Wednesday, August 28, 2013


So, Syria has been embroiled in a civil war for a couple years.  On one side is Assad, who by many measurements is a tyrant.  He doesn't respect life, has been known to kill his people and in general is bad for civil rights.  On the bright side, the current government is secular.  They are not a theocracy or rule by religious law, unlike many countries in that region.  It's a place where people who aren't Muslim are not singled out and held to rather draconian Sharia law.

On the other side we have the rebellion.  They want a better life for the people of the country.  They also are primarily Muslim, many rather devout in their views, and have the support of some unsavory organizations, like Al Qaeda.  If they win they will likely impose Sharia law, and have a better humanitarian record than Assad.  Well, if you're their brand of Muslim anyway.  If you're Christian you may be subject to persecution.

It's a mess.

Last year there was some evidence of the rebels using chemical weapons and blowing up a mosque, then blaming the government forces.  Who really knows how things went down there, war zones are a mess of information and misinformation.  But recently we saw evidence of a chemical weapon attack again.  It's rumored to have been carried out by government forces.

Our presidents response is that a "red line" was crossed (which apparently wasn't crossed last time there was a chemical attack) and that the government of Syria needs to be punished.  I've got a problem with that.

By their own admission, people in the administration and congress don't want to pick sides in the Syrian civil war, although there has been much talk about arming the rebels in the past.  The rebels seem to be slowly losing, so arming them without extra support will likely just make their eventual defeat take longer.  Arming them will extend the human suffering and death of the civil war while not changing the outcome.  Unless we back them and overthrow the Syrian government.

Instead, the talk this week is the president wants to launch missiles at Syria to punish them.  Punish who exactly?  The person who made the call to use chemical weapons?  The labs that made them?  The soldiers who are fighting?  Assad?  His family?  What's likely to happen is missiles will hit "strategic" sites resulting in casualties of soldiers, government bureaucrats and civilians.

How will that help?

How will killing people in a country we aren't at war with help anything?
What agenda will it advance?
How have we arrived at a point in history where the president regularly sends troops, weapons, drops bombs or launches missiles at countries when we aren't at war with them?
What is the end goal of killing people with missiles?  Is it worthy enough to offset the loss of life, destruction of property and massive pollution of the air, the ground and the water of Syria?

We have crossed a line.  We aren't Syria's father, it's not our job to discipline anyone.  We aren't Syria's government, we don't have the right to kill it's citizens without a declaration of war.  We don't have support from the UN.  We look like bloodthirsty murderers who want to show how mighty we are.  That's shameful and the very definition of evil.

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