Following reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, some in Congress are demanding that President Obama intervene. Even though the use of chemical weapons have not yet been confirmed, some are calling the president “weak” for his failure to respond.
Such knee jerk reactions by the war hawks already have been responsible for far too many wars and far too many deaths.
In 1964, the war hawks used false reports of a North Vietnamese attack on US naval ships to ramp up the war leading to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands. In 1983, the Reagan administration not only turned a blind eye to Iraqi use of chemical weapons against Iran, there are indications the US actually supplied the weapons. And, in 2003, the Bush/Cheney war hawks were in such a hurry to invade Iraq, they used false information to convince Congress to vote for a war that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands Iraqis and 4,486 US soldiers.
One would think that, after such obvious and lethal mistakes, our congressional war hawks and media would be much more reluctant to engage in saber rattling. After all, there are far more questions in Syria than answers. Were chemical weapons actually used? Who used them? What are the goals of those opposing Assad? What will happen to Syria if Assad is defeated, especially since it has been reported that the opposition includes factions of al Qaeda? Will the opposition welcome our military assistance? Will the new Syria become an ally?
What will Russia, a long-time ally of Assad’s, do if we choose to intervene in Syria? What will be the impact on the already flammable Middle East since Syria shares a border with Israel?
Given all of these questions, exactly how is the US to respond? Do we provide more sophisticated arms to the rebels, including al Qaeda? Do we create a no-fly zone that may lead to a far more serious confrontation with Russia, and may not even accomplish the goal of overthrowing Assad? Do we bomb military targets in Syria that will almost certainly antagonize Russia? Do we insert US troops on the ground in what could be a more lethal and lengthy war than Iraq?
According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, about 60 percent of US citizens interviewed oppose intervention in Syria. It would seem that ordinary Americans have far more common sense than their saber-rattling congressional representatives.