Monday, June 17, 2013

Week of 06/17/2013

On Syria, We’re Just Damned
– by David Matthews 2

I’m not a fan of the idea that America should be the “lone superpower” or that we should serve as the “World’s Policeman”.  Yes, we had that phase of evangelical Imperialism in the 19th and 20th centuries along with the rest of the world at the time.  We had that self-righteous and self-serving doctrine of “American Exceptionalism” that pushed us to expand and conquer for some “greater good”, and unfortunately it’s not something we can get out of… thanks in no small part to our current political extremism.  Whether it was right or wrong, it happened and it is a part of America’s history, and I personally would rest a little easier when we are able to purge this country of that mindset, never mind of the policies that came from it.

It is that thinking that allowed us to be convinced that we “needed” to get involved in wars we really had no business in.  The Spanish-American War quickly comes to mind, as well as the Iraq War of 2003.  The Cold War itself was a continual military-industrial long-con with the occasional flare-up fueled by this “need to spread democracy”.  And then after the Cold War, we supposedly became the “go-to” country for every perceived injustice.  Every country having a problem with their leaders, every country struggling with poverty and famine and disaster all of a sudden became “America’s problem”.  We’re the “go-to” country, the “lone superpower”, the global policeman with the global response nightstick.

And that brings us right to our latest mess… Syria.

This past week, President Barack Obama finally stopped haggling about whether Syrian strongman Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against the rebel groups looking to unseat him and went along with the conclusions made by other nations that he did use them.  Now that he’s admitted that the supposed “Red Line” was crossed, Obama is sending small arms and ammunition to the rebel groups.

And now we’re in it, whether we wanted to be involved or not.

Unfortunately there was no way for America to not get involved, even without Obama’s “Red Line” threat.  We have built up this idea that we’re this all-mighty all-purpose crusading “Parens Patriae” nation, ready at a moment’s notice with warships and an unlimited bank account.  So it’s understandable that the rest of the world would then call us on it.

Let’s get brutally honest here… this isn’t just a case of “damned if we do and damned if we don’t”; we’re just damned, period.  There’s no other way to put it.

And we’re damned on so many levels on this subject.

First of all, once we get involved with the Syrian conflict, it becomes “America’s War”.  It’s no longer a “civil war”.  Assad’s supporters and America’s critics will declare this to be yet another example of “intrusive American Imperialism”.  It doesn’t matter how deeply we get involved in this, be it simply arms or sending American soldiers, it becomes “our” war.  Even now, our air-fluffed ego-driven media is declaring it “America’s New War”.

We saw this in Libya as well.  Our participation there was supposedly minimal, and yet the very act of providing support turned into “our war”.  Obama’s supporters even claimed credit for personally getting rid of Muammar Quadaffi in his re-election campaign!  We actually did far more in Panama to get rid of Manuel Noriega than we did in helping out in Libya.

And now that the Syrian conflict is “our” war, we are now obligated to make sure that it succeeds.  America’s chickenhawk politicians and their “experts” on K-Street and in the conservative media will demand nothing less than absolute victory, while at the same time criticizing Obama’s handling of “our new war” and the costs involved.  Yes, it’s about money, and the chickenhawks will tell you that you can’t win a war on the cheap, and yet, out of the other sides of their mouths, they will complain about every penny spent on it.

What this means is that we should expect a schizophrenic campaign for escalation that will make “The Three Faces of Eve” look like a nursery rhyme!  We can’t “afford” to lose now that we’re involved, but at the same time we can’t “afford” to send troops and armament, and yet we may have to in order to keep Assad from prevailing.

What makes this worse is that we’ve really missed the prime opportunity to offer support in this conflict.  This conflict initially came from the efforts of the movement known as Arab Spring.  Unfortunately for them, the Arab Spring movement was condemned according to the Talk Radio/Fox News script as being “Pro-Islamist”, even though they were pushing for secular changes even in places like Iran.  But, as always, the facts be damned, Talk Radio/Fox News script prevailed.  The Syrian rebels needed friends, and the con and neo-cons here in America weren’t going to help because of the Talk Radio/Fox News script, so they started getting help from anyone who will give it.

Guess what that means, cons and neo-cons?  It means that you forfeited any moral right to complain about the support that you previously refused to consider!  Next time stop reading from the Talk Radio/Fox News script and use that half-horsepower weed whacker you call a brain and you might make better decisions.

We’re in this conflict a little bit late – thanks in no small part to that Talk Radio/Fox News script – and now we have to deal with that and hope we don’t let those insurgents down.

But do you know what also doesn’t help?  When we end up backing the wrong horses to begin with.  We claim to be this supposed all-mighty self-righteous “Champions of Freedom and Liberty”, but then we turn around and back rulers that are the complete opposite of what we claim to support and then wash our hands of it by pompously claiming “it’s politics; you couldn’t begin to understand.” 

Oh I understand perfectly well… we have become hypocrites by policy.  My challenge to you is to do something about it.

It really is very simple: we can either live up to our own advertising when it comes to places like Syria and bear the costs both political and financial, or we end the ongoing justification that has us serving as the world’s policemen whether we want to or not.  One or the other, but we can’t have both.  That should be simple enough even for a Fox News viewer to comprehend.

Meanwhile, you better get your high-water sewer clothes and some noseplugs, because we’re going to be deep in this mess with Syria whether you like it or not, and it will reek.

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