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Thread: Syria - should anyone interfere?

  1. #1

    Syria - should anyone interfere?

    The middle east in general is a hotbed of ethnic and racial hatred. Some areas have found a peaceful balance, but even in those 'safe' areas a lot of events unfold that would be unacceptable anywhere else in the world. Syria is no different, though it is still under the control of what is essentially a dictator. Dictators, in the new information age, are a dying breed. In some regions dictators remain in power while allowing the illusion of a democratic government. But in time even those fossils will leave power.

    There are a few choices with Syria.

    1) We can respect its right to run itself and its people into the ground, watching from the sidelines (See north korea)
    2) We can invade, put a stop to all sides of the conflict, and attempt to prop up a government that will do things better (see Iraq for reference)
    3) We can assassinate the key leaders who would continue the status quo (long list of references, including cuba)
    4) We can side with either the rebels or the government, neither of which is high on the list of humanitarian respect, both of which should be denied access to any power after the end of hostilities (see Libya for how that worked out)
    5) We can simply boycott Syria, denying them trade, technology, tourism and so on. (See Cuba for that success story)

    In the end its a political ploy. Does Obama use this to somehow distract us from the NSA probes, banking bailouts, his healthcare plans, and other political debacles, or does he sincerely want to see peace in the region.

    The first thing you need to understand about the US military is its function. There are three purposes to our military and it's scale.
    1) National Security. We have a military to keep our stuff safe.
    2) Economic stability for the US. We secure our trade routes and the ability of our trade partners to deliver and receive goods, much like the royal navy in the days of tall ships and pirates.
    3) Planet wide humanitarian missions. This would include water, food, rescue, and medical aid to the far corners of the world. Because we have such a vast airlift capacity and navy we are uniquely suited to provide these services. We can have a 21st century hospital in view of any ocean front beach in just a very few days, with sufficient capacity to handle thousands of wounded. We can have a fresh water supply on the ground within 24 hours of any natural disaster as well, and implement a temporary police force to prevent looting and crime from setting in until local authorities can take over.

    So, back to Syria... What are the options, really.

    Attack or Don't attack.

    The question is not whether we could, and whether we would be able to handle it, we could. We could wipe out all traces of their standing military within a could of days. but to what end. Would this improve the region, or help the civilians? Not really. and what about the 1,000 tons of chemical agent they have, what happens when that gets blasted by a bomb? Easy, it gets dispersed into the atmosphere and ground water, which means everyone downwind or using that water supply dies. This stuff isn't the kind of thing a simple gas mask will save you from, that just lets you suffer longer, no, this stuff makes the goriest zombie movie look like a family picnic. These agents need to be secured and safely incinerated. They cannot be blown up. Even a nuke would fail to incinerate all the agent, some would still spread. And nukes bring their own problems.

    My position, as much as I enjoy a good war, is not to invade. The end game has too many negatives and there are no positives to be had.

    If we were to do anything I would want to provide a shelter for those who wish to leave the area. The problem then becomes 1) feeding the million+ refugees, 2) how to prevent a suicide bomber or other problem element into the camp 3) how to keep them safe without making them feel like prisoners, 4) how long will it go on 5) how to reintegrate them into their proper homes ... and so on. Again, that region is not one that follows the rule of 'forgive and forget'. It is still very much an eye for an eye, and live / die by the sword. I would love the notion of being able to present them with a plan of peace, but until they figure it out for themselves the fighting will continue.

    So, my vote, if I had a vote, would be to not invade. If the US military does anything at all it should be to prevent any third party material, whether it is medical aid, food, water, guns, ammo, or other munitions, from entering the war zone. The goal being to get the battles to burn out quickly. As they run dry on fuel, run low on bullets, and corpses line the streets, the fighting will stop and the healing begin. Its a fire, and fires, large fires, are best left to burn themselves out. its nature, in all its cruel elegance.

  2. #2
    Looks like we might be avoiding this one thankfully. Russia appears to be talking to them and getting their cooperation which should save a lot of lives, not just in Syria but surrounding regions. If the US went in the body count would be high and much of it would not be the so called 'bad guys' unfortunately. And if just one bomb hit a large cache of the nerve gas the fallout would potentially be catastrophic. That stuff is scary. In my days in the army, I drove a tank. The thought of artillery, anti tank aircraft, other tanks, and anti tank squads did not bother me. It was the chemical and biological agents that scared me. That stuff is horrible, if it just killed you that would be less scary, but you die slowly, painfully. It might take minutes, or days, but once exposed the odds of survival is low when actively engaged in combat.

    Anyway, with luck the world will stay out of the fight and we can get the various parties to a negotiation table eventually.

  3. #3
    A rethink on this... since Im talking to myself here

    The US is a member of the UN. A founding and primary member, but still just a member of the UN. In events and situations where the US or its allies are under attack or under threat of attack, we have the same rights as any country to defend itself, which includes pre-emptive hits. Not talking nukes or WMD, but specific strikes against clear and present threats to reduce overall casualties on both sides hopefully.

    However, in Syria, this is not the situation. Its a civil war. Our responsibility here, as a member of the UN, is to present the evidence to the UN council and let their process take over. If they decide action is needed by all means we can assist. But we cannot become vigilantes in something that is not a direct threat against our own nation or interests. This is the excuse used in other atrocity riddled areas such as much of Africa where rape armies patrol the land and pillage what they like. Or in Yemen when an 8 year old girl is essential sold into marriage with a 40 yr old man, who takes her virginity on their wedding night, winding up killing her from the damage he does. Or North Korea, well that one is special, they have a 40 ton gorilla protecting them. But still, our solution to north korea would seem to be to sever ties to china. Cease all manufacturing relations, cut all debt ties. Just cut off china entirely until such time as they get North Korea under control and its leadership replaced. China or that matter is also a civil rights and moral problem, a country where, due to admittedly practical reasons of habitation limits and food supply, they only authorize 1 child per family, and if that child is anything other than a boy it is sometimes killed or sold into the black market slave trade to hide the birth. Cultures where the life of a female is valued below that of a male, Im not talking about pay scales here, I am talking about the females being expendable to the point where killing them just for being female is forgivable, those kinds of cultures do not belong in this era. Those cultures need to adjust and give up some of their views where such matters at involved.

    Anyway, Syria is a Civil War. We can provide defense for our allies borders to help prevent spillover fighting into their lands, but what happens within Syria is not for us to dictate. For that matter, whether Iran gets nukes is also not for the US alone to determine. If they launch one against Israel, thats another matter, we come to their defense as an ally. But for the US to establish and enforce such a policy is improper. This is for the UN to do and for the UN to trigger any military action. We should not be so eager to jump into these fights. We are players on a world stage, and we need to remember we are not in charge, no more than Russia, the UK, France, Germany, or China is in charge. Its a community, and as such, we either agree on action and take it, or we disagree and we let it play out until common ground is found.

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