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Obama Committing US to Syrian Conflict

Updated on August 4, 2013
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According to a recent UN report, at least 93,000 have been killed in just over two years of conflict in Syria.

While the rising death toll is indeed shocking, it is important to note that this conflict is a civil war and not an ethnic cleansing or genocide. It is a civil war, with many factions vying to wrest power from the dictatorial tyrrant and president that is Bashar al-Assad.

Unfortunately, Syria is attracting far more foreign influence than any civil war should reasonably warrant.

Remember if you will, that there was once an American Civil War - it lasted four years and saw the deaths of over 600,000 Americans. Imagine if the super-power of the day, the British, who largely favored the Confederacy at the time, had joined in our own Civil War? Abraham Lincoln's place in history would certainly be viewed entirely differently today, as would those of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee.

It is quite easy to look back today and proclaim that good triumphed, in that human beings would no longer be viewed as personal property in the United States of America - but what of Syria?

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It is easy to regard Bashar al-Assad and see him for the villian that he is. But who is the Abraham Lincoln or Ulysses S. Grant in Syria?

General Idriss? Pfft.

Since when is it the place of the U.S. to decide whom will be the national heroes, the veritable founding fathers, of another nation of sovereign peoples?

Senator John McCain goes on and on on the Sunday shows and on the Senate floor about his "friends in Syria" in whom we can surely trust. He constantly assures us how simply and effectively a no-fly-zone can be enforced without any boots on the ground. McCain recently sauntered over to Syria... and posed for pictures with a purported kidnapper.

Way to go, McCain.

Granted, McCain's default position is to invade, but what of his seemingly esteemed battle-plan?

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Let us not forget that we regarded Saddam Hussein as the "good guy" for a time. We provided arms to Hussein against Iran, and he used chemical weapons on his own people.

Usama Bin Ladin was the "good guy" for a time. We armed him, ironically enough, in a proxy war with Russia.

Trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lost lives later, we can now see how those situations are playing out.

We propped up strong-armed dictators in Mubarek and Gaddhafi (in the name of stability) - until we didn't. I'm saying, we don't have a sterling track record as far as dictators go.

Now we are supposed jump into a civil war, spiralling out of control in Syria?

The 93,000 dead is a nightmare, and that number will unfortunately only continue to grow. The UN has been neutered by the vetoes of both China & Russia, neither of which are particularly amenable to the idea of ousting dictatorial regimes for such trivial matters as human rights violations.

Which brings us to US involvement. President Obama issued his chemical weapons red-line in 2012, and now the US government is claiming that Assad has in fact utilized chemical weapons in the killing of 150 rebels. Out of 93,000 killed overall? Odd no?

The UN remains skeptical of the US assessment on use of chemical weapons. Given WMD, Tonkin et al - perhaps some restraint is warranted.

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Suppose it is as Obama says - why would 150 killed with chemical weapons trump 93,000 killed otherwise?

Unfortunately, Obama looks weak if he lets Assad slide on crossing his red-line. However, Obama has assured Putin that we would only seek armed-removal of Assad from power, and not his entire regime.

Russia & China are not going to abide any attempted efforts to impose democracy on an ally of theirs, especially when Russia relies upon their route to the Mediterranean via Syria.

Hezbollah have crossed the Lebanese border to join Assad. Israel have in turn bombed weapons shipments from Lebanon intended for Assad.

Russia has sent anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons systems to assist Assad. Britain attempted to stop a Russian shipment of Mi25 helicopters ("known as flying tanks") from reaching Assad's pro-government forces.

Britain & France have supplied weapons and aide to rebel forces, as have Qatar & Saudi Arabia. Iran has sent Revolutionary Guard combat troops to fight alongside Assad's forces. Turkey and Iraq have allowed supplies for Assad through their air-spaces. Al-qaeda members have also joined in the fight... against Assad.

With a million refugees already displaced and 93,000 killed, this conflict is not exactly in it's infancy. With the rebels losing ground seemingly with every passing day, why would we want to get involved at this particular point in time?

This is no longer a simple civil war, the entire region is involved. Add in Russian, China, Britain & France - why would we want to join in this sordid game of thrones? Too many nations are already involved in what was just a civil war.

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Did someone say Burma? CLICK HERE

There is no dipping of the collective toes, either we are all-in on Syria or we are not. This talk of arming rebels is a joke, their forces are far too dismantled for simple arms to much help. They need real help if they are to defeat Assad. And the prospect of that scenario should give us pause.

Suppose our supplied arms to the rebels have little effect on the ground - what does it look like if we back the losing side of the conflict?

We have already seen what happens; escalation. We started by supplying non-lethal aid, and now we are suppliying weapons. Didn't work. Our esteemed senators have stated, even before the fact, that prospectively supplied weapons to the rebels will not be sufficient in defeating Assad. Won't work. By the by, Syrian death has been largely reigned not from from above, but from ground-level operations. Thus, our next step of escalation (no-fly) will be insufficient.

Suppose the US decides to provide a no-fly zone, which by the way requires boots-on-the-ground to enforce. What happens when one of our pilots get shot down by Assad's forces - and with Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles no less?

What steps will Obama feel forced to take then? This could quickly spiral out of control into a full-fledged World War.

Would I wave a magic wand to rid Syria of Assad? Well sure, but then what?

Best case scenario assuming US involvment? Russia, Iran, & China each suddenly and concurrently fall ill with amnesia and forget all about their ally in Syria and their respective and unquestionable aversion to dictarorial ouster, we knock out Assad with little more than aerial assaults, whomever (Idriss?) we place in power abnormally eschews villain-status... and we are yet again placed in the position of nation-building, and of attempting to train an army of individuals that we do not know anything about, and who may very well utilize blue-on-green attacks against our heroes for the next decade-plus.

This is not a human rights situation, neither is this an ethnic cleansing (that would be in Burma), nor is this any longer a simple civil war. This conflict in Syria is growing hairier by the moment, and call me an isolationist if you will - but we need to worry about nation-building and infrastructure here in the United States, before we call ourselves getting involved in another Middle Eastern conflict.

When you see Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Carl Levin or Diane Feinstein fanning the flames of war with their patriotic flags - remember who bought their seats in office. We cannot allow the profiteers of war an opportunity to draw our people into yet another tragic loss of blood and treasure for the want of the self-serving military industrial complex.

This is not about human rights or civil war in Syria, it is about a proxy war with Iran and Russia - and the dollar signs that certain folks in power see flashing before their eyes.

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    • Justin Earick profile image
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      Justin Earick 4 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      Well, study wasn't much necessary (just the specific names of the Russian missiles & helicopters), as it's been in the news every day - but I appreciate the compliment.

      I've heard Dan Senor on TV saying that the entire Middle East is imploding, as though that is a reason we SHOULD get invovled?!? These neocon chicken-hawks are astonishing.

      Yes, issues at home are far more pressing. And each of them are being held hostage to money-in-politics, bipartisan gerrymandering, and rampant filibuster abuse.

    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 4 years ago from Illinois

      Interesting. I think you've really studied up on this issue. I'm also reluctant to back America's involvement in another foreign war, especially one as hopeless as this. I also think our government has plenty of issues at home they should be dealing with. Everything's going to pieces in America; health, environment, education, infrastructure, agriculture. Everything we're facing here needs more attention.