Even though I don’t understand all the details about the horrible situation in Syria, mostly because this entire issue is very complex, with many strings attached to it all leading in different directions, the one thing I do understand is that the United States should not get involved in this situation. If we do get involved, it’s a huge gamble that could very well blow up in our faces.
What is even more vexing to me is that some people who call themselves “progressives” are actually supporting President Obama’s idea of attacking Syria to help solve this problem that has already cost the lives of over 100,000 Syrian people. Since when does a true progressive ever support attacking another country for any reason, especially at the behest of a political moderate like President Barack Obama? As someone who has always been proud of being a lifelong progressive/radical and as such has always been opposed to war, I’m totally confused about where these other “progressives” even come from. But for now, enough about the various colors of our political spectrum.
The Obama administration has tried very hard to convince the American people, and the rest of the world, that some type of military intervention (probably airstrikes of some type) is the only course of action that will stop Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from slaughtering his own people. They are using the same old tired rhetoric that most presidential administrations use when they are trying to convince the American people who think engaging in violence in some other country is justified and the right thing to do. President Obama’s spin doctors are working overtime trying to lay out this situation only in black and white, not being truthful and admitting that there are many gray areas here. They are using the usual tactic of trying to depict Bashar al-Assad as the guy wearing the black hat and the rebels as being the guys wearing the white hats. What total bull!
As is usually the case, there are really no “good guys” or “bad guys” in this entire situation, although President al-Assad truly does seem to be the baddest guy. I will freely admit that anyone who suppresses his people and tramples over their basic civil rights, like free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and other various civil liberties is a hurtful bastard who deserves anything he gets. Even though I will visit this latter fact, I’m still of the strong opinion that using violence against him is wrong, not to mention illegal according to international law. Isn’t the United States also bound by law, or are we somehow special, and therefore exempt like we have too often led people to believe?
As far as I’m concerned, this entire Syrian affair, the various arguments given by the Obama administration in favor of war are a case of history repeating itself. Haven’t we all heard this entire set of talking points before? As a reminder, let me take you back to 1979-80, when President Jimmy Carter was making the same arguments before sending military aid to the people of Afghanistan who were then fighting against an invasion by the Soviet Union. After President Ronald Reagan took office in early 1981, he began banging the drums of war even louder and soon the United States was sending billions of dollars in military aid to someone who they told us was a hero and our friend, Osama bin Laden. Look how well that turned out.
This current situation in Syria bears a striking resemblance to the one in Afghanistan over 30 years ago. At that time we were being told that the mujahideen were our “friends and allies”, now we’re being told that the various groups fighting against President Assad are also our allies, even though some of them are known to be affiliated with Al Qaeda. The United States freely got into bed with Al Qaeda back in the 1980s in Afghanistan when we hooked-up with bin Laden. Do we really want to do the same thing again? I sure as hell don’t!
While the Obama administration and his supporters are trying very hard to depict the Syrian rebels as downtrodden good guys who are only trying to protect themselves and their people from the murderous Bashir al-Assad, nothing could be further from the truth. Some of these rebel groups may have started out being the good guys by defending the Syrian people against Assad’s brutal regime, but that was two years ago and things have changed a lot since then. Many of these rebels have committed some well-documented war crimes and atrocities of their own.
The Obama administration also continues citing the huge number of casualties that have died in what is actually a Civil War in another country. What they don’t tell you is that 43% of these casualties have been members of the Syrian army and others fighting for Bashar al-Assad. They have been killed by the rebels. To me this begs the question, does any force rebel or otherwise, who is capable of inflicting as many casualties on the other side really need our help? It seems to me that they are doing a pretty good job of holding their own.
President Obama, and the others pushing for us to get involved in Syria, need to take a few deep breaths, calm down, cool their saber-rattling rhetoric, and just step away and let things take their course no matter how ugly it may get.
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