Monday, September 02, 2013

Why Syria is Important, The I-Word, and Why Obama Supporters Should Be Angry

I have a strong anti-war bent.... especially when the U.S. is playing global cop and American soil has not been or isn't being attacked. I have to challenge nonsensical foreign policy regardless of whether there is a Republican or a Democrat in the White House. I make no apologies.

I often clash with Democrats on the issue of war. In fact, this is the main issue of contention that I have with Democrats. As mentioned on the twitter feed... this is the reason why I could never be a Democrat. When it comes to war, there is little difference between the two parties. Democrats love war just as much as the Republicans do. The only difference is... Democrats have a different name for their BS, illegal, nonsensical wars - they call them "humanitarian interventions". "Humanitarian Interventionism" is where the U.S. pretends to be concerned about the plight of civilians in order to frame an excuse to attack, intrude on, and shape other countries. It's just a different play on what the Neo-Cons do. Unfortunately Obama is listening to the pro-war members of his Cabinet... Susan Rice (a truly monstrous pro-war Democrat... please do your research on this woman)....and John Kerry among others.

I brought up impeachment because others have been impeached for far less. In this case, Obama is taking the extraordinary step of going against the military. We have had Presidents go against the military when the military wanted war...and the civilians had doubts (Kennedy... Cuban Missile Crisis, etc etc). But it is almost unprecedented for a President to push for war when the military doesn't think it's a good idea. This is highly unusual. The military couldn't be any clearer... If they speak any louder, it would be mutiny...but they are doing all they can to shout that this is not a good idea. They are even starting to break protocol. See reports here and here. A President that disregards the advice of commanders to this degree... is reckless. I don't care if it's Barack Obama. The fact that he's the first Black President means nothing to me, especially in this scenario. In fact, if anything....I would want & expect even MORE caution from Obama. Not even Bush was quite this reckless. When pushed hard enough, he would eventually listen to top Generals and the Secretary of Defense. Robert Gates was an anchor for him in the final years of his Presidency. This wasn't as true for Bush in the early years of his Presidency... Rumsfeld was a joke...and no one really challenged the political idiots after 9/11. Few were brave enough to do it.... but there were a few (Adm. William Fallon & Gen. Paul Eaton for example). But later on... they were able to reign the Neo-Cons in. The opposite is happening in the Obama Administration. Early caution is now giving way to pro-war mania. He has handed his foreign policy over to hawks like Susan Rice. Anything that happens once the U.S. fires the first shot... is his fault....and we as taxpayers and citizens will pay the consequences one way or another... (outcomes are all varying degrees of bad). You can't take back that first shot. Once this war is launched... there will be pressure for deeper involvement. Afghanistan, Iraq II, Libya...all started out this way...with just a little bombing. Events will then drag the country in further (and that's under the best scenario....assuming a larger war doesn't erupt). That brings me to the final point...

Why is there such a concern about Syria?

Syria is one of the top 10 or so tripwires in the world (regions or countries) where the global implications of military action...and the risks of a wider conflict are extremely... extremely the charts high. The cost/benefit is completely inverted in the negative direction... calling for no military action. This is not like the U.S. going into Grenada...and rescuing hostages... or going into Panama, or going into Somalia. For example... if the U.S. would have gone into Rwanda to stop the genocide... the global implications would have been low... and the overall risk would have been low. (This is why Clinton should have taken some kind of action...). The U.S. leading the int'l community into at least save SOME lives... would have been a good intervention....with low risk.... and very low risk on the global implication chart, while being high on the reward side. Liberia.... another example of a low global implication risk... high on the reward (saving lives). Haiti... (which Clinton tried to influence unsuccessfully) is another example of a relatively low risk to the U.S. Darfur would be a mid-range risk.... and it's not clear what impact U.S. action would have had there... but the U.S. would have at least saved some lives.

But Kosovo for example...was another extremely risky endeavor. The International implications/risks of involvement were extremely high. No surprise that it didn't go well...and almost sparked a Russia-NATO conflict. Technically...(what many don't understand) is that there was a Russia-NATO confrontation in that war... but luckily the crisis did not turn into a shooting battle...and no lives were lost. But Russian troops stormed into Kosovo & physically seized the main airport to try to prevent or deter the NATO operation (unprecedented in the history of NATO). The point here is... NATO planners and U.S. policymakers were so clueless that they apparently didn't expect this (one of those unintended consequences. The bombing of the Chinese embassy...another unintended consequence. The killing of scores of civilians...another unintended consequence. Rallying the population around Milosevic... and civilians turning against the U.S. unintended consequence. The operation - intended for a week or two- taking almost 3 months...sapping what little support existed for it... one of those unintended consequences...almost sparking WW III.... just another unintended consequence). The U.S. doesn't seem to anticipate these 'unintended consequences' very well and it shows that planners really don't have a grasp of these complex situations. This is why Gen. Dempsey made that point so strongly in his assessment of military action against Syria. Kosovo was one of the most dangerous situations since the Berlin standoff. That conflict was ill advised... and Clinton was reckless to go into the then Yugoslavia, further fracturing that country. There, just like in Syria, there was a civil war that the U.S. had no business getting involved in. Very high risk... with little return. The cost/benefit/risk on Kosovo screamed...'don't go in militarily!'. The aftermath required a decade of occupation by NATO troops...and billions of tax dollars & Euros spent. The U.S. is still feeling the fallout from that conflict.

