This Can’t Be Happening Again, Colltalers
The Obama administration’s case for striking Syria is so clumsy, so devoid of popular and ally support, so fraught with nonsense at its core, that even if Congress gives the go-ahead for military action, this may stand as one of the president’s worst decisions, right up with the many campaign promises he’s failed to fulfill, and in line with a now long list of opportunities to promote peace in the world that he’s missed.
Because, let’s get something right up front: this is the 2009 Peace Nobel laureate that we’re talking about here, given such a high honor for his ‘extraordinary efforts’ to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. With all due respect, we really hardly knew ye, had we?
The case for striking Syria is wrong because it’ll kill people under the pretext of saving them. Just like in the Gaza strip, civilians caught in the crossfire of this multi-directional war have no way to run, hide, or duck. We’ll simply be adding more bombs to the ones already showering on them.
The case for bombing Syria is also flawed because we don’t even know who it’ll benefit, but most likely it’ll include some of the fiercest U.S. enemies, both powerful haters of the so-called ‘western lifestyle’ embraced by Americans, and a few groups listed as terrorist organizations in our own hit list.
The case for entering the Syrian conflict is indeed a mistake because we’ll be stepping alone into someone else’s fight, and likely be blamed in the end for the misery and carnage that’s already going on in streets of Damascus, Alepo, Homs, and beyond. Plus, we have no ticket to get out of there either.
That, plus widespread protest by Americans against the U.S.’s involvement in yet another war in a distant land, at the heart of the Middle East, no less, while at home the economy has hardly showed that it’s ready to crank up enough jobs to rescue millions out of poverty, seems downright insane.
What are they thinking? That we can ask again to the same 1% of the population to stretch their sacrifice and save face for our military, and go get slaughtered and come back in pieces to fall through the cracks of an overwhelmed Veteran system that’s already been failing our troops for a decade?
For who’d say, with a straight face, that a couple of airstrikes will ‘teach a lesson,’ and beat al-Assad into the negotiation table. Most likely, ground troops would follow it and so on and so forth. By the way, the opposition is not nearly unified enough to sit together, let alone show up for peace talks.
About that opposition, now endowed by the endless wealth of one of the most brutal regimes in the region, Saudi Arabia: even that the conflict itself remains relatively locked within Syria, vicious infighting and political assassinations have been reported in the north and spilled across its borders.
Worse, Pentagon hawks seem tone deft to the implications of who is fighting whom there, making this foul stew, overflowing with calls for bloody revenge by Hezbollah and al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, and multiple Jihadist splinter groups, enough to sicken guts and spin heads.
What’s missing in all this talk about ‘helping Syria’ is what of the over a million refugees, and counting, to whom no plan has been formulated, or is on the way. Unlike the 100,000 already dead, who may lack even a proper burial for months to come, help is still possible to this staggering calamity. That’s when the U.S. could become a factor. Because, beyond the ones who got away, which is being kind when referring to people who had to leave families and country and life for a tent in the middle of the desert, there’s also those trapped in the battlegrounds that took over their neighborhoods.
Who says that we can only be of help when we bring our weaponry and our contractors and our military experts, all asking for more ammo and more bombs, and more drones and all that? If we really want to help Syria, we must attend to those who’re not given any choice in this fight.
We either exercise a humanitarian role in this war, or no role at all. For we’ve lost our moral authority to condemn governments’ use of chemical weapons when the CIA helped Saddam Hussein use sarin gas against Iranian troops in the 1980s, according to the agency’s own recently declassified docs.
Talking about Iraq, it’s no small measure of disappointment that it shares something else with the present situation: once again, we’ve been forced to witness the sad spectacle of a war hero doing the bid for an attack based on false premisses. Sec. of State John Kerry, meet Sec. of State Colin Powell.
Both will be judged by history but our guess is that their legacy, even their one-time bid to become president, will be greatly tarnished in the light of what they’ve done for the governments they’ve served, way after, and despite how honorably, they’ve fulfilled their duties to the country.
We also pity the American people whose only hope now lies with Congress, a prospect, or a predicament, that haunts even the most level-headed voter. And if you think that Republicans, who’ve been relentless at sabotaging President Obama’s every move, may be getting ready to have another go, think again; although pleased he’s seeking support for the decision he’s already made, some say he doesn’t need ‘535 members’ to enforce it.
It’s doubtful he’ll listen to contrarian arguments made now by politicians who just a few months ago were pressuring him into bombing Syria. But he should definitely pay much attention to the increasing clamor of the streets. Or perhaps consult the NSA; we hear they really listen to people.
At Colltales, we join hundreds of thousands of Americans, Syrian-Americans, Vets, peace organizations, bloggers, grassroots activists, along with millions around the world, to say, ‘President Obama, hands off Syria,’ at least until we have a clear path to help promote peace. Have a great one. WC