As the UK’s parliament, despite the efforts of its PM, has voted against military action in Syria, many have characterized this as the US being alone in planning punitive strikes against the Assad regime in retaliation for using chemical weapons against its civilian population. This is wrong, very, very wrong. As we collectively wait for the other shoe to drop, President Obama has said that although he has the authority, and the justification to start a unilateral attack against the Assad regime, he will seek the approval of Congress before ordering such an operation. Yet the question seems to be not whether the US will wage war against Syria; but when , and who will be its allies. The answers might surprise you.
The US has never been alone in this conflict. Despite the fact that Russia and China, both of which have permanent seats in the UN Security Council ae likely to veto any resolution by that organization, the US has many allies on its side. France, Turkey, and the Arab League have all shown support for intervention in the Syrian Civil War. And they all advocate military action, even if it means bypassing the UN Security Council. Now, an unlikely ally might align with the US for war: Russia.
Yes, Russia has been offered a deal by Saudi Arabia. A deal that one would not normally hear about, a backroom hush-hush deal brokered by Prince Bandar, director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency. A deal about money and oil. A deal that so far Vladimir Putin appears to have refused; but will that continue to be the case if the Saudis sweeten it?
We have been feeling the winds of war blowing our way for over a week now; but something has changed. Most Americans oppose the war in Syria, and that movement is becoming more and more vocal. A vote in Congress for action is not a short-term possibility, as that legislative body is not in session right now, so is Obama going to seek the approval of the leadership only? What shape, and what effect will this military action take, if it happens?
There are more questions that we need to ask ourselves. Is demonstrating American military might a part of the President’s job as Commander-in-Chief? Certainly there are acts of aggression against our nation that call for immediate military action, whether it be for the sake of defense or swift retaliation. This conflict is taking place entirely within foreign soil and involves no US troops, nor citizens. One must acknowledge that the Assad regime has used weapons of mass destruction, specifically nerve gas, against civilians. Does that justify putting our troops in harm’s way? We have six navy ships ready to launch missile strikes against the Assad government, one of them happens to be a landing ship, meant to deploy troops ashore, which President Obama said he would not do, and I would be so shocked and horrified if a politician ever lied to me (I am, of course, being sarcastic); but that ship is now in the eastern Mediterranean Sea with 300 marines aboard it. Between the three ships that are carrying marines, the total comes to 2,200 US infantry troops in the region. Also, would those ships be able to withstand an attack by the Syrian air force?
The fact that Vladimir Putin continues to challenge the claims by the US of chemical weapon use by the Syrian government is not insignificant, either. Russia has just deployed a missile cruiser, and a submarine hunting ship to the Mediterranean Sea. This in addition to 16 other ships they had already sent to the area in June, the largest such deployment to that body of water by that country since the end of the cold war.
Is a limited punitive strike for the chemical attacks even worth the cost of the Tomahawk missiles that would be used for the attack?
Supposedly these wars in the Middle East are in our best interest; but I remember when I first started driving, and gas was under $1 a gallon back then, and no matter how much blood for oil we shed as a nation the prices are not coming down. I do not even drive anymore. I cannot afford it. Where I live there is not a single gas station that will sell you a gallon of gas for under $4. So what will this war attain?
Oh, by the way, a large contingent of the Syrian opposition is affiliated with Al-Qaeda. You know, the guys that killed nearly 3,000 Americans by blowing up the World Trade Center? Those guys. This is such a large problem that the Obama administration, which has been supplying the fragmented group with weapons is considering, as I have reported previously, embedding certain weapons such as surface-to-air missiles, and anti-aircraft guns with MEMS, a kind of nanotechnology that can render those weapons useless against commercial, US, or US ally targets, or within certain geographic zones, and can even be used to cause those weapons to self-destruct if they fall into the wrong hands. This should give us pause in terms of our involvement in this war. Why begin hostile military action against a government if we do not mean to overthrow it, especially if it is opposed by terrorists that are less sympathetic to us than that government?
This reporter has always felt uncomfortable about the fact that we have gone to war so many times since WWII without even an attempt to get a declaration of war. War by executive decision sets a dangerous precedent, in my humble opinion, and yet one that has too long of a history. I hope that President Obama is sincere in his effort to get Congressional approval before commencing military action against Syria. It is too much to wish for; but if I had my druthers, I ‘druther have him get a formal declaration of war from Congress before firing a single shot.
By Milton Ruiz