IN TWEET: IF YOU THINK AN “IN AND OUT” MILITARY STRIKE IS POSSIBLE IN SYRIA, I HAVE A BRIDGE IN BROOKLYN FOR SALE REAL CHEAP. WANNA BUY IT?
When I hear terms like “surgical strike” applied to the utter shit-storm that is Syria, I cringe. Aside from the fact that the United States doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to speedy exit strategies, the complexity of what’s going on in Syria makes Iraq and Afghanistan look like the PONG of war zones by comparison. My foreign policy strategy with regard to Syria is this: STAY OUT.
I fully agree that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is an evil butcher who cares about one thing: maintaining power. He doesn’t give a hoot what the rest of the world thinks and he has even less regard for human life. It should come as no surprise that he would lob chemical weapons at his own people. The man is a megalomaniacal loon. Trying to apply our standards of human decency, honor and reason to his actions is a lost cause.
I also agree that there is a major humanitarian crisis specific to the refugees who have been fleeing Syria en masse. THAT is where the United States should be fully engaged with personnel and resources. How about shifting some of that aid from an ungrateful Egypt and using it to help Syria’s neighbors? You know, the ones who have been sheltering the tired, poor and huddled masses. With one bold, strategic move we could remind Egypt of the largesse of the United States and do it in a way that could easily be spun as non-punitive and humanitarian.
Republicans love to talk a big game about the need for people here to start taking care of themselves. Why not apply the same Conservative principles to Syrian refugees and reward their actions accordingly? These people are perfect examples of amazing personal responsibility: they left everything behind and fled for their lives. They got off their butts and got the hell out. They (and the countries that have accepted them) are in dire need of assistance. The type of assistance that the United States could provide at a fraction of the cost of any military action inside Syria. Hey, that also means saving money. The GOP should be all over that too, right?
Nope! Instead we have the party establishment, conservative pundits and old geezer Republicans like John McCain and Lindsay Graham getting all moist for some good, ol’ fashioned bombing (and, to be fair, more than a few big ticket Democrats are right there stroking along side them). Never mind that most Americans want to stay as far away from this conflict as possible; war hawks have had more than a year of priapism with regard to Syria and it looks like they’re about to get the full release they’ve been craving. You can almost picture little Johnnie banging his wanker with utter abandon right now. These guys never met a war they didn’t love…until they have to pay for it or take responsibility for the messy aftermath.
As a Lebanese-American, I have more than a little mistrust for the key players on both sides of the war raging in Syria. Sure, Assad is a bad guy but at least he is the enemy we know. The rebels are largely Muslim extremists who themselves are a fractured morass of tribes and loosely organized militia units. If you think deposing Assad is the second to last stop on the “Free Syria” express, I have one word for you: Iran.
Whenever we stick our nose into other people’s conflicts, we tend to get burned. We have no talent for nation-building but, since the end of WW2, have become experts at arming insurgents who later turn those weapons against us. Time and again we go all cock of the walk in foreign hell holes and time and again we end up with another Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan or Osama bin Laden. Our success in Grenada notwithstanding, we spend a hell of a lot of blood and treasure that gets us little more than another massive kick to our star spangled groin.
Syria has all the red flags of another U.S. boondoggle. I suspect we’ll ignore the warning signs like we always do. I hope I’m wrong…on all counts.
CLICK HERE for an excellent overview of the Syrian crisis from McClatchy.