10.4.17

IS IT WORTH IT?

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune poses a number of questions about the utility of military involvement in Syria.  His questions about the toppling of Middle Eastern strongmen and the consequent suffering of Christians are salient during Holy Week, or any other week.

He's also no fan of the Combine.
Obama was indecisive in Illinois and rose to power by risking nothing. He avoided ever challenging the real power of the Chicago Democratic bosses. He learned to sidestep conflict. And he took these lessons with him to Washington. And later Obama drew his famous red line in the sand, threatening Assad over the use of chemical weapons.

And then Obama did nothing.
But Mr Kass is in a better place than M. I. Ahmad for The Progressive.
Thursday’s actions mark a major, and for Syrians a welcome, reversal. Many have suggested cynical motives. But that is a trivial point.

The architect of this policy shift is not Trump but his national security advisor H.R. McMaster. (Before the shift, McMaster also ensured that expulsion of Steve Bannon from the National Security Council principals’ meetings.) And the administration’s motivations are less political or humanitarian than an attempt by McMaster and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to restore deterrence. In this they have succeeded.

The strikes were tactical and punitive, but they have redrawn a line on the use of chemical weapons that Obama had allowed to be breached. The strikes were certainly not humanitarian, since most Syrians are still killed by conventional means. No red-lines have been drawn to prohibit the use of barrel bombs.
But red lines enunciated by Presidents of the United States are gossamer as compared with the red lines enunciated by the intersectional and pacifist left.
Whatever the administration’s motives, it worked for Syrians—at least for now.

How should progressives respond? Many have understandably reacted with revulsion at Assad’s crime, and compassion for the victims. The “anti-imperialist” left, however, remains perplexed. It is “anti war” but not against the war that Assad has been waging on his people since 2011.
I could add, against any war in which Moslems get hurt, but that might be uncharitable.  But Mr Ahmad is the tribune of war today.
For the left to become relevant again, it will need to revive an old principle: “no justice, no peace.” Without accountability for war crimes—rebel or regime—there is no hope of ending the carnage. And without Assad’s removal, half the country will remain displaced. It is time to put civilians, not states, at the center of our concerns.
Town Hall's Kurt Schlichter, who knows something about waging war in Asia Minor, not so much.
No, we cannot get hip-deep in another Middle Eastern quicksand pit. Yes, we can zap the bugs when they get uppity, but no more Trump-voters’ kids from Tennessee are going to get waxed in some endgame-free sand trap while the spawn of the people who sent them there march around protesting pronoun misgendering hate crimes at Rich Kid U.
Put another way, removing the Assad clan from power in Syria is not worth the bones of a single Tennessee Volunteer.

No comments: