It’s coming soon now. Next week we will have the votes in Congress that determine to a large extent whether the US attacks Syria or not. The administration has certainly been trying its best to stir up support both at home and abroad without a great deal of success. The media seems to be behind Senator McCain’s pro-war, pro-rebel stand to a great extent, but the larger public keeps saying, “no”. Little of the mainstream media is skeptical of this possible effort, and the reports that cast doubt on Administration propaganda are mostly ignored. If the President decided to wait for a Congressional decision, he doesn’t seem to have wanted to use it to change his mind, which I hoped for at one point. This morning’s New York Times talks of air raids by US and French planes as well as the missiles to “degrade” Assad’s ability even more. That would mean even more civilian casualties, death, and destruction than there has been already. I fail to see how such a plan would deter the Assad regime from the path it is already on. If it is true, that the regime feels itself as backed into a dire corner between life and death, as I believe it does, it is bound to choose its own survival by whatever means. Nothing much that the West can do aside from wiping the slate clean as in Iraq, will have much effect. All sides in this fight have been incredibly brutal, and to pick one as the incarnation of evil is to misread the people involved and the facts on the ground.
The article also contains this statement:
“They are being pulled in two different directions,” a senior foreign official involved in the discussions said Thursday. “The worst outcome would be to come out of this bruising battle with Congress and conduct a military action that made little difference.”
I think that’s what’s likely to happen anyway, no matter what John McCain and the hawks say. The President has not seemed to want another war, and has tried to reassure people about no boots on the ground. That doesn’t mean he can’t be dragged into more agression. Once begun, military action of any kind has been rather self-perpetuating. If the military action makes little difference, it might cause an uproar here at home among the war party, but it will not change the ultimate outcome in Syria, even if there are cries for more attacks. The Syrians themselves have to sort out what is to become of them. Whoever or whatever caused the deaths by poison gas, our entry into a local civil war will not change the ultimate resolution on the ground. Morality has nothing to do with this other than as a propaganda tool.
Nothing we did in Iraq turned the country into that shining example of democracy that President Bush promised. It only served to make most Iraqis detest us for the foreseeable future.