My idea of supporting liberty of conscience and the rights of citizens is that of supporting those rights in other people, for if a man supports only his own rights for his own sake, he does no moral duty.
Bombing Syria Into Humane, Peaceful Rationality
“There are those who believe that the horror of the gas attacks in Syria require (sic) that action, some action, any action, as a necessary cathartic for us moral paragons in the West. But what if it unleashes something far worse? Are we confident that this president and his band of not-so-merry pranksters have the skill to deploy force at the right time, in the right place, for the right ends, and in the right proportion?” Thus wrote Roger Kimball for the “wingnuts” at PJMedia. His comments are part of a series of essays on the advisability of bombing some places in Syria in the hope of telling Assad that he’d better not use gas again (assuming that he did once), or else. If your mind is not made up, you might want to see what those folks say.
Some commentators remain unsettled, even if they are willing to go along with Obama. A good example is M. J. Totten, whose ruminations express a discontent that he tries hard to set aside.
More discussion is to be found here.
Meanwhile, a Jewish internet news and commentary outlet describes the proposed bombing:
The strike would be aimed at weakening the president (of Syria -ed.) and putting him in a more fragile position come time for peace talks between Syria’s government and opposition forces battling Assad’s regime scheduled to take place in Geneva later this year, the source said.
The source added that the attack may be carried out in tandem with another operation designed to weaken Jihadist elements linked to al-Qaeda that are currently fighting in the country against Assad’s army.
To this newsletter, this passage indicates the author has become submersed in a fantasy, and here is why: will Assad consent to talks with people who want to murder him, and would probably attempt it in Geneva, rather than bother talking to him? Moreover, will the USA be able to target and destroy Al Qaeda forces, so that only idealistic democrats and secular advocates of human rights survive? Answers in the affirmative would be astounding. Naive. Stupid!
Well then, how about this assertion? “Assad’s regime has become a full Iranian client and Syria has become Iran’s testing ground. … Iran is watching and it wants to see what will be the reaction to the use of chemical weapons.” That plausible scenario is extracted from this report. In response, one might insist that the demonstration of the plausibility of a scenario is not proof that the scenario is correct. Then one could wonder aloud whether there actually is a link between gas in Syria and a nuclear strike by Iran on Israel or the USA. At this point, doesn’t speculation take the discussion off the rails and into a swamp?
If, however, it is true that the current Syrian regime is in some sense a client of — or stalking horse for — Iran, it might be advisable for Israel and the USA to act definitively. Three days of trying to hit some purely military targets with guided missiles would not suffice. A Congressional declaration of war, followed by a balls-to-the-wall* assault that destroys Assad’s regime, would be the most rational response. One should not deal lightly with villains who are demonstrably prepared to employ neurotoxic gas and nuclear bombs in the commission of genocide.
Of course that assumes Assad really did use that horrid gas. Everybody says he did; this newsletter is not totally convinced. NTG suggests with some reservations that Al Qaeda would be more likely to deploy a neurotoxin. Surely Assad knows that if he admits defeat, he will be able to depart for exile and live out the rest of his life in comfortable circumstances. Further, Al Qaeda’s fanatics honestly believe that innocent Muslim civilians killed in war go directly to heaven, along with all their family members; nothing restrains the jihadis from wholesale slaughter. They are even more ferocious, immoral and bloodthirsty than is Assad.
Against that, there are strong points that do indict the Syrian government as the guilty party (though they raise questions, too; read the article at the link). This newsletter could indeed be wrong, and most people who say they know all they need to know blame Assad for the gas attack.
Unfortunately there are serious dangers involved in the bombing of stockpiled gas weapons. In fact, problems abound. It might be wise to give up the idea that bombing can punish only the guilty and prevent further use of gas by Assad’s regime.
Well. The situation has become more tangled and unpredictable, reminding that the Muddle East is never a congenial host to the West’s best intentions.
Once again, this newsletter questions the leadership of the USA. Both Obama and Kerry have demonstrated ideological zealotry and intellectual limitations; neither should be in charge now. That raises the question of who might be whispering in the ears of the nominal leadership. One can not know. If that means that Fate is deciding outcomes, this is indeed a perilous time for the West.
What, then, would be the best course of action? Given the quality of the USA’s leadership, perhaps all strategy and tactics should be turned over to the Israelis. Yes, that means that the West would obey Netanyahu’s instructions.
There is, after all, no clear indication that Obama understands the implications of an Iranian nuclear weapon, or the role that the USA should play in world events. His preoccupations lead him to focus on the restructuring of the political and economic systems of the USA; that is his paramount, possibly sole, objective. Foreign policy is literally above and beyond him. His conceptions of the West Bank and “Palestinian” complaints are primitive and skewed. He is no more a guide to peace and tranquility in the region than is the clerk who took your money when you bought your last pair of shoes.
In fact, Obama is irrationally concerned about the difficulties faced by black citizens of his nation who manage to get into scrapes the prudent would naturally avoid. The president wastes time and squanders his dignity on such local issues, rather than fret about the fate of millions of Jews — whose lives are clearly at risk. The man who scolds the Boston police department for doing its job well, and tosses a bust of Churchill back to the British as a (deliberately insulting) reminder of the new president’s lunatic anti-colonialism, has no clear view of current ethical issues. Indeed, the world’s most important executive office is occupied by a man with no executive experience whatsoever, a circumstance that is almost never mentioned.
And Kerry? He’s an ego-maniacal, unstable tourist in a hallucinatory theme park called IdeologyLand.
Somehow the West has to get through the current disaster without torching half of the earth. It is unfortunate that everything might now turn on the decisions made by a very bad man — Bashar al-Assad. If he has the vision to do the least harmful thing, he could turn out to be the hero of the moment. What a horrible thought! In simply thinking it, one admits that things are out of control because virtually all of the people involved in the crisis are incompetent, insane or incapacitated.
* Note for those who find the word “balls” offensive: the expression “balls to the wall” refers to the throttles on aircraft. They were once, and probably still are, terminated by spherical handles so the pilot could know without looking which control he was touching. Pushing the throttles forward — “to the wall” — increases power from the engines. So “balls to the wall” means “full speed ahead” (or, in nautical terminology, “all ahead flank”), and has nothing to do with what you probably thought it referred to, you rascal. Hmmm. If you know nothing else by now, you should know that this newsletter does not shrink from using vulgar and obscene language — when it wishes to describe exactly what people like Caryn Johnson (“Whoopi Goldberg”) and Sandra Bernhard actually say, so you can take the measure of those wretches. Other than that, naughty words are seldom seen here. Well, more or less. Pretty much.
Wow — is this guy ever bitter! Rightfully so? You decide.
In Number 181 of this newsletter, Amelia Earhart is mentioned. It’s time to mention her again. The story is not yet complete, unfortunately.
There’s a new wrinkle in propaganda.
A “wingnut” commentator explains why some very angry chickens should be headed back to the henhouse. It’s about the Fort Hood massacre, the Pentagon, the FBI, and the deliberate, obvious, inexplicable lie the Obama administration stubbornly insists is the truth. It’s ugly. In fact this travesty should be included in articles of impeachment.
We can run
But we can’t hide from it
Of all possible worlds
We only got one
We gotta ride on it
Whatever we’ve done
We’ll never get far from what we leave behind
Baby, we can run, run, run, but we can’t hide
Oh no, we can’t hide
The masthead includes a quote from the works of Thomas Paine.
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