There has been a lot of political rhetoric on the Internet in the last few weeks around Syria. The latest is this poster. Read it and let it sink in.
I’ve had enough and I have to call bullshit. First, let me make it clear I think we need to stay the hell out of Syria. I will explain why later, but let’s start with the fallacious argument laid out in this pithy poster.
Using Benghazi as a basis for a reason why Obama shouldn’t interfere in Syria, is bullshit. And this is all about Obama, not whether or not the US should get involved in Syria. Everything is partisan these days and that’s the problem. When we talk about putting US troupes in harms way, we need to drop the political party bullshit and do what’s right for the USA.
There were 12 attacks on US Consulates while Bush Jr. was President resulting in 60 deaths. Some of those deaths were even US citizens. Clearly, no one gives a shit if some foreigners working at our Consulates die, or they’d bring up the attack on the Peshawar, Pakistan Consulate in 2010 when 8 people died. But those dark faces don’t make as compelling of a poster as the 4 US white faces in the Benghazi tragedy. But to pretend that Obama doesn’t care about the deaths of the American’s in the Benghazi tragedy implies that Republicans do care. This is blatantly false since neither side raised the issue of any of the previous attacks, of which there have been plenty resulting in a lot of deaths of both American and non American people working in those Consulates.
Besides the Consulate attacks, Bush Jr. also got us into two wars that to date have resulted in the deaths of 6,756 US War Fighters. The total casualties are slightly higher than that but clearly we don’t give a shit about the deaths of our allies either. Fuck them until we need their support to go do some more killing, and then they are pussies unless they back us, right?
By the very fact that all of these deaths are completely ignored in context of the Benghazi outrage, it is clear that the deaths of the 4 American’s isn’t the driving force behind this obviously political attack.
Try fitting 6,756 young faces on a poster if you want some outrage. The largest percentage of these deaths occurred in Iraq. Between the two wars, even some of the more liberal democrats out there have agreed that we needed to face our enemy in Pakistan. Remember our enemy? Al-Qaeda and the Taliban? The ones that attacked us on 9/11/2001? There was no Al-Qaeda, Iraq link. There were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. When that became clear, what did the Republicans fall back on? They brought up the fact that Saddam Hussein was an evil bastard because he gassed his own people. Sound Familiar?
Now that a democrat in the White House is trying to use military force against an evil bastard that gassed his own people, the Republicans are going batshit crazy. I guess Obama should claim there are Weapons of Mass Destruction in Syria. Guess what, there ARE. Sarin is defined as a WMD, and we now have proof that they have it and used it. Actual proof, not some bullshit lead from the CIA that didn’t pan out and was so weak not even a liberal rag like The New York Times wouldn't have run with the story until they had a more reliable second source. But so what? WMDs do exist in countries outside of the United States and we will never get rid of them all. Deal with it.
Just in case you think this is some rant from some anti war liberal, the Republicans aren’t the only hypocrites. It just so happens that with Obama in the White House, their hypocrisy is just more obvious because they are on the attack. The Democrats and their completely unbiased news agencies (we really need a sarcasm font) made every casualty during the Bush presidency a news story. Death toll stories ran monthly in print and on the air and there seemed to be constant video footage of the violence. Suddenly, Obama gets into office and no one cares about the number of US dead anymore. When was the last time you saw horrific images from Afghanistan on the nightly news?
When the Republicans were faced with the reality of no WMDs in Iraq and used the monster gassing his own people angle, the Democrats scoffed, but now the shoe is on the other foot. Not only are there WMDs in Syria, but a Democrat is using the excuse that a monster that gasses his own people should be stopped with American military might.
Which is it people? What is our stance in America? Are we justified intervening when a government gasses their own people? Is it OK if they just blow them up and shoot them? Are we the world’s police? What about the WMDs? They exist, but does their existence present a Clear and Present danger to the United States? I hate to break it to you, but the UK has Nuclear weapons. Israel has Nuclear weapons. But hey, they're our allies so that’s OK. We have nukes too, but killing people with nukes is OK, just not nerve agent. We signed a treaty saying it was bad so there is no way we still have some hidden away in some bunker.
Fact: Syria has not attacked our allies or us. Fact: Neither side of the civil war in Syria would be our friends or friends of our allies. Fact: Syria has WBDs and has used them on their own people in a civil war that has raged for two years with a death toll estimated at 100,000. Fact: The number of deaths from the Sarin gas attack is around 1,300, which is not even 1.3% since it brings the other number to at least 101,300 (these are all estimates but close enough and in ratio to each other).
What is the right course of action for the US with regards to Syria? Let’s break it down from a policy perspective, especially given what we’ve learned in the Middle East in the last twelve years and slanted with my bias.
I think we were wrong to go to war with Iraq regardless of how evil Saddam was. I think we were right to fight Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. I think interfering in Syria’s civil war is not only wrong, but also at this point hypocritical. We would have stood by and let the death toll rise to double 100,000 or more and never lifted a finger, but because Bashar al-Assad used Sarin gas, we must intervene by killing a bunch more Syrians? Both political parties have changed sides and are now arguing their opponents previous positions because the fact is they don’t give a shit about Syria. This is about winning elections because both sides want to either stay in power or get back into power for as long as they can. For the last forty years it has become fashionable to use our armed forces for strictly political gain, literally greasing the wheels of politics with the blood of our War Fighters and the enemies that they in turn also kill.
We need to actually have a documented foreign policy that clearly spells out when we try diplomacy first and when we simply move toward the use of military force. We need further gradation to describe circumstances when we use remote force vs. “boots on the ground” force. This policy should not be administration specific, it should be divorced from the Executive Branch with a clause to allow a President to make their case if they feel the situation is not clearly covered by the policy that is voted on by the people and enforced by Congress.
The main requirement for this policy would be to require a clearly stated goal of the military action. What is our goal with Syria? Are we attempting to remove Assad? Punish Assad? Destroy any other chemical weapons? All I’ve heard is the President making a case for military action in Syria using remote weapons with no “boots on the ground”. What is the objective? How will we know when we are done? How many more terrorist attacks will we suffer in the future as retaliation for our action in Syria?
Will there be any collateral damage from our bomb and missile attacks? You bet your ass there will be. Will the number exceed 1,300? Hard to say, but if they do, who would rationalize justification to attack us in response, or will be OK because we killed them with conventional weapons?
To summarize because I covered a lot of ground in this rant:
1. The Democrats are hypocrites.
2. The Republicans are hypocrites.
3. Anyone that claims to care about Benghazi because of the deaths of 4 Americans are either lying or ignorant and probably the latter.
4. Iraq war bad.
5. Afghanistan war bad but necessary.
6. Fuck Syria.
7. We need a real foreign policy in place that is less driven by the best interests of two political parties and more focused on the interested of the citizens of the United States of America that reigns in the Executive Branch's abuse of power over the last fifty years.