Last night, I caught a bit of Hugh Hewitt. His line is that we need to start convincing Congress to support some sort of action in Syria. Not so much to “support the President”, but to support some sort of decisive action against Syria.
Hugh’s a smart guy, and a great friend of mine and of the NARN broadcast.
But he’s wrong on this one. So are all the Republicans who are getting rolled into supporting this idea – Boehner, Cantor, McCain.
Hugh’s point is that we can’t stand by and watch children getting murdered, especially the ghastly murders we saw on YouTube last month. There’s scarcely a person among us, especially parents, who didn’t see that video and want to load up the B52s and go all Jack Bauer on the perps.
Whoever they were.
The Motives: We’re assured it was Assad – by the same intelligence services that have been covering the President’s butt for the last year in re Benghai, and that have a worse record than the Macalester football team. Others aren’t so sure it was Assad.
I’m sure not. Think about it. Assad was slowly but surely winning his war against the rebels; by most accounts, the rebels’ tide peaked last year, and has been ebbing. Armed by his Russian and Iranian benefactors, supported by the same parts of Syrian society that support the Mullahs’ in Iran – the not-so-photogenic rural crowd that doesn’t speak English as a second language and doesn’t make it onto NPR stories about life in Syria – Assad was slowly winning the war, block by bloody block. It wasn’t pretty – but “bloody and ugly” can serve a dictator just as well as fast and surgical.
There’s plenty of evidence that chemical weapons have been used many times in the Syrian Civil War, by both sides, in small, “surgical” attacks, away from the public eye.
So with the war swinging his direction, what was, exactly, Assad’s motivation to launch a large, carpet-bombing raid with Sarin in Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar – densely-populated rebel-controlled suburbs of Damascus?
Where all of the world’s media are, ensuring the attack would receive (by police-state standards) saturation coverage?
Eggs For the Omelet: Now, the Assad family has all kinds of blood on its hands. There’ve been countless massacres under the Assad family’s control of Syria. One might surmise that all of them have been done at such a time and place and magnitude as to avoid drawing untoward Western scrutiny, since until the civil war started you probably had little to no idea of Syria’s human rights record. Right?
And then, suddenly, 1,400 dead people, 400 of them children, killed right where all the cameras area.
Assad isn’t above doing it – but what would be the point of bringing down the opprobium of the entire world just as the war is starting to swing his way?
But the extreme elements of the “rebels?” Killing their own people has been a treasured part of the extremist playbook for centuries. The French, Russian and Chinese revolutions are clogged with tales of extremists killing their own people, or allowing them to be killed, for propaganda purposes. It serves several purposes; it’s grade A grist for the propaganda mill, and if you do it right, you get rid of some of the “allies” that you’ll need to dispense with to solidify your own faction’s control (see Marat, the Mensheviks, Ernst Röhm). All of them – especially the children – are eggs that regrettably must be broken to make the omelet.
I think the case against the “rebels” makes a lot more sense than the one against Assad.
Politics:Leaving aside the actual incident? Obama is playing the GOP for fools. And they’re obliging.
If it succeeds, of course, Obama – aided by his compliant Praetorian Guard in the media – will engineer a Caesarian triumph. The NYTimes will proclaim that it’s Obama’s victory. That’d happen whether he gets Congressional approval or, for that matter, if he’d disregarded Congress and charged in with guns blazing.
By seeking Congressional approval – and going through the charade of being seen to “want” GOP buy-in – Obama is setting up the GOP up to take the blame when the action turns into a fiasco. As it pretty likelly will – more below.
This, as Obamacare spirals into full debacle mode, as the IRS and Benghazi and NSA and Fast and Furious scandals are begging for attention, and as the economic “recovery” starts to look more and more like a high-functioning coma.
The Fiasco Within: George Patton summed up the goal of war pretty well. You kill the enemy as fast and as violently and as constantly as you can, so that the war ends as soon as possible, with victory. You know your objective, and you kill whatever it takes to achieve it, because it’s in acheiving the objective that the war ends with as many of your people as possible alive.
And I picture Patton – or really any soldier worthy of the uniform – looking at Obama’s puling, PR-focus-grouped “plan”, replete with “sending messages” and “degrading capabilities” and “punishing the regime”, and puking his guts out with revulsion.
You do not risk American lives to “send messages”.
You do not parlay American blood and treasure to rap a gangster thug across the knuckles and mess with his networks.
You do either, or both, to win the war, provided that the war was worth fighting in the first place; that American security and interests were genuinely, tangibly threatened, in a war that makes and keeps this country safer.
So why are we flirting with an action that could open a huge regional war – and blow up what’s left of our economy to boot? What’s the objective that’s worth so much American blood and treasure?
Even our military has a hard time explaining. And that’s a huge problem.
On the other hand, some of our greatest, most rational minds on the subject of military action – Victor Davis Hanson among ’em – can spell out the case against intervention in so many ways you’re tempted to say “enough with the overkill”.
Wag The Boehner: This action is the tail wagging the dog. I strongly suspect that it’s an epic deception – and whether it is or isn’t, it’s being manipulated by the Administration for political purposes, to give a war-weary public something else to hold against Republicans in 2014, just in time to give Obama control of the House.
And John Boehner and Eric Cantor are aiding and abetting it.
Are they doing it for all the right reasons – to avenge the dead children. Who doesn’t want to keep the children safe? Everyone!
Sure. And so they’ll go down in history – having been brutally manipulated into a colossal mistake, for all the right reasons.