Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Should The Legacy of 9/11 Be More War?

Today is another remembrance of 9/11/01.  On this day we remember that 2,000-plus people lost their lives to 19 idiots seeking glory in death, ordered by another group of idiots who hid in a cave and didn't have the balls to do the deed themselves.

Today we remember that we as a nation launched a war on Afghanistan where those idiots were hiding, protected by a fundamentalist Taliban regime.  Today we have to remember that we're still in Afghanistan fighting those Taliban forces who will most likely re-seize power the second we leave, which is pretty much what the cave idiots want out of us: perpetual war.

Today we remember that we as a nation got lied to by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney regarding Iraq: that Saddam was tied in with those cave idiots (that was a lie), that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (that was a lie), that Saddam was a threat to Middle East security (the 1991 Persian Gulf war neutered his forces), that felling Saddam would bring peace and democracy to the Middle East (Cheney and Co. wanted to put Chalabi on the throne and leave a puppet regime in place).

This last remembrance is key, because it's a very good reason why a vast majority of Americans do not want our nation under Obama to go starting another military action in the Middle East.  On this day, we're thinking about Syria as much as we're thinking about the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Flight 93.

The Syrian civil war is one of the messiest results of the Arab Spring of two years prior (the collapses of Egypt and Libya over this summer are starting to get as bad).  We've got 2 million refugees across the borders and 4 million more displaced within Syria: a massive humanitarian disaster in the making.  Adding to the problem is that the current Assad regime isn't a friendly or humane government... and that a growing number of Syrian rebel forces are tied into the Al Qaeda cave idiot extremists, meaning the U.S. really doesn't have an honest side to back.

The biggest headache is how Assad's government does have WMDs in the form of chemical weapons.  While warfare is a bloody mess regardless what weapons are used, chemical warfare is a Big No-No: the risk to civilian exposure is the biggest worry, especially since there's little warning when the attacks come and there's not a lot of people going around with gas masks.  When the fighting got worse, but the U.S. had no reason or allied support to go in, Obama issued a stern warning (the "red line") that chemical weapon usage would cause reprisals.

Chemical weapons got used.

Forced to uphold the "red line", Obama did what every other President seeking military action would do: call on allies to back him up.  This time, however, our allies refused.  In a public display of rejection, the British Parliament voted against the call for support.  Going to the UN for a military airstrike - missile or aerial bombing - was out of the question with Syria's backer Russia nearly certain to veto any action.

This brought him back to the U.S. going to Congress to ask for a resolution (something Presidents are supposed to do, but because of constitutional question marks they avoid this step).  This was originally viewed as the one thing the Republicans would actually back Obama on... except now there's no guarantee as the House GOP obstruction game-plan (destroy Obamacare, destroy Obama, destroy the government, etc) is back in full effect.

The worrying thing is how the knee-jerk reaction comes so easy on this: the urge to use military force as the first step rather than the last.  There is this lingering paranoia among our political leaders that nobody wants to look "weak".  That nobody wants to be accountable when something goes wrong, except for when a military strike could go wrong, in which case the answer would be an escalation in the fighting.

The current situation - the possibility of a diplomatic solution to the chemical weapons, it won't stop the fighting but it will reduce the need for the world power(s) to get further entangled - provides some hope for the present and the future.  If the United States can get Russia to back the effort, if Russia can get Syria to sign onto the chemical warfare treaties limiting their use, if Syria honestly gives up control of those weapons to international (UN) observers...  For the first time in what seems like decades, we would have a diplomatic solution to a problem rather than a military one.

And wouldn't that be a better legacy Post-9/11 than yet another war?

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