Strike on Syria, Another “Dumb War”

Here we go again, the US government is pushing hard to start another war, but this time the target is Syria. The reason for starting another war is the same as before, but the target is different.

We all remember the reasons for invasion of Iraq, which was Saddam Hussein was killing his own people, amassing weapons of mass destruction which was a major threat to the US national security should these weapons fall in the wrong hand. Of course, the Bush administration was scaring the Americans to death with the “mushroom cloud” argument. After invading Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, loss of over four thousands US military personnel, literally destroying one of the most ancient country in the planet, and spending over one trillion dollars and still rising, we were told that there was no sign of any weapons of mass destruction.

Then Senator Barack Obama announced his opposition to invasion of Iraq and during his first campaign for running for the White House, he said “I am not against all wars, but only against dumb wars”. He considered the invasion of Iraq as a dumb war. Now President Obama is making more or less the same arguments that President George W. Bush made before invading Iraq.

President Obama argues that Syrian government has large quantities of chemical weapons which he used against its own people resulting in killing of 1,400 innocent civilian of which many were children. Incidentally the number of dead civilian varies drastically depending on which agency or government provides the information. The lowest body count according to the French government and some non-government agencies were around 289. The US government has not explained as to how they came up with 1,400 dead while most of the European countries have much lower number of dead people.

The Obama administration is also arguing, President Bashar Al-Assad’s chemical weapons are threat to the US national security as they may fall in the wrong hands. It is also a threat to Syria’s neighboring countries.

Many countries are against the US strike on Syria, including many of the US allies. The most striking opposition came from the United Kingdom, America’s closest ally in Europe, when the British Parliament voted against attacking Syria and caused major embarrassment for Prime Minister David Cameron.

These are some of the reasons that the US must not attack Syria:

The US economy is still suffering from the recent financial meltdown and the recession, not to mention the cost of two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Starting another war could hurt already weak economy.

The money for war could be well spent domestically for education, health care, infrastructure, as well as other social programs. US infrastructure is falling apart, American students are losing the academic competitiveness, job opportunities for tens of millions of American are non-existent, and the middle class is vanishing fast. These are all good reason to spend the money domestically rather than wasting on destruction of another country and in the process killing many innocent civilians.

Change of Syrian government may prove to be a detriment to the US interests. It is quite clear that some of the factions that are fighting President Assad are members of radical groups including Al-Qaeda. Should these groups take over the control of the government, they are not going to be friendly to the US. Remember the Taliban and Osama’s forces in Afghanistan? After the US government helped them to kick out the Soviet forces from Afghanistan back in the eighties and overthrew the government of President Najibullah, they became the enemy of the US which later on attacked the World Trade Center in New York City.

Weakening of the Assad’s regime and not having a detailed plan could create chaos in Syria and the neighboring countries which could end up in a regional war. The Iraqi Kurds along with the Turkish Kurds could join forces with Syrian Kurds and create problem for the region including Iran which has many Kurds living in the border of Iran and Iraq in Kurdistan.

President Obama argues that Syrian government has large quantities of chemical weapons which he used against its own people resulting in killing of 1,400 innocent civilian of which many were children.

It is well known fact that Russia considers Syria as one of her allies and striking Syria could force Russia coming to Syria’s rescue and expand this operation into a full blown war. Iran and Hezbollah may also come to Syria’s rescue which could only make an already bad situation worse.

Attack on Syria could tarnish the already damaged US image and prestige abroad. Most of the countries have not forgotten the Iraq war and the fabrication of evidence for invasion. US is playing the same game and making wild accusation about Assad’s regime using chemical weapons against his own people, without having solid proof. There is no question that some sort of chemical weapons were used in recent skirmish between the oppositions and the Assad’s government, but no one knows for sure who used the chemical weapons. One cannot rely on the opposition’s allegations, as they have the motive to lie so to attract sympathy of foreign governments and their assistance. That is what happened in Iraq, the oppositions cooked up the story that Saddam was hiding weapons of mass destruction and feeding the US government this false information so to encourage the US to attack Iraq. It worked.

Syria’s chaos could harm US allies, such as Turkey, Israel, Jordan and forcing the US to be dragged into wars that she did not anticipate participating in.

What would US accomplish by attacking Syria? The argument of punishing Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people is a weak argument. Given the past history of the US, in particular providing Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons which he used on his own people as well as on Iranian troops in Iran-Iraq war. Neither Reagan administration, nor the Congress made any noise about it, while hundreds of Iraqis and Iranians died by chemical weapons made in the US.

Recently, President Obama took two political moves which could help and save him from major national and international embarrassment. First he went to the Congress to seek their support for attacking Syria, so if the Congress says “No”, he would have a political cover for not attacking Syria, should he choose not to do so.

Second, by accepting President Putin’s offer of having Syria’s chemical weapons under international agency’s supervision and control, President Obama averted another war by postponing going to the Congress for their support of his position on Syria and could end up being branded as a peace maker and gain international respect for himself as well as the country. In some corners President’s Obama’s decision has already won many hearts and minds.

In conclusion the outcome and the risk of attacking Syria are unknown and could very well backfire. We need to remind ourselves that the invasion of Afghanistan was supposed to last only for very short time. Also invasion of Iraq was supposed to be a quick one and the cost of invasion was to be about few billion dollars to be paid by Iraqi oil export. US is still in both countries after more than 10 years and spending over one trillion dollars which the cost is still rising and there is no end to it as tens of thousands of US troops are suffering from physical and mental injuries and require medical treatments for years to come. Can we really afford to have another war like Iraq or Afghanistan?


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