Writing about something so dire as a chemical weapons attack by a foreign country against her own people requires research and the proper analogy. For two and a half years, Syria, and it’s tyrannical regime led by Ba’ath Government President, Bashar al-Assad, has been ripped apart by civil war. On August 21st a sarin strike on several Damascus suburbs reportedly killed thousands. President Barack Obama and his cabinet, as well as France, say that Assad was behind the atrocity, but no direct evidence has been presented. England’s Parliament, reeling from their failure from the Iraq invasion vote of yes 10 years ago, voted no to military strikes to Syria. Russia and China, who have supported the Assad regime from time to time, have warned the United States from acting. Oh and the analogy? America getting into Syria’s business is like that episode of COPS where the police get called to a domestic violence situation and the man and woman turn on them, the Judge throws out the charges later, and the police force gets called a bunch of Fascists. No one wins, ever.
Sarah Palin recently said, on Facebook of course, “”As I said before, if we are dangerously uncertain of the outcome and are led into war by a Commander-in-chief who can’t recognize that this conflict is pitting Islamic extremists against an authoritarian regime with both sides shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ at each other, then let Allah sort it out.”
Please, understand, while on the surface, it appears I agree with that sort of person, that’s not what I’m saying.
The religious convictions on the “sides’ of the Syrian conflict are immaterial to the result of United States involvement. The bad will created by the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, based on faulty intelligence and uncertain outcomes have limited American foreign policy decisions. Syria’s civil war has been internalized for the past two years. There’s no proof but American intelligence communities believe Russia and China have been providing weapons and logistics. This leads some to think that if the United States gets involved, then so will Russia and maybe China. The biggest issue is who released chemical weapons? Was it Assad’s sanctioned Army? Was is Islamic rebels trying to push Assad out by applying international pressure? Was it al-Qaeda groups trying to create chaos and, of course, draw U.N. or U.S. response?
In March 2011, Syria had 23 million people, more hospitals than any Arab League nation, and a refugee surplus. Today, she’s lost a third of her people, seen over 110 thousand people die, and a civil rights record that is so pathetic, the U.N. called the Assad regime “one of the worst in over 100 years”. Should America be concerned with Syria? Of course. President Obama, through the United Nations, imposed sanctions on the Syrian government in 2011. While he and his national security team make the case for military strikes against Syria, there’s no plan for who could take over if Assad’s government fell, al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood run roughshod through Syria, and the majority of the other Arab nations are warning against American military involvement. The world’s COPS, the United States of America, wants to break up the fight in the wild part of town, because it seems like the moral thing to do, but will the couple just get back together and everyone one hate them, not the fighting twosome? Yes. It happens every time.
Bashar al-Assad power is dwindling. He ordered his armies to fight against rebels in 2011 to hold power, not enforce law. President Obama, the 2009 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is ignoring calls from the international community, including former President Jimmy Carter and Russian President Vladimir Putin, to get together for a Peace Conference, strengthen Syrian sanctions, and embolden the U.N.’s hold on Syria so he can launch hundreds of cruise missiles that cost 1.5 million dollars a piece during a time when he’s asking Americans to accept a costly, but needed health care plan and stimulus packages to repair a broken economy. Obama needs to lead, not react. If he’s serious about responding to the atrocious chemical weapons attack in Syria, he’ll debate the issue with his country, this week, take whatever vote they give him, then head over to the United Nations and find a peaceful, international backed, resolution.
Right now, Russian President Putin is coming across as a reasoned dove, while American President Obama is sounding off like an emotional-charged hawk. He wants to fire on Syria, bad. As of today, Congress is trying to get themselves off vacation, head to Washington, listen to Obama, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Secretary of State John Kerry, and otehrs’ case for war. At least Obama is doing the constitutional thing and asking for permission. Even George W. Bush did that for Iraq. But what he’ll do next will show what kind of leader Obama is, and that will make or break the United States’ standing with the rest of the world. But, right now, America doesn’t need war, Syria-asly.
Lance Burson is a writer living outside Atlanta, Georgia with a wife and three daughters. He’s the published author of two books, The Ballad of Helene Troy and Soul To Body, both available on Amazon.com and in paperback through Lulu.com. He also likes puns about foreign countries, including several knee slappers involving the Pacific Islands.