I hate what is happening in Syria. It’s the people who are suffering and dying more than the government and rebels who are fighting over who will rule them. I don’t know who is using chemical weapons, because the fog of war is to dense. There is so much disinformation. Our government tells us they have incontrovertible evidence that the Assad government is responsible. Really? Kind of like that incontrovertible evidence that Colin Powell presented to the UN about Iraq all those years ago?
This is what I DO know. Taking out the chemical weapons capability of the government (or rebels, depending on who you believe is responsible) is tactically impossible. It’s just too dangerous. Trying to do so is pretty much a surefire way to kill even more innocent people. So we can’t stop chemical weapons atrocities by attacking the weapons.
Logically, the next target should be the perpetrators of these atrocities. Our government has already said they have no interest in “regime change.” We’ve already telegraphed that we have no interest in taking Assad out, and to do so unilaterally would be an egregious breach of international law. No matter what kind of monster he is. If one of the MANY rebel groups is responsible, it again becomes a tactical nightmare to take out that leadership. And who are these rebels? Generally speaking, they are largely NOT the sort of groups we want to be affiliated with. Many of them are rebelling just so they can create yet another dictatorship, theocracy, or both.
Before we even intervene in Syria, we have determined we won’t be able to stop the thing that we are intervening for. I don’t know how dropping bombs on soft targets discourages these kinds of war crimes. I don’t think it does.
We like to think that when we decide to make “surgical bombing strikes” with “smart bombs” that the only people we kill are combatants. Nothing could be further from the truth. When bombs fly, civilians die. Period.
So how exactly will we be making things better by interjecting ourselves in their civil war? We will create more deaths and more destruction. We will inevitably create more anti-American fervor no matter who we side with. If we side with one of the rebel groups, we might be getting in bed with the devil we don’t recognize.
We see these incredibly disturbing images coming out of Syria, and we ALL want to ease their suffering. But doing the wrong thing, just to say you are doing SOME thing would be a horrible mistake in my opinion.
Until we can create some tactical confidence that we can stop the atrocities with our intervention, intervention will serve no purpose but to make us feel better and to poke a finger in the eye of Assad’s allies, Russia and China. Until then, we should focus our efforts on humanitarian aid and refugee assistance. Bombs are not the answer to winning hearts and minds. Bombs simply destroy hearts and minds.
Peace and Love, yall.
UPDATE: August 28th, 2013 at 10:21 AM
So this is why everyone is so certain the Syrian government used chemical weapons last week. U.S. spies intercepted “panicked” phone calls between the Syrian Ministry of Defense and a leader of the chemical weapons unit in the hours after the deadly attack that left hundreds dead, Foreign Policy reported on Tuesday. American intelligence analysts say the phone calls combined with local doctors’ accounts and the videos from the area have made them certain that chemical weapons were used—although U.S. spies have still have not acquired physical evidence. It’s still unclear what happened inside the Syrian government leading up to the attack, and at least one U.N. official linked President Bashar al-Assad’s brother to the attack, not the president himself. Meanwhile, al Qaeda vowed “volcano of revenge” against the Syrian regime in retaliation for the alleged nerve-gas attack. ~ Foreign Policy