middle east inferno
Here we go again; before all the facts and evidence are in we have another U.S. president threatening an attack on yet another country whose government is suspected of possessing weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons possibly involving deadly gas. But when necessary restraint and further assessment should prevail, it's not to be found, not in the Congress, not in the White House.
The title of this article and the reference to the quote by Yogi Berra from years ago is not meant to be the least bit amusing; it's used to illustrate how this apparent prelude to an attack by the U.S. and President Obama on Syria is so very reminiscent of the fraudulent fabrication of the existence of weapons of mass destruction by the Bush administration that caused that horribly misguided attack on Iraq in 2003.
This is like a re-run of a gruesome movie or, rather, a nightmare and the ironies are astounding. Here we have President Barack Obama in the role formerly played by G.W. Bush with Secretary of State John Kerry being today's version of Colin Powell. Assad replaces Hussein as the bad guy with the WMD's. This is eerie, very bizarre and, to say the least, a very dangerous, explosive situation that has the potential for a world catastrophe.
Secretary of State John Kerry was a U.S. Navy officer that was wounded in Vietnam and, after returning to this country, became an outspoken opponent of that terrible war. Well that same man, the one who once seemed to be against unnecessary and unjustified wars against other nations, now is one of those leading the band that is trumpeting an attack on Syria. How things do change when you decide to join the band of war hawks.
Let's get a few things straight. If chemical weapons have been used in Syria then there needs to be a thorough investigation; in fact UN weapons inspectors are already on the ground trying to make that determination. Based on their findings, additional steps should be taken by the UN and other major nations to try to resolve this situation before it explodes. And even if the inspectors find that chemical weapons were used they will be hard pressed to determine who used them. But to launch an attack by Washington in the absence of these initiatives is simply the worst possible outcome.
Long before this crisis point was reached President Obama should have convened a meeting of the leaders of major nations to discuss all aspects of this civil war within Syria and come up with ways to diffuse it before it got out of control. We saw no such thing; all we heard was the same old worn out rhetoric, warnings against Assad of Syria and, quite disturbing, what seemed to be U.S. support for rebel groups that included al-Qaeda fighters. Aren't those the same bad guys we've been fighting in Central Asia for more than a decade? That's simply beyond comprehension.
From all the accounts I have read, including those of respected journalists around the world, no one knows who may have used these chemical weapons. In fact that civil war is so complex that no one is certain as to the specific identity of the various participants. Reports indicate that there are numerous rebel groups from any number of different factions, including elements of Al-Qaeda and various jihadist groups fighting against the government for control of that nation.
Now we have Mr. Obama ready to pull the trigger on yet another military conflict where the evidence of what is going on is very scant at best; a lot of opinions and supposition but a lack of solid facts. Just like Bush, he and his advisers say that they have absolute evidence but how many times can you be fooled before you refuse to buy into the fabrications that have started other needless wars?
Mr. Kerry calls this situation a "moral obscenity" so let's review a bit of history to examine that issue to a greater degree. What would he call the slaughter of 2 million Vietnamese people and the use of the chemical agents, Agent Orange, white phosphorus and napalm in the Vietnam War? Was that a moral obscenity? What about the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq and the unnecessary deaths of Iraqi citizens and the monstrous bombing that devastated Fallujah, commonly referred to as the "city of mosques" and many thousands of people in that city of over 300,000? What was that other than a moral obscenity?
What about the 25 tons of bombs that the U.S. used to wipe the Afghan town of Tarok Kolache completely off the map in 2011, leaving behind only piles of ashes that once had been homes and the bodies of human beings? You can view the total devastation shown by before and after photographs that are included in this wired.com article by Spencer Ackermann. The people never knew what hit them. How about that for a moral obscenity or should we, as our government did, pass it off as "unfortunate collateral damage?"
And lastly what do Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama have to say about how the U.S. continues to illegally launch deadly drones in the skies over several nations that rain down hellfire missiles on both suspected enemies and innocent civilians? Is it morally acceptable for this government to wipe out wedding parties and funeral processions and, again, call it collateral damage? Anyone want to debate this issue of moral obscenity?
Speaking of chemical weapons this is the same U.S. government that, in the 1980's, during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, not only turned a blind-eye to Saddam Hussein's repeated use of chemical weapons against Iranian and Iraqi Kurdish troops, but also helped Iraq to develop its chemical and biological weapons programs. That has been clearly documented and is a concrete fact. What should we call that?
Do these guys operating the Washington military machine ever learn their lessons? They go from one war to another; one military conflict to another and the beat goes on and on and on. When you give these war hawks the reins of the mightiest military power in the world it seems to inject them with a massive dose of hubris for which they must find an excuse to launch another military debacle.
Washington is abuzz with speculation that some kind of attack by the U.S. will come at any time, although the specific intended targets are not being divulged. Just think of what kind of an attack this might be. Exactly which targets will the military commanders choose in this country where there is a civil war raging across the entire nation between any number of rebel groups and the government?