Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stay Out of Syria

Stay Out of Syria
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 10, 2013

For more than two years the Obama administration seemed content to take a laissez-faire stance on Syria while its president, Bashar al-Assad has slaughtered more than 100,000 of his own people using conventional weapons. Now, because Assad has upped the ante to dispatching chemical weapons against his people, killing 1,429, of which 426 were children, Obama feels the need to express outrage threatening to attack Syria – even unilaterally.

The political hacks on the left, like Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, as well as a few misguided RINOs, such as senators Lindsay Graham (SC) and John McCain (AZ), support military involvement in Syria.

Military experts, such as Col. David Hunt, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, and Navy Capt. Chuck Nash, and others with years of experience in the field, oppose involvement in Syria. No good comes of it for the United States. Obama seems to want to support our enemies and terror groups because of some misguided sense of no one knows what. The internal strife in Syria will either keep Assad in power or turn power over to al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, or other terror organizations.

Many see this potential attack as a purely political move, which is poor reason to engage in a military conflict. The question must be asked, how does the situation in Syria, however horrible, and it is, for the Syrian people, adversely affect the United States and its own national security?

And, unless the national security of the United States is at risk, any attack without Congressional approval violates the Constitution. This is something that Obama knows all too well.

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an attack or imminent threat to the nation,” said then Senator Obama on December 20, 2007.
Additionally, Biden, while also in the Senate, called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush for the same thing. Now, it seems perfectly OK for this administration to act unilaterally.
Ironically, while Obama sat wringing his hands not calling Congress back to Washington during one of their numerous vacation periods, Great Britain, where America’s political and linguistic roots are, under Prime Minister David Cameron, called for Parliament to return to work and make this decision legally. Cameron respects the will of the people – even when dissatisfied. Supporting Obama and an attack on Syria, Cameron expressed disappointment when the House of Commons voted 285-272 against such an attack.

Germany said no, as did Canada, and France, initially on board, seems to be begging off. And yet, even with the embarrassment of the UK rebuke, Obama is willing to fly solo. Obama clearly is not a man of his word. “American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone,” said Obama on March 28, 2011 regarding Libya.

Kerry wasn’t even concerned about Congressional approval, but instead that of the United Nations. And while he made an impassioned, emotional speech on Friday, August 30 decrying the urgency of attacking Syria, Kerry lacked the Constitutional imperative necessary to strike a foreign nation without compelling evidence of eminent danger to the United States.

On the other hand, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) could also have called his legislative body back to work and vote to shut Obama down. As late as Saturday, August 31, Obama seems to have resigned himself to await a Congressional vote on September 9, when hopefully the balance of power as provided by the Founding Fathers, will reemerge and put an end to a situation that, on the surface, lacks strategy. Plus this would give Obama a somewhat graceful exit from an unconstitutional quest and he could then blame the GOP, currently holding a majority in Congress.

What is the end goal and desired outcome? Punishing a foreign leader is not a reason to attack a nation. Terms such as “limited strike” (John Kerry) and dropping a few missiles are neither encouraging nor decisive. Obama actually said the US should “fire a shot across the bow.” Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, who opposes force against Syria, explained that “a shot across the bow by definition, doesn’t hit anything,” and does not serve as a deterrent against people who only understand genuine force.

“He [Obama] will attack ineffectually and he will fail,” said Col. Peters, adding that “we cannot do everything. I feel for these people,” he said referring to the plight of the innocent Syrian civilians, but standing firm against American involvement.

The schizophrenia of Obama’s turn on a dime, let’s go in today unilaterally, to let’s wait for Congressional approval demonstrates there is no plan. Of course if there is one, we the people do not need to know until after the fact because to announce any military plans is akin to telegraphing them to the enemies of the United States, which in a sense is what Obama did by announcing his willingness to await Congress’ return to work on September 9. Now Assad has another week to hide munitions, kill more of his people, and prepare to defend against the United States, should there something against which to defend.

Former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman, reminded viewers on Fox News of former President Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Gillerman said “We’re not seeing the big stick,” which he defined as a sign of weakness and that the US has been lenient regarding the massacres in Syria.

Yet, we return full circle to the beginning and the nature of the urgency expressed initially by the Obama administration – very little, and the hypocrisy of cherry-picking why to pick a battle.

I prefer to return to Col. Peters comment, “We cannot do everything.” There lacks a compelling Constitutional reason pertaining to the national security of the United States. This is a civil war, not unlike that of Spain in the 1930s, where the United States also did not risk its American military treasure.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) had the unmitigated gall to compare the current situation in Syria with the Holocaust. See the above comment about the Spanish Civil War. Also, Germany was not engaged in a civil war, starting with the annexation of the Sudetenland, Hitler steamrolled through Europe with tepid opposition at best. Even then the United States remained on the sidelines until attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. At that point, the United States officially entered World War II.

Kerry also said there would not be American boots on the ground in Syria. I seem to recall a time when all the United States had in Vietnam were “advisors,” but then Kerry himself could testify to the alternative.

Like Kerry, Obama, on September 10 painted an emotional picture that tugs at our heartstrings as he described the August 21 gassing to death of nearly 1,500 Syrians, the “images are sickening.” Obama, like Reid, incorrectly likened Syria to the Holocaust simply due to the use of gas. This is not the Holocaust – and thank G-d.

When 100,000-plus had been murdered by bullets, where was the moral outrage? Why is the US left to fight this battle alone? Even after the “sense of common humanity [was] violated,” as said Obama, with the execution of Sarin gas against nearly 1,500 Syrians, there still lacks a Constitutional imperative according to Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News.

The question still remains, why now? How does the United States stand to benefit by merely sending al-Assad a message? If he is deposed and replaced, by whom will he be supplanted? The rebels have behaved in some of the most deviant, unconscionable manners. There is a video of a rebel killing a Syrian soldier, cutting out that soldier’s liver and heart, then taking a bite out of the heart.

Obama has been far too indecisive and has also telegraphed his plans which simply put any US military personnel at greater risk than should be allowed. Obama himself said that the United States is not the policeman to the world. If one set of horrific Syrians want to keep killing another set of horrific Syrians, so be it. Yes, the loss of innocent civilians is always unfortunate, but there are no guarantees that will end should the United States gets involved. Syria must take care of Syria. Should other nations wish to pony up manpower and materials they are free to do so.

Pray for peace. Not just in Syria, but worldwide. But always remember Ronald Reagan’s mantra of “peace through strength.”

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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