In today’s lazy and ratings driven media, it’s rare to get what you want and need from one place on one story about one issue. But last night, I turned the television away from the opening night of the NFL and a bad reality show to watch All In With Chris Hayes on MSNBC as he conducted an informative, interesting and revealing interview with Secretary of State John Kerry about Syria. It was so well done, it fortified my position against U.S. military invention in the Middle Eastern countries Civil War after a chemical weapons strike.
I’ve included the transcript and video.
Chris Hayes is what you could imagine I would be if I had a cable television news show. We’re both liberal, reasoned, inquisitive, sarcastic, a questioner of everything and all points of view, and we need to know stuff before we make decisions. He’s a little younger than me, better looking, but I have better eyeglasses and look a little niftier in a suit. But Chris was great with John Kerry. Chris, like me, is opposed to military action in Syria for the same reasons.
1) It’s too much like Iraq, that is, it will encourage insurgents, and reject the notion of America as liberators. In other words, it won’t work.
2) It will be too costly, both financially and politically, at a time when America can’t afford either of those.
3) It will damage a President who was given a Nobel Peace Price in 2009 so irretrievably that it could hurt the United States from the inside and the wrong ideology will take over, again, that got us to the place we are now.
What President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel want me and all of us to believe, is that beyond any doubt, Bashar al-Assad sarin-gassed his own people in Syria, killing over 1400 people including 400 children and the evidence is so convincing, the United States has to punish him, now. Since I personally haven’t seen this evidence and Russian President Vladimir Putin said “unseen evidence is no evidence” I’m not going to agree with Secretary Kerry. I voted for him in 2004 because of my great admiration for his own service Vietnam and his even greater protest against, after he returned home. But here, he seems hypocritical and war hawkish, which goes against his own record.
Bashar al-Assad and his monstrous government is weakening in power. In fact, those who are denying Assad did this say that he had nothing to gain by gassing anyone. So could he have been framed by the eleven opposition groups including Al Quada rebels? Well, a year ago, ex CIA Director and then Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, said chemical weapons were missing in Syria.
Let’s say John Kerry is right about everything. I like giving my country’s Secretary of State the benefit of the doubt. I think military action against Syria is wrong, especially now, because of the three reasons stated above. Let’s cover those.
1) While Assad and Saddam Hussein have a lot in common, Syria is much different than Iraq, politically. Syria has Russian and Chinese backing. Hussein was an isolated, buffoonish figure who made idle threats. Syria and Assad is closer to Israel and the Middle Eastern pot boil. The “pin pricks” missile strikes that President Obama wants will only embolden Syria’s allies and give their opposition groups time to wait out the ouster of Assad. Like Iraq, there are no “good guys” waiting to take over the Syrian government. IN fact, the opposition groups are worse than Assad and advertise themselves as so.
2) I suck at math and it’s boring to read. But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s claim that the “pin prick” attack will cost tens of millions of dollars is just flat freaking wrong. The 221 Tomahawk missiles that were dropped on Libya in 2011 cost 1.5 million dollars each. Because Syria will require more, at least 4 aircraft carrier ships to launch them, and more military logistics, the price tag of a Syrian strike will be between 350 to 450 million dollars. The President can’t seem to afford his beloved health care plan right now. Justifying a nearly half million dollar war seems unbelievable.
Politically, this will crush the President and his administration on the one stage it is universally respected – the world. Obama has done a lot to win back goodwill from the United Nations, France, England, and many other countries after the 8 years of George W. Bush and the embarrassment of Iraq and Afghanistan. Syria is a mess. It’s a 2 1/2 year-old Civil War with no easy way to end it.
3) Half of the country seems to dislike or hate President Barack Obama. Eighty percent of the House, controlled by Republicans, will reject his proposal for military action against Syria. Even if it passes the more President friendly Senate and the United Nations goes along with it, America will be alone, with weak support from France and maybe two other countries. This will enrage people inside the United States, liberal and conservative, and probably kill Obamacare, as far as we know it, now. President Obama could be so lame duck for the three years, we could called him President Daffy. The politicians, especially liberal ones, who support Syrian military action could face irate voters in 2014 and 2016.
Watching the videos and seeing the pictures of the men, women and children gassed in Syria is heartbreaking. The right way to answer this is walking side by side with the United Nations and other countries and making a peaceful, humanitarian effort. President Obama should earn that Nobel Peace Prize by exposing Russia and China’s vile support of Assad by sending food, medicine, health care workers, and other humanitarian services instead of missiles. In other words, wet their whistles, not hit them with missiles.
Since World War II, the United States has been proven wrong many times from playing World Police. Military action versus Syria will not only show that Sharia won’t like it, but it will shine another light on failed American foreign policy that rockin’ the Casbah will cause us to lose more than win.
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