The right questions to ask about Syria
Remember those wonderful words of wisdom sung by our most illustrious congressional public servant, Senator John McCain?
I’ve got news for you. The drumbeats for war are starting up again and it sounds eerily just like what George W. Bush and crew were telling the American people about the need to invade Iraq. I’m not saying that Assad did not use chemical weapons upon his fellow Syrians. But Obama puts forth the following question: What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain site and pay no price?
My response, Mr. President:
What is the difference between death by bullet or death by chemical weapon? Enforcing an international ban on chemical weapons requires leadership from the international community, ergo, the United Nations Security Council. This is not a decision to be acted upon unilaterally.
How is it that the United States must again act as the final arbitrator when it comes to enforcing international law anywhere around the world?
What exactly will be attacked in Syria? Chemical weapons plants? Won’t that release toxins into the very air Syrians breathe?
Are U.S. military weapons going to target Assad himself? I believe that would be in violation of international law itself.
Who is to say that by attacking various targets in Syria we won’t accidentally kill innocent Syrian civilians?
Why not engage other Arab countries to put a stop to Assad’s chemical weapons attacks? And if the Arab League chooses to do nothing about Assad’s use of chemical weapons, what exactly does that say about Arabs in general? Just how sympathetic are adjacent Arab countries to those Syrians opposed to Assad’s dictatorship and looking to overthrow his iron fisted rule?
What will be the consequences of a U.S. military strike against Syria? How might other Arabs view this act? Will the Arab world interpret this as another example of the U.S. intervening in Arab affairs where it doesn’t belong?
Where is the emphasis on arriving at a negotiated cease-fire between the opposition and Assad? Why not further engage Russia? Russia supports Assad but at the same time might be able to pressure him to cease use of chemical weapons. Toss a diplomatic bone to Russia and give it an opportunity to prove itself as an international player who is capable of negotiating peace settlements. Surely the Russians could pressure Assad.
Why not engage Iran? The country recently elected a relatively moderate president (for a change) and it has a horrible history with chemical weapons during its nearly decade long war with Iraq back in the 1980s. Saddam Hussein used mustard gas against the Iranians, which left Iranians with a deep abhorrence of chemical weapons not to mention a deep skepticism of the international community that did nothing to enforce any of the existing chemical weapons treaties banning their use. The United States comes across as a hypocrite.
George W. Bush lied to the international community about the presence of WMDs in Iraq. He destroyed our nation’s “moral authority” to act in international affairs. President Obama should learn a thing or two when claiming the moral high ground on behalf of the global community.
Finally, let us not forget that the United States used the most powerful chemical weapon at its disposal during World War II when it bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The United States is an expert at chemical warfare and has no right to judge Syria.
If Obama wants to actually earn his Nobel peace prize now is the time to do so!
But if I haven’t swayed you with any of my pointed questions perhaps John Stewart will suffice. Truth bombs hurt and Stewart has zero patience for the same type of war propaganda that presidents and congress keep parroting time and time again.
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