Arming Syria Is Not a Good Idea

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

CNN host of GPS and editor of Newsweek International, Fareed Zacharia made this video before Pres. Barack Obama decided to send arms directly to the Al Qaeda backed rebels in Syria.

Oh Thank God–Finally, War With Syria

by Russ Baker,

Now, the Obama administration is preparing for war, in an astonishing echo of the George W. Bush administration’s misleading justifications for invading Iraq. [..]

No one is likely to demand good hard evidence for the use of chemical weapons. After all, the Bush administration and its lies for war was so…very long ago. [..]

None of these military adventures were ever about anything remotely honorable. So, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you just have to get over it. You may feel better believing the system of which you are part has noble intentions, or that the party you prefer is somehow more principled.

The truth is actually pretty simple: no matter which party is running things,  globally dominant governments do not make decisions based on humane do-goodism.  In the halls of power, decisions are based on a consensus of hard-headed “realists,” whose concerns do not extend to human rights, the safety of women and children and other civilians, or the “self-determination” of non-Americans. “Spreading democracy around world”? Um, no.

This entry into a new Middle East conflict isn’t going over very well with the American public. Only 20 percent support this action, while 70 percent oppose it. Opposing to arming the rebel is strong across party lines, as Jon Walker at FDL Action shows with this graph from Pew:

Americans Opposed to US Syrian Intervention photo 3_zpse6482096.png

Click on image to enlarge

At FDL News Desk, DSWRight makes some very salient points that this is not Rwanda and not how you get people to the table:

This is not Darfur or as Bill Clinton may infer Rwanda. This is a sectarian civil war where the Sunni majority is taking on a Shiite aligned government as part of a larger factional struggle in the region. [..]

In what world is that a way to launch peace talks? America is not neutral (and to be fair never has been) but starting off negotiations by claiming one of the parties at the talks must leave power is not going to advance the ball very far.

Getting in the middle of a regional conflict like Syria may even be dumber than Iraq, which is really saying something. And what if the rebels win? Then Al-Qaeda and friends come to power. After they are done massacring the losers and sectarian minorities they can help launch attacks against America. The Syrian intervention is all kinds of stupid.

This is not going to go well. Should anyone be surprised that Pres Obama’s approval rating is dropping?


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  1. TMC
  2. tahoebasha3

    staying out of other people’s civil wars that we helped start, in the first place!  

  3. banger

    Two things play into this, aside from the obvious. First is the fact that the rebels are being out-gunned and outclassed and second minorities in Syria understand that the fall of the regime would include ethnic cleansing and that the pro-rebel alliance in the West wouldn’t stop it. Also in the mix is the fact that the secular pro-democracy forces are not happy with the rebels and I suspect many of them may be regretting their original demands.

    What the West and the Gulf client states want is chaos and permanent civil wars in the region so that there will be no chance of any kind of unity among people there for generations to come thereby guaranteeing Western dominance. The imperialist powered do not oppose Iran for its nuclear program but for the fact it exists as a coherent state not under the imperial regime.

  4. terryhallinan

    Why is Syria different from Rwanda, from Darfur, from the Holocaust, from Srebrenica, from the American rebellion?

    There are differences indeed but comparing a tyrannical government attacking lightly armed villagers and civilians as a civil war is ludicrous.  When did war become civil anyway?

    I pretend no real knowledge or competence to answer my questions but shouldn’t there at least be a touch of sanity in diagnosing problems before making prescriptions?

    Why does America nearly always screw up in these foreign wars?

    I have some hints from the few times we done good overall IMO.  Libya is one such but Kosovo a much better example.

    You might notice that there was little, if any, nation building in either instance and, notably, Kosovo had nothing at all we wanted.  The same can be said for the French intervention in our own American Revolution.

    Just some thoughts of my own.

    Best,  Terry

  5. TMC

    If these rebels were to gain power, considering their own ruthless acts, who can say that the would no carry out an ethnic cleansing that the Western powers enabled. It keep organizations like Doctors Without Borders busy.

    I agree with you on your second point. US involvement may be the back door to what McCain and the war hawks really want, war with Iran.

  6. tahoebasha3

    Notice our modus operandi since 2001, and before.  And, frankly, the PNAC (Project for New American Century), in it’s Think Tank effort, as much as states just that.  The talk is all about “destabilization” of the Middle East.  Of course, then, the efforts, as we have seen over and over, has been/are continual efforts to create that “chaos,” which, admittedly, we’ve done a damn good job of, no matter the “collateral damage!”  What we do and have done continuously since 2001, (and previously, as I understand), is to constantly supply the Taliban and the Afghans, at the same time, with OUR weapons (our profit makers), and continuously finding means to pit them against each other, as in Iraq, as in Yemen, as in Libya, as in Somalia, and on and on.  WE must continue the incitement in order to satisfy the MIC, while, literally, “starving” American citizens!

  7. TMC

    The problem is the US selectively chooses based on its own corporate interests.

    As for gas masks, many of these gaseous agents are absorbed through the skin.

