So, here’s how it is.
1) There is still no evidence – that has been presented to the public – that Assad ordered a chemical weapons (CW) attack.
2) Yes, that evidence should be made public, discussed and debated by Congress, and a vote taken before we use force. I acknowledge that the War Powers Resolution gives the President the authority to use force for 60 days – but the interests of peace and stability are better served through a debate and a democratic process as opposed to a unilateral decision made in secret, especially when the military action is punitive and not in our immediate national defense interests.
3) Even if Assad ordered the attack and is responsible, the above still applies – that is, if “America First” actually means “America First”, though it is becoming rapidly clear that it means nothing at all from Trump’s mouth.
4) Our government has lied us into wars in the past and may be doing so again.
5) We are relying on “intelligence” from countries and organizations with vested personal interests in seeing Assad removed from power – just as we did with the Iraq and Libya fiascoes. History is repeating itself beat for beat here.
6) The Syrian government’s account of things makes sense to me, though I will listen to anyone who wants to point out holes in the logic – yes, Syrian warplanes did fly over that town, and yes, they did drop something from their planes. They were conventional bombs that took out a depot housing chemical weapons owned and controlled by one of the rebel groups (probably not ISIS). This accounts for the low number of casualties and the fact that aid workers in the pictures are not in full protective gear. It was the amount of sarin that might be released from the bombs being destroyed as opposed to detonated. Am I wrong? I admit I am certainly no expert and I will gladly accept correction here.
7) No foreign policy decision has ever been based upon “protecting innocent lives.” I’m sorry, but that isn’t the way the world works. This is about escalating conflict with Russia, as part of a long-term, ongoing geopolitical strategy to prevent the rise of superpowers that can challenge the United States. The speed and hysterical pitch of Nikki Haley’s denunciations of Russia at the UN today are proof enough of this.
8) Assad really had no reason to do this – to risk the wrath of the international community and Western military intervention – to kill fewer than 100 people and obtain no strategic advantage. You have to have a Saturday-morning cartoon supervillianish view of the man to believe this. It is not an adult, rational analysis or perception of reality.
9) ISIS and other jihadist fanatics have been emboldened by these strikes and are attacking targets once under the protection of the airfield that was hit – proving once again that you cannot simultaneously fight ISIS and the enemies of ISIS.
10) It is not in our interest to escalate tensions with Russia. It is not in our interest to avenge the deaths of people who may have been killed by Assad. In fact, it is the height of hypocrisy. How many children did we kill in Mosul just recently? How many children were blown to bits in Yemen by weapons we provided to Saudi Arabia? How many dead in Libya? How many in Iraq? The United States has the blood of hundreds of thousands of children on its hands. It has no moral high ground. NO COUNTRY DOES in this regard. So if you allow yourself to be moved by such arguments, you are a dupe, a sucker and a fool. It is a non-issue, because we are all guilty.
If you blindly cheer a course of action that can lead to a third World War, on a planet full of nuclear weapons, you’re not only a fool – but all of your moral posturing is in vain, because “your team” has murdered far more people, including children, than “their team.” So even your own sense of self-righteousness, no matter how hotly it burns within you, is in objective reality a total delusion.
Joe Hargrave is a political commentator and lecturer based in Southern California