Sunday, September 8, 2013

THEN WHAT????????

There is no doubt in my mind the United States will take military action against Syria sometime in the near future.  What has been bothering me is then what?  Who am I kidding?  I'm bothered by everything about this crisis.

·      _____ For two years, President Obama told us the U.S. had no national interest at stake in Syria.  While 100,000 people were killed by conventional means, we had no skin in the game.  Now that 1,400 have been killed by sarin gas, we suddenly discover a national conscience?

·      _____Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against the Kurds in his own country.  These were weapons the Bush administration allowed him to acquire through an Italian bank in Atlanta.  Hussein then used them against the Iranians too without serious criticism from the West.  The world did not care.  So much for international red lines.

·      _____We inserted ourselves in civil wars in Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq.  How did that work out?  Afghanistan is a basket case of corruption and incompetence and will implode after we leave.  Iraq's Sunni's and Shiite's are killing each other and the leader of the nation is a virtual dictator who allows Iran to fly over his airspace to resupply the Syrian regime.  How have our national interests been served so far in Iraq?  Is it time to get involved in another civil war?

·      _____Cindy Sheehan asked what her son died for in Iraq.  If an American is killed in this Syrian action, what do we tell his or her parents their child died for?

·      _____General Martin Dempsey says our actions must not tip the balance in the war to the rebel's favor resulting in deposing President Assad.  If Assad were to fall, Islamist forces aligned with Al Qaida would rush in to fill the vacuum in a nation with thousands of tons of weapons of mass destruction.  So what then is the purpose of the attack to begin with?

·      _____Almost 5,000 Americans died in Iraq, and hundreds of thousands wounded physically and mentally, so Iran could extend its influence in the region through Iraq, into Syria and finally in Lebanon.  What will Iran do if they think this hegemony is threatened?

·      _____Does anyone miss the irony of Republicans demanding convincing intelligence as to whether or not Syria actually used chemical weapons against its own people?  Is it lost on anyone how the debacle which was Iraq has colored the entire discussion about Syria?  Members of Congress now outright saying how they were lied to on Iraq...wondering if Obama is telling the truth...questioning whether we have any national interest in the conflict...demanding no troops be on the ground.  One writer said the military has been trying to overcome the Viet Nam syndrome and now finds itself trying to deal with similar problems caused by the war in Iraq.

·      _____Tony Blair stampeded the British into participating in the Iraq war in the same manner and with the same lies as George Bush did to Americans.  The recent vote by Parliament to stay out of any military action in Syria is a direct repudiation of Blair and his policies and Cameron is being used as his proxy.

·      _____There are reports some in Washington, and elsewhere, believe allowing the Shiites and Sunnis in Syria to kill each other, particularly Assad killing Al Qaida and Islamists weakening or killing his forces, will wear both sides out, weaken them economically and militarily and lead them to some kind of diplomatic solution.  This was the same argument used when we let Saddam be our proxy in his war with Iran.  How did that turn out?

·      _____If we do not hit Syria, will the Ayatollah in Iran interpret this as a sign we also won't do anything if they continue to build nuclear weapons?  We know from history the perception of weakness encourages aggression and rash actions.  (Khrushchev perceived Kennedy as weak and thought he could get away with missiles in Cuba almost leading to nuclear war...Hitler perceived Chamberlin and the Allies as weak and invaded Poland)

·      _____Are we experiencing a new "domino theory"?  We hear if we don't hit Syria, this war could overrun Lebanon and Jordan and threaten Israel.  Since Israel is our proxy this could draw us into the conflict and as Russia's proxy, Syria could draw them and possibly China into this fight.  The last "domino theory" was used to justify Viet Nam and we were told if Viet Nam fell, all Southeast Asia would go with it.  It wasn't true, but it was used to frighten citizens and intimidate critics.  Could this one be used the same way?

·      _____If we hit Syria, "they" will hit us.  1) Hezbollah could launch thousands of rockets into Israel from Lebanon. 2) Iran could try to shut down the Straights of Hormuz or attack American warships or sink international shipping driving up the cost of oil and wreaking havoc on the world economy 3) Iran could use Hezbollah, or other a-symmetric forces, to hit "soft" targets in Europe or Africa.  Are the American people prepared, ready for, and steeled to deal with the loss blood and treasure?

·      _____If Israel is hit, what do we do?  One of the lessons of WWI is how alliances, and unrealistic expectations about the length of a war, guaranteed an escalation of force.  Does the United States have to escalate military action if Israel is hit?  Does Russia have to escalate military support for Syria or Iran if they are hit?  What will China do?

·      _____Once again we are told our credibility as a nation is at stake.  IF we don't hit Syria, we will appear weak and our word won't be worth anything on the world stage.  Allies like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Israel and others will no longer believe they can count on us and will go their own way leaving us with little influence over them or the region.  Do you buy this?  Isn't this the same argument George W. Bush made when he said we had to invade Iraq in order to "save face" in the world?  Can it work again?

·      ____The $64,000 question...if we hit Syria with cruise missiles...if we don't hurt them too badly...if we send a message about the use of chemical weapons, a "shot across their bow"...if we don't degrade Assad’s forces enough for him to be forced out of office...what do we do if he uses chemical weapons again?  Does an initial attack lock us in? Leave us no discretion...guarantee we would have to hit them harder, degrade their military more and continue attacking until Assad is gone?

·      _____This last question is the one which worries me the most and which no one is discussing.  All of these questions and inquiries must be asked and answered in the next week before a vote is taken.  If they aren't...if we are left with "trust us"...if Congress once again abrogates its responsibility as it did with Afghanistan and Iraq, then we could stumble and bumble our way into actions with automatic escalators built in.

·      _____General Tommy Thompson, the Joint Chiefs, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld along with President Bush and Vice President Cheney thought the Iraq war would be over in about six weeks.  They had no plans on what to do after that period of time expired.  How much better prepared are we this time?  With Obama reversing field at every opportunity, how much real thought has gone into gaming out all the "Then What's"?

·      _____These are what are scaring me...keeping me up nights...convincing me once again we are being stampeded into action with little thought about the ramifications.  I am truly worried Washington is playing checkers while everyone else is playing chess.