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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Frank Bruni, "The Syria Babble We Don’t Need": Don't Ask Madonna?

It's obvious that Frank Bruni never served in the military.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Syria Babble We Don’t Need" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/opinion/sunday/bruni-the-syria-babble-we-dont-need.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0), Bruni observes with regard to a possible American strike against the Assad regime:

"You know whom it’s an even more defining moment for? The Syrians whose country is unraveling beyond all hope; the Israelis, Lebanese and Jordanians next door; the American servicemen and servicewomen whose futures could be forever altered or even snuffed out by the course that the lawmakers and the president chart.

The stakes are huge. Bomb Syria and there’s no telling how many innocent civilians will be killed; if it will be the first chapter in an epic longer and bloodier than we bargained for; what price America will pay, not just on the battlefield but in terms of reprisals elsewhere; and whether we’ll be pouring accelerant on a country and a region already ablaze.

Don’t bomb Syria and there’s no guessing the lesson that the tyrants of the world will glean from our decision not to punish Bashar al-Assad for slaughtering his people on whatever scale he wishes and in whatever manner he sees fit. Will they conclude that a diminished America is retreating from the role it once played? Will they interpret that, dangerously, as a green light? And what will our inaction say about us? About our morality, and about our mettle?"

A couple of quick corrections: No one is even dreaming of American "boots on the ground" in Syria, and any 48-hour attack can be carried out with Cruise missiles fired from a great distance from Syria's borders, thus significantly reducing the likelihood of casualties among US servicemen and servicewomen.

Reprisals? Assad is too focused on survival and will simply attempt to "laugh off" any such "limited" strike. On the other hand, Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiites, under orders from Iran, could seek to harm American commercial interests and diplomatic facilities (see: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57601752/report-iran-message-orders-iraqi-militias-to-retaliate-if-u.s-strikes-syria/). A possible attempt at taking US hostages? Beware!

"No telling how many innocent civilians will be killed"? If American Cruise missiles are only fired at Syrian airbases, civilian casualties can be avoided. However, the Assad regime might well wish to embarrass the United States with civilian casualties and could use civilians as "human shields," as was done in the past by Hamas in Gaza.

The implications for Israel, Lebanon and Jordan (Bruni fails to mention Turkey)? In Lebanon, the Shiites are already at one other's throats. Jordan and Turkey are being overwhelmed with refugees from Syria. Meanwhile, Israel has placed Assad on notice in no uncertain terms that if he fires a single Scud across the border, his army and air force will be instantly annihilated.

Bruni's proceeds to observe how America's media is feasting on the opinions of uninformed celebrities:

"Last week, in many places, I read what Sarah Palin was saying about Syria, because of course her geopolitical chops are so thoroughly established. A few months back, I read about Donald Trump’s thoughts on possible military intervention, because any debate over strategy in the Middle East naturally calls for his counsel.

They’re both irrelevant, but they’re eyeball bait: ready, reliable clicks. I wonder how long I’ll have to wait before a post on some Web site clues me into Beyoncé’s Syria position. Late Friday, Politico informed the world of Madonna’s. (She’s anti-intervention.)"

Madonna, Palin and Trump? What could they possibly know? But then what was Obama thinking - or not thinking - when he issued his impromptu "red line" warning and painted himself into a corner?

Bruni's conclusion regarding the decision being faced by the US Congress:

"And if we want the men and women making it to be guided by principle, not politics, it surely doesn’t help for journalists to lavish attention on electoral calculations and thereby send our own signal: that we don’t expect, and voters shouldn’t count on, anything nobler. On a question of war and peace, we need nobler. We need the highest ground we can find."

"The highest ground we can find"? Nearly 1,500 Syrian civilians, more than 400 of them children, were murdered by the Assad regime on August 21 using sarin gas. This happened because Obama and the rest of the world chose to ignore the prior use of chemical weapons by Assad.

Yes, the US response should be grounded upon ethics, but can ethics be expected from the likes of Obama, Hillary, Kerry and a host of other politicians, both Democrats and Republicans? My bet, Frank, is that Obama will be relieved if Congress votes him down, and he can call off the entire "thing."

Finally, concerning Madonna, she has visited Israel far more often than Obama (Obama only agreed, under pressure, to visit once as president), and although we have different opinions and ways of making those opinions known, she, unlike other artists, has not been afraid to perform in Tel Aviv.

By the way, Frank, when were you last in the Middle East?

2 comments:

  1. Yeah, I need Bruni's babbling about the world to understand the world.
    Bruni's BA is in English literature and he's best known for babbling about sauces.
    Can someone explain to him and his bosses that there is a difference between fiction and reality and between the smell of food and the smell of blood.
    I am angry. A pre-school dropout Scarlett dictates ME how I should vote; restaurant critic orders the world what to do, etc. Is it me or something is not normal?
    Boy, what a confused nation.
    a.

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  2. It sounds like me Mr. Bruni would like the American people to abdicate their responsibility to educate themselves and Syrian civil war is in weign in on how big a priority the arming of Syrian rebels is...

    We all have morals.
    How many innocent babies are aborted each year, here at home. Sickening and preventable.

    Judges, the press, the politicians don't set the country's agenda. Our people do.

    Move over on your special perch frank.

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