More thoughts on the imminent Syrian strike

A friend and I have been corresponding about Obama’s statement that tomorrow we will strike meaningless buildings in Syria to “punish” Assad for using nerve gas on his own people.  We agreed that we agree.  FWIW, were’s what I wrote to him:

I am unnervingly reminded of the events leading up to WWI. As you may recall, that started with a small regional problem, and mushroomed into a war that cost millions of lives as the various “great” powers got sucked in. Then, it was America that pulled England’s chestnuts out of the fire. Now, it is America that is hurling fuel onto the fire, and there will be no one left to pull anything out.

The Washington Post is running an editorial saying that Obama is aiming for a careful surgical strike, and that it is announcing the strike’s details, right down to the date, well in advance to deflect a hot-headed response. Thus, says the WaPo op-ed, there will be no dead bodies, just a few shattered buildings. The purpose of this carefully calculated incursion is to let Bashar Assad know that Obama is angered by his behavior and is watching him.

As for me, I think this is a carefully calculated mistake. The swirling vortex in Syria is too strong to allow escape for any force that comes too close. It might have worked in 1993 when Clinton fired a few rockets into Iraq, but it will not work in a white hot civil war characterized by (as you said) 100,000 dead bodies, not to mention the atrocities and the refugees.

Obama has also miscalculated terribly by failing to articulate what American interests are in Syria. Is he trying to weaken Assad to give the al Qaeda rebels a fighting chance? If so, what’s in it for us? We’re talking about al Qaeda for Gawd’s sake.

As they showed in Libya, having America help them in one year isn’t going to stop them from attacking and killing Americans in Benghazi the next year. They’re very focused, and their goals are regional control and, Allah willing, world domination. They’ll take Great Satan’s hand if they need it, but it doesn’t quench their fundamental murderous animosity to America and her people.

And if there’s another reason for going in, what is it?

Americans are a sympathetic people, but they’ve learned through bitter experience that internecine conflicts between Arabs/Muslims are invariably blood baths. Whether between Iran and Iraq in the 1980s, in the Sudan a few years ago, within Iraq since 2003, in Egypt right now, or in Syria for the last two years, they fight with unspeakable savagery until the survivors are incapable of fighting any more. And then they fight some more.

In past wars, we’ve gone in with the stated purpose of bringing Democracy to an oppressed people. Americans like to fight for freedom. But what are we doing taking sides in a battle between two sadistic oppressors? Obama has failed to explain.

Worse, Obama has failed to explain even to Congress, because he refuses to speak to it, despite the War Powers Act. He’s also failed to speak to the UN (despite his pre-2008 promises to do so), leaving Ban Ki-whats-his-name to beg him to “give peace a chance.”

So yes, I agree with you VERY STRONGLY. I hope I’m wrong, but I fear that the President, unilaterally — and I mean entirely unilaterally, without even America behind him — is taking us down a dangerous path that has no benefit for America, only peril. And along the way, there’s a substantial chance that all the parties to the conflict will turn their guns on Israel.

A lot of people are saying that, for all the rhetoric, neither Syria, nor Iran, nor al Qaeda, is ready to take on Israel. That’s logical, of course, but logic doesn’t deter mad men. Think about this: if Hitler had stopped before engaging in a disastrous second front against the Soviet Union, he might have been sitting pretty in Europe for decades. His advisers begged him to leave the Soviet Union alone, but he wouldn’t listen. When it went sour, they begged him to pull out, but he wouldn’t. And no military advisers would ever have urged him to turn over so many military resources — trains, guards, etc. — to make the continent Judenrein. He did these things because he had become a megalomaniac as the war progressed.

And sadly it seems that, in Muslim wars, megalomania is never far behind.

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  • Ymarsakar

    Looks like AQ called in the big guns for Syria.
    Back when the Dems were talking about how Bush had Osama in custody and was just waiting for a good opportunity to release the op, I always did wonder what went through the heads of our enemies. Also when they talked about Bush knowing ahead of time about 9/11, I did wonder what they were thinking. Now I know. They were thinking Bush was our Obama.

