We find ourselves in an entirely different situation than Iraq a decade ago. The use of chemical weapons against a civilian population is a step too far for the international community, even though it is gross that we would let hundreds of thousands die by gunfire and rocket, but disease and poison is too much for us.
No one wants this. No one wants to deal with Syria. Because Syria has no oil.
Isn't that a tragedy in itself? If Syria were rich with resources does anyone imagine the slaughter that has taken place between Syrian citizens and Assad's brutal regime would have been permitted to go on as long as it has? If Syria had oil things would be different, but instead Syria has Iran behind it and all of the tangles that regional hegemony entails. Syria also has Russia as it's gate way to that Iranian oil. Syria has a lot of geopolitical problems for America and zero natural resources to plunder, and that is why thousands of Syrians have been permitted to die in their civil war as the international community who has sat idly by suddenly now demands that something must be done in the name of doing something.
None of the countries that claim "something must be done" are actually doing something. The loudest voices against Syria coming out of Europe have been French, as the French president recently stated that he fully supports a military strike even after the British said No. So we have France on our side, and this strike will consist of America buying cruise missiles and firing them at stuff in order to "do something"
And NO ONE has a plan for what happens after we did that something that had to be done.
What is that something? Getting rid of Assad? Getting involved in another middle eastern entanglement for years to come, where we sow a field of cruise missiles and harvest a crop of terrorists decades later? Will the people who live where we are bombing no why? Will they be grateful? Will they thank us for it? History suggests they shall not. No one in the international community can tell us what we should do beyond doing something, and in that, Syria is exactly like Iraq a decade ago.
Unlike Iraq a decade ago we can actually prove that there are WMDs in Syria. Whereas the run-up to Iraq was contrived and drawn out as the Bush Administration tried to convince America that Iraq equals al Qaeda and than shifted the goal to WMDs, Syria Military actually have chemical WMDs and are using them in a civil war against their own people right now. In the past we had more time for debate because Iraq was so clearly contrived by Bush/Cheney. Syria just went chemical last weekend and it truly is a crime, one beyond the normal crime we allow called conventional warfare.
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So what is to be done? It seems wrong to say that we should do nothing, and yet rushing into Syria haphazardly with an x-box kind of warfare style seems way worse than doing nothing, or should we be trying altogether different avenues? Do you remove Assad? With who? Cripple his army with strikes? Or just chuck a few bombs at the problem and then go back to not caring that a nation with no resources trapped between Russia and Iran is permitted to murder themselves by firearms and other conventional means? In a sense I think we do have a moral obligation to act, but how? That is the pitfall we now face in dealing with Syria, which presents all of the dangers that Iraq represented a decade ago all over again, a thought all of America seems to understand and have a bad taste for.
When Bush brought us into war in Iraq we struck first. Our forces overwhelmed Iraq, we faced zero resistance. Syria, on the other hand, is an ongoing battlefield that we enter, wholly unlike Iraq a decade ago, we have no Green Zones or for that matter supply lines though each could easily be established, but that's the kicker, once those are established do we ever leave? And how? And there's the catch, once you are there, you own it. If we get involved in Syria and things get worse we shall share in the blame in a region where we already take blame enough as it is. Every step offers another pitfall, but the alternative is to be idle and condemn Syria to death by international apathy.
There is a thin red chemical line between Iraq a decade ago and Syria today. One had no WMDs but had oil, the other has no oil but they have WMDs. What to do? What to do? Well no one knows what to do, but we should at least unleash the military industrial complex for a bit, just to be sure. Cruise missile diplomacy to mask our apathy for a battle field with no resources. In the name of doing something, whatever that is. That is the difference between Iraq and Syria. Nothing more than a thin red chemical line.