Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Obama's War, the Divided Left, and the Syrian Apocalypse

It will be about a week before we know whether Obama will get to fire his missiles at Syria.

But what already painfully obvious is that just his threat to launch them is causing havoc in the ranks of his own supporters. 

Because by now I think I've heard all of these arguments for or against.

Just from my own friends. And the one that scares me the most is this one:

You think Putin is going to risk a military confrontation with the U.S. and Europe?

I think Russia isn’t going to let Assad go down. Neither is Iran or Hezbollah. So they’ll escalate. This could be the thing that triggers an Israel-Iran war, and how do we stay out of that? My God, it feels like August, 1914.

And this isn't reassuring eh? 

Thank God Obama doesn’t make foreign policy that way. He knows what he doesn’t know about Syria. He’s always thinking a few steps ahead. He’s not going to get steamrolled by John McCain and Anderson Cooper.

Because the tabloid network CNN is cheerleading for war, and Poppy McCain is back with a vengeance. 

After a meeting with President Barack Obama in the West Wing along with Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator John McCain said Monday that the failure of Obama’s request for authorization to strike Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime in response to the use of chemical weapons “would be catastrophic” for the U.S.

And sounding crazier than ever...

But then even Poppy knows that just a "limited" missile strike, or a "pin prick" as he calls it, could trigger a wider war. Which is what he wants.

And the scary thing is that for once he might be right. 

Assad would remain defiant in the face of an attack. It is not as if he is constrained now, but he would probably step up the violence both to exert control within his country and to demonstrate that the United States and its allies cannot intimidate him. At the same time, the regime’s Iranian patrons and Hezbollah supporters would increase their investment in the conflict, meaning more weapons and more fighters pouring into Syria — resulting in more atrocities.

And on the other side, Syrian opposition groups would welcome a steady stream of foreign fighters who care more about killing Alawites and Shiites than the fate of the country. This environment would heighten Syria’s substantial sectarian, ethnic and political divisions, pulling the country apart.

And who knows what might happen then? What demons might be unleashed. Or to what hellish place Obama's war to save his credibility, or rescue his vanity, might lead us.

You know, unlike many progressives, and despite his obvious flaws, I like Obama and I want the first black President to succeed. But those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

And if he would destroy the village in order to save it, or repeat the same mistake over and over again while expecting a different result, did he learn nothing from Vietnam, and is that not the very definition of INSANITY?

Oh well, what I do know is that it might be a REALLY good idea to have a parliamentary debate in this country. So MPs can ask Stephen Harper why he is backing Obama's War so enthusiastically or so slavishly? Instead of doing what a real Canadian government would do and urging CAUTION.

Gawd. The suspense is killing me. Will sanity prevail? Will the missile strikes change nothing, or lead to a wider war? Were we all doomed to find out from the moment Obama boxed himself in so carelessly?

And will the galloping horsemen of the apocalypse realize their mistake too late?

Like the one in this story...

You know the poet John Milton once wrote that " long is the way and hard that out of hell leads up to light."

But without debate there can be no light, and when reason surrenders to vanity. Or madness.

In the fog of war there can be only DARKNESS...

Click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


Anonymous said...

A somewhat dark and ominous video. The children do provide hope.

Rene said...

Retired Concordia University history professor Graeme Decarie addresses the current Syrian crisis in his blog September 2nd :

"Speaking of fear and hatred, Obama has picked up where Bush left off. The US has fought war after war with no good or even legal reason. For a long time it was driven by speeches and news stories that preached or implied hatred and fear of communism. That was good enough kill or sicken or poison uncounted millions of Vietnamese. It also came in handy when a gang of US mercenaries overthrew the elected government of Guatemala (even though it wasn't communist) and instal a de facto dictatorship very friendly to US big business - especially Dole."

"Now, our politicians and news teach us to hate and fear Moslems. That has justified the theft of Iraqi oilfields and the murder of over a million Iraqis. It has also justified the greatest mass torture in history, the holding of prisoners in violation of international law, the suspension fundamental rights in the US, the use of Drones for indiscriminate slaughter (also in illegal attacks)."

"Now, we get almost all our news from North American sources. It's all slanted. Sometime the slant is planned - as in Iraq and Syria. And sometimes it's just reinforced by the prejudice of the reporters. And, yes, reporters are prejudiced. How could they help it? We all have prejudices. It's very human. Added to that, the publishers and editors of private news are heavily leaned on by big money. Indeed, the owners of most private news systems ARE big money. Brunswick News is not different - it's just contemptibly worse. The best and most honest news media in Canada are CBC. But it, too, comes under heavy pressure to follow the governmentand big business line."

