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View Diary: What to do if Syria crosses the "red line" and uses biological weapons... (168 comments)

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  •  Whatever we do for the least of us (0+ / 0-)

    When we are faced with issues abroad, the answer we give is to sometimes avert a blind eye.  When the Rwandan massacres were happening; when in the Sudan warlords forced households to rape each other for entertainment..

    The question we asked often was:  Why doesn't someone ELSE step up and do something.

    This is a typical response that makes sense to people.   But it is also the wrong response; if you were to walk by a scene where a man is beating his wife and say "well, last week I helped someone else.. somebody else should get this one.." it doesn't mean that you're noble in wanting others to do it, it means that you have still left someone to get beaten.

    If the case is open that chemical and biological warfare in Syria is being practiced against their own people, then as a matter of humanity, I feel we have some obligation to prevent this.  Not just because we are the "biggest kid on the block" but because our failure to do so would clearly broadcast we don't care as much about Syria because they aren't pumping out tons of oil.. AND.. because the widespread use of chemical and biological weapons are disastrous not just for the people but for our environment, our oceanic water sources, and for our stewardship of the planet.

    We should absolutely shame others into participating.  Get a coalition of nations who will oppose, and get everyone involved.   But if 20 years from now, I'm staring at pictures of kids who were born genetically malformed because of biological weapons, or young adults who were blinded and tortured by chemical warfare, and I know that the United States said "well, this isn't for us, we're just going to sit over here.." then I will question why we spend anything on military resources at all.  

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 06:35:14 AM PDT

    •  In other words, Obama should don a flightsuit ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador

      ... stuff a sock in his drawers & start acting like W.?

      It isn't the role of the U.S. to right every wrong in the world. Bad things happen every day - people are slaughtered, imprisoned, exploited, degraded & dispossessed - somewhere in the world.

      Besides, this isn't what motivates the people advocating intervention. Unlike Rwanda or Congo, Syria has an especially strategic location. It has a socialist economy. It is hostile to Israel. For decades under the rule of the Assad family, it has punched above its weight militarily. Its alliance with Iran has been quite successful in thwarting the U.S./Israeli agenda in the region. Rather, what motivates these advocates is what they see as the opportunity to flip Syria, to replace its government with a more pliant, conservative, Sunni-led regime.

      It has nothing to do with human rights. As the chicken-hawks beat the drums for war in Syria, the U.S. gives the green light to the suppression of revolution in Bahrain & has never advocated regime-change in Saudi Arabia, as much a closed, totalitarian police state as Syria but with a different ideology & a strategic alliance with the U.S.

      Intervention may be carried out in the guise of humanitarianism, but cold geopolitics is what it's really all about. If the U.S. were to intervene, it wouldn't be out of concern for the welfare of the Syrian people; it would be because Israel & Saudi Arabia want it & see it in their own geopolitical interests, & because the U.S. sees something to gain. The problem with intervention is that it's always carried out in the interest of the interveners.

      It's also important to note that intervention short of an outright invasion & occupation - i.e. full-scale war - is not likely to be decisive. It may tip the military equation more toward the rebels, but it would not end the slaughter. In fact, it would probably lead to more slaughter. To accomplish that objective would require boots on the ground - lots of them. It would be extremely costly & would reprise the U.S. role in Iraq circa 2006 - refereeing a nasty sectarian war while taking casualties in the process & making itself the object of anger from all sides. It would just pour gasoline on the flames. A rebel victory would likely lead to a genocide (what the interventionists are ostensibly aiming to prevent) against the Alawis. It will also likely bring about the demise of Syria's Christian communities & other religious minorities. Such are the wages of war, something all the armchair interventionists should consider before rushing in.

      •  Drastic Oversimplification (0+ / 0-)

        I do understand how you feel.. and I get it.. we cannot play cop everywhere that something goes wrong, and I do not feel as though I am advocating that.  Nor am I advocating some large, full scale war.   In most cases, these things are not necessary.

        In some cases, though, we may find ourselves in a situation where it is the viable option.   I realize others dislike this.. but it doesn't necessarily mean it's warmongering.  

        We can't stop every petty dictator who starves their people or leaves their people to be enslaved by drug lords; you don't see me calling for an invasion of Columbia ;)  

        But in SOME cases, we have to carefully evaluate not just what is happening their but the very broad implications of what happens next.    IF (and again, as I have said in other posts here, IF) we were to ever find out that a nation was really using biological weapons, I would expect us to mobilize IMMEDIATELY and put an end to it as fast as possible.   The reasoning should be obvious; in the late 1990s, there was a real fear that a group was trying to aerosilze ebola.  Outside of being ungodly with a near 90% kill rate, the problem with such a pattern is that the quick spread through use is the kind of thing that creates unstoppable plague problems, which are not just a problem of "oh that evil country" but quickly become the problem of many countries.

        At this point, we don't have proof of that happening.

        IF we were to find a nation is using one of the full-ban chemical weapons in mass, I would favor action as well.   I realize we can't stop every problem, so why?  The reason is simple:  many of the chemicals used in these purpose are toxic to the extent that wide use becomes a very serious environmental killer.. not just a people killer, as though that's bad enough, but the kind of thing that extensively poisons water sources both fresh and salt, and can cause serious GLOBAL damages that may not be easy to stop.

        I put these in the same category as if some country launched a suitcase nuke against someone else... we may not like having to do something about it, but doing nothing is a bit like slitting our own throats in those situations.

        At this point, as of today, 4/29, the administration has asked for repeated reviews of weather or not wide-spread banned use of chemical weapons has occurred.   We haven't rushed into anything, we aren't mounting troops on the border, we aren't plotting some wild hundreds of thousands of troop war.

        But if we had significant proof Syria was using banned chemicals, would I have any problem with an air strike that burned up the entire ability to manufacture en masse said weapons?  No.

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

        by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 10:27:38 PM PDT

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