Back in simpler (Shall we say “more honest”?) times, war was a constitutionally defined issue, and America’s involvement in full scale military action was only likely after the Congress had identified an enemy that needed to be attacked and brought to the point of unconditional surrender. Sadly, since December 11, 1941 when Franklin Roosevelt and the Congress responded in kind to Hitler’s declaration of war against America, our nation has not operated in this manner.
This is not to suggest that America has not been involved in wars since the 1940s, but rather that those at the highest levels of government have not possessed the courage and character to openly say so. Thus, the Korean War was officially termed a “conflict,” with no congressional declaration involved, and Vietnam was likewise a “policing action” that escalated out of control, to the apparent surprise of those in charge. Somehow, George W. Bush could go into Iraq, exert military force sufficient to topple a regime, and replace it with one better suited to his governing philosophy while never declaring war. Instead, he only sought and received a congressional “authorization for the use of force.” Even Ronald Reagan’s 1983 invasion and overthrow of Grenada’s communist leader Bernard Coard fit this pattern. Though in Reagan’s defense, the event was tiny in comparison to others, American medical students were endangered by the coup that put Coard in power, and the entire action was accomplished in a matter of only a few weeks.
Nevertheless, the United States government has become increasingly comfortable flexing its power in other regions of the world, and particularly where no American interest is at stake. In the process, lives of U.S. military personnel are lost while nothing of real value to the nation can possibly be gained. And since no framework for waging war, or declaring a victory is established at the outset, in the long run, the overall impact of such engagements is negligible. Yet even against this inglorious backdrop, Barack Obama once again proves he can drag the nation to new lows.
Before the present turmoil in Syria ever rose to the forefront of the nightly news, the Obama Administration was diligently making a complete mess of America’s Middle-East policy. Brushing the grim historical track record of Islam aside, and ignoring more than a millennium of irrefutable history, Obama flatly declared the unrest in Egypt and Libya that eventually resulted in the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi as a supposedly celebrated “Arab Spring.” Despite the Muslim world’s unbroken pattern of brutality and oppression by any dominant group over its weaker underlings, Americans were assured of a new dawn of democracy and burgeoning alliances among the roiling middle-eastern nations.
To date, little of that dream has ensued, and instead, lingering conflicts and bloodshed reveal a nightmarish chaos throughout the region, with no end in sight. Islamist factions coalesce and assert power, only to be destabilized and defeated by other factions. Increasingly, it becomes obvious that no dawning of a grand Muslim day of freedom is on the horizon. Nevertheless, America is on the verge of sending its sons and daughters into yet another cauldron of Islamist versus Islamist conflict.
Here in America, the usual suspects are quickly lining up. Having adopted a bizarre and convoluted belief that whenever injustice occurs anywhere in the world, American lives must be sacrificed to fix things, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has been predictably beating the war drums. In a similar manner, “Republican” House Speaker John Boehner is once again responding to Obama’s episode of shooting himself in the foot by volunteering to do all of the bleeding.
Yet despite the most fervent effort of Establishment Republicans to put a good face on the situation, American involvement in Syria portends nothing but disaster for our nation. Even as political forces congeal in favor of giving Obama the “go ahead” to commit American personnel and military assets to the effort, it is not at all clear which of the murderous Muslim ideologies our nation should be supporting. In one corner, Syrian President Barhar al-Assad has been hostile to American interests in the region, and in particular the amity between the United States and Israel. Lately, he is accused of deploying chemical weapons against insurgents, along with other acts of brutality.
Yet what can be assessed of those who are in rebellion against him? Would they be any less inclined to use every weapon at their disposal in order to vanquish their opposition? It is far from conclusive that any party on either side of this miserable quarrel can claim to be wearing the white hats. If Assad is indeed ousted and replaced by yet another al-Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood infested faction of the “Arab Street,” should anyone on this side of the Atlantic realistically feel more secure?
This is, after all, Syria, and Americans must be honest insofar as they are attempting to determine which band of murderous Islamists holds the mythical moral high ground. Such a decision should be made with the full knowledge that regardless of who prevails, it is only a matter of time before the victor once again turns against this nation, with the losing faction already seething in anti-American hostility. Consequently, such decisions should ultimately be based on the somewhat cold and dispassionate premise of American interests. In a region full of obsessive Islamist factions that are determined to dominate one another through any available means, it might be in America’s best interests to simply remain clear of the fray.
Among the nations of the Middle-East, irreconcilable factions continue to obsessively and violently strive for dominance. Inevitably, enormous suffering and tragedy results from this sad reality. However, extending that suffering to unassociated nations across the globe can not, and will not, alleviate the horrendous repercussions of cultures ingrained for centuries with such mindsets. Since the onset of the “War on Terror,” America has achieved nothing of significance or worth by all of its efforts at “nation building” or “liberation of the people” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, or Libya. In the end, the tenets of Islam remain preeminent, and they do not spawn freedom or tranquility. Syria portends nothing better. With or without U.S. entanglements, or the unavoidable loss of American lives, Syria will fare no better.