"The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough—more than enough—of war and hate and oppression."- John F. Kennedy, June 10, 1963 (Speech at American University)
In the horrific 1983 British film Threads, the nuclear destruction and termination of human civilization is effected after the U.S. and NATO intervene in Iran and exchanges lead to the accidental sinking of the Russian ship Kirov in the Straits of Hormuz.
Subsequently, an accidental exchange of 2 tactical nuclear weapons (with radiation blowing over Pakistan) leads to escalation and a full scale nuclear war within 24 hrs.- with 3,000 megatons exchange (210 megatons on the UK alone).
After the final exchange, when 80 megatons land on Sheffield, UK, the focus is on a family huddled inside their shock -wave blasted home as the radioactive debris descends - leading to non stop vomiting by all the members, then deaths of the parents (after losing all their hair and skin sores) then the daughter giving birth (9 months later) to a monster, that can best be described as a 'Rosemary's Baby' look- alike. The final scene shows the baby after its live birth, porcine features with rat-like ears and teeth exposed on its epidermis- while the poor, malnourished girl who just delivered it screams at the top of her lungs.
'Threads' is not a film for the squeamish, nor was it meant to be. It was intended to be a cautionary tale against rash human actions - laden with arrogance and hubris - with the perpetrators unable to see ahead to the consequences of their actions. It was intended to send the message: "Look, you idiots! It doesn't matter whether YOU think you're in the right for any given action or not! If by god you fuck it up - launch an aggressive strike with unintended consequences, there may be no turning back for any of us!"
Such warnings apply now as a congress all too willing in the past to be 'yes men' to the executive, is once more being drumbeaten into taking reckless action for "humanitarian purposes". But what kind of humanitarian purpose will it be if 1 million more Syrian refugees are created by our Tomahawk attacks, and they pour into adjacent Turkey and Jordan which already are at their tipping points? You call that humanitarian? It's stupidity! Plus, we will likely kill as many or more via collateral damage as perished in the gas attacks (And contrary to the nattering nabobs - including liberals like Krystal Ball on MSNBC - we still don't know WHO was responsible!)
The money consumed by destroying those cruise missiles ($1 billion est.) by lobbing them into Syria ought to be used instead to provide support for the 2 million refugees already in Turkey and Jordan. This was the suggestion yesterday by Rep. Alan Grayson (FL) as he addressed a media simpleton on MSNBC who tried to compare not taking action to the Chamberlain appeasement at Munich. Well, Grayson raked the Neolib twerp's ass over the coals, drawing attention to his historical attention deficit disorder, for that one! (The correct comparison, as Grayson noted, was the run-up to the Iraq fiasco.)
Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer of the Center for Advanced Defense Studies(appearing on MSNBC's 'The Cycle) laid it on the line this afternoon that NO the U.S. isn't "following the world" (on any issuance of a "red line") to address any humanitarian concerns in Syria, it is pushing the world to follow its lead. But this could have severe repercussions because no matter what we believe, our aggression and attacks will be regarded by the Syrians (as well as the Russians, Iran and other actors) as an act of war- inviting full retaliation which could assume myriad forms - from massive cyber attacks, knocking down power grids, to Iranian missile attacks on the U.S. fleet, to Russian bombing of U.S. destroyers in retaliation for any collateral damage.
Kerry basically said there's nothing to fret over re: Russia, but he's an idiot. How he has managed to get to the position of Secretary of State is beyond me. I guess politics and friendly Repukes (who relish his MA Senate seat) can make a difference. Anyway, as Lt. Col. Shaffer said, neither the Syrians or others affected will take any attack lying down. Besides, there are many ways the Russians could get involved, from an accidental strike on their naval base, to the accidental killing of their technicians who help maintain the Syrian air force. Think Putin wouldn't retaliate for killing Russian techs or other personnel? Think again!
Then there are the 50,000 Iranians who also are there in country, helping Assad's forces. Kill any of them and also watch as the Iranians retaliate. Who knows in what ways, but bear in mind, as with 9/11, the blowback can take years to unfold. Ask Chalmers Johnson who predicted (in Blowback) the 9/11 attacks because of our aggressive Middle East policies. Another thing, as Howard Fineman asked on the same MSNBC segment: 'Since when did the Democratic Party become the War Party'?
The notion we can just hurl cruise missiles into Syria with impunity and do whatever we like (as self-proclaimed cop of the world- lacking any moral authority to be said 'cop') is such a noxious, insane notion it is beyond the pale and makes us a rogue state, above the law - certainly above international law- no matter what congress authorizes or not.
Lt. Col. Shaffer admonished Obama for his decision to go it alone, even with just the puny cover of congressional authorization. He stated that what must be done, to show the world we are not above the law - international law- is to take our case to the UN Security Council and behind the scenes make the political moves to get China and Russia invested in the proposal that it's in THEIR best interests to get Assad removed from power. But....contrary to asshole and idiot Bill Krystal (one of the foremost instigators of regime change in Iraq) it is NOT OUR business to regime change Assad.
But if we fire off a missile attack on Syria without UN concurrence, we will expose ourselves as the outlaw rogue state everyone in the world believes we are. Worse, we will help to create a scenario that will likely quickly get out of control no matter how many supposed precautions we take.
In that case, a near future such as depicted on Threads may well be our sorry- ass lot.