Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Syria and Delaware

Seriously?  Yes.

Because this issue is big enough, and far enough beyond partisanship, that Senators Carper and Coons, as well as Congressman Carney, need direction from us.

And if they don't follow those directions, there need to be consequences.

First, here is the most sane thing I have read on the subject, by my friend Jess McVay (and you could have voted for him for Governor last year on the Libertarian ticket):
I'm not in a position to know all the facts about Syria. Neither are you. None of the players can be trusted, including (especially?) the US government. So what do you do? Read as much as you can. Read all sides. Learn from all of it. Trust none of it. Then make up your own mind. No one's claims deserve the benefit of the doubt. No one deserves the expectation that we defer to their experience or their more seasoned judgement.
It is particularly important to stay grounded in that understanding of just how little we can trust our own government.  We know from painful experience (remember Colin Powell at the UN) about those WMDs in Iraq.  We recall (some of us) how the US not only stood idly by but appears to have clandestinely supported Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.  And we know that the current administration has joined the pattern of lying its ass off regarding damn near anything to do with foreign policy or intelligence. 

But let's assume they are telling the truth.  Let's assume that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in a desperate attempt to win its civil war.

So what?

Somebody's got to say it, and it might as well be me.

It's not the specific morality of a horrible weapon that's at issue.  As the only nation to use atomic weapons, as the nation that used napalm and Agent Orange in Vietnam, as the nation that still refuses to abide by international sanctions against cluster bombs, as the nation that employed fuel-air explosives against Iraq in 1991, and as the nation that continues the indiscriminate drone killings of innocent men, women, and children in the hopes that an Al Qaeda target might be standing next to them in Pakistan, Yemen, and across Africa, we've precious little room to talk about the morality of weapons.

Besides, why are 1,000 dead people from chemical weapons somehow more significant than the 100,000 Assad has already killed in just this war?  Now, suddenly, for the US it is not good enough to be murdered, you have to be murdered by precisely the right weapon for it to matter?

Reality check:  the Middle East has already entered the conflagration stage.  There is no "Arab Spring."  There is a steady descent back into chaos.

Nor can a utilitarian argument be made for war in Syria.

If we help defeat Assad we can hope for no gratitude (nor any regional stability) from the installation of another Islamist regime in Damascus.

It is past time to instruct (yes, "instruct"--they work for us) Carper, Coons, and Carney not to vote their consciences, but to vote ours.

A vote for war in Syria is to spend the blood of Americans for no great cause, for no great gain, and for a guarantee that more flag-draped coffins will arrive at Dover Air Force Base, about which distraught moms, dads, husbands, wives, and children will sob and ask, "Tell me again, why was this death necessary?"


NCSDad said...

Vote?!? A Vote?!? Who said there would be a vote? Obomba is just gonna do it, and congress be damned. If they let him, they deserve to be damned. If he does it, he is a war criminal - not at the UN, but here. We are under no imminent threat of attack (except the NYT).

Hube said...

As the only nation to use atomic weapons...

That's really the only nit I have in an otherwise spot-on article. The alternative to not using them was a LOT worse, not to mention the weapon was brand new and we weren't fully aware of all its effects.

Steven H. Newton said...

Possibly valid nit: on the other hand there is a lot of emerging scholarship that says the alternative wasn't so bad (and that decision-makers at the time were aware of that) and in fact the evidence suggests that the bomb planners actually thought the destruction and injuries would be worse than they were.

Still, I do take your point.

delacrat said...

"... [the United States of America] goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy." - John Quincy Adams July 4, 1821

Where did we lose it, John ?

Ain't it strange that those who employed the "He-killed-his-own-people" justification for the Iraq war, did not have such qualms over our killing of his own people.

NCSDad said...

As a senator, Obama was a staunch critic of President George W. Bush for not obtaining renewed authorization for the war in Iraq. He blasted his predecessor in 2007, saying, "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

Additionally, as a candidate for president, Obama reaffirmed that sentiment. He told the Boston Globe in a questionnaire, "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

delacrat said...


Obomba, as a staunch "critic" of the Iraq war, he also staunchly voted to fund the war 5 times.

mynym said...

Couldn't see this coming. Road to World War III

mynym said...

Good article. Too bad it doesn't matter, huh?

tom said...

Make it matter. Annoy Carper, Coons, and Carney about it until they do something.

Depending on what polls you believe, the approval rating for attacking Syria is somewhere between 10-20% nationwide. With that little popular support, even the warmongers in Congress will pay attention if they get enough calls, letters, and emails.

For a simple way to contact all 3, go to Downsize DC's Oppose War with Syria. They provide a combined contact form and a sample letter you can cut & paste if you don't feel like writing your own.