Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Serious Syria

I want to do this without politics. This is not a Democrat vs. Republican.  That said the politics on the extreme sides have already started.  On the extreme right, Glenn Beck has trotted out the cannibal rebel video  (caution graphic) which was used a while back.  As usual he fails to report that the main rebel Free Syrian Army, The Syrian Coalition, and the Supreme Council have all ordered the arrest and trial of this disgusting human being. I know it, in the video, Beck makes it seem like no one reported this atrocity, but the Blaze.  It was covered by a number of mainstream sites as well.  In all honesty, the video was actually posted by someone other than Beck on September 1st as if it were new.  Still it is being used for less than pure and noble reasons.

On the extreme left we have progressive pundit Ed Shultz who is absolutely positive that we are once again being lead down the path to war and that Syria and Iraq are synonymous with each other.  He implies, using parallel video clips, that we are being fed and misled as he feels we were when Bush and Cheney took us into the longest running war in US history, Iraq.

There is also a few of the nuts who I honestly don't think knows whats going on even on their best day.  Representative Joe "You Lie" Wilson is trying to imply that this is a diversion for the scandals which don't exist and the looming debt battle.  In other words,we are looking at Syria now to distract us from the non-existent Lybia and IRS scandals from several months ago and for a vote that isn't coming for another month. I don't understand the logic either.

Then there are the rest of us.  We are scared that it may be another Iraq or Vietnam.  We are appalled and supported the ban of chemical weapons as did most of the world.  We take one look at those little bodies lined up following the last attacks by the Syrian monster, Assad, on his own people.  Yet we did nothing years back when Saddam did the same thing to the Kurds.  We don't want to be the only ones to enforce the treaty, but the truth is we maybe the only nation that can. We are, the last super power.  It is a civil war there. Should we be involving our military in it? On the other side, if we do not, what message do we send to the lunatics like Iran and North Korea both of who have not only chemical weapons, but both have or want to have nuclear capability? Then there is the issue of who do we support.  Some groups are extreme, and other moderate and others we just don't know about.  We do know, however, that Syria has been secular in the past, and it is unlikely that they would embrace any extremist group.  Then there is Hezbollah and Iran who support the current Syrian dictator.  If we fail to act, are we okaying their long desired attack on our ally, Israel?

This is just a few of the complexities we face, and I mean just a few.  We must tread carefully.  I am pleased the President Obama asked for Congressional approval.  I would like it if he would come out and say if Congess says "no" then he will seek a non-military solution and will stand by the decision. At the same time, I am also wondering why both sides of the aisle don't approach our own domestic problems with the same sense of earnest work that they do this topic?

The discussion cannot be poisoned by our fears of Iraq, but on the other hand, we must be mindful of the old adage "those who do not study history are destined to repeat it."  I keep going back to those bodies (I will let you Google the pictures yourself or you can take my word the pictures are horrific). The horror of a weapon once used in the first World War.  A treaty which banned chemical use dating back to the first Geneva Convention because of that World War. Do we just pay lip service to the banning of these weapons and turn our back again as we did with the Kurds? And yet, we are perhaps alone if we go forward.  Why?

France will only go if we go.  England, our closest ally, is out.  The Arab league wants action but they will not offer troop support.  They are already trying to arm the rebels. There are also the allies of Israel, Turkey and Jordan listed as helping in the plan.  They appear in the request to Congress.  In fact, other than that, I can find only statements that there are many nations that will support us, but who these nations are is not listed.  We know that Russia  may not be opposed if it can be proved absolutely that Damascus ordered the attack on their own people.  In short, before this happens, the United Nations must act.  The odds for that is not good.  The Senate Committee of  Foreign Affairs has passed a resolution that sets the limits of the attack to no soldiers on the ground, and the attack is not to exceed 60 days with an option for the President to request a 30 day extension.  My concern is that there is no requirement to put this request through the UN which admittedly is slightly more dysfunctional of the Congress.

I am torn.  We need to protect ourselves and our allies.  We signed treaties and agreed to steps about the use of these weapons and yet, we seem to be almost alone.  It is not our war.  We have been mislead before and it left us in a costly war looking for WMDs and links to Al-Qaeda that did not exist.  The vote on the committee was 11 to 7 with one Senator voting "present." The vote was not split down party lines.  We most certainly will see Assad use these weapons again if no one acts, but we have not been given any of the "many options" that have been discussed.  I must wonder how many of those options do not include military.  Assad is a monster, a mad man, to expect him to react in a rational manner is not likely, and yet, he should be stopped.

 I am like that Senator who voted present, I am not seeing the answers I need.