Below is a message from a reader followed by the author’s response.
I don’t think I questioned the wisdom of asking for Congress to pass a resolution and I don’t recall mentioning “warmongering”. What I said is that there is no moral high ground for Obama to stand on.
You said: “Assad is a part of the Alawite religion, a very small sect of Islam. They constitute only 12% of Syria, and they’re beliefs are kept so close to the vest that they’re secret from even other branches of Islam. So we don’t know what this guy is capable of. He may launch biological weapons into Israel and start an all-out regional conflict.”
Really? Are you a religious bigot, too? I think what you’ve got hold of is the very, very special Kool-Aid.
If this spills beyond Syria’s borders, the Israelis and the Egyptians have plenty of arms that we’ve given them, to the tune of $1.5 billion a yr., to make it move back. The idea that we have to impose our will there is based, again, on oil.
If the people in the region don’t want to act, why should we do so in their stead? In the past few days Kerry made an offhand comment that, to Obama’s benefit, Putin and Assad decided to run with. No one’s blinking. The Russians intend to keep Assad in power. Whether or not the weapons CAN be removed under the conditions at hand or this is a delaying tactic, remains to be seen.
Obama invoked international conventions and says that only America is responsible for enforcing them. That makes little sense to me, when there are so many international conventions being broken, killing so many in places we turn our back on. Let’s go clean up Darfur. I’m down with that. What? No oil, huh?
Your analysis of the Syrian crisis is based on seriously flawed thinking. You’re engaging in gross suppositions, unwarranted assumptions, the tendency to give ideology priority over truth, and an atrocious example of syllogistic logic.
An example of that is you said, “The idea that we have to impose our will there is based, again, on oil.”
What credible evidence do you have of that? While I agree with you that the United States’ history in the region has been all but entirely characterized by hubris, greed, and unthinking self-interest, to say that EVERY action that we take in the region is an extension of that very same animus without being able to put forth clear evidence for your assertion constitutes a grossly unwarranted assumption. The logic behind your assumption gives ideology priority over fact and is based on the following flawed syllogistic construction: “All dogs have fleas. My cat has fleas. Therefore, my cat is a dog.”
President Obama was clear in his explanation as to why he was considering taking action in this case. Bashar al-Assad is in direct violation of the “Chemical Weapons Convention,” designed to control the development, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons, which has been signed and ratified by 189 nations.
The president said the following:
“If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them. Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield, and it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons and to use them to attack civilians.”
That’s a serious matter to be considered, and so is the following:
“If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel. And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran, which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon or to take a more peaceful path.”
And with regard to your question that, “If the people in the region don’t want to act, why should we do so in their stead?” There’s a very simple answer to that question. First, The Arab League -a regional organization of 22 Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Southwest Asia – not only suspended Assad in 2011, but has called for his resignation. And secondly, the use of chemical weapons is not just a regional issue. Just like nuclear weapons, chemical weapons are a threat to the entire WORLD.
Comments like yours are a perfect example of what President Obama has to deal with on a daily basis. Regardless of what he does, even when it’s in their best interest, haters will start ranting and raving over the issue without even knowing the facts. But now that you do know the facts, what would you do on this issue if you were in his place?
I shudder to even think what Cornel West would do, who thinks the president should be impeached if he acts as a responsible adult in the face of an irresponsible congress.