Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fair Warning: A Political Post, on Syria

An open letter to my Senators and Representative concerning the upcoming vote on President Obama's request for military action in Syria.

Dear Senator/Representative;
As one of your constituents, I'd like to inform you of my position vis a vis President Obama's plan to punish Bashar al-Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons.

While the tragedy of the almost 1500 Syrian citizens cannot be denied, I doubt that those involved really discriminate between Sarin and incendiary bombs or gunfire. The hundred thousand plus other Syrian (and other) dead should have roused an equal outrage. Since they have not, I'm left to think the President would have me believe that the treaty -- to which Syria and other MidEastern countries are not signatories -- ranks higher than the offense to common human decency that the other killings fill us with.

That's a common enough argument, I suppose. I am confident in President Obama's record for doing what he says, and the record gives me confidence as well that, given authorization, he will not allow events to overcome him and us.

If you will read my suggestion: Listen carefully to every briefing. Discover the mission's goal, its definition and how we may recognize it. Discover the disengagement process. More importantly, find out what happens when the plan fails and chemical weapons are again used, because to me, it seems certain that they will be. I am not as confident as Secretary Kerry that the rebels are lily white in this matter, and our actions may well embolden them to attempt to frame al-Assad, intent on putting America in the position where we must increase our involvement to "punish" his "continuing" evil.

Understanding the goal is crucial, I believe, since I think none of the parties in the civil war particularly like America; President Obama and Secretary Kerry have the unenviable job of picking the least worst, and no matter what we do, I see a fundamentalist regime in Syria's near future, as much as I believe in secular government. The goal should be limited, clearly defined, and in your opinion if you vote Yea, achievable. It should be a better outcome for Syria and for the world than declining to act as the President believes necessary.

Similarly, you must believe if you vote Yea that the consequences of both success and failure are accurately described, and acceptable. Also, they must be more acceptable to the country than those of voting Nay, preventing the President and the United States from additional involvement.

Personally, I don't believe that intervention is a wise move. I believe our moral outrage is sadly misplaced. I'm not convinced al-Assad is the only culprit. I'm sure that our action will play into the hands of those in America who would have us at war for their profit, and I'm as certain as can be that without a full-fledged intervention, our actions will vanish like smoke. Except in the history books.

However, I also believe that the President, the Secretary and you as my representative, have more detailed, accurate and comprehensive information than I. I ask you to use that information to make the best decision you can on this crucial matter.
No matter how you feel about this, please take a few minutes to inform your Senators and Representative of your views. That's the way it works. And of course, vote when the time comes.

If you don't know your Congress-critters' email addresses, check this web page

Comments welcome.

1 comment:

  1. The rebels are not "lily-white". There were some relative moderates and actual pro-democracy elements in the movement, but most of those have been killed by the radicals. The radicals are literally terrorists who thought Assad's reforms were too secular and liberal. (Assad is a brutal dictator but not as bad as his father or even many of our Saudi "allies".) Their goal is not democracy but theocracy and the extermination of the country's Christian minority (10% of the population). They've gotten off to a strong start on that extermination already by the way. Priests and nuns especially are being rounded up and shot in the streets.

    The only good guys in the whole mess are the aforementioned Christian minority, other noncombatants trapped in-country and caught in the crossfire, and the refugees. It's a humanitarian crisis, with tens of thousands spilling over the borders to adjacent countries like Jordan and Lebanon. And that's where we can really help- by donating to organizations like Unicef and CARE who are on the ground keeping the refugees alive.

    As for the war drums, that's just how the military-industrial complex gets its money. Fox News and CNN are just along for the ride and a taste of the cash. Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed at least for now.