Syria ~ Intervene or Hands Off?

I’ve had my eye on Syria for a quite a while. Two years ago, President Obama called for the leader of Syria, President Assad, to step down. One year ago, President Obama stated if great amounts of chemical weapons were spotted being moved or used that would be a red line in the sand. On August 21, 2013, never mind back in March, chemical weapons, possibly sarin, were used where the rebels against Syrian’s government were holding ground, killing an estimated 1,400 civilians, 400 of which are reputed to be children. Suddenly, the world is aghast – videos shown over and over again of bodies, injured people streaming in for assistance, doctors opining on what the chemical was, then experts arguing whether the symptoms truly matched the use of sarin. The doubt was because the responders, without protection – not even face masks or gloves, appeared to be able to safely touch the injured and the dead, carefully wrapped in sheets or simply laid out line upon line, and I presume by now buried since the tradition is before next sundown or 24 hours between death and burial.

The international community was outraged – do something! And, all eyes turned to President Obama because he had made clear it would be a red line and that Assad better not go there. …so, why would Assad go there? By all accounts, he was winning the civil war on 8/21. The rebels were losing ground, screaming for U.S. assistance, which had been offered, but not delivered as yet, apparently. Reports that terrorist groups and sponsors were all flocking to Syria for one side or the other and that the Free Syrian Army (Rebels) had been overrun with Al Qaeda affiliated groups, despite Senator McCain’s assurance that these were good guys. There are no good guys in Syria. There are hapless civilians and a horrible, ugly civil war that has cost over 100,000 dead in less than two years, millions of refugees surging into neighboring countries, especially Jordan. Still and all, why would Assad authorize his brother, who was placed in charge of accounting for the chemical weapons, to use them on a nearby town to Damascus? Perhaps the minds of dictators are too complex to follow. Nonetheless, he’s apparently done this perhaps as much as 11 times before. On the other hand, we know for a fact that Al Qaeda has been working on attaining chemical weapons, right down to making ’em, since their inception.

Over the last week, President Obama has mixed messages from action is imminent to we are considering best action(s) to take to it’s likely to be a two to three day operation – not enough to tilt the balance of the civil war, but to chastise Assad and perhaps cripple some aspect of his infrastructure, perhaps his air defense systems. It was thought a sure thing that this action would take place Saturday or Sunday, at the latest. Suddenly, Friday night, after a 45 minute walk with his Chief of Staff, it was announced he would send a request to Congress to authorize use of force – even though he was not required to, nor would he necessarily forgo action if Congress voted no. Keeping his options open. However, that could also set up a Constitutional crisis. The President is not required to go to Congress to take action he deems necessary for our national security, but he does have to account for it before Congress within 90 days. If Congress votes no on his resolution and the President orders a strike, would that put our military in an indefensible position of either obeying their Commander in Chief or their sworn oath to the Constitution, not the President of the United States?

Meantime, Congress won’t return until September 9, 2013 and it was not considered urgent enough to call them back, but Senate and House Committees suddenly convened to have testimony from Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and intelligence and military personnel. And today, on his way to Russia to attend the G-20 Summit, he stopped off in Stockholm and said he didn’t declare a red line, the world and the Congress declared a red line through various treaties (Syria didn’t sign the treaty). Oh, and by the way, the United Nations Security Council has not authorized any use of force and Russia, in particular, states that without true proof, any action against Syria would be considered aggression. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has stated it would be considered illegal. The United Kingdom called their Parliament for a vote and they turned down the use of force against Assad by a narrow vote, but a vote nonetheless. However, France is pushing for action, and apparently, according to Secretary of State John Kerry, Arab countries are willing to finance our operation

Over the weekend, I read lots and listened to various discussions each pushing yes or no for intervention into Syria. One of the best I heard was Bryan Suits’ discussion of what constitutes chemical weapons and their use, as well as possible retaliation against Syria.

I find it curious that the President made an announcement a year ago regarding a red line, and we didn’t have plans in place ready to go to lay out for the President when that line was crossed. Really? That is the military’s job. ‘Course, maybe it was just to stall for time. So, Congress returns at 2:00 p.m. on September 9 – just in time for the 12th Anniversary of September 11, 2001 when we were attacked. And, a year since Benghazi and the Libya operation that still remains unanswered and unaccounted for four murders of a U.S. Ambassador, his aide, and two former SEALS.

8 thoughts on “Syria ~ Intervene or Hands Off?

  1. It’s a complex mess. They’ll keep pushing until we do something, though our retaliation might slow their process for awhile and “save face” from Obama’s “red line” statement months ago. The limited attack won’t end it by any means – Russia looms, the terrorists are re-grouping and we don’t have access to all the intelligence gathered. So what does the American public really know? You’re right ….. here we are coming up on September 11 again…. We need a better strategist who has a voice. What would you favor?

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  2. It’s a complex mess. Limited intervention might save face where the “red line” has been drawn and could stall Assad’s terrorists for a limited period of time….. It will surely ignite more anti-US sentiment, which is already there, regardless. There’s Russia and all the intelligence gathered that is being used against us. And the intelligence we’re gathering along with Israel. I’ve no clue what the right action on behalf of the US would be. And yes, we’re closing in on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks….. Do you have any ideas?

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    • I am still trying to evaluate the info. I don’t think we have any business in Syria – however, the biggest threat is Iran getting nuclear weapons – it would change everything in the Middle East. If Iran believes we’ll do little or nothing, then all bets are off.

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  3. And don’t forget Operation Enduring Freedom is still going on. Troops are still being deployed to Afghanistan.
    I have mixed feelings about Syria. I’m trying to understand what’s going on, but I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand. So I just read the news articles and wait…

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    • Jenn, I do not ever forget OEF and bless you for being sure of it. I do highly recommend those two Bryan Suits’ audio programs links – he’s very fluent and knowledgeable on the subjects and it is a good grounder in what’s at stake.

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  4. I’m not following this as avidly as you P, but I think they’re pussyfooting because nobody wants to start another world war. And, possibly, America may not have money for another invasion like in Iraq?

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  5. Hunt, This is yet another reason why I stick my head in the sand and pray that my ass doesn’t get blown away. I liked it so much better when I was a kid, and the only bully (besides ourselves) we had to deal with was the USSR. But now, not only do we have the components of the former USSR to worry about. The entire Middle East is a powder keg waiting and wanting someone to throw a match on it. In this world of global politics, where shaking a hand while being kneed in the groin is the norm, where treaties don’t even have the substance of a fart, and even America is a CF looking for a place to happen. I am not the least bit surprised by the antics of Syria, in particular, or any other country in the Middle East including our supporter Israel. If I had my way I would close our borders, shut down foreign aid by 90 percent and only provide to KNOWN allies. I would use the money not pissed away on “International Good Will,” to educate our folks and rebuild the infrastructure of our country, then and only after exacting laws were in place, would I open our borders. I know this is a pipe dream, but it’s one I have. We are no longer the great country our forefathers created. Our politicians have made sure that this country has become the land of the greed. The US has, for way too long, been the one country every other country feels they can come to for a handout. They come with their BS promises of peace and compromise, and then as soon as we turn they stab us. Smiling, I am so sure you’re sorry you asked me LOL. Please take care, Bill

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