Are you following the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees hearings on President Lucifer’s insistence on a war in Syria?
If you did, you’d know that his three henchmen — Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey — had difficulty answering questions about the purpose and objectives of our “humanitarian intervention.”
Below is extracted from Barbara Slavin’s report for Global Security, “US Congress Questions Rationale for Striking Syria ,” Sept. 5, 2013. I am not reproducing verbatim her article because I do not approve of the way she pigeonholes opponents to Obama’s war against Syria as “isolationist Tea Party Republicans and anti-war Democrats,” versus the pro-war faction as “neoconservatives and humanitarian interventionists.”
To those labels, I say “Horse Manure.”
Is Slavin psychic? Her labels presume she knows what’s in the hearts and minds of anti- and pro-war Americans, which of course she doesn’t. The labels “isolationist Tea Party Republicans” and “anti-war Democrats” are offensive because they imply that both groups are reflexively (knee-jerk) against any and all wars. Excuse me, Slavin. I am against Obama’s war against Syria, not because I’m a knee-jerk “isolationist,” but because I have rational thought-out objections that I laid out in my post of Aug. 29, “Another Obama War: All signs point to Syria chemical attack being a false flag,” Aug. 29, 2013.
In other words, by slapping on those labels, Slavin is slanting her “reporting” toward those pushing for war, whom I choose to call WARMONGERS*.
*The dictionary defines warmonger as “One who advocates or attempts to stir up war.”
Slavin, you are not an objective journalist. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Now that that’s clarified, here’s information of value in her report:
[…] the congressional hearings this week have been extraordinary for their introspection and bipartisan nature.
Strange bedfellows have come together in both agreement and disagreement about the wisdom of hitting Syria in the aftermath of the alleged killing of hundreds of civilians in a Damascus suburb Aug. 21 with the nerve agent, sarin. A trio of U.S. war veterans –Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey – have struggled to convince members of Congress that “limited” strikes on Syria will deter Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from using chemical weapons again.
The three also wanted to convince Congress that such strikes would not embroil the U.S. in a wider war, and show other U.S. adversaries such as Iran that Washington is serious about upholding red lines against the development, proliferation or use of weapons of mass destruction.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 on Wednesday in favor of giving the administration up to 90 days to conduct the strikes. But at a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee that took place while the Senate panel voted,
isolationist Tea Party Republicans and anti-war Democrats[the war skeptics] appeared to outnumber neoconservatives and humanitarian interventionists[the warmongers].
Several House members asked questions and raised points, for which they did not receive satisfactory answers.
1. Who are the good guys in Syria?
One of the toughest exchanges in the House Foreign Relations Committee hearing took place between Defense Secretary Hagel and Representative Tom Marino (R-Pennsylvania). Marino said he feared that U.S. hitting the Assad regime would benefit the Syrian opposition, which includes Islamic extremists who hate the United States. “Who are the good guys over there in Syria?” Marino asked. “Do you trust these people?”
Hagel, who had voted for the Iraq war but quickly came to regret that, conceded that there are “various groups that are part of the opposition.” Then Hagel tried to change the subject by saying that “the focus is not on good guys or bad guys, but on a narrow authorization” for the use of force to degrade Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons again.
2. There are no good guys
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said something eminently sensible: “We shouldn’t be dragged into someone else’s civil war where there are no good guys.”
Instead of actually responding to Duncan by identifying who the “good guys” are in Syria whose interests America presumably is defending by going to war, Kerry, Hagel and Dempsey instead tried to change the subject by warning there would be serious consequences if the U.S. doesn’t respond to Assad’s apparently massive use of chemical arms. Blah, blah, blah. The three WARMONGERS said a failure to act would lead to more innocent civilians being gassed, chemical weapons potentially proliferating and threatening U.S. military forces abroad and even the U.S. homeland!
3. Warmongers’ linking of Iran and Syria
Another justification provided by the WARMONGERS Kerry and Hagel is that Iran would be emboldened to continue a nuclear program that could give it the capability to make bombs.
But Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, questions the Obama administration’s linking of Iran and Syria. Riedel said that while “the Israelis want us to bomb Syria because they desperately fear Obama will back down on Iran, the two cases are very different. Syria is using WMD against its own people; Iran is developing a capability which it wants for deterrence.” Riedel then warns that “military action against either Syria or Iran will have unintended consequences probably unforeseen. Limited strikes can grow into open-ended campaigns that become increasingly costly.”
4. “Limited strikes” mean war!
Kerry also tried to emphasize the narrow nature of the strikes the administration contemplates, insisting that, “I don’t believe we’re going to war.”
However, Martin Dempsey admitted that attacking Syria would be “an act of war” and that the United States should be prepared for a variety of responses, including terrorism and cyber attacks.
Army General Dempsey should know. He is the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
5. No clear goals for war
Now that it’s settled that a U.S. “humanitarian intervention” in Syria is “an act of war,” what then are our goals?
Alas, as Barbara Slavin reports, “The Obama administration is also having trouble defending its goals for the Syria mission – a kind of “Goldilocks,” not-too-hot, not-too-cold series of actions meant to deter Assad from using chemical weapons again and uphold U.S. credibility without giving too much advantage to rebels who have also committed serious human rights abuses.
Under questioning, Kerry conceded that the administration had more work to do to persuade Americans that U.S. military strikes on Syria are worth the risks. Kerry also promised that Obama would address the American people from the Oval Office to lay out the case for intervention in another Middle Eastern conflict.”
6. The financial costs of war
Many in Congress cited the likely financial costs of another American intervention as a reason for caution when the U.S. is short of funds to deal with urgent domestic needs.
On Wednesday, Hagel admitted the price tag for even limited strikes would likely be in the “tens of millions” of U.S. dollars. Kerry said unspecified Arab countries had offered “quite significant financial support” and that “some of them have said they will carry the whole cost” of U.S. strikes. Butwhen pressed to name the countries that were offering to take part in the actual mission, Kerry listed only Turkey and France.
Was I asleep when France became an “Arab” country?
Overall, the Senate and House hearings underlined what public opinion polls have shown – that most Americans do not support direct U.S. military intervention in yet another Middle Eastern country. (See Trail Dust’s post, “Not in our names, Mr. Antichrist… ahem, Mr. President“.)
After a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan – with no dramatic improvement in either society despite the outlay of trillions of U.S. dollars and the loss of thousands of American lives — the American people are just plain weary and adamantly against being dragged, against our will, into yet another war.
Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.