Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No War in Syria!

The US government is preparing to go to war against another country.
Assuredly the situation in Syria is dire. But in order to avenge the killing of Syrians by poison gas, our government proposes to kill more men, women, and children. Is there any justification for that? I have not seen it so far.
The Iraqi “Weapons of Mass Destruction” scam is still vivid in memory and so one may be forgiven for being slightly skeptical of the claims being made about the use of poison gas in Syria. But let us assume that it is indeed true that Pres. Assad of Syria has used poison gas against his own people.
There seem to be five reasons that are offered for our attacking Syria.
1. President Obama has repeatedly said that if the Syrian government uses poison gas there would be retaliation from us. Nevertheless in spite of serious evidence that poison gas had been used, we did nothing. Defenders of the proposed attack on Syria claim that this inaction has made the US lose credibility. We need to attack Assad now in order to retain our credibility.
We are going to kill men, women, and children to regain our credibility? Credibility as what – mass murderers?
One would think that the great caution with which Pres. Obama has approached the prospect of more killing has earned us more respect than sending off a bunch of missiles into Syria.
2. Secretary of State Kerry, with his customary self righteousness, declared that using poison gas was a “moral obscenity.” Assuming, apparently, that it is our job to punish moral transgressions, he hints that this obscenity will not go unpunished.
One would like to have two questions answered about that defense of attacking Syria. Is it really our job to punish moral transgressions committed by other nations? If so, why are we not bombing China for the treatment of Tibet, or Russia for their destruction of Chechnia?Our moral policing of the world is clearly quite selective. One would like to hear Sec. Kerry defends that selectivity.
The second question is obvious. The US has done horrible damage to Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention Vietnam. Should we not refrain from setting ourselves up as the world's arbiter of political morality?
3. The proposed attack on Syria is defended on the grounds that the continuing civil war in that country tends to destabilize all of the Mideast. For a layperson that is a difficult claim to understand, let alone verify. But suppose it is true, will sending cruise missiles into Syria help to stabilize the region?
This third reason for attacking Syria is as hopelessly lame as the previous ones. If we want to stabilize the region, we need to support the dictator in Syria and help him to put an end to the uprising as quickly as possible, never mind the lives it will cost.
4. Sending missiles into Syria is thought to deter future uses of poison gas. Now the threat of such retaliation clearly has not deterred the president of Syria. Will he be deterred when we actually send missiles into his country? That is by no means obvious.
Other countries clearly are not going to be deterred from using poison gas. They have no reason to think that the United States will attack any country anywhere at any time for use in poison gas.
The deterrent argument is feeble.
5. This last reason comes from the recently elected Senator from Massachusetts, Joseph Markey, who proclaimed that it is essential that the United States “be a leader on this issue.” Should the United States really be a leader in killing civilians, or on escalating a difficult military situation by getting into the middle of a civil war?
Think before you speak, Sen. Markey.
If there is a good reason for killing more people, let us see it.

As it stands the proposed actions are completely unacceptable.