What should we do about Syria's use of poison gas?
I’m writing this because I’m trying to make up my mind: should we attack Syria? It’s a complicated issue.
No country should be able to use poison gas, nor any other weapon of mass destruction: virus, poison (such as in the water supply), or nuclear weapons.
To clarify: a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) is one that kills many people, and doesn’t discriminate as to whether they are innocent or guilty. The use of a WMD is an affront to the entire world. In Syria, women and children were killed. It’s a terrible thing.
President Obama, who frequently shoots off his mouth -- from the hip (in other words, apparently without thinking) drew a line in the sand. Syria crossed it, so now he thinks he has to act. His credibility is on the line, but as far as I’m concerned, I don’t care about that. He lost all credibility with me long ago.
Syria deserves to be attacked, in my opinion. But, is it our responsibility? Are we the world police? It properly belongs with the UN. But, the United Nations is paralyzed, because of the vetoes in the Security Council by Russia and China. What about a consortium of nations (as when we went after Libya?) Other than France, no one is willing to participate. Britain’s parliament said no. An attack by the US and France would not be viewed as legal or justified by the rest of the world. Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have given us tacit agreement to go ahead and attack, according to John Kerry.
Certainly, we should not attack the general population of Syria, we should go after the government.
If we do attack Syria, what should we target? The leadership who most likely authorized the gas attack (try to kill Assad, for example) or military assets, such as their air force? We could attack the president by taking out the Presidential Palace. Or, we could hit every airfield, concentrating on destroying aircraft, control towers, and hangars. To what end? Help the rebels? The rebel leadership is contaminated by Al Qaeda. Are we to act as the Al Qaeda air force? Do we really want the rebels to win and set up a government dominated by Al Qaeda?
An attack on Syria also carries the risk of escalation. Iran, Hezbollah, and Syria are a partnership, and Iran and/or Hezbollah might attack Israel to retaliate. The consequences are unpredictable.
Syria didn’t attack the American population – they attacked their own. Make no mistake, if any country attacks our population with an WMD, we should attack their general population at a much larger scale. I would answer a virus attack on an American city, for example, with a nuclear explosion over the capital city of the attacking country. It’s assured mutual destruction, the only principle which has prevented the use of nuclear arms since the first atomic bomb exploded. WMD attacks on other countries are too horrible to tolerate. When they happen, all human values are violated.
Obama is pushing hard for authorization from Congress to attack Syria. He may not get it. Some Democrats are balking, and rightfully so. What does America get out of it, besides trouble? If we want to be the world’s police, we should first take over the world. What have we accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan? More recently, what have we gained by intervention in Libya and Egypt?
If I were a Congressman, I’d vote against authorizing an attack. If Obama should order an attack without Congressional authority, I’d support an effort to impeach him.
Short of invading Syria, nothing we can do will stop their civil war. The carnage will continue. The best approach for us might be to let Allah sort out Syria's problems.