We Must Act in Syria Just Like Always

Syrian FighterSo John Kerry wants to get medieval on Syria’s ass. Isn’t this the guy who was so prominent in Vietnam Veterans Against the War after he came home from Vietnam? Look: I’m not accusing him of hypocrisy. No. I’m accusing him of being a human. And an American human at that.

According to the Washington Post, “Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Monday that Syria’s use of chemical weapons is ‘undeniable,’ and that ‘this international norm cannot be violated without consequences.'”

Where have I heard this kind of thing before? Oh, I know: during the lead up to the Iraq War! Remember when Colin Power told the United Nations, “We know that Saddam’s son, Qusay, ordered the removal of all prohibited weapons from Saddam’s numerous palace complexes”? You see: we knew that Saddam had WMD! Because we always know whatever is convenient to justify doing what we want to do.

But here’s the thing about Kerry: I’m sure he believes what he’s saying just like he believed that Vietnam was a bad idea 43 years ago. Because wars always sound like a great idea going in. And they always ends as at best a mixed blessing. Mostly, people look back on wars and wonder why we got into them in the first place.

None of this is to take away from the human tragedy that is going on in Syria. But my problem is we don’t act with any idea of improving the situation. What it seems like to me is that there are certain powerful people in the government who really want to go to war in Syria. They’ve been pushing a long time. And now that there is some indication that Syria has used chemical weapons, the rush is on.

The problem, of course, is what Digby just published, The Crying Wolf Syndrome. We are not so good at making decisions during stressful times like this. So the facts don’t matter. We follow the path that is being pushed hardest. And those who are pushing the hardest are those who want to go to war.

It may turn out that Syria is using chemical weapons against its people. It may turn out that they aren’t. But I feel we will almost certainly decide before we know. And then we will be attacking to be attacking—with little thought to what the final resolution will be. Except, of course, for everyone saying, “Why did we even go to war there?”

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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