    As for Kosovo and the Balkans, Clinton only got the US involved because of European pressure to use NATO. Although the world was incensed by the reports of genocide of the Muslim population, the conflict was beginning to impact the EU economy.

    Kosovo was my first mission with MSF before the bombing started in 1999.

  8. banger

    Why does America nearly always screw up in these foreign wars?

    Depends how you define “screw up” doesn’t it. For KBR in Vietnam the war there was a big success as it was for many of the officers who served usually away from any action and got automatic promotions. There is no such thing as “America” as a coherent single-minded power. Rather “we” are a series of sub-cultures and organizations all with very different and often competing goals. If  you look, for example, at U.S. involvement in Iraq you see a score of competing organizations all with their own agendas–some honestly trying to do the job at hand as we understood it and many others skating the edge of legality by making enormous sums. Iraq was a huge success for most contractors involved there who got contracts, pretended to build something and pocketed the money. This kind of action is typical in Washington.

    I was a gov’t contractor and personally saw contractors pretending to do work and getting paid–or worse, trying to do good work but then having it destroyed only to have someone else do the same job only worse with a new conglomeration of contractors. The press does not cover these stories. When Christian Parenti attempted to report early in the Occupation that Iraqis were grumbling about contractor corruption on the News Hour Jim Lehrer publicly castigated him for even bringing up the subject and banned him from his show.

    Americans don’t know of the depth of corruption in Washington and it is a subject that is not allowed to be talked about in the mainstream media as are other subjects you and I disagree over.  

  9. terryhallinan

    As for gas masks, many of these gaseous agents are absorbed through the skin.

    This ignorant wretch actually knew that, believe it or not. :-)  As I was writing that, I was thinking of the farce of gas masks for tots and infants to ward off the effects of poison gas.

    There is so much we stumble into without good knowledge.  

    I was surprised to learn of the purported deadly effects of depleted uranium in Iraq.  That same uranium, drained of much of its radioactivity, was supposed to be an excellent building block for fallout shelters in case of nuclear attack – far superior to lead.

    It is something like cocaine, once the cadillac of illegal drugs, that now seems to be among the worst – worse even than alcohol and tobacco.

    The problem is the US selectively chooses based on its own corporate interests.

    Base prejudices I believe is far more accurate.  

    Henry Ford was a leading voice of the America Firsters determined to keep us out of WWII based largely on fanatical antisemitism.  He found a sympathetic ear in the White House with a President, who shared that prejudice with the great majority of the population of these United States.

    Is it not a particularly cruel obscenity today to have Israelis, whatever their depredations, called Nazis?

    I talked to a young Turkish scientist, who had emigrated to the U.S. many years before as a child with his parents, about the Armenian genocide which still burns hotter than the Civil War scars in America even and the more recent Kurdish genocide that continues on endlessly.

    I found it astonishing that we could have a full and complete agreement on the issues, despite his obvious sympathies, while it is totally beyond the ability of America and Turkey to do the same.

    Did you ever make an actual Armenian rug merchant smile?

    At a horrific show near Boston, the rug purveyor sat glowering at his booth in the final hour of the show.  He had manfully smiled and pitched his rugs as he rolled them out all weekend but the mask was off.

    I cheerfully asked the gentleman how he had done and he grumbled not a gawdam sale. I told him he beat the hell out of our sales. [Another dealer was soo happy to run into us because she wanted to return a mechanical bank she bought a year or two earlier.  We always give full refunds of any purchase that is not damaged to unhappy buyers though that was kinda stretching matters.]

    Spreading cheer is our only mission in life since nobody  gives a good gawdam what we think. :-)

    Best,  Terry

  10. banger

    At a certain point governments and elites who stay in power too long become too deeply corrupt to be anything other than destructive–we are at that stage now. Increasingly, everything the feds do is corrupt from the War on Terror to the Drug War.

  11. terryhallinan

    and nearly all bow down to mob rule.

    Nothing at all is worse than race mythology in my mind that is accepted by nearly all sentient beings on the planet but there are numerous contenders globally and more local.

    The overriding concern with government spending and debt is one obvious contender in our current milieu.

    Gratefully this is one sanctuary from that particular abyss but it remains an island of sanity in an insane asylum.

    Corruption is a fact of life but I agree it is a continuing threat at all times to become overwhelmingly destructive.

    How can anyone top the Attorney General of the United States admitting the big banks are rapacious thieves but declaring the country could not survive should we prosecute the bastards instead of rewarding their thievery?

    Best,  Terry  

  12. banger

    It offers a kind of escape valve and loosens some rigidities but when it become dominant then it is destructive. I saw it gradually creep into Washington over time.  

  13. terryhallinan

    That was the title of a hilarious essay by Michael Kinsley, who was once conservative’s favorite designated liberal.

    The title came from a Washington insider on the gravy train complaining he still had to buy Giant english muffins [from Giant Food stores] instead of Thomas’s.

    It was difficult to sympathize considering the huge graft for the times, all vastly dwarfed today.

    I have wondered how the article would read today but would rather let it remain a treasured memory.

    Best,  Terry

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