  • lee

    Here is an interesting read on what is going on in Syria:
    Can I suggest going back to what I wrote as a comment to an earlier entry here? Here is the link for that:

  • lee
  • 94Corvette

    There have been over 100,000 deaths in Syria by bullets, rockets, artillery, etc. and for us to get our panties in a wad now that 1,000 more were killed by a gas attack is stupid.  If we were going to take a stand, we should have done it long ago before so many were killed and displaced.  Compounding the stupidity is telegraphing exactly what the attack will be as that allows they Syrian government to put a price on their actions.  Gas a thousand, get two buildings bombed, an exchange that may be perfectly acceptable to them.  I think it was Patton that said that there were two words that describe every defeat, “Too Late”. 

  • Ymarsakar

    Obama thinks that if he uses up enough US bombs, we’ll run out of them in the 2nd US Civil War, except for the Left’s private stock piles.

  • Kevin_B

    Here’s something about the so-called rebels in Syria – and more evidence about their nature, as well as indication that we probably shouldn’t support them or do anything on their behalf. The video is a bit of a hotchpotch with commentary in both English and French, interspersed with Arabic-spoken pieces (mostly a lot of allahu akbar and other crap). It is rather gruesome and definitely not for the faint of heart.

  • jj

    I think it should be spelled out (actually kind of thought it was) that a president who wishes to engage in such stuff is required to explain what he’s doing, what he’d like to see, and why America should care.  I grew up in the occasional company of interesting people, and heard from several of them, who were in a position to know, that in WW II Hitler really saved FDR’s – and by extension, America’s – bacon by declaring war on us.  The people in this country, (and it may have been most of ’em) who were not at all interested in going to war in Europe had prevailed for quite a while up to December 7th, 1941.  We had no reasonable reason or excuse to go to war in Europe, no matter how hard Churchill tried to get us in (that’s the summation of his strategy in both wars: involve the US), and we were fairly serious about not going in.  People forget (well, this group doesn’t, but the average American empty head does) that for us WW II in Europe lasted 40 months from declaration to declaration.  In real fighting terms we didn’t get the war machine cranked up enough to be serious until about August 1942, so for the US WW II (in Europe) effectively lasted about 33 months.  Less than three years.  For everybody else it was almost six. 
    All of which is a digression, sorry.  The point is, even FDR couldn’t do anything about Nazi Germany just because he felt like it or thought it was justified, because they hadn’t done anything to us.  What were they going to do?  Fire a couple of shells at Montauk and Cape Cod?  They couldn’t reach us, they couldn’t do much to us, they certainly couldn’t ‘attack’ us, so who cared?  Roosevelt was unable to articulate a goal, strategy, or reason to be involved.  Hitler, who thought the Japanese were insane for bombing Pearl Harbor, nonetheless did his duty as a good ally and declared war on us in the wake of Pearl Harbor, which was right up there with invading the Soviet Union on his list of huge mistakes.  And even with the bombing of Pearl, there were plenty of people in and outside of government who said, when FDR declared war on Germany: “what?  What are you talking about?  Germany didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor!  What the hell do we care about Germany?”  Etc., etc.  Even post-Pearl Harbor he had to explain it, justify it, and present his thinking.
    Obama, I notice, doesn’t seem to have to do that.  Neither did Clinton, from whom no statement of goals, or purpose was demanded when he went to flatten the aspirin factory.  Bush did have to explain – to a point – what he was doing, and what the goal was – but everybody should be.  Why are they not? n Obama’s masturbating here, announcing ahead of time what the targets will be, how long it’s going to last; and not explaining what the end goal is, what will constitute ‘victory,’ what may be the lesson he hopes to administer.  What, in other words, is the point?  He isn’t compelled to disclose that, for some reason, and therefore there doesn’t have to be one.  As I said in another post, (somewhat more elegantly), is he trying to convince Putin he has a dick?  Is that the goal?
    I don’t know, but I damn well think ou8r limp-brained party in DC should damn well demand an explanation before anything happens.