There are a few places on the globe that carry this high global implication risk...and Syria is one of those sensitive places. These locations have the potential to spark a regional/global conflict...with widespread loss of life...and diplomatic chaos....and a huge risk to citizens...not to mention the monetary costs. Other examples are the Korean Peninsula, Russia-NATO, Russia-Black Sea, Russia-Eastern Europe/Caucuses/Georgia, Kashmir (India/Pak), India-China border, Suez Canal, Iran, China-Taiwan, China-Japan (land disputes)...and a few more.

Syria sits in a very sensitive location between four so-called U.S. "allies". Sits in Israel's neighborhood...and borders NATO. Yet Syria also hosts the Russians... who maintain a military base there...and who have special forces (advisors) fighting to save Assad right now. Russia has also dispatched naval vessels and materials to the Mediterranean in preparation for a possible showdown. It is not 100% clear what the Russian plans/reaction will be. China also supports Syria (but China is less likely to get involved). Russian and Chinese military commanders have been quoted as saying they may assist...but no one knows what they really mean.

The U.S. is also making the mistake of getting Turkey involved... why the Obama Administration would want to get a border State involved (where a war between the two could break out...forcing further U.S. involvement) makes no sense. There were good reasons why the U.S. didn't want Israel involved in Gulf Wars I & II. One of those reasons was that leaders did not want to spark an all out war between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Israel.

Syria has dangerous weapons and they possess significant capabilities to attack other Countries in the region. Syria also possesses Ship killing weapons (best way to describe them). The U.S. could very well lose ships/and or personnel.

There are many unintended consequences here....which is one of the reasons why commanders are so concerned. For example... the Russians have a fleet of naval ships operating in the area. There could be an accidental confrontation/war due to a miscommunication.

As the commanders have pointed out... an attack would make it more likely that the U.S. would have to get more deeply involved... and that would likely include an invasion with American troops at some point (that could be immediately or 2,3, or 5 years down the road... but bad no matter when). If Syria starts lobbing bombs across borders.. a ground assault will likely need to be ordered. There is also the risk of Iran joining in (Iran has some of its special forces troops/militia in Syria right now). Syria sits in a very dangerous, sensitive spot. It's not just a matter of shooting off some missiles and that's it. The U.S. has to be prepared for the fallout from that...and the bad potential is enormous... not worth the risk at all. Ironically...the Syrian people don't even want a U.S. attack. They don't want anymore war than what they already have. This is the feeling of Syrians in Syria... and expats here in the U.S. Obama & Co. didn't even think to ask them. They are all panicked right now. Obama isn't helping them... The talk of war is terrorizing them, stressing them, and traumatizing them even further. They know what happened with Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan...and how life in those countries worsened after U.S. military intervention. They know... because Syria took in tens of thousands of refugees from Iraq. They know the stories. They saw the aftermath for themselves. This attack and subsequent attacks could bring more harm to civilians than the alleged chemical attack...which I am not convinced was carried out by orders of Assad or his Army. Risking more harm to Syrians makes no sense... if in fact the U.S. really is concerned with civilians [tongue in cheek] (and of course it's not... it's more concerned with sending a message to Iran...and with Obama saving face).

An attack will likely worsen the situation (this is the assessment of the U.S. military) not improve it.

Lastly... this will be an illegal war.

I spelled out...pretty convincingly... in "Obama's War On Syria: Not just Illegal, But Reckless" why this war would be illegal, a bad idea, and not in the best interests of the U.S. It does not meet the requirements that the President himself stated that he would have..and suggested that he would hold himself to. (He lied!!!). Again, this war is about saving face... making a point...and sending a message to Iran... but it isn't worth that. That shouldn't be a reason to go to war. Obama is putting the U.S. on the line... including American troops... the rebounding economy... our security...all of it... on the line, just to make a point. Nonsensical when there are other ways to deal with the issue. Supporting rebels...and keeping a distance (as the Generals have advised) while pushing for a political settlement is the best option.

Americans want the focus to be on domestic needs. This is a President who proclaimed that America was "turning the page on a decade of war" and that we needed to do nation building at opposed to launching wars. He is going back on his own core promises. It's unforgivable. It was the last straw for me... although I was headed there for some time.

I am pretty much anti-Obama at this point...and I am ok with that. I will make no apologies. Have lost readers...twitter followers... (But I don't care).

My Obama commentary from here on out will not be nice and friendly. Not holding back anymore. I have given this President 5 yrs... the kind of Presidency/legacy...that he proclaimed he wanted and that others had envisioned... a Presidency bringing substantive change to politics in Washington.... just hasn't panned out...and won't pan out.

Furthermore, most of what Dr. West and Tavis Smiley have stated about this President on the domestic front has turned out to be true (although I still don't agree with everything that they have said or the way they have framed their arguments). But overall... they have been mostly right. This President has no real domestic agenda... let alone a vision for people of color or the urban poor... (those who brought him to prominence). On both domestic policy...and foreign policy, Obama has turned out to be nothing more than a puppet for the traditional powers that be in Washington. Not the change agent that people (myself included) were hoping for. Syria is just the latest in a string of examples that make this truth painfully clear.

You say you are disappointing with me... But I say... you should be even more disappointed in Barack Obama. Where is your outrage?

I would be highly upset at this point if I campaigned for him.

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