Will American troops obey their commander in chief if he tries to march them into Syria? *UPDATED*

Here’s my take on Syria:  While it’s utterly tragic that 1,400 people got gassed, and while gas is a heinous weapon of warfare, especially when loosed against civilian populations, the true weapon of mass destruction in Syria is the combatants:  Muslims from different tribes and with opposing takes on Islam (Shia v. Sunni) are fighting for control over Syria.  This specific type of war (civil war, differing interpretations of Islam, different tribes) means that there is no such thing as a non-combatant .  Everyone, from newborn to ancient crone, is now, has been, or will be a potentially active enemy.

This is total war, which means that there is no such thing as an “out of bounds” tactic.  Indeed, the more vile, the better.  We’re talking about “shock and awe” on a case-by-case basis, with awards going to the person who spatters the most blood when slowly sawing off an enemy’s head, the person who figures out the most creative way to mutilate an opponent’s genitals while he or she is still alive (with extra points for rape and sodomy); the person who slaughters the most Christians in a single attack, the fighter who chews the most hearts and lungs (preferably taken from living subjects), etc.

Please understand that, short of leveling the country, as we eventually and reluctantly did to chunks of Germany and Japan in the very last days of WWII, or as Sherman did to Georgia, bringing our Civil War to an end, there is nothing we can do to stop what’s happening in Syria.  There are no surgical strikes that will stop the hominid WMDs that have killed more than 100,000 non-combatants and that are enthusiastically set on killing as many more as needed on the other side to wipe out the other side completely.

To understand what’s happening in Syria, just think about the Sudan, a country that had its own Muslim tribal warfare.  There, the pale brown Muslims killed, first, all the Christians and, second, all the dark brown Muslims.  The goal was to decimate every single opponent, whether babe in arms or doddering old man.

Given the nature of Muslim/Tribal civil war, unless we decimate one or both sides instantly upon getting involved in Syria’s black hole, we will be drawn into this carnage and, worse, the carnage will come to us.  American-based Muslims will consider it their Shia or Sunni, Alawite or Al Qaeda duty to fight the war on any and every battleground.  “Allahu Akbar” will be heard in a lot of American towns and cities.  We’re already seeing intimations of this with Iranian threats to kidnap and kill family members related to Obama’s cabinet crew, as well as to kidnap and rape one of the Obama girls.

We all know that America’s first act if it engages in Syria will not be to decimate one side or another in the war.  We also know, given the nature of the beast, that there is no such thing as a surgical strike in a Muslim Civil War.  The only that will happen if we go in is that we will pour flammable material on an already raging fire.  Anything we do, rather than de-escalating the Syrian situation, will escalate it.

In real terms, the immediate result will be that American servicemen and women will become targets everywhere in the world.  Also, mission creep will inevitably tip-toe in on bloody cat’s feet, and American troops will find their boots on Syrian ground.  This is especially true if Russia and Iran rush to Assad’s Alawite, Baathist aid, as we lend our blood and money to al Qaeda — which is, of course, our sworn enemy.  (Only someone profoundly disconnected from the Islamic mind actually believes that, if we help al Qaeda beat Assad’s troops, al Qaeda will made nice with us later.  Right.  Just like they did in Libya. . . . What?  Benghazi?  Well, never mind. . . .)  Syria will make Iraq look like a picnic and Afghanistan look like a sock hop.  Our troops will die and they will die miserably.

That’s my prediction.  If you have a different one, please share it with me.  My prediction is depressing even by my jaundiced standards.

Assuming I am right, though, here’s my question, and I mean it quite seriously:  Will America’s troops obey commands to invade Syria or will they mutiny?

To help get this discussion started, here’s a sample oath — in this case, the one that officers in the U.S. Army take:

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Does this oath obligate our men and women in the military to follow a crazy president into a suicidal war?

UPDATE:  This opinion piece by a retired general seems to answer my question:  they will think their commander in chief is an idiot. That thought, however, will not destroy the fact that the America people elected him, he is the CiC, and they will follow orders.  My only hope is that not too many brave men and women die, sacrificed on the altar of Obama’s narcissistic personality disorder.

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Syria right now is Iraq as it was in 2004, when AQ was operating there blowing up markets and school kiddies. Except unlike back then, US troops won’t be fighting to protect the local denizens, but fighting to take out the Syrian government’s defenders fighting AQ. It’s not that complicated. America will, once again, take the side of evil. As it has done several times before.
    It’s long past time people have failed to recognize it for what it is. Vietnam’s Diem, Bay of Pigs, Rhodesia, Iranians, Iraqis, will not forget American history or what previous American Presidents have done. No matter who tries to patch things up afterwards, like Bush.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    In 2008, I stopped recommending the military as a good career choice for Americans. There was a reason for that.

  • Charles Martel

    It’s not our father’s military. The Constitution is a dead letter—Obama, Biden, the Supreme Court, and countless other co-conspirators have shat on it so much that swearing an oath to it means little. So asking if the perfunctory swearing of allegiance to defend the Constitution stands between our soldiers and a depraved gelding seems pointless. The answer is no. Maybe a few outliers in the military would remember that they owe no allegiance to the president, but not enough to make a difference. If Hussein tells them to march into Syria, almost all of them will.

