I don’t see any overarching national interest being defended by our intent to strike Syria. I don’t see any humanitarian objective that it will truly favor. I think it is a waste of time, a waste of resources and a dubious waste of innocent life. I stand with the 91%* against this poorly-conceived and almost churlish intent to fire off lots of cool ordnance. The only question I have left is “Why in the heck are we even doing it?”
I remember blogging two years ago about how nobody really cared that over 5 million people have been ground up like low-grade sausage as a result of the Congolese Civil War. I put forward a fairly cold-hearted tri-partite theory as to why 5 million could be killed and nobody got bugged in the middle of dinner over it. It ran like this.
First, the place is far from any major power’s sphere of influence. Nobody would run for POTUS on the slogan “We must save the Congo.”…. Secondly, all of the Congo’s neighbors are there to “help” them. Each bordering country has some interest worth militarily defending in the Congo….Finally, this is what people in The Congo are familiar with. It’s the Devil they know. It’s what their Pappy and Grand-pappy done did, and it’s what many of the adult males in the average Congolese village have done since they were nine.
This almost holds equally true of Syria. Take Israel out of the equation,** and the only other major players with active, defendable interests are Iran and Russia. Iran will hate us whether we bomb or not bomb. They will also have a major Hezbollah presence anywhere in Syria they want to regardless of who wins. That leaves Russia. That could explain why our president will announce his intent to seriously route hostile traffic through Syrian airspace.
A variety of rationales will probably scroll by on the teleprompter. The Syrian government is using its chemical weaponry like bug spray against the rebels and is oblivious to how that impacts civilians unlucky enough to be near the Raid can. The Syrians are a threat to Israel. The Syrians are violating The Some-Such Treaty and The Thus-and-Such Accord. They may not even think highly of President Obama’s favorite type of sandwich.
But the stark reality here is that in the curdled, perpetually hostile spirit of old Cold War animosities; we will loose the pigs of war and fry a few innocent Syrian civilians to make a statement to the Russians. Why else would we make clear that we aren’t there to change regimes? If we really wanted to punish chemical weapons use, why would we be targeting fewer than 50 sites for something on the order of 48 hours?
This entire Operation MCF*** is aimed at tweaking Russia. Russia has long been a backer of the Assad Family dictatorship firm. They sell Syria arms and rely on them to be a Russian center of influence in the Middle East in return. Things haven’t gone well between President Obama and President Putin in recent months. When the Russians described the West as a “monkey with a hand grenade” over the current Middle East policies, it wasn’t an accidental Freudian Slip.
Barack Obama will soon meet with President Putin at the G20 summit in St Petersburg, Russia. He is timing this strike to coincide with it. He would enjoy sitting down there and just smiling at President Putin a few days after he hammered one of Putin’s client states. It puts the cold back in Cold War. It is also a foolish mistake made in immature bravado. It will bite us in the end. It will bite us in the posterior as well.
*-The percent of Americans not enthused over warlike aggression against Syria.
**-A result President Obama doesn’t seem like the type to be perturbed over.
***-Mediterranean Charlie Foxtrot.