Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Syria: The Bloodbath is Here

Walter Russell Mead asks a bracing question: Which is Worse? Helping the Syrian Rebels or Doing Nothing?

He starts out by conceding practically everything critics of intervention have been saying, but then he continues…
“However, even if our Syria policy isn't about achieving something good, we should still be thinking about what we can do that reduces the chances of things getting catastrophically worse.”
I have become wary of foreign interventions, but this made me stop and think:
“Aiding the less ugly, less bad guys in the Syrian resistance, and even finding a few actual good guys to support, isn't about installing a pro-American government in post civil war Syria. It’s about minimizing the prospects for a worst-case scenario—by shortening the era of conflict and so, hopefully, reducing the radicalization of the population and limiting the prospects that Syrian society as a whole will descend into all-out chaotic massacres and civil conflict.”
“And it’s about making sure that other people in Syria, unsavory on other grounds as they may be, who don’t like al-Qaeda type groups and don’t want them to establish a permanent presence in the country, have enough guns and ammunition to get their way.”
I don’t know if any of those goals are achievable, but if it screws Iran out of an important ally and cuts them off from the Levant where their Hezbos are stationed, it’s a good thing. I also buy the argument that the longer the conflict drags out, the more radicalized the population becomes, making things unmanageable for perhaps generations.
“This is now all about trying to prevent the worst rather than promoting the best.”
The situation is already out of control. Short of direct intervention, should we try to shape it for the least bad outcome?

Before answering, please read Francois Heisbourg's case for intervention.


FreeThinke said...

Before answering any of that I would first urge everyone to try to answer at least a few of THESE Questions posed yesterday at my blog:

_______________ QUESTIONS _______________

How does it feel to be cut in half
_____ by a sudden burst of machine gun bullets?

What does it feel like at the precise moment
_____ when a bullet enters your eye, and pierces your brain?

Can you imagine having your lower jaw smashed by bullets
_____ and then see its bloody, splintered fragments
__________ drop to the ground ?

What is it like to take a direct hit to the skull?
_____ Would you know that you were dead?

What sensations must a person feel
_____ as his body is being consumed by fire?

What might be the thoughts of someone
_____ just thrown to the ground and kicked,
__________ whose hands have been tied behind his back,
who then gets chained by his heels
_____ to the rear end of a vehicle
__________ about to drag his still-healthy, still-unbroken
_______________ young body over stones, gravel,
____________________ dirt and thorny stubble?

How does it feel to have the flesh ripped off your cheeks?
_____ To have all the flesh on your hands torn off
__________ exposing bones and tendons?

How does it feel to have grit and gravel
_____ embed themselves in your eyes?

How does it feel to be torn
_____ limb from limb by a jeering mob?

Exactly how does it feel to have your head
_____ stomped to jelly by hobnailed boots?
Or your genitalia ripped out by the roots
_____ and stuffed into your screaming mouth?

How does it feel to be smart enough to realize
_____ you are suffering and dying for the sole purpose
__________ of lining the pockets of international bankers, _______________ global industrialists and the suppliers
____________________ of war materiel with gold?

Exactly how would you react to being held down
_____ and having your teeth kicked down your throat,
__________ your eyes gouged out,
_______________ your ears and your nose sliced off,
____________________ or a glass rod inserted in your urethra
_________________________ and then smashed to pulver?

How would you feel when you are forced to eat
_____ ground glass or drink hydrochloric acid?

How would you feel if you were sodomized by barbarians
_____ then buried up to your neck in sand
__________ and systematically stoned and kicked to death?

How does it feel to be held down and deliberately blinded by acid?

How does it feel to be maimed by “Friendly Fire?

How does it feel to be flayed alive
_____ and then slowly cut to ribands?

How? How? How?

But much more important is


__________ WHY?

____________________ WHY?

~ FreeThinke

NOW let's talk about the "wisdom" of pushing any more of OUR young people into the boiling cauldron that is the Middle East to serve the not-so-hidden agenda of a FOREIGN power that has far too much influence on OUR congress for OUR good.

How much longer should we be willing to sacrifice OUR innocent sons and daughters to be used as a CAT'S PAW to do someone ELSE'S dirty work?

~ FT

Silverfiddle said...

FT: I said "Short of direct intervention"

In no way am I even suggesting we put US troops in there.

FreeThinke said...

Not attacking you at all, SilverFiddle.

These issues must be addressed, I'd never deny that. The question is HOW?

I did read Heisbourg's article in the Washington Post, as you asked, perhaps not carefully enough, but the very word "intervention" raises hackles on me. Usually, sooner or later, it leads to "boots on the ground" and the kinds of dreadful scenarios I graphically depict in my pointedly unpleasant poem.

