Friday, August 30, 2013

Brits Say 'NO!' to Syria Strike: NO Fake "Coalitions" This Time

William Rivers Pitt's picture
William Rivers Pitt: concludes that attacking Syria would be one of the stupidest acts U.S. militarists could do, even with a fake coalition. I agree.

"Surely it is a basic principle that evidence precedes decision, not that decision precedes evidence!"- Edward Milibrand, British Opposition Leader yesterday

The British, stung once by bogus "WMD" crappola (by Tony Blair and Dumbya Bush) before the illegal Iraq invasion, are not about to be played again: "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice and shame on me." Well, they won't be made fools of again.  And who can forget Colin Powell volunteering for the Bushistas' 'dog and pony' show at the UN where he trotted out alleged photos showing missiles and chemical weapons stores. Obviously, trying to emulate the actual U2 spy photos from October, 1962 that really showed Russian missiles in Cuba.

Well, that dog won't hunt again! Brit PM David Cameron had to accept defeat with the parliamentary vote yesterday, though he said he wouldn't apologize to Obama. Why should he? It was a democratic vote, something this country has long forgotten since awarding carte blanche power to the commander-in -chief to single handedly launch aggressive strikes via the misbegotten "war resolution" bunkum passed during Bush II's first term (after 9/11 when the whole nation was in the grip of hysteria and fear). All while a pussified congress rolled over like beaten whelps, as they did with the egregious "Patriot Act".

Now, of course, having found some measure of testosterone, congress seems to be demanding to have a say and final authorization for any military action. Well, a tad too late, wouldn't you say - given you allowed your "oversight" to lapse on so many other major "laws" that were executive driven?

Obama, meanwhile, having somehow been converted to a "Bush" clone over the past 5 years, seems to want to dive in, cruise missiles blazing. But make no mistake that misfired or misguided cruise missiles could kill as many as the recent chemical attack on Damascenes. Another worry, Russian warships are ominously reported to be steering toward the Syrian coast.  Does Obama really want to risk an altercation with the Russians that could get out of control? (Let us recall that Syria is a primary client state of Russia and Russia has major defense and other investments there - they won't just stand by while Uncle Sam unleashes dozens of missiles!)

Blogger, writer William Rivers Pitt, in his article: 'War on Syria:Twenty Pounds of Stupid in a Ten Pound Bag', notes the level of folly involved in barging in there alone, no matter what specious "lawful" pretext is found, or what phony "rhetorical coalitions" are invoked. He writes:

"I'm just going to throw this out on the stoop and see if the cat licks it up: instead of attacking Syria, how about we don't attack Syria?

Crazy, I know; this is America, after all, and our presidents like nothing more than to flip a few cruise missiles at other countries, combined with a few bombing sorties for good measure, because it's a hell of a lot easier than actual statecraft. Besides, it looks good on television, and all those meanies in Congress can't accuse the Commander in Chief of not doing anything. Oh, also, cruise missiles and bombs cost a lot, so if we pull the trigger on Syria, someone will get paid handsomely.

What ho, this we call "diplomacy," right?

Flatten a few buildings, blow some children sideways out of their kitchens during breakfast, take a victory lap on the Sunday morning talk shows...what could possibly go wrong?

Quite a bit, as it turns out.

He goes on to note that unlike the Iraq debacle (which violated Nuremberg Principle VI against pre-emptive war) , there does seem to be fairly impressive  evidence to suggest that chemical weapons were used in Syria. Doctors Without Borders seems pretty convinced it happened, "despite the fact that the use of such weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense, given the fickle nature of chemical weapons and how closely concentrated his own forces were near the area of the attack."

Which introduces the possibility  - not to be too hastily dismissed - that the rebels themselves (likely al Qaeda elements within them) staged a "false flag" operation using these nerve agents to try and lure the U.S. into the mess. Unreal? Maybe, but not outside of the realm of possibility - and given how al Qaeda under bin Laden made no bones about the fact their prime objective is to bankrupt our nation with military expenses. So we need to tread carefully, not barge in, missiles blazing as the necrophilious would have us do. One must ask the question, 'Cui bono?' - who benefits?

Now, what if the UN inspectors find evidence: a) there was indeed a chemical attack, and b) the munitions used originated with the Syrian army? Then, enormous pressure will be brought to bear on President Obama to "punish" the Assad regime with a military attack of some kind. Obama himself may also be his own worst enemy, as he's too aware of too many of his past "red line in the sand" comments  - so may worry he will be perceived as weak if he makes no move. But this sort of action on the basis or maintaining bravado and appearances is a bad move and not likely to bring positive results.

William Rivers Pitt again, on why - no matter what the UN inspectors find- it's not a wise move to attack Syria even in a "limited" fashion:
" The short version of why such a course of action is an invitation to catastrophe: Syria is no paper tiger, and is very much capable of both defending itself as well as attacking American interests in the region if provoked. Syria and Iran are strategic allies and are pledged to each other's mutual defense, which means all the Iranian missile sites in the mountains above the Persian Gulf coast could launch their missiles in retaliation...and those Iranian missiles, by the by, are advanced enough to spoof Aegis radar systems, which means thousands of American service members currently manning our warships in the Gulf could very quickly be delivered into a watery grave.

Russia is also a staunch ally of Syria, and could also be provoked into getting involved by backing Assad even more forcefully than they have to date. In essence, any attack on Syria could quickly escalate into a full-scale war that would further destabilize the region and quite probably lead to the kind of conflagration found in the last chapter of the Bible."

Another reason there's little upside is that Obama himself has conceded he's not after "regime change". Then what's the point? Any attack of the type contemplated will plausibly just enrage Assad's forces and make more chemical attacks likely - assuming he did them at all. After all, the planned strikes are not even against the chemical weapon storage depots - but rather the "supporting transport sites". Big deal! What if they miss and strike a school? What if a cruise missile goes awry and hits a Russian warship by mistake? All sorts of unintended consequences can transpire! Obama needs to be fully aware of them before taking any action.

Mr. Obama would do well to emulate John F. Kennedy in the most intense days of the October, 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when his Joint Chiefs  - including Gen. Curtis LeMay - tried to pressure him into bombing Cuba and invading it. JFK stood back, examined the consequences, saw the folly of the move and resisted. Good thing he did since, as his former defense secretary Robert McNamara noted in a 1993 interview, had he committed such a precipitous action, some 93 odd nuclear -loaded IRBMs would have struck the eastern U.S. and we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

Now is the time for Obama to resist the Siren songs and pleas of the military industrial complex. Do we have his "back"? Yes, IF he resists and doesn't succumb to military foolishness that could have dire consequences for us all.

Make no mistake the Syrian situation is dicey, but that means there are no easy answers. Yes, the apparent nerve gas attack on Syrian civilians was vile, but killing 1,000 more as collateral damage, to "teach a lesson" for the chemical killing of the earlier 1,000 is not exactly the epitome of logic., sobriety or judicious leadership.

What is really needed here? A full UN Resolution allowing action, not a unilateral, Pax Americana mission! If the UN Resolution is not forthcoming - then no action can be allowed. There has to be more this time than a flimsy rhetorical cover. The possible consequences are too horrendous to agree to anything else. The U.S. -lone  superpower or not - must be accountable to a higher organization, and that's what the UN was set up to be!

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