By Brent Allen Parrish
One troubling and lingering question I have about the civil war in Syria: did the Obama Administration facilitate the conflict in the first place? What I’m specifically referring to is the Arab Spring–the so-called “democracy movements” that have suddenly sprung up all over the Middle East under Obama’s reign. The Arab Spring protests are eerily similar to the Occupy Wall Street protests that have occurred here in the United States.
I’ve been of the opinion all along that what the Obama Administration desires in Syria is regime change. I have no love for Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime. It’s rather ironic a regime that so openly supported terrorist organizations would find itself under assault by those very terrorist organizations–but such is life in the Middle East. But this begs the question, what will fill the place of a deposed Assad regime? As is so often the norm in the geopolitical realm, it is a decision between two bad choices. Will the people of the US really be better off under the rule of radical Islam in Syria? How about the Syrian people? Does the United States really want to become embroiled in another “nation building” excursion?
Sen. John McCain used the very term “regime change.” This is utterly astonishing to me. It is as if I’m watching some sort of Hegelian strategy being unveiled before my very eyes, whereby certain members of both sides of the political spectrum are conspiring toward some predetermined outcome.
The hypocrisy of the left regarding their willingness to respond militarily in Syria is beyond belief.
For example, we knew for a fact that Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons in his war against Iran, and on his own people. The main reason given by the Bush Administration for going to war in Iraq was that Saddam Hussein’s regime could use weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, or might transfer those weapons to terrorist organizations. Interestingly, there have been rumors for years that some of Saddam’s WMD’s may have been spirited away to Syria.
But despite the fact that Saddam Hussein had actually used chemical weapons in the past, the left steadfastly rejected the notion that Saddam Hussein’s WMD’s posed any imminent threat. Many on the left have often cited the failure of UN weapon’s inspectors to decisively prove the existence of WMD’s in Iraq as a proof positive that the Bush Administration was simply manufacturing excuses to rush to war.
The left, including Barack Obama, railed against “Bush’s war,” going so far as to refer to it as an “illegal war,” despite the fact Bush did obtain the necessary congressional resolution to go to war, unlike Obama’s illegal war in Libya. Not only did the left claim the war in Iraq was illegal, they went so far as to say George Bush and Dick Cheney were war criminals and should be drug before the Haque. (Apparently the International Court trumps our own justice system now, at least to the left.)
The other justification for going to war in Iraq that the left utterly rejected was the Bush Administration’s claim that a link existed between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist organization. Additionally, the left claimed Bush was acting like some sort of rogue cowboy by acting unilaterally, despite the fact there was a coalition of nations who participated in the invasion of Iraq, albeit certainly not as robust and numerous as the coalition formed during the first Gulf War.
The left insisted the link between al-Qaeda and Iraq was tenuous at best. But I wonder if overwhelming, indisputable evidence had been provided that a solid link did exist between Iraq and al-Qaeda, would the left take the position that such a revelation would be a justification for war? My gut tells me, “No.” I would suspect that no matter what evidence the Bush Administration provided it would never justify going to war in Iraq, at least as far as the left is concerned.
So why is the left so willing to rush to war in Syria? Do they not realize the end result could be a Syrian regime under the control of the worst sort of Islamic radicals in the world? Is the left okay with that? Is that what they want?
So, once again, if the Bashar al-Assad regime is taken down, what will replace it? What if al-Nusra Front takes over Syria? What will happen to the Assad regime’s chemical weapons then? Who will control them? Could they be transferred to other terrorist organizations for use against the U.S. and its allies?
During US Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent statement on the alleged chemical attack in Syria he stated being weary of war is no excuse for doing nothing. Kerry stated:
President Obama will ensure that the United States of America makes our own decisions on our own timelines, based on our values and our interests. Now, we know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war. Believe me, I am, too.
But fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility. Just longing for peace does not necessarily bring it about. And history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency, these things we do know.
There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 caliber machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley, are war criminals.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul threw back some of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s own words on NBC’s Meet The Press this Sunday to make the point military action in Syria would have dire consequences for the US.
“He’s famous for saying ‘how can you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?’ I would ask John Kerry how can you ask a man to be the first one to die for a mistake?”
Kerry claims “history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction.” Is that why folks like Kerry were so willing to take down Saddam Hussein’s regime? (That’s sarcasm, by the way.) Did Saddam not use weapons of mass destruction wantonly?
Secretary Kerry stated “fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility.” I can’t help but wonder if Kerry is aligning the US with the UN’s “responsibility to protect” (R2P) doctrine. (Trevor Loudon has more on the “responsibility to protect” doctrine and its direct threat to American sovereignty here.)
Via Noisy Room:
The mission of the R2P Coalition is:
- To convince the American people and its leaders to embrace the norm of the responsibility to protect as a domestic and foreign policy priority.
- To convince our political leadership that the US must join the ICC.
- To convince our political leadership to empower the UN and the ICC with a legitimate and effective deterrent and enforcement mechanism – an International Marshals Service – a standing international police force to arrest atrocity crimes indictees.
My gut is telling me this that R2P is driving the agenda of the administration.
Now let’s just revisit the so-called evidence we have been given as “undeniable” proof that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its own people.
First, the document Secretary Kerry cited as proof in his statement on Syria reads just like his speech:
A large body of independent sources indicates that a chemical weapons attack took place in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. In addition to U.S. intelligence information, there are accounts from international and Syrian medical personnel; videos; witness accounts; thousands of social media reports from at least 12 different locations in the Damascus area; journalist accounts; and reports from highly credible nongovernmental organizations.
It appears, to me anyway, that much of what has been reported about the alleged chemical attack is just anecdotal evidence reiterating what the government already claims is fact. There are witness accounts from the Damascus area that claim it was the Syrian rebels who perpetrated the chemical attack–the point being that not all witness accounts are in agreement, as Secretary Kerry et al. would have us all believe.
Videos showing rows of dead bodies wrapped in white sheets, and children gasping for air, are being held up as proof positive a chemical attack was indeed perpetrated against innocent Syrian citizens by the Assad regime. The first question I asked myself before I viewed some of the videos was simple: Is there anyway the videos could have been staged? Well, I can’t say that it could not be staged. And this is an important distinction. For example, if you were to show me videos of the victims of Auschwitz, I would say definitely that it would be impossible to stage such atrocities, as some actually do.
The one thing that gnaws at me about the videos of the alleged chemical attack in Syria is that none of the bodies show any marks or wounds. There does not appear to be any blistering, either–which one might expect from a blistering agent like sarin gas. Would there not also be signs of excessive mucous discharge and uncontrollable salivation? I realize there are few videos that show some alleged victims foaming at the mouth, but, quite frankly, it looked it a little weird to me–meaning: it looked fake. Of course, I could be wrong. I’m simply sharing my impressions.
I was a bit surprised by the claim rockets were supposedly used to deliver the chemical agent. Rockets are rather volatile weapons, not ideally suited for chemical warfare. The U.S. has destroyed much of its cold war chemical weapon rocket inventory. Interestingly, the allegation rockets were used is now disputed by the rebels.
Then, there were those conflicting claims at first from the insurgents about how the gas attack had been delivered. First, the gas was supposedly delivered via missiles. When EU politicians and our own local critters like John McCain started yapping about enforcing a no fly zone, all of a sudden the rebels started claiming the gas come via an aerial bombardment – except there was no evidence of shrapnel wounds that normally come with both artillery or airborne attacks of this kind. It’s also worth remembering that when news of the attacks first went public, the UN delegation and foreign diplomats were denied access to the attack site for a few days by the Syrian opposition because it ‘wasn’t safe’ for them.
Why would Assad launch a chemical attack at this time? All indications on the ground are that the Syrian Assad Army (SAA) is gaining the upper-hand. Not only that, I’m reading reports of some rebel commanders joining Assad’s side–a sign that some rebel leaders see the Syrian regime as the “strong horse” and wish to be on the winning side. Surely the Assad regime knows that if there is one thing that could risk Western military involvement in Syria it would be the use of weapons of mass destruction. The use of chemical weapons by Assad would seem more like a sign of extreme desperation to me. If Assad did engage in chemical warfare, then it is a strategic blunder of colossal proportions. It just doesn’t make sense.
I’m coming to the conclusion that many of our leaders–particularly the ones in charge now–have no idea how to fight. If you know anything about self-defense, you hopefully know one shouldn’t brandish a firearm (or any weapon, for that matter) unless one intends to use it. But what is the administration doing right now? They’re broadcasting to the enemy their intent of engaging in a limited, targeted strike. So much for the element of surprise, huh! This just gives more time to the Assad regime to move any chemical weapon stores and to harden their defenses. I fail to see what such a strike would accomplish either militarily or politically; it will simple whip up a hornet’s nest. What is our strategy? What does the U.S. hope to gain from a limited strike against Syria?
I’ve had it with “nation-building” and protracted conflicts that end in defeat. It’s not the job of our military to build schools and roads, or to “protect the environment.” The job of our military is to protect U.S. citizens and the sovereignty of the United States, period.
The British Parliament recently voted “no” to military involvement in Syria. One British man was interviewed following the vote in Parliament and simply said, “Outrage is not a strategy.” Hear, hear! I made this very point in this week’s submission to the Watcher’s Council–emotion is not a strategy. War is a cold and calculated affair. War requires victory, or else. If one cannot define the enemy or victory, then one has no business getting involved in the brutal and messy business that is war. No, I feel there is a hidden agenda at work here, as usual. And I have a feeling it has something to do with the “responsibility to protect” doctrine and the ceding of our national sovereignty over to the United Nations. Looks like Libya (Pt. 2) to me.