Thoughts on Syria

My long-time internet friend Steve Schippert (USMC, Ret.), who has an intelligence background, has weighed in on Syria.  I feel quite flattered, considering his knowledge and expertise, that he feels as I do:  In Syria, the most brutish forces are battling it out amongst each other in a civil war that will end only with the last man standing (all women and children on both sides of the battle having long since been slaughtered or, if lucky, relocated).

Moreover, despite the fact that we are appalled by the savagery, with each side striving to outdo each other with mass civilian slaughters (although Assad has an edge with his nerve gas) we have absolutely no dog in the fight:  both sides are evil and both are advancing values antithetical to traditional American notions of freedom.  Whether we side with Assad or Al Qaeda, if we go in, we will come out smelling like fecal matter and covered in blood, our own and everyone else’s.

Obama is inexorably pushing us to battle in Iran, but it is impossible to imagine that he has an actual objective, other than to make it so that nobody can say that he lied a year ago with his foolish, unprep’d statement about “red lines.”  Or as Steve says, “our president, befuddled and largely disinterested in foreign policy, makes clumsy remarks about “red lines” that get modified as they are ignored until the whole world laughs. That’s no reason to strike bad guys, which helps the other bad guys. And it’s no foreign policy. So sit still, keep quiet, and let Red on Red play out.”

The only thing I want to add is that this is what happens when the world’s policeman bows out.  Whether looking at a single country (Syria or Egypt) or an entire region, when there is no restraining hand on the leash, tyrants will rise up.

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  • Jose

    This administration’s hypocrisy would be breathtaking if it wasn’t so routine.  Obama has called for international consensus but is acting without any input from Congress.  Just like with Libya.  Yesterday I saw the video clip of Biden accusing Bush of doing the same thing and calling for impeachment. 
    The level of incompetence is equally impressive.  We can be sure Obama doesn’t want to actually hurt anybody when the “punitive” strike occurs.  I wonder if Obama has ever heard that saying about payback?  The Russian Deputy Prime Minister referred to the US as a monkey with a hand grenade.  What a pathetic joke.
    And where are all the anti-war protesters?

  • jj

    I sort of don’t like to be this way, but if Muslims want to kill each other, it’s fine with me.  It will cost me not one second of sleep.  Obama, on the other hand, is trying desperately to demonstrate to the world that he has a male organ (which isn’t what I first wrote), and he’s picked a terrible issue.  Putin won’t be impressed, Barry: he’s more willing to kill them than you are.  And when you state out front that you don’t want to change the situation, the question invariably becomes: then what the hell are you doing?  What’s the point?  The whole purpose of military engagement is to change situations – what the f*** are you doing?  Expending our overstock of cruise missiles?  This is a genuine fool we have running things here.  A genuine fool.

  • lee

    I agree with your friend.
    Syria’s civil war is not really a war between only two sides. Sure, there is Assad and the current government. But fighting him are groups of people who are only fighting “together” in the sense that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. Once Assad gets overthrown, they will go on fighting each other…
    Assad’s allies are Russia and Iran. Iran is only somehwat of an ally–Assad and his cohorts are Alawites, which are Shi’ite than to Sunnis. But even then, Shi’ites aren’t 100% thrilled with Alawites, and given the chance, they’d thrown over an Alawite for a “real” Shi’ite in a heartbeat. (Alawites have been tradiitionally more open to Christianity, among other things that annoy the religious powers in Iran.) Syria is also a majority Sunni country. Assad senior came in as a “Ba’athist”–an Alawite subscribing to a Pan-Aran political movement conjured up by a Christian (!) and a Sunni.  Anyhow…
    Assad’s daddy, Hafez, was more ruthless, and ran things with more of an iron fist. Anyone remember Hama? It started as Muslim Brotherhood uprising, and was brutely put down. Somewhere between 10,000 to 40,000 are estimated to have been killed. Hama had been a thorn in the elder Assad’s side pretty much since he grabbed power in Syria. It took almost 20 years to get to the point of the massacre. Even though so many people were massacred, it must’ve scared Hafez Assad, because he started “Sunni-fying” Syria bit by bit. Even so, minorities, (except for Jews) tended to be fairly well tolerated in Syria, (for a Middle Eastern Arab Moslem country), though political opposition was crushed. Not like the country prospered under Assad Senior–he plundered like most tyrants do, much of his regime was corrupt, and his oppression of dissent pretty much opprssed any progress, too. (Despite its oil, and the agriculture and mining potential of Syria, about 30% of the population live din pverty at the starte of the current century. For decades, public services worked badly, if at all, for: For awhile, the only functioning “bus system” in Damascus was an ad hoc one of people who happened to own vans, and would pick up people, and kind of drive regular routes.) Assad groomed his eldest son, Basil, to follow in his footsteps and ascending to the throne. But he died in 1992 in a car accident. And he REALLY groomed him: Bashar was just supposed to be an ophthamologist…
    While Iran “supports” Assad, they really are just betting on the horse that would get them Hezbollah in power. The Saudis are getting in the race, too, in supporting “rebels.” I think we, the United States of America, are kuh-razy for being so palsy with the Saudis. This is a country that spawned Osama bin Ladin, that spends oodles and oodles on “Wahabi-fying” mosques world wide, that has barely returned any of the “friendship” our country has shown it, that has just a peachy keen human rights record… So, we are supporting the SAUDIS in this battle?! That is kuh-razy beyond belief!
    I think the best outcome–and this might get me in trouble–is that Assad maintains power. Because a Saudi-supported, Muslim Brotherhood-based Syrian government would be MUCH worse. And it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that a democratic coalition of secular Moslems and Christians would be able to win the reigns of power, hold on to them, and  usher in a period of peace, propserity, human rights and unicorns. (Which really would be the IDEAL outcome. Okay, unicorns are mythical creatures.)

  • lee

    Oops! Didn’t include a conclusion based on the topic:
    That being said, I think we (the US) should stay the heck out of there, but we can keep our fingers crossed, and keep saying prayers for the best outcome for the people of Syria.

  • michal

    David P Goldman has a good article in PJ media:
    explains why the US is not relevant in the Mideast.