We must face facts. We are BROKE. We cannot AFFORD to continue our largely self-appointed role as The World's Police Force, Protector and Defender of Victims of famine, Sword, Pestilence and Fire in every corner of the globe.

We should never have taken that on in the first place.

And look at the thanks we get!

How could we possibly intervene on behalf of backward, violent nations when we cannot even BEGN to deal intelligently with our OWN domestic affairs?

What we should do is build up strength at home. become sanguine, robust, productive one again through the adoption of voluntary austerity measures until we can get on our feet once again.

The American citizenry should rise up against the Regimetha continues to exploit them for purposes not helpful in any way to the best interests of The United states of America.

We have hollowed ourselves out from within, weakened ourselves, lost the moral high ground, destroyed our hegemony, all-but destroyed our economic security, sacrificed trillions of dollars in treasure and hundreds of thousands -- perhaps millions -- of innocent lives in blood -- and for WHAT?

To protect ISRAEL?

It certainly hasn't been to secure access to the supply of Middle Eastern Oil.

I hate to state the cliché yet again, but the classic definition of INSANITY is to keep doing the same thing over and over again in the hope of getting a different result.

We need to STOP the MADNESS.

Let us get FOREIGN LOBBYISTS out of Washington. Stop succumbing to the blandishments of selfish, domineering, manipulative fiends who do not have OUR best interests at heart, and tend to our OWN knitting.

No one will come to OUR aid when we are down in the dirt and dying for lack of the resources we have SQUANDERED on "foreign entanglements." Instead they will gleefully stomp on our dying bodies and piss all over our dead remains.

From where did this urge to commit SUICIDE originate? How did it get such a firm hold on our so-called leaders?

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Syria is doomed. Their future lays between very, very bad and worse. The United States foreigh=n policy is reesponsible. Our State Departmented fomrnted this Arab Spring.

There is nothing the US can do now that will change the future of Syria. Intervention? How many years did we spend i Iraq and Afghanistan? What did we accomplish? The same would be true of Syria. Oh, and would Russia and China really sit on the sidelines?

Les Carpenter said...

What FT said...

Jersey McJones said...

Why do we always forget the most powerful tool in our box - our money?

We should be talking about how we could do business with them in the future if they contain the radicals, leave the Alawites alone after the civil war is over, and break with Iran.


Always On Watch said...

I think that a lot of Americans now favor not intervening in regional conflicts in the Middle East. I admit that I'm one of those Americans. Frankly, I think that via intervention we may get something worse than Assad.

Just my two cents.

FreeThinke said...

The best way to minimize the effects of a bloodbath would be NOT to participate in it in ANY way.

Just tell 'em: You want to bathe in blood? Fine, but just be sure it's your OWN, 'cause you ain't gonna get a DROP of MINE, hear?

Supplying one side or the other with weapons just adds more blood to the pot.

Stay OUT of it.

Z said...

Jersey, don't look now, but we're out of money. I read your reprinted post, I couldn't help but think that Syrians, too, don't deserve to suffer any of that agony. I'm glad we can't reprint images from our posts, by the way!
Still, there is NO WAY I'd want our kids on the ground there. They never appreciate it...ever. not for long, anyway.

SF...I don't know what to do, but 'nothing' is not the answer...not from America.

Jersey McJones said...

I didn't mean 'give them money,' Z. I meant offer to do business with them, something we do little of today, which is why they rely on Russia and Iran.


MathewK said...

Don't bother, you have no money to finance any intervention of any sort. Leave them to kill each other as they always have.

Jersey McJones said...

Yeah, you say that now, until Israel has something to say about it...


Finntann said...

@Why do we always forget the most powerful tool in our box - our money?

Yeah, maybe we could borrow from them too!

Jersey McJones said...

I wish conservatives, just once in a while, could resist the urge to misrepresent people who argue with them.

Show a little class, for Christ's sake.


Les Carpenter said...

And I jmj wish the progressives would do the same. Not refering to you jmj, speakimg in general terms.

Z said...

Jersey McJones said...

I wish conservatives, just once in a while, could resist the urge to misrepresent people who argue with them."

I'm sorry, Jersey, you seem like a good guy, but this is hilarious. Have you EVER watched MSNBC of CNN or listened to Colmes or Beckel, Carville..Obama, for that matter!? We misrepresent people who argue/disagree with us? And leftwingers don't?!

Come on, a realist!

Teresa said...

It seems like there are not any good options. Should the U.S. help Syria with the least bad option? Maybe we should intervene if that may lessen the probability of these rebels becoming radicalized. There is no easy answer to this. Somehow I doubt that among the Syrian rebels there is someone worse than Assad. But with saying that anythings possible.