The use of chemical weapons by Syria's Bashar al-Assad against his own people has pundits and pols wringing their hands. President Obama thinks Assad needs to be punished, but has clearly stipulated that Assad will not be targeted by U.S. missile strikes.
I can't be the only one who would a whack a few people if I though my punishment was going to be someone else getting whacked in retribution. Biblically, you might call it an eye for someone else's eye. At any rate, killing a night watchman and the overnight cleaning crew at a weapons plant outside of Damascus isn't going to be much sweat off of Assad's nose.
Make no mistake, the use of sarin gas, if that's what it was is an abhorrence. Whoever ordered the use of that particular weapon should be exposed to it.
Why, though are we so upset by the 1,400 people reportedly killed by sarin gas? Are they any worse off than the estimated 100,000 other victims of Syria's civil war? Why were we not outraged when the death toll reached six figures or the number of displaced ran into the millions? Or a half million were killed in Darfur? Is there nothing between moral indignation and selective outrage?
President Obama unnecessarily painted himself into a corner with his red line. It may have been one of those things that you regret as soon as soon as you say it, but like everything else in the 21st Century, it's on tape. He was able to let the first whiff of chemical weapon use slip by, that was just a small group and confirmation was inconclusive. That one might've been a test, one that the President passed or failed, depending on your perspective.
This time, though there was no letting it slip by and he's out there pushing for retaliation against Assad like it was health care or tax reform. Like something that could really benefit our nation.
After a bit of saber rattling, Obama decided to rally Washington for consensus or company, presenting the GOP with a tough choice. They can either appear to have gone soft on Obama or soft on war.
Noticeably, the $17 Trillion deficit is just about the right size to wage war, the cost of which to be buried in some future sequestration. 100,000 kids were kicked out of Head Start and after school programs, but at least we can afford to make some bombs go boom.
One of the main arguments to launch strikes against Syria is that if we do nothing, Iran might get the wrong idea. Apparently the right idea is for them to think that if they continue their nuclear program, after all our threats and sanctions have failed, we will bomb Syria. We would be launching a strike against a nation that has neither attacked nor threatened to attack us, all to teach a somewhat murky lesson to a third nation with learning disabilities.
It's kind of a wash. We would be violating United Nations doctrine, but Syria violated the Geneva Protocol, something they have disavowed for decades.
Another great idea is that we need to bomb Syria to maintain our machismo on the world stage. In light of the rest of the planet-France doesn't count-shunning action against Syria, it's unlikely that an attack on Syria would do much to enhance our international stature.
As the resolution to authorize President Obama to strike Syria was working its way through the Senate, most Senators were checking to make sure that any authorization would limit the scope and longevity of any action taken by the President.
John McCain and his friends had their own thoughts. They inserted some war pork that would ensure our support of the rebels trying to overthrow Assad, despite the fact that Al-Qaeda has an ever-increasing presence among rebel forces. If Assad goes, those dreaded chemical weapons could wind up in the hands of the architects of 9/11.
It may be dementia or Mad Cow, but McCain, et al forgot what happened when we armed the mujahedin in Afghanistan to repel the Russians. By the time the Russians left, broke and exhausted, the mujahedin had morphed into the Taliban and some of them are still using American weapons against our guys.
Putin remembers that.
The truth is that nothing we do can improve the situation in Syria and there's a strong probability that any intervention on our part will lead to a host of unintended consequences. The kind of consequences that occur when you poke crazy people.
For a change, let's do nothing and buy ourselves something nice with the money we'll save.
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