  • Mike Devx

    I don’t know how smart or stupid I am, but I always have an opinion.
    We have no foreign policy interest or national interest riding on who wins in Syria.  They’re both bad.  Therefore there is no reason there to intervene, at all.
    Is there a humanitarian reason to intervene?  Of course.  But without any national interest in this, it is a PERFECT situation for us to put impetus behind a UN solution.  It is a perfect situation for us to be a supporting player in a UN effort to relieve a humanitarian crisis.  We can contribute to a UN effort *at the same level* as every other UN player who considers this a humanitarian crisis.
    We do not lead on this.  We do not overcommit while others get to undercommit.
    The problem of course, and seemingly the problem as ALWAYS, is Obama.  Are you like me, being certain that Obama:
    1. Is highly narcissistic, even suffering from malignant narcissism?  It’s all about HIM, not about suffering Syrian children and other civilians.
    2. Is completely deceptive in all things.  You NEVER know why he is making a particular decision.  When he explains something, the only you can be sure of is that it is either a complete lie, or some kind of partial truth.  He is NEVER telling you the truth.
    3. Everything (except for #4) is about domestic politics for Obama.  All other decisions are weighted on their effect on Obama’s domestic politics.  Note I didn’t say Democrat or socialist politics, though they contribute in a minor way.  You have to see #1: It is all about Obama.
    4. Obama, for reasons I cannot explain with certainty, always favors hardline Islamists, except when it violates #3 (and would harm him domestically politically.  Only then do the hardline Islamists get thrown under the bus like everyone else.
    So I remember problems 1-4 above, and I tell myself, I have no idea what Obama really thinks about Syria, or about what he wants to do with Syria, or with Assad the brutal psychopathic dictator, or with the hundreds of Al Qaeda militias creating havoc throughout the country, but are opposed to Assad because of religious reasons.  Does he want to intervene in Syria because it will simply distract us from his disastrous performance in Egypt by backing the hard-line Muslim Brotherhood?  Even though it’s “Al Qaeda” does he favor those hard-line Muslim bruthas of his?
    And there’s a #5: Obama is a very weak man, a very weak president, an indecisive leader who only wants to make a decision that is clear (and that clearly benefits him, see #1, #3).  Syria is difficult, so Obama will dither.  I wonder what Valerie Jarrett wants to do?  She was against killing Bin Laden, and I’m sure she was against a Benghazi rescue…

  • Charles Martel

    I was getting ready to listen to the monthly joke hour on a San Francisco radio show, one that features utterly transgressive and politically incorrect jokes on an otherwise cluelessly liberal station. But, no, the Narcissist in Chief is going to come on the air in a few minutes to rationalize his manly response to the Syrian crisis.
    My take on this is that it will be a tempest in a teapot. We’ll telegraph where we’re punching, the Assadites will hunker down and scream bloody murder, and the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and Europeans will tsk tsk. In the end the Syrian slaughter will pick up right where it left off and America will be an even bigger laughingstock.
    But bwave Obama will have had his moment. Killing a few faceless Syrians will have showed who’s boss! The Nancy Boy will have redeemed himself in his own and Valerie’s eyes. Not a bad day’s work.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Hmmm…I was thinking about some appropriate sound track to accompany this e devolving epic.

