On Syria: No to strikes

This week we will be dragged into President Obama's, and a compliant media's, push for more U.S. military interventionism and adventurism.  Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, September 9, 2013 — We now begin the  week in which we will be dragged into President Obama’s, and a compliant media’s push for more U.S. military interventionism and adventurism. He is opposed by every majority on earth both internationally and at home for this errant and politically inept impulse, by the majority of Americans, by the majority of nations, by the overwhelming majority of all official religious statements, and by the majority of US allies.

The president should never have created this situation, and now will not even own it. In an off the cuff August 2012 announcement, he blurted out a self-constraining bond of personal pride for which the U.S. and the world now suffer. With this he doggedly extends his mind-numbing record of military and diplomatic failure and global destabilization in region after region — think post Libya North Africa. 

The United States of America should not be put in the position of parading a growing weakness before the international community because the president decides to play political tricks with Congress, forcing a political debate without committing to the outcome. Cameron’s political embarrassment was forced on him by Obama’s great fondness for bombing sovereign states — think Libya, Pakistan —  based on gagging hubris and moralism. 

This morning British Foreign Secretary William Hague and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held a media briefing in London for talks on the crisis in Syria. One felt a certain sadness or embarrassment to watch as the two men performed their contortions to assure all, and perhaps themselves of the ongoing closeness of the two nations. In essence Hague was hosting Kerry to present America’s arguments for bombing Syria. 

With such an opportunity, what was Kerry’s biggest argument? His great stand was an insistence that any U.S. strike will be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”

This was the only time in the press conference that Kerry showed any emotion and animated speech. Here he is given the world stage, in the friendliest imaginable environment, and the one moment of passion in Kerry’s speech is to say,  “We are not talking about war. We are not going to war. We will not have people at risk in that way.”  No?  No people at risk? Real people won’t be hurt, only Syrians and whoever else kind of strange people exist around there, who we really don’t understand anyway. Only they will be bombed.


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Here are the reasons why U.S.-led military strikes should outlawed by the world community, including by all Americans.

1. The cause is something President Obama made up on the spot, and now, in an almost pathological way will not even own. No one on earth wants this war. Only a few American hawks, and whoever else pulls the strings of war want these strikes. Gary Younge of the Guardian points summarizes

The “red line” that president Barack Obama has set out as the trigger for U.S. military intervention in Syria, he drew unilaterally. In August 2012 in response to a question about “whether [he envisioned] using U.S. military” in Syria. “A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

On 21 August, 2013 there was a chemical weapons attack outside Damascus believed to have been carried out by the Syrian government. That changed both Obama’s calculus and his memory, says Younge. “I didn’t set a red line,” Obama claimed last week. I didn’t draw it, he insisted, everybody did. “The world set a red line”.

“My credibility is not on the line,” he argued. “The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress’s credibility is on the line ….”

No. No one’s credibility is on the line except those who want ongoing U.S. military interventionism, namely President Obama, U.S. hawks and war-mongers, and the people who design war.  There is near universal rejection of this interest to bomb Syria,  everywhere including in U.S. and in America’s one most obsequious military ally, the UK.

2. The intelligence on the chemical attack in question is not conclusive, and is not settled.  There are far ranging reports in alternative, and often far more trusted than mainstream, media that the chemicals were rebel controlled, and that images and reports were manipulated to attract increased Western military involvement in their armed uprising against their government. 

Some mainstream media, less controlled by government and US interests also point to conflicting intelligence on the chemical attack, such as Reuters’ report on German intelligence that contradicts Obama’s certitude, and his drums of war, and The Washington Times report on Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent.

3. Rebel forces are full of Al Qaeda, and Bin Laden quality Jihadists.  There are no clear good guys and bad guys in this conflict. Any and all military action and involvement in Syria will intensify and exacerbate destabilization, not only in the region, but in the world, and in our homelands through the intensification of “terrorist/Jihadist” sophistication and commitment. 

4. The conflict in Syria is a proxy war involving Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the United States and Russia. The consideration of strikes are more closely related to these sick, obsessive, and globally destructive rivalries rooted in the pure evil of conflict and hatred.  It is simply impossible that a unilateral action to bomb by the United States can be helpful in any constructive or humanitarian way. Strike would only be gas on flames, erupting into ever greater human tragedy.

5. Problems are solved by involvement, never by remote, disruptive interference in local problems. If, as Kerry and Obama promise that there will be no U.S. military involvement, then the situation calls for some other kind of involvement. If the U.S. cares about the situation in Syria, as Obama in his hollow war rhetoric claims to do, then he must identify a path of involvement in which he can shout, “and we will become ever more deeply involved to help the people of Syria,” rather than as Kerry just shouted in London this morning, “we promise you, we really promise you, it will be short.  We will do almost nothing.” 

An interesting moment came up in the Hague-Kerry, London press conference this morning, when a reporter tried to corner Hague as not supporting the U.S. In response, sticking to the “Our two countries have a “special relationship” script, Hague delineated all the ways that Britain WAS involved in the Syrian crisis, Interestingly, this is part of the press conference is nowhere yet reported. Hague’s list was an impressive tour de force of the enormous reach of humanitarian investment already in place by the UK, its support for the surrounding countries struggling to weather the refugee crisis, the medical and humanitarian investment, and much more, all non-military.

This is the news! But it is not yet reported anywhere. The British Foreign Secretary, in his attempt to insure the world of the UK’s close support for the U.S. despite being bound — by Parliament — not to follow Obama’s addled rush to war, revealed just what is needed by the stable, democratic world powers, political, diplomatic, medical, and humanitarian investment and involvement.


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Frank Kaufmann

Frank Kaufmann is Editor in Chief of New World Encyclopedia (a values based, general knowledge encyclopedia), executive director of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace (an international, interreligious peace organization), founder and president of Values in Knowledge Foundation (a movement to to meet the challenges and undo the harm caused by declining content in the world of  knowledge and information).

Frank Kaufmann's work for peace includes efforts in over 65 countries with successes in conflict ridden and violent environments.

This mission to produce and maintain New World Encyclopedia involves supporting a virtual academy of over 500 international scholars as contributors. 

 

 

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