Saturday, August 31, 2013

Short Attention Span Musing: Syria Edition

As most people have heard by now (and if you have the internet connection needed to read this, you are part of "most people"), the situation in Syria has deteriorated to the point where the world (mostly meaning the US) has two options -

1. Directly intercede with military forces.

2. Ignore it.

Both approaches have potentially significant downsides (and both will result in people dying), to the point that no matter what course of action (or inaction) is chosen, there will be legitimate criticisms.

It's one of those situations that contribute to US presidents entering office with a full head of (usually) dark hair and leaving office with hair that's gray, or even white.

Like most Americans who actually *think* about things, I'm torn on this one.

As a man with a moral center (maybe my cynicism shows through the most, but that cynicism is rooted in frustrated ideals), I am outraged by the use of gas as a weapon and utterly appalled by the targeting of civilians, including children.  The people responsible for that should be removed from the face of the Earth.

However, as a man who watched the previous presidential administration gin up a couple of forever wars that mostly have benefited only deep-pocketed defense contractors who are generous with only two things: 1) campaign contributions to elected officials who are in a position to help the contractors' profit margins and 2) the lives of American servicemen and -women (and the lives of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan).

Many in Congress (let's call them "Republicans") will oppose whatever course is chosen by the president, not so much because they think it is wrong, but just because it is supported by *this* president.

Whatever course is chosen (and as I write this, the President has announced that he has decided that limited military action is necessary, but has deferred that action pending Congressional consideration and approval of such action), the president and other leadership had better accept that support in the US and across the world will not be unanimous, no matter which course is chosen.

Addendum: Since the President has apparently decided on "limited" military action as the best course of action here, I'll say one more thing -

In this context, "limited" should mean "we have a clear, achievable goal, and our military forces will be limited to that which is necessary to efficiently achieve the goal with a minimum of harm to civilians, and no less.

In other words, go in, get the job done, and get out.


Phoenix Justice said...

I am like you, I am torn as what to do. But I think there are three options and the third option is forcing peace talks. Besides, weren't there reports that one group of rebels had used gas? So really, who do we help?

Thane Eichenauer said...

Once the US government is in, it is in. I don't think the US armed forces and the people that give orders are capable of a limited military action.

"...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong."

Matt Nelson said...

We need to stay out of Syria. I know of no one who supports another Middle East military adventure. The rebels are al-Queda. I thought we were fighting them. Now we are going to protect them?