To Intervene or Not to Intervene, that is the Question

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President Obama is deciding whether to intervene in Syria against the Assad regime.  I think any hesitation is for show, and the decision to intervene has been made.  Intervening in the Syrian Civil War is not popular, so I guess I should give Obama some credit for having a conviction he is willing to defy public opinion on.  What that conviction is, I am not quite certain.  The Assad regime is a revoltingly bloody tyranny even by Arab standards.  However, the main rebel factions are closely allied with groups like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, with the Muslim Brotherhood backed factions being dominant.  In Egypt there are constant accusations by Egyptians, largely correct, that the administration has tilted in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, so perhaps that is the explanation for the desire of the administration to get involved in Syria.

My own opinion is that uttered by Henry Kissinger in regard to the Iraq-Iran war of the eighties:  a pity they both can’t lose.  I see no interest of the United States furthered by intervention, other than a mild setback to Iran which has become the main backer of the Assad regime, and I see no humanitarian benefit.  It is very troubling that Obama is not even making a pretense of gaining the approval of Congress.  It is richly ironic to see some of the harshest critics of President Bush and the war in Iraq, now rallying behind Obama’s Syrian adventure.

Neo-neocon at Legal Insurrection has a first rate parody of the to be or not to be soliloquy from Hamlet for Obama:

To strike, or not to strike: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous Assad,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To attack: to dither
No more; and by attack to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That Syria is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To act, to attack;
To attack: perchance to depose: ay, there’s the rub;
For in its wake what next may come
Whether or not Assad shuffles off this worldwide stage,
Should give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of intervention;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of chemical war, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his mark make
With a bare missile? who would tyrants bear,
To defy the red lines that he drew?
But that the dread of something afterward,
The unknown consequences in whose grip
A legacy might founder, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?

Go here to read the rest.  Ah, I imagine those Norwegian leftists are now regretting that Nobel Peace Prize they bestowed upon Obama for the glorious achievement of not being George Bush.


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  1. “… and I see no humanitarian benefit.”

    Me neither, sadly. I’d likely be strongly in favor if there were. More than two years this war has raged and there was no groundswell of support for intervention all that time, so today seems no different. Two and half million Syrians have fled their homes with roughly a million that have crossed into neighboring countries and live in camps. Christian churches are periodically targeted for attack by either side for no military benefit, just to terrorize the worshippers.

    It’s been said that Assad is “winning” this war, and if the U.S. strike against him is not definitive in the sense that it is sufficient to give his opponents the upper hand, it may have the effect of prolonging the conflict and the humanitarian crisis.

    “Ah, I imagine those Norwegian leftists are now regretting that Nobel Peace Prize they bestowed upon Obama for the glorious achievement of not being George Bush.”

    We’ll see. Obama may yet yield to public indifference and decide not to strike Syria. If the Nobel Prize committee hasn’t regretted its decision after all these drone strikes, I doubt a few more cruise missile launches will move them any.

  2. Er, he’s working on his second nobel peace prize . . .

    One aspect: it’s a distraction same as the fabricated bruhahaha over the rodeo clown.

    Aristotle wrote, a tyrant “is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader.”

    You give Obama, and his moronc cheerleaders, way too much credit.

    They are ideologues: data, facts, truth have no purpose unless they advance the devolution.

    In Obama’s (pea-brained) world view the so-called muslim brotherhood and al qaeda are the good guys; and any (e.g., handing over to them North Africa) thing will be done to help them and any and all enemies of evil, unjust America.

    What evidence can you produce to prove that this worst prez in US history is an iota smarter than the Obama-worshiping imbeciles that gave him four more years to complete the wreck of our country?

    PS: Don’t even try to say he’s smarter than morons like McCain and Boehner: that’s like comparing head lice to dog ticks.

  3. Wars – whether civil or international – are, often enough, the product of irreconcilable conflicts and, if allowed to run their course, end in decisive victory or mutual exhaustion. They can lead to a durable peace, when all those willing to die for the cause have been given every opportunity to do so. The Wars of Religion in France and the Thirty Year’s War in Central Europe were of this kind.

    Humanitarian interventions, however well intentioned, may simply allow both parties to regroup and rearm and may shelter the weaker side from the consequences of refusing to submit for the sake of peace. In the long run, they may lead to more suffering than they prevent.

  4. “What if Russia decides that she really doesn’t like our intervention at all, and acts on that?”

    Perhaps the admin thinks they’ve already made a secret deal with Russia.

    Clinton was slick enough. Reagan was smart enough. These guys will just be Wiley Coyote enough.

  5. For info, the pope asked for prayer and fasting for peace in Syria on September 7th.

    “May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.
    To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.”

    A number of bishops in that part of the middle east have spoken on the matter of military intervention in Syria recently (available on the internet).

  6. The wolf call that screams weapons of mass destruction echoes in my mind!
    In our speed to right the wrong we must first identify the culprit involved.It
    appears that there may be other factors non-disclosed.
    Unfortunately with media posturing its difficult to receive good and correct
    As a Viet-nam veteran I would urge cautiousness.Our government must learn
    we cant buy friends with foreign aid and we cant police the world!

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