By GENE H. McINTYRE
The Obama Administration has offered what it believes are compelling reasons for bombing Syria. Four of its arguments are: (1) The U.S. should proceed to deter the use of chemical weapons so as to uphold international law and the laws of war; (2) The U.S. should prevent the further slaughter of innocent civilians in an ongoing conflict; (3) The U.S. should liberate a people from under the oppression of a brutal dictator; and (4) The U.S. should preclude Syria from becoming a regional conflict.
These concerns are all well and good; however, why is it that any manifestation of the U.S. foreign policy must be ultimately expressed in the nation’s military might? Why are not other means, economic, political, judicial (International Court of Justice), used in dealing with other nations and international relations, using America’s armed forces last, if at all, not first? Do these politicians not realize that when we send our might to crush anything the U.S. has deemed out-of-order or “evil” that, in the Middle East, it inspires more recruits to insurgency and terrorist activities while they swear an oath to declare themselves jihadists dedicated to the murder of every American they can get their hands on?
The bottom line is that it’s worse than wrong for the U.S. to attack Syria—it’s immoral. Let us not become international criminals ourselves which is what we are by the way we operate overseas. Without authority from the United Nations, an attack on Syria will be a violation of international law. We add to the existing crime when we copy the Syrian government’s alleged use of lethal gas and then we bomb “surgically,” which is always a big lie because really there is no such thing.
Personally, I am so tired of President Obama imitating George W. Bush with the charade of John Kerry in the Colin Powell role to justify unleashing death from a safe distance on a nation already shattered into a land of ruins, death and total despair where more than two million of its citizens (8 percent of its total population of 22.5 million) have sought refugee status in neighboring nations and one out of every three has lost his home. Obama was elected on a promise twice over that he would resolve, not inflame, wars already in progress. I thought this guy was a bright man but one now who’s proven otherwise as the world watches the U.S. blunder and blunder again on our way into another no-win situation. Obama’s become just another bully who, it would appear, has more in common with Bashir al-Assad than the peace-loving fellow he once promised he’d be.
What disappoints, too, is while Syria is identified as a non-democratic state, the U.S., with at least three out of every four Americans in current surveys saying don’t use war to settle this matter, is planning to go to war: That makes us non-democratic, too. It’s a sickening story of a lost democracy where profit trumps anything resembling integrity and only money is made by the few while the American taxpayer pays the steep price and the economy here remains unimproved for most Americans.
All this forebodes more people dying from bombs and gas there. Children there dying for politicians’ purposes. More soldiers coming home here with shattered minds and bodies to be among Romney’s infamous 47 percent for the remainder of their lives. Collateral damage there. Bombed-out cities and schools there. Uncontrolled war profiteering here. Bureaucrats here hiding the truth in the name of “national security.” Budgets in the U.S. that can find money for war but not for health care or the education of our youth. Joblessness except in defense industries in America. Cynicism, secrecy and spying on our own people is all that the U.S. government does well these days.
So, what’s the problem? The major problem is that the U.S. is broke through financially bankrupting factors. The nation’s wealthy invest, bank and store their profits from U.S.-based companies overseas in places like the Caribbean, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates; the country’s poor are getting poorer with programs for seniors like Meals-on-Wheels and Food Stamps cut to programs for their kids, like Head Start, going away or gone; and the American middle class, those who’ve paid their taxes and actually worked for a living (not born with that proverbial silver-spoon-in- mouth), is under attack for earning their Social Security benefit and medical help through Medicare while their pensions are under constant siege and will soon be history.
All of those conditions of modern America add up to “broke” here while virtually every American politician is out for himself and herself and can never rally to act on the matters of national demise.
(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)