Today: Jun 17, 2024

Why attacking Syria is bad decision-making

Gabriel Muniz – Special to the Southern News

After relentless fear mongering from White House aides, breaking stories from the mainstream media, gruesome pictures and videos showcasing the brutality of the chemical strikes on Syrian civilians, President Obama decided it was time for military intervention.

The civil war in Syria that has of recent taken a turn for the worse with reportage that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against the Syrian people has now become the Obama Administration’s chief national security issue.

In a televised address last Saturday afternoon, President Obama, calling the atrocities in Syria “the worst chemical attack of the 21st century,” expressed his discontent with the Syrian regime, urging for a limited strike while ensuring that such U.S. intervention would be dependent upon Congressional approval.

His decision for the U.S. military to intervene in Syria comes just two years after attacking Libya without asking Congress for permission.  Though initially hesitant regarding Syria, Obama has since catapulted to the international scene, pushing for what he says will be an operation “limited in scope and duration.”  Also noting that “no boots will be on the ground,” he will pursue military action in ways reminiscent of the Libyan intervention two years ago—with aerial strikes accompanied by the ever-popular drone attacks.

If these attacks are truly “an assault on human dignity,” a “serious danger to our national security,” both risking the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons and endangering key U.S allies, as Obama highlighted during his speech, why is this “limited strike,” as it has been termed, not “time sensitive?”  And, for that matter, why intervene in this civil war now, after more than two years of bloodshed?  (Reportedly, the civil war has cost the lives of over 100,000 people, with close to 1,500 dying on Aug. 21 due to the chemical strikes.)

Things become more complicated when one considers that the U.S. is essentially acting alone.  With the exception of France, the international community has turned down the Obama administration’s request to back an attack on Syria.  For instance, key U.S. ally, Great Britain – in particular, members of the House of Commons – disagreed with Prime Minister David Cameron who sought to back Obama, a history-defying decision.

Consider what another world leader has to say.  Russian President Vladmir Putin, staunch ally of Assad and supplier of the Syrian regime, dismisses the allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to kill 1,429 people on Aug. 21st.  He urges U.S. leaders to prove to the UN Security Council that such weapons were used by the Syrian regime.  Otherwise, Obama should tread lightly.

It is no surprise then that criticism on Obama’s decision to attack Syria continues to mount at home and abroad.  A growing number of mainstream voices – Pat Buchanan, three-time Presidential adviser, and one-time Presidential candidate, Ron Paul, among them – have denounced the recent chemical attacks in Syria as a false flag operation.  And while barely reported by the mainstream media, Jonathan Alpeyrie, a photojournalist kidnapped and held captive by the Syrian rebels for 81 days last April, agreed with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that the chemical attacks were a “false flag operation designed to bring the United States into the battle against Assad.”  Alpeyrie found it hard to believe that Assad regime would use chemical weapons, “especially considering now that they are winning this conflict.”


The following points, noted in a recent article by the Washington Post, entitled, “9 Questions about Syria you Were Too Embarrassed to Ask,” further demonstrate why an attack on Syria would be counterproductive, debilitating the lives of Syrian civilians and endangering those of the U.S. military:

–       “The military options are all bad. Shipping arms to rebels, even if it helps them topple Assad, would ultimately empower jihadists and worsen rebel in-fighting, probably leading to lots of chaos and possibly a second civil war (the United States made this mistake during Afghanistan’s early 1990s civil war, which helped the Taliban take power in 1996).”

–       “Taking out Assad somehow would probably do the same, opening up a dangerous power vacuum. Launching airstrikes or a “no-fly zone” could suck us in, possibly for years, and probably wouldn’t make much difference on the ground.”

–       “An Iraq-style ground invasion would, in the very best outcome, accelerate the killing, cost a lot of U.S. lives, wildly exacerbate anti-Americanism in a boon to jihadists and nationalist dictators alike, and would require the United States to impose order for years across a country full of people trying to kill each other.”

Clearly, a Syrian attack will destabilize a region already beleaguered by years of political and religious strife.  According to the Associated Press, Israel, long standing ally of the United States, has deployed an “Iron Dome” missile-defense battery in the Tel Aviv area over fears that a U.S intervention in Syria could provoke Damascus to fire missiles at Syria….The country remains on “high alert.”  All of this for a matter Obama claims is not “time sensitive.”

Foisting upon Congress the crucial decision of whether or not to attack Syria appears almost disingenuous on Obama’s part. “While I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific Congressional authorization, I know the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective,” Obama is quoted as saying during his recent speech.  Again, because he finds himself alone, Obama wants to shift the pressure on a Congress yet to return from summer recess.

If Congress approves Obama’s extreme measure, it will be a decision likely to result in failure, proving costly, both in terms of the impact it will have on a war-weary U.S. and on embittered overseas enemies, as it did during then-President Johnson’s Gulf of Tunkin’s Resolution and Bush’s Iraq War.

While history was recently made in Great Britain after Parliament defeated a measure authorizing military action in Syria – “the first war vote lost by a prime minister since 1782,” according to the New York Post – we cannot afford another historical moment from the Obama administration.  Only time will tell what Congress will decide upon their return Sept. 9th; only prayer can prevent Obama from intervening in Syria should U.S. Representatives vote against his decision to attack Syria.

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