  • Kevin_B

    I am going to offer some thoughts and comments on Syria. Many of what I am going to say may already have been mentioned on this site and certainly in other resources, but I think repeating them will do no harm.
    Firstly –  and I think this is an extremely important point – the CRUX of this whole Syria matter is islam; islam is at the very core of all this. We should not allow ourselves or for that matter anyone in the West to be misled, tricked or deceived into believing that this a ‘fight for freedom and democracy’, that this is case of a people oppressed, brutalized, abused and degradated by a cruel, despotic, dictatorial regime now rising up against said regime, seeking to abolish and replace it, and said regime responding in cruel and violent ways to keep the people under its thumb. The Syrian ‘civil war’ is not a case of a people seeking to overthrow a despotic, oppressive, hateful government, and the number of what we could call ‘true freedom fighters’ amongst the so-called rebels is very, very limited. This conflict is in essence a religious war between two opposing factions of islam, the shia muslims and the sunni muslims. Essentially, the Syrian ‘ civil war’ is a large-scale internecine squabble between shia and sunni muslims fought with both modern and ancient weapons, often used in appalingly savage ways. 
    Islam has a long (and very bloody) history of internal divide and strife, despite of all the claptrap and idle chatter about the so-called unity of the ‘ummah’, or in other words, a so-called unified, uniform and univocal community of muslims standing against (and above) the kuffar or unbelievers and the ‘dar-al-harb’ or non-muslim world. The split between islam’s two major factions, the shias and the sunnis, dates back to the death of islam’s founder and prophet, Muhammad. When Muhammad died, a conflict arose between those who saw Abu Bakr as the first legitimate caliph or successor of Muhammad (the sunnis, from sunna, which means ‘tradition’ and refers two the way of life of Muhammad) and those who believed that Ali Ibn Abu Talib (also known as the Imam Ali, mainly by shias), the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad (the shias, from sji’at ali or followers of Ali).
    Abu Bakr became the first caliph in the end, Ali eventually becoming the fourth caliph and last of the so-called rashidun or rightly guided/righteous caliphs, those caliphs who had been contemporaries and close associates of Muhammad himself and perceived as more righteous than all later caliphs. The divide thus originated quickly, and inner strife within islam started early on and has a long history. In fact, of the four rashidun, none died of natural causes. Abu Bakr was apparently poisoned, while the other three including Ali met their ends in a violent fashion. Since the days of the rashidun, islam has had a long history of fragmentation, internal disagreement and strife often ending in violence – this supported by the islamic concept known as ‘takfir’, which means that any person or group within islam can be declared to be outside of islamic orthodoxy or out of islam altogether, thus making them murtad (apostate) or kaffir (unbeliever) – which basically makes these persons or groups fit for killing and having war waged against them. Battles between ‘sunni’ and ‘shia’, or faction which can be described a such, date at least as back as 657 (Battle of Siffin, during the caliphate of Imam Ali, between Ali and Muawiyah, who later became the first Ummayad caliph) and 680 (Battle of Karbala, in which Ummayad caliph Yazid I wiped out the house of Hussein Ibn Ali, the son of the Imam Ali and grandson of Muhammad). Many battles followed in later times, and several of the later caliphs met a violent end. 
    This goes to show that strife originated very early on in the history of islam and quickly escalated into violence. The violent and often outright savage internecine squabbles between sunnis and shias have been going on since, and muslims have been killing each other for over a millennium. Given the fact that such conflicts continue to this day, and that much of both politics and internecine squabbles/warfare in the Middle East can be seen in the light of sunnis versus shias and muslims killing other muslims whom they consider to be apostate and impure, it ought to be clear what is the nature of the Syrian ‘civil war’. And it should caution us to get involved in any of this.
    Islam of course originated in a tribal Arab culture, and as far as we know (much of which comes from colored islamic sources), in the period of ‘jahiliya’ or ignorance before Muhammad’s prophethood, tribal conflicts and internecine squabbles between tribes were common. Some of that possibly carried over into islam, certainly as far as the Arab muslims are considered. But let us not be deceived that this is even a major cause of the violence in islam, or that violence is not inherent in islam. It is clear that when we look at the biography of Muhammad, known as Sirat Rasul Allah, written by muslim historian Ibn Ishaq (English version: ‘The Life Of Muhammad’ by Alfred Guillaume), that violence quickly became an essential part of islam, especially in terms of spreading islam and conquering as much area as possible. The life of Muhammad is ridden with violent episodes, written in blood, littered with dead bodies and laden with horrific torture and savagery. Take for example the case of Kinana Ibn Al-Rabi, the jewish treasurer of the city of Khaybar, whom Ibn Ishaq describes as being tortured by “having a fire kindled on his chest until he was nearly dead”, before being beheaded after the muslims conquered the city. The goal? Getting the treasure. In the case of Khaybar, the jews weren’t massacred as Muhammad did in an earlier case, but they were relegated to the status of ‘dhimmis’ and forced to pay the jizhya or islamic extortion tax – thus legitimizing the later use of the dhimmi status and the jizhya. 
    These are just some examples from Muhammad’s own rule, and there are many more cases. I don’t think I need to point out just how much violence the Quran contains, and the hadith too are laden with it. Violence is inherent and necessary to islam – to quote a Twisted Sister song, ‘remember, it’s the nature of the beast’. Islam is also inherently a totalitarian, despotic system that has the last and in fact every word on matters of society, law and politics. I want to add to this an interesting fact. The islamic calendar starts in the year 622 of our (Gregorian) calendar. This is not the year of Muhammad’s birth or even the year he started preaching, but the year Muhammad performed al-hijra (migration) from Mekka to what was then Jathrib, where warring tribes welcomed him as a peacemaker who would settle things in this agricultural oasis. Muhammad made of use of this to become the sole ruler, effectively the dictaror of Jathrib, now renamed to Madinat An-Nabi (city of the prophet; the present-day city of Medina in Saudi-Arabia). It’s very interesting that the start of Muhammad’s rise to political power and the beginning of establishment of islam’s political rule, many times culminating in agression and violence, is the start of the islamic calendar. 
    Another interesting fact is that during ‘jahiliya’, each season had one holy month during which ghazwas (raids, attacks) on travellers and trade caravans were forbidden in order to make it possible for all to perform the pilgrimage to the Ka’aba in Mekka (at the time a Pagan place of worship, later co-opted by the muslims together with the pilgrimage, which became hadj). In 623, because things weren’t looking to good for the muslims because of opposition, Muhammad declared the ghazwa on the caravans to Mekka – and the early muslims eventually after six attempts performed what is known as the Nakhlah raid, the first succesful muslim violence (which also resulted in one death). This of course started a tradition of raids, warfare and violence by the muslims. The Nakhlah raid took place during a Pagan holy month – a complete anathema in the Arabia of those days. Later on, the islamic tradition became to have just one holy month, the well-known months of Ramadan, as a rememberence for the Battle of Badr, the first large battle won by the muslims. Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr are therefore the remembrance of acts of warfare and violence.
    It’s also worth remembering, and I repeat an earlier point, that both Muhammad’s life and the later history of islam with its many battles, both of conquest and of internal struggle (also think of the term ‘fitna’) provide ample examples of torture, mutilation and murder which are perceived by us modern Westerners as cruel, savage, barbaric, inhumane, gruesome and repulsive. Of course, because both violence and savagery originated with Muhammad, they are completely legitimate in islam. Add to this a culture which was already violent, a people already more predisposed than Westerners to violence and centuries of islamic rule, domination, indoctrination and all-encompassing influence, as well as massive  inbreeding, and you have a recipe for the most gruesome and disgusting savagery. We are seeing that in Syria with both parties, but the rebels seem, probably because of the hardcore islam they adhere to, to be predisposed to the worst and most appaling kinds of barbarism and savagery – as we can witness in the clip I posted earlier in this thread, which contains stuff like shooting and beheading people in public, killing at will, throwing people of a building, the use of child soldiers, savage and gruesome mutilation and cannibalism – much of it to cries of ‘allahu akbar’. 
    This just goes to show the true nature of islam, its history which is written in blood and littered with gigantic piles of dead, often horribly mutilated bodies and the history of violent internecine squabbles within islam which have accounted for many wars and deaths and continue to do so to this very day. It also shows what is, I think ,the true nature and core of the ‘civil war’ in Syria. There are no victories to be won in Syria. We must remember that both sides are muslim (Assad being shia, the rebels being sunni) and that they hate eachother to the point that killing a person of the other group essentially becomes like crushing a cockroach. Both sides are inimical to the West and neither side has any concern for Western sensitivities or interests. As Victor David Hanson said, there are nothing but bad options in Syria – there is no good choice to be made there. To quote Kissinger, it’s a pity they can’t both loose – in this case, Assad’s murderous totalitarian regime and the murderous, barbaric islamic savages of Al Qaeda and Al Nusra.
    There is absolutely no way the West can do any good for anyone, but especially for the West itself, to choose a side and intervene. Again, there are no victories to be found in Syria, only losses. Syria and by extention the entire Middle East is a veritable hornets’ nest the West should not stick any body part into, or even go nearby unless the West or its interests are openly and directly threatened (of course, subliminally, they always are in that region) or Israel, our only ally in that region, is threatened to a point that it can no longer cope with it itself. Striking in Syria now is in my opinion a illogical, foolish and immoral thing to do. There is absolutely no justification to do so. All attempts to justify it are agenda-driven claptrap.

  • Bookworm

    Bravo, Kevin_B!

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  • Danny Lemieux

    “Like”, “Like”, “Like”, Kevin_B. 

  • Ymarsakar

    Obama’s goal is the same one he had in America, Libya, and Iran. Kill the freedom fighters, support Islamic regimes, and support Islamic freedom fighters, destroy the regime if it is anti Islam.
    It’s not very special or unusual for the Left.