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Friday, August 30, 2013

New York Times Editorial, "Absent on Syria": What's Their Position?

In an editorial entitled "Absent on Syria" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/31/opinion/absent-on-syria.html?_r=0), The New York Times observes that action by the US against Syria will be "without legal justification" and that both Congress and the UN "have abdicated their roles in dealing with this crisis." The editorial further states:

"Mr. Obama’s approach on Syria now seems wholly at odds with the strong position he took in 2007 when, as a candidate for president, he told The Boston Globe: 'The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.'"

Mr. Obama is now contradicting himself? Who would have ever imagined? For the edification of the Times, he also has failed to keep his promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide by the Turks, and has refused to distance himself from the interests of large financial institutions.

The editorial continues:

"The Security Council should have quickly formulated a robust response, including tough sanctions, to the chemical weapons attack, near Damascus on Aug. 21. Instead, Russia and China, which have long protected Mr. Assad, have thwarted any Council action."

Russia and China's unconditional support of Assad has probably only come as a surprise to the members of the editorial board of the Times, who wear their naivete on their sleeves.

The peculiar conclusion of this editorial:

"Mr. Obama’s ability to muster broad backing for immediate action was harmed by the British vote, leaving only France promising cooperation. Even in the best of circumstances, military action could go wrong in so many ways; the lack of strong domestic and international support will make it even more difficult."

So do they support or oppose military action?

In this regard, I would like to highlight the interaction I had yesterday with someone who read yesterday's blog entry "David Brooks, "One Great Big War": Whatcha Talkin Bout, David?" (http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2013/08/david-brooks-one-great-big-war-whatcha.html):

Mary:

Will you send YOUR children on a mission, or your private money to refinance remaking the mid east?

Since it's not vital to us security interests, no need for the taxpayers to continue financing israel's neighborhood.

Let it burn... perhaps israel can be pursuaded to give up some contested land and return to the negotiating table. If not, godspeed to their people and their defensive troops.


Jeffrey:

Mary, thank you for your comment.

Me? I have spent more than 30 years in the regular army and reserves, most of that time in combat units.

Two of my children have also served in combat units. A third is entering the army in March.

"Let it burn," you say. Query: Would you have also opposed any effort to prevent Hitler from exterminating Europe's Jews during World War II? Then, too, there were those who said that war with Hitler was "not vital to US security interests."

Mind you, I am not advocating American "boots on the ground" in Syria. On the other hand, I personally think it is immoral to ignore war crimes, e.g. murdering over a thousand Syrian civilians with sarin gas. Can a no-fly zone be created to protect Syrian civilians? Should Syria's stock of chemical weapons be destroyed at least in part with Cruise missiles without risking American lives? Or would you just "let it burn"?

Israel, by the way, has given up land for peace: Sinai to Egypt. Israel also unilaterally evacuated Gaza, and its southern towns and cities were subsequently hit with thousands of rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In addition, Israeli prime ministers Barak and Olmert offered to return the West Bank to Fatah and, in the instance of Olmert, also share Jerusalem in exchange for peace. Arafat and Abbas refused these offers.

Again, thanks for writing.

Strange though it might be, this is one instance where I agree with President Obama that morality must guide US foreign policy.

I also believe that there should be no US boots on the ground.

But a very limited ("shot across the bow"), "telegraphed" attack, not intended to effect regime change, and only meant to help Obama save face? This is where the president and I go our separate ways.

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