WaPo’s Syria Q&A

Posted on September 5, 2013. Filed under: Foreign Policy, World Affairs | Tags: , |

Coat of arms of Syria -- the "Hawk of Qur...

Coat of arms of Syria  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My wife shared this article in the Washington Post that was intended to give simple answers to complicated questions about Syria.

Syria, as you know, is now the focus of the media. The Senate, along with anti-war Secretary of State Lurch, believes that we should intervene, because the Syrian government allegedly used poison gas on civilians. However, the Russians are claiming it was the rebels who used the gas.

What’s got me befuddled, and it shouldn’t, is that Obama is once again shifting blame, and we haven’t taken any action yet. At a presser yesterday, the President said that it isn’t his credibility at stake, it is the world’s. It isn’t his, but Congress’ credibility at stake.

In other words, if we attack and bad things happen, well, Congress authorized it. If we don’t attack, well, Congress didn’t authorize it and they should be ashamed of themselves.

It’s interesting to note that just last week or so, the President said he didn’t need Congress’ authorization, then does an about face.

Is there any position that this guy stands firm on?

No one really knows who released the gas. So far all we have is a he said, she said. There is no doubt gas was released, but by whom?

Do we really need to get involved in this internal conflict, especially since it could bring us into conflict with Russia?

The article that my wife shared did a pretty good job of explaining things, until it got to question number 5:

This is all feeling really bleak and hopeless. Can we take a music break?

The writer proceeds to insert a video of a Syrian man singing. What does that have to do with the issue at hand? This is what passes as journalism today?

Then there is question number 6:

Why hasn’t the United States fixed this yet?

Why is the United States responsible for fixing anything? Should we have gotten involved in Libya? No. Why aren’t we getting involved in Egypt?

We should not get involved because Assad is not our ally, but neither are the al-Qaida “rebels”. It is more likely, to me, that the rebels are the ones who screwed up and accidentally released the gas.

Then you have John McCain, caught on film playing video poker on his phone during the Foreign Relations Committee hearings. That’s why this man wants to support the rebels, because he hasn’t been paying attention to what’s going on, and the senile fool doesn’t realize he wants to support our enemy.

Never mind the fact that the President has been telegraphing his intentions for weeks now, and given the Assad regime ample time to move their weapons to locations that are safer from strikes, like among the civilian population. That’s how these people act.

Question number 8:

Come on, what’s the big deal with chemical weapons? Assad kills 100,000 people with bullets and bombs but we’re freaked out over 1,000 who maybe died from poisonous gas? That seems silly.

It’s at this point that the author points out that only in the last 100 years or so, we discovered we can regulate war, to create rules to make war “a little less terrible” in the authors words.. Chemical weapons were banned because of the horrific losses during the First World War.

Only the last 100 years or so?

If they are illegal, why do so many nations, including the US, stockpile them?

Why haven’t we outlawed nuclear weapons?

How about biological weaponry?

Robert E. Lee, Confederate General during the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, 1862: “It is good that war war is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it.”

War has always had rules. One of the complaints the the British had during the American Revolution is that the Continentals wouldn’t follow those rules.

Prior to the American Civil War, the killing and targeting of civilians was considered taboo, until Sherman’s March to the Sea, where he put everything in his path to the torch.

It wasn’t until the Second World War that all the rules were tossed out the window in favor of a “win at all costs” approach. The rules weren’t enforced until after the war was over.

I’m not suggesting NBC weapons (nuclear, biological, chemical) are bad. They are, but are we punishing the correct party?

BTW, it was said back in 2003 to 2005 that Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons had been moved to Syria, a notion that lefties scoffed at. So, if Assad used them, where did they come from?

The author goes on to say that chemical weapons are really good at killing civilians, but not so much at defeating the other side. You defeat the other side in two ways. You kill enough soldiers and destroy their capacity to make war, or you make so that civilians have had enough and take control of the government, which could have dire consequences of its own. Look at what happened to post World War I Russia and Germany.

To suggest that chemical weapons can distinguish between soldier and civilian is ludicrous. To be sure, soldiers have NBC equipment, while most civilians don’t, but it does not follow that soldiers will necessarily be prepared for such an attack. Of course, if you are fighting rebels, they won’t likely have proper protections.

Now, there are two reason Russia is being difficult over this whole affair. The first is so Putin can tweak Obama’s nose, and the second is because Syria is the only location with a Russian naval base outside the Bosporous. The Russia fleet is bottled up in the Black Sea, and if Turkey closes the Bosporous to them, The Bosporous is the narrow strait leading from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and the Turks can close it to the Russians at any time.

That is why Syria is of vital national interest to the Russians, not because Putin gives a damn about Assad or the Syrians.

The question is, does Obama want to risk a confrontation with Putin?

A bully often tries to appear strong when he is actually very weak.

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