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Stay Out of Syria!

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Watching former Vice-President Dick Cheney this morning on the Fox News program with Chris Wallace, and having (unavoidably, sorry to say!) heard Senator John McClain earlier this past week urge stepped up involvement on behalf of the rebels in the Syrian civil war, the reasons why I never cared for these two politicos came rushing back to me. McCain has never seen a war, in just about any corner of the world, he doesn’t like. Cheney, perhaps, is not as bad, but he, too, is an advocate for Americans getting involved in places where we really have no legitimate interest.

President Obama’s decision to provide arms to the Syrian rebels has raised all sorts of questions. Previously, the current scandal-ridden administration has resisted–and I would say somewhat “commendably”–all efforts to involve us in another bottomless pit in the Middle East. You would think that the disastrous results of our involvement in Iraq now being manifested (the country is coming apart at the seams, with fanatical Shia Muslims now in the catbird seat) and in Egypt, where we pulled the rug out from under our friend and ally Mubarak, enabling the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood to come to power–not to mention the disasters we left behind in the Balkans years back–would serve as cautionary tales, warning us that our fuzzy-minded liberal democratic idealism just simply won’t work in large areas of this world.

So, why is Obama joining, more or less, McCain and other zealous “war hawks” in pushing for much deeper American involvement in a vicious and violent conflict that threatens to engulf the Middle East?

Well, does “domestic scandals” ring a bell? How best to distract the chattering political class, especially those high-flying neo-conservatives, from Benghazi, the IRS scandal, the State Department scandals, the NSA scandal, and so on, than to solemnly declare that President Assad has suddenly “crossed a red line” by using chemical weapons on his own people? And, thus, that interventionist herd of neo-con war hawks are already beginning to focus on a new and exciting war, which, if our recent history is any guide, will have deleterious and negative results? Change the focus, change the conversation. You get it?

Let’s examine some items regarding the Syrian conflict:

First, we are not absolutely certain that those “chemical weapons” supposedly used in Syria were used by Assad. After all, he knew all along that using such weapons might involve the US. Why would he do so, when his forces were actually winning the war? What interest would he have? I’ve read several reports that it was some of the rebel groups who actually used chemical weapons, blaming the government. And since we have so few boots on the ground, how can we be certain? Do we simply take the tendentious testimony of the rebel groups?

Second, the Syrian conflict is extremely complex. There are numerous factions, both in the government and among the rebels. President Assad is supported by his own Druze people, as well as very strongly by Syria’s large Christian population. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled the results of American involvement there (and the new control by the Shia Islamists) to Syria because Assad has been very welcoming to Christians. Can you guess what will happen to them if the Islamists take control in Syria?

Among the rebels, even that inanely fanatical