"You've seen reference to terrorist Moslems. How about terrorist Christians? (Yes, there are such things, and Bush and Obama have been two of them.) You hear of Syrian rebels constantly - though very few of those people are rebels. You hear of the US wanting to establish democracy through the rebels. IN fact, democracy is the last thing most of the rebels have in mind. And the last thing the US has in mind."

"To be a rebel, you have to be a subject of the country you are fighting in. But the majority of the "rebels' are, ,in fact, foreigners hired by Saudi Arabia and the emirates - all of them crushing dictatorships. When we speak of the terrible things the Syrian government has done to those nice, democratic rebels they are, most of them, tied to what we otherwise call terrorist groups. When we speak of the US going to war to bring democracy, that's bullshit. The US allies in this war are Moslem dictators, Britain, and France. And neither the US nor its allies have any wonderful record of bringing anything but dictatorship and pillage and sometimes starvation. The US spent the whole of the 20th century installing dictators in Latin America - and it's still doing it. (In fairness, I refer to the US, not to the American people. They are caught up in a history that is almost entirely fictional - rather like Harper's idiot depiction of the War of 1812..."

Rene said...

Professor Decarie continues on the subject of the Syrian crisis:

"So what is going on in Syria? 1. US big business wants imperial control of Africa and the Middle East. 2. Britain and France follow the US lead and support it because they badly miss the loot from their old empires. So they support the US hoping to get a slice of the pie. 3. Syria's independence from American power and its alliance with Iran (which American big business also wants) is in the way. 4. Whatever Saudi Arabia wants out of this is not democracy - and it's certainly not religion freedom. The Saudi kings and the emirs are the severest dictatorships in the world. And they, our allies and very good friends, hold religious views at least as strict as those of Saudi Arabia. 5. I don't know whether it's true that Syria used poison. If so, it's not clear to me why western intervention with all the death and destruction it's going to cause is any remedy. Nor do I see why a nation which tortures, uses cc-chemical weapons (agent orange and depleted uranium and has killed millions of innocent people is the one that should be sitting in judgement. 6. Obama is reluctant to make more than a symbolic punishment because - look the the record - the American military has been stunningly ineffective in these wars for the last fifty years. In consequence, it has destroyed more than it has won."

"But the interest may not be in winning. After all, winning with those rebels means an Islamic state hostile to US interference. What Obama might be thinking of is heavy use of missiles to destroy and survival of Syria as a coherent state - which is roughly what was done in Libya and Iraq. Our problem in understanding all this is the prejudice and bias (very human) and the deliberate propaganda of most of our news services. that's why it's bad to rely as we do on North American news services. We need also to look at rogue services and news from foreign services like Al Jazeera. After all, at its worst Al Jazeera completely outclasses Fox News, National Post, and, most certainly, the Irving Press."

Simon said...

hi anonymous...yes it is a dark little tale, and of course it doesn't have anything to do with the Syrian situation. But the sight of that black hole over Manhattan sucking everything up into it reminded me of the way people are getting sucked up into the maelstrom of the rush to war. And an all out war in the Middle East would be a very very dark horror story. I just hope that reason prevails and that the possible consequences of a so-called limited strike are taken into consideration. I think the presence of a U.S. armada is probably enough to deter the bestial dictator from doing it again. So I don't see why everyone is in such a hurry. As they say in the army eh? Better slow than sorry...

Simon said...

hi Rene...I think that Obama's motives are really simple. I think he had the right instincts, but allowed himself to be boxed in by a careless comment about a red line. And now he hopes Congress will either save him, or share the blame. But by now it's pretty clear that Obama was so determined that the first black President, the one with the Arab name, would not be seen as soft on ANYTHING, he went overboard, and that to escape being labelled weak, he may do it again. I can't help but like Obama, he has a lot of excellent qualities. But his need not to be perceived as weak could lead us to disaster. If the strikes go ahead and don't have any repercussions he may get away with it. But if any of the other players in the regions use this as an excuse to settle their grievances, or the Sunni-Shia War spreads everywhere, or the Russians whose leader Putin also needs to be seen as strong, get involved.
It could spark the most appalling conflict since the Second World War, and destroy the world economy. With those kind of risks all I'm saying is everyone should take a deep breath, and think this one over carefully. Because if the place explodes you'll be able to see the flames all the way from Mars...