipe each
other out. It doesn't appear that the Obama administration is willing to let
such a scenario play out.
One thing all parties and ideologies can agree upon: Any
decision made will not come without a certain amount of anguish.
Labels: Politics, War on Terror, World Events