View from the peanut gallery – Syria decision needs due diligence

A few observations from the peanut gallery are in order around the decision on next steps on Syria. This is a difficult decision with no clear-cut answer which will solve all problems. It is truly a “Catch 22” decision in many respects. So, it deserves the necessary amount of due diligence, so we and our allies who support us can agree that this is what we should do and here are the parameters on the authority granted. Also, what do we hope to accomplish and what are steps that we can take if Syria, Russia, etc. react a certain way needs much discussion? I certainly do not want this to be a political football as we tend to do in this country. Saying it another way, I do not want spin doctors trying to make a decision that is in the best interest of a political party. What is the best thing for our country and our allies?

I have already read comments from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Let me state the obvious in reaction, you of all people along with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove do not need to offer an opinion. Our credibility is in question because of your building a story of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Scooter Libby, one of Karl Rove’s lackeys went to jail because he outed a CIA agent to discredit her husband and former ambassador who called you on the carpet when you misused his reconnaissance to build this story. American and allied troops died because of this fabrication. This is why the rest of the world is skeptical. Thank you gentlemen for sullying our honor.

Mr. President, you cannot escape either, as your continuation of the NSA spying set-up under Bush makes us look poor. While I support your decision to seek Congressional approval, it does not build credibility when you are answering questions about reading emails of leaders of other countries. We have got to get back to better footing permitting surveillance, but respecting the rights of people not under suspicion. We must have better governance over this and our drone program. We are not there and that is disappointing.

With all of that said, Assad is a war criminal equal to that of Saddam Hussein. It is pretty obvious to recognize that Assad gassed his own people. There are many dead on Assad’s hands, but when he gasses innocent kids, he is the worst of the worst. The evidence looks very compelling and shows that Assad is an evil person that needs to be stopped in some manner. If no one stops him, he will accept inaction as free license and will do it again. He has the backing of a Russia, where Putin is a classically trained KGB hood. From this old fart’s chair, it is apparent that Assad and Putin will push as much as they can to see what they can get away with.

No one wants to do what needs to be done. Yet, I think the world is at a point that someone needs to stand up to bullies and say you cannot do this. This is why if we decide to act, we better be darn sure what we intend to do and know how to handle possible reactions. Russia will not support a UN Security Council vote. If Russia and China had stepped and done the honorable thing two years ago, coordinated action could have been taken earlier. Yet, given the WMD error noted above, we better be darn sure we have it right. If we don’t, then the President should be fired. This is too important to screw up. And, I do agree with the President – it is not just his credibility, it is our nation’s as we cannot lie to our allies and the rest of the world. We have to climb out of the WMD and NSA holes.

So, I hope our Congress does its due diligence and asks all the right questions. We deserve an informed choice not a political one. I hope the President speaks to us citizens and our allies more. If we need to act and, we may need to, to stop this war criminal, we need to do so with seriousness of purpose. As an example, getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the easiest part of Iraq. Making the country governable is the hardest. Let’s remember that lesson. I wish the wisdom of Solomon for all of our legislators and those in other countries.

13 thoughts on “View from the peanut gallery – Syria decision needs due diligence

  1. I like due diligence and views from the peanut gallery. I do disagree with you in part, in that I don’t believe we have any business being in Syria. These people of Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan have been fighting religious and other wars for thousands of years. Who are we to intervene now? And why are we acting alone?

    There is no such thing as a surgical strike. Even some of our generals are against this planned attack, and no matter how much they deny it, Kerry and Obama cannot possibly guarantee “No boots on the ground.” If we’re not going to hit Assad, then what are we planning to hit and how will that change the course of history?

    And the question of innocents, killed? How is that different for Obama from those innocents killed by his drone attacks, the number of which have actually increased in recent months? Is the only difference in the number of those killed?

    As you can tell, I am opposed to this strike for a lot of reasons. I honestly don’t see how this is crucial to American or National interests.

    But your points are very well taken, and well made. And I don’t understand why Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bolton, et al have not yet found a hole deep enough for them to crawl into and permanently go away from our sight.

    Good post, thoughtful as always

    • Thanks Barney. Good points as always. I guess part of me is thinking “if not us whom?” We watched Hitler invade France and Poland and did nothing. If Japan never bombed us, Great Britain may have fallen to the Germans after a longer valiant struggle. They were courageous to fight Hitler for so long by themselves. Assad will gas others and it will extend across the region. I read there are many who want us to do something, but cannot and will not advocate our doing it. With that said, it is a Catch 22. Agreeing with your points, no matter what we do, we need to be better than we have been lately. Thanks for your opinions – they are well thought out as usual.

      • You make excellent points, and I had thought about WW II. My point is that my understanding of history is that the middle east regions have been fighting religious/cleansing wars for thousands of years. WASP’s even got involved, and failed miserably, with the Crusades. Why then, are we suddenly up in arms over current events?

        As to “if not us, who?” there are hundreds of other countries in the world, big and small, and the only ally we can muster in this is France? Putin may be right in this one when he says we are relying on intelligence from Israel, who has an agenda in this fight. Wasn’t it bad intelligence, or even manipulated intelligence, that got us into Iraq in the first place?

        My point is we need to be much more deliberate, much more cautious, this time around. Trust but verify, double and triple check our facts.

        Thanks for the response.

      • Agreed on the triple checking of facts. If we screw up the reconnaissance, then we should not be trusted. On the WMD issue on Bush’s watch, we built our facts around Hussein’s disinformation campaign to make others believe he had more capability than he did.

    • I’m with Barney. I am so tired of the U.S. being the police of everyone. We don’t have the MONEY to do all this policing. We’re on shaky ground financially and the war in Iraq and everywhere else has put us on this shaky ground. well that and the disastrous dubya administration and all his stupid decisions. We should not bomb Syria. Period.

      off my soapbox now 😉 as you were.

  2. and oh yea, one more comment. I wholeheartedly agree with your comments regarding the idiots of the last administration. They should just take their toys, go home and SHUT UP!!! You all made bad, disastrous (that’s my word for tonight, heh) decisions. Now go away and shut up.

  3. I love, love, love your volley at Rumsfeld & Co. And I agree that caution is in order and that reason and logic should govern decisions about how to proceed rather than political he said/she saids.I’m dismayed by how Obama has handled the situation so far, and his speech last night did not make me feel any more confident. The issues are so complex and so many people are using others as shields and as dummies, I just don’t know what to think. Have you read this very interesting assessment?

    • Thanks. I have not read Bill Moyers’ article, but respect his opinion greatly, so will do. The person to worry about is Putin. He is the most skillful politician in the world and he is playing many as his foils. Russia will gain with no military intervention and sees the chemical weapons as a prop to keeping their stooge in power in Syria giving them access to the Mediterranean and influence in the region. I am kicking around a post on this.

      • I read Moyers piece, but not all of its attachments, so will need to go back and do that. There are some interesting contextual points especially the role of Turkey and the drought issues, which I have not seen mentioned anywhere. The refugee issue is huge, as other countries are heavily weighed down, plus the economic traffic from Syrians with shops across the border has gone to nil. So, these unfortunate refugees and the countries trying to give them a safe haven are terribly burdened with little money to spend to help them.

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