It appears that an unilateral punitive strike of the US military on Syria is imminent. Again, the US public is being deluged with propaganda emphasizing the moral necessity to punish the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons against its own population and the imperative to use military force to maintain our credibility in the world. Furthermore, politicians attempt to minimize the inevitable collateral damage by describing the action to be taken as surgical strikes. They should be reminded that war is not a video game but bloody reality.
Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of the American public is opposed to any military action and our international partners, including Britain, will not join the US in any military campaign against Syria. In my opinion we should refrain from exercising any military options because it will destabilize the region, escalate int a full fledged war and will force the US to commit significant financial and human resources to fight a war we have no reason to fight.
Let’s not forget that President Obama declared in writing as a U.S. senator, “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” In 2007 then Senator Biden, now Vice President Biden, had an even stronger response to offer: ” The president HAS NO CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY to take this country to war against a country of 70 million people unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked. And if he does, I would move to impeach him. ”
So much for political amnesia.
But event the argument that we are forced to act on moral grounds to protect Syrians from chemical weapon attacks is, at least, a cynical distortion of the truth. According to a recent article posted on the Foreign Policy blog (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/25/secret_cia_files_prove_america_helped_saddam_as_he_gassed_iran) in 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.
The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq’s favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration’s long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn’t disclose.
Furthermore, if the US attacks Syria then it will definitely strengthen Assad’s support by Hezbollah, Iran and Russia and may double his resolve to fight the Syrian rebels which resemble a motley crew of secular nationalists, Islamic radicals and hard-core Al Qaeda terrorists.
When interviewed recently http://www.businessinsider.com/colin-powell-syria-caution-2013-8 former Secretary of State Colin Powell was quoted stating that ” “We shouldn’t go around thinking that we can really make things happen. We can influence things and we can be ready to help people when problems have been resolved or one side has prevailed over the other. To think that we can change things immediately just because we’re America, that’s not necessarily the case,” Powell said. “These are internal struggles.”
I am pessimistic that anyone in the Obama administration will reconsider exercising the military option against Syria/
Personally, I emphatically oppose this decision and consider it as a major, even catastrophic, mistake which will again drag the US into a morass of another Middle East war.
Instead, Assad and his supporters should be isolated diplomatically, economically and militarily and our international partners should allow the more than one million Syrian refuges to resettle in the countries of their choice.
Exercising the military option will cause more human suffering and will NOT resolve the civil war in Syria.