Right now we have elected officials in the U.S. Congress from both parties denouncing any military involvement in Syria.
The public is against us getting involved in this brutal civil war.
President Barack Obama, however, wants to travel a different road.
The President’s avowed reason to force a “limited” aerial attack against Syria, notwithstanding the congressional and public resistance, is because the Syrian government in a civil war that has tallied more than 100,000 dead has recently used chemical weapons killing a thousand or more innocent women and children.
President Obama’s advisers believe the President shall suffer “a credibility gap” if he doesn’t act, to “punish” Syria for using chemical weapons since the President told Syria a year ago, “not to do it – or else.”
There is no international treaty or law against killing women and children in war.
But we say we care if it happens with chemical weapons.
We have no problem if either side in Syria blows up women and children with bombs and bullets.
If the Syrian government uses chemical weapons, however, we are prepared to advantage the insurgent forces against the incumbent Syrian government in a civil war.
We have a different “credibility gap” on this score given that the United States lodged no objection, and made no aerial attacks, when Saddam Hussein used nerve gas (sarin) and mustard gas against Iran in the 1980s.
Hussein unleashed mustard gas in Halabja, Iraq against Kurdish rebels toward the end of the Iran-Iraq war, killing 5,000 civilians.
The United States didn’t then invoke the Geneva protocol of 1925 that prohibited the use of nerve gas and deadly agents.
We are also plainly indifferent to how hypocritical it looks when we accuse others of using nerve gas and stockpile this weapon ourselves.
Some pundits and political officials are encouraged that the President asked Congress to weigh in on whether we should attack Syria or not.
Congress in my lifetime has rarely resisted any act of aggression that any President ever proposed. It will be remarkable if they resist this one.
Whatever the soft fleshy backbone of Congress, the President should erase his impetuous challenge of about a year ago, warning Syria not to cross a line and use chemical weapons.
The President must know that a military punch in Syria’s face shall likely change nothing for the better, is bound to make matters worse, and may have the disastrous effect of convincing the world leaders of nation-states including Iran that our “limited” attack is not so limited and is the opening salvo in a regional or world war.
Incidentally, we once advertised Iraq as a “limited” war. That Iraq was hardly “limited” disfavors the likelihood we can be believed that this proposed Syrian attack shall be “limited.”
Is it our purpose to demonstrate that the United States can commit terrorism on a grander scale than anyone else in this dysfunctional school yard?
Are we really going to act first, and think about the consequences afterwards?
There appears to be a sinister microbe that infects every inhabitant of the White House, without regard to party or whatever threshold ideology they claim to hold when they cross over into the oval office. This infection prompts our Presidents to war because the extraordinary power as commander in chief is the one power that coequal branches can hardly restrain.
If President Obama doesn’t dial back his bellicose threats for a “limited” assault, and do so soon, we all may reap the whirlwind. If the next domestic terrorist attack in the United states is sarin, then we won’t have to scratch our collective heads wondering whence and why we were so viciously attacked ourselves.