  • Ron19

    ..obey the lawful orders of…
    If you blindly follow any and every order, you wind up with a My Lai massacre and the Nuremburg-like war crimes trials.
    Among many other things that are not good, but evil.


    Yes, if ordered to take Syria, the American military will salute smartly and move out.  Why?  Because it would be a lawful, Constitutional order.  Only in banana republics do the military get to make policy.  Concentrate on this part.  The fact that it would be folly is interesting, but irrelevant to the question asked.

  • Michael Adams

    Sadly, no, make that tragically, they will.

  • Texan99

    Does this oath obligate our men and women in the military to follow a crazy president into a suicidal war?

    Sadly, I think it does, which is why it’s our duty as citizens to stop the President from issuing such an order by all available Constitutional means.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    A relevant post by Don Sensing, who was an artillery officer before he became a minister.

  • JKB

    To reach a point for an order to war from the President to be unlawful and unConstitutional is a long and complicated path.  Even if Congress votes directing the President to cease is not really enough.  Perhaps after the SCOTUS ruled on such a law?  
    However, the real danger is not an initial mutiny but what happens after Obama’s not so sudden but inevitable betrayal of those in the field.  It is not beyond pale that Obama would sell out the whole expeditionary force to deny responsibility.  That will not be forgiven and…
    Book, your used of the word “decimate” in the post undermines your argument.  That word’s conflicting definitions, either “reduce by 1/10th” or “destroy considerable part of” mutes its impact.  I suggest “eliminate” or “annihilate” 

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    You’re right about the word choice, JKB.  I was quite tired when I wrote that post, and words kept eluding me.  I knew there was a better word than “decimate,” but I just couldn’t get my mind to summon up that word.

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  • jj

    I’ve given up pointing that out, JKB.  “Decimate” is so routinely misused – despite the “deci” obvious root of “ten” – that the misuse has become the norm.  Two wrongs don’t make a right, endless ones apparently do, and the language “evolves.”

  • Caped Crusader

    That logic did not spare, nor was it acceptable, for Nazi and Nipponese war criminals. The “I was just following orders”, excuse did not spare those in high command the justice of the hangman’s noose. We can only hope and pray there are enough “non ass kissing” general officers to stage a coup and immediately hand over command to a sane leader.

  • Mike Devx

    It’s not clear to me when soldiers are allowed to refuse direct orders from their superiors.  I am certain more knowledgable minds here in Book’s domain can explain the “rules” to me, and to others who might be as confused as I am!
    I think in general the answer is, no, you can never refuse the direct order.  But I also think there can be circumstances that, in the after-the-fact trial in which the military is deciding whether to kill or you or not for disobeying a direct order, might spare you, the soldier, from death?
    For example – and to be silly – suppose it is dark night and your superiors are cursing something, you’re not sure what.  One of them comes up to you with a gas can and a match, and says, “soldier, I order you to douse yourself with this gas and then, with this match, light your self on fire.  So that we, your superiors, have enough light to see that damned map on that damned table over there.”
    It’s only in hindsight that actions surrounding My Lai became viewed as actions that the common soldier could have been allowed to refuse to participate in.  To have refused BEFORE THE FACT would have been an extremely risky proposition, resulting in facing the firing squad, I suspect.
    I am interested in what those knowledgable of military matters would say concerning this thought question: Soldiers are required to put themselves into very high-risk situations.  But are they required to go on a suicide mission?  What if it were absolutely clear that platoon after platoon would be guaranteed to die, to a man, until the opposition ran out of munitions?  If it were a 100% certain death trap, and not just extremely high-risk?  Would you be required to go out to your absolutely certain death?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    It’s not like whether the military obeys orders to kill some Syrian civilians is going to affect us much back home. All it will do is to attrit US armed forces, the Republican voters. After enough of these “operations”, the real “op” will happen where it matters the most, back home in the States.

  • Spartacus

    Maj. Gen. Scales: “Our serving professionals make the point that killing more Syrians won’t deter Iranian resolve to confront us. The Iranians have already gotten the message.
    1) If you have to have “anonymous sources” leak talking points to the DC press corps explaining that a proposed military action is to demonstrate to a rogue nation that you are serious… you aren’t serious.
    2) If you are genuinely concerned about a nuke program in Country A, so you go and bomb Country B to demonstrate to Country A that you are serious… you aren’t serious.
    3) If the whole world already has you pegged as a complete clown, and wholly unserious, no amount of pretense toward seriousness will remedy that.
    4) And no, bombing a country with a name that sounds a lot like “Serious” won’t help convince anyone that you’re serious.  Common sense for most folks, but with these clowns, it’s safest to point it out explicitly.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The day when people will cry out for the execution scaffold draws closer and closer. The only question is… which side of the scaffold will we be on? 

  • Mike Devx

    Spartacus says: 4) And no, bombing a country with a name that sounds a lot like “Serious” won’t help convince anyone that you’re serious.  Common sense for most folks, but with these clowns, it’s safest to point it out explicitly.
    Kind of reminds me of a country called Chile.  Where the temperatures are always below average.