To show that the opposition to bombing Syria is making for strange bedfellows, even The Ol' Gray Lady, The New York Times, is noticing that maybe the opposition may not be a bunch of Freedom Fighters seeking mom, falafel and democracy. Do read this article here. Although it describes a brutal act, it still does not top the brutality of the link I left you with at the end of the original post.
I know that the few people totally with the Dear Leader, President Obama, and his new found love of the armed forces of the United States will say to me, "Why did you favor the war against Iraq? Because it was your guy, Bush? Don't you remember that Bush lied and people died?"
OK, I will address those legitimate points later.
But what is before us, now the congress of the United States, is whether or not to support the Dear Leader, President Obama, in his mission to use the air force of the United States to bomb Syria because allegedly the dictator, Bashar Assad, used some kind of chemical weaponry on his people in the two-year old civil war last month.
And absent absolute, compelling evidence and the willingness of the Dear Leader, President Obama, to want regime change with allies, not enemies, of the United States, I can not support that at this time.
Today the senate foreign relations committee voted to authorize the Dear Leader, President Obama, to use force in response to the use of chemical weapons. The vote was 10-7 with newly elected senator Edward Markey (D-Mass (of course)) voting present. And it was not a strict party line vote either as this break down shows. FTR, here is the vote by party:
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.)
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.)
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
Sen. John "F--- You" McCain (R-Ariz.)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.),
Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.)
Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
The link above points out a lot of interesting political implications of this and the expected subsequent vote for the resolution next week.
But back to the point as to whether the United States should at this point become a player in this quagmire.
The link to Wikipedia shows that this is one helluva mess. The government has a coalition of forces that is about 341,000. The rebels also have a coalition of about 146,000.
Syria is supported by Iran with about 150 advisors as well as the Iranian puppet Hezbollah and about 1,500 to 5,000 fighters. It also has support in the international community from Red China and Russian. Most important, and the reason we may be getting involved is that they have the secret weapon of chemical weapons that they have already allegedly used on their people.
The rebels are a motley crew to say the least. The largest group is the secular Free Syrian Army with a strength of about 50 to 80.000. Then it gets mostly murky and more radical Islamic. The next largest group is the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front with about 37 to 40,000. Then there is the Syrian Islamic Front with a force of about 13,000. Oh of course they want to set up an Islamic state based on Sharia law, as does the former Islamic Liberation Front. Very important to keep these players separate I guess. And here comes another of the wonderful opposition fighters, the Al-nusra front. Oh these dudes are real charmers. They don't just want there 7,000 fighters to bring down the Assad government and set up an Islamic state under Sharia law but want it for the whole of the region. And just a point of note that these dudes will not protect Christians, a minority, as they beheaded a Roman Catholic priest after his monastery was destroyed by said fighters. Oh yeah, I am up for taking these dudes over Assad. And let us not forget the wandering band of Mujahideen that are about 7,000 Sunni Islamics and pretty much hate Shi'a Islamics and the Alawites, a Shi'a sect of which Assad is a part of.
As I wrote, the opposition groups are just more and more radical Islamic and now overshadow the Free Syrian Army.
And note that there is a lot of divisions within divisions that make who we should have been or are now supporting all the more difficult.
This civil war is a direct result of the so-called Arab Spring which saw uprisings against long-time mostly pro-West dictators and autocrats. The Arab Spring, hows that going? Er, not so well. Islamic regimes are now in power in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. But Egypt's military just said no and threw out the government of Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Libya is totally ungovernable and Tunisia is ready to throw out their Islamics. And Syria is the most drawn out and longest of the wars of the Arab Spring.
The whole Arab Spring has turned into Islamic Winter. And the worst aspect is that that last hold out, Bashar Assad, is not even a remote friend of the United States. In fact he is as unsavory as they come. But if you look at the potential that can win this God forsaken civil war, Assad actually starts looking good.
First reason why the United States should not get involved in this dispute is that there is no discernible American interest in siding with either side. Assad is a brutal dictator that is in bed with the Iranians and radical Shi'a Islam. The opponents who want to dislodge Assad are a rogues gallery of radical Sunni Islamics. We blew our chance to actively support the Free Syrian Army straight away and they are being overtaken by the radicals. What is being proposed will not make a difference.
Second reason why we should stay out is we have no game plan beyond our navy firing off cruise missiles in the hope of maybe scaring Assad to not use chemical weapons. There is no plan to do anything to take out any of the possible chem weapon sites. Yes there is the risk of the weapons releasing and causing more death and mayhem. But if we are trying to stop Assad from using them, don't we want to get rid of them? And since we are not taking sides and seeking regime change then this is a recipe for disaster and embarrassment for the United States.
The third reason why we need to stay out is we really do not know for absolute certain what side did use the chem weapons in the first place. The specter of Iraq hangs very high on this. After all, we were told by many intelligence sources that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and yet none were found. Thus many who were for the invasion of Iraq felt that they were lied to and wanted to turn tail and run so fast. Many went so far as to suggest that Afghanistan was a "good" war and Iraq was a "bad" war not realizing that they are theatres in the War Against Islamicfacist Terror. So, in a nation at civil war and rebel forces holding a great deal of territory, one has to at least think that they have some access to chem weapons. And that they may, may have staged the whole event to get exactly the outcome of outrage against Assad and a little help with air power to get rid of him. Why should we believe the intelligence on this blindly if not even more blindly than we did in regard to Iraq? It is as if George W. Bush is still in the White House, right?
Forth reason is simple. We don't know what we want to happen in Syria. There is no one saying that there is a desired outcome of bombing Syria. Do we want the rebels to win? Eh, not really. Do we want to bomb Assad into submission? Maybe. If we do not have a total game plan, then forget it.
The reason that we are in this mess is simple. It is because we have blown the whole Arab Spring. By not guiding it away from the radical Islamics taking power in Tunisia, Egypt and held off in Syria, we tacitly accepted Islam beginning to unify and form an Islamic Crescent and the reinstitution of the Caliphate. To be blunt it is amateur hour in Washington from the Dear Leader, President Obama, on down.
The bottom line is that we, the United States, should not get involved in Syria unless we radically change course. And since we will not, lets work harder to verify who actually used chem weapons. And where are the chem weapons depots. That would be a good start. I leave you this link as to what we could be supporting, tacitly, by bombing Syria.