The spectacle in the nation’s capitol this week over a potential war in Syria has been infuriating for many. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are lying to the faces of the American people about their intentions, as with many other administration officials. Bizarre coalitions are forming between the far left and far right for similar and dissimilar motivations. It’s not very often that I would “agree” with the likes of Vladimir Putin and Code Pink.
ThinkProgress.org has an updated House Whip count on Syria, with around 250 representatives having decided, and the nays outnumbering the yeas four-to-one. This leaves around 180 that haven’t made up their mind as of September 5. The situation in the Senate is even worse, as a resolution has passed through markup in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a vote of 10-7. The forever moderate “maverick” Sen. John McCain voted no on the resolution, but only because he feels it isn’t broad enough.
This leaves a sizable coalition in the Congress that has yet to decide whether to support the Muslim Brotherhood — a radical organization that supports jihad — and to kill a bunch of dudes so we can, um, promote democracy and freedom and save lives, or something like that. Because it totally worked in Iraq and Afghanistan and made them despise radicalism and love ‘Merica, right?
These “moderates” are sitting back, letting the Obama administration spoon-feed them their stance, in direct defiance of the majority of the public, so they can point the finger and lay the blame elsewhere if and when this effort backfires. Going along to get along, by Republicans and Democrats alike, no longer works, at least on efforts concerning death and destruction.
It’s not surprising that many Americans are staunchly opposed to a war in Syria, beyond the fatigue that’s developed over the past decade. There’s significant evidence that shows we’re already supporting the rebels with weapons and training through the CIA, with little return. Videos have surfaced of Syrian rebels brutally executing Assad forces and eating their organs in the name of Allah rather than peace, justice, and the American way. It’s all very repugnant. (Seriously, that last link is horrifying. Watch the video with discretion. Quite NSFW, obviously.)
In addition, there are reports claiming that Russia has a 100-page report blaming the chemical attack on the rebels, not the Assad regime, as a sort of false flag that would give the US a motive for intervention. Whether it’s true or not is another story — Putin and Assad are sort of buddies — but it raises more questions than answers. Should we be jumping the gun so quickly if there’s a chance that the rebels may be conning us into action? Is Russia (and China for that matter) taking a step back to protect their strategic oil interests, or is there a hidden, anti-American motive? If we do involve ourselves, are we committed to a nation-building effort à la Iraq and Afghanistan? Are we willing to risk sacrificing American lives and resources in such a confusing conflict? How does this alter the American political landscape?
Opposing this war shouldn’t be seen as a “radical” position to take. The remaining “moderate” members of Congress should exercise due diligence in making their decision when considering these facts. Acting hastily in the past has cost us too much, in terms of lives, resources, and power in the world. These are choices too important to approach as if they are the typical goings-on in Washington (ahem, Sen. McCain). If they make the incorrect decision, they should prepare for their comeuppance in the 2014 midterms, and more importantly, the burden of failure on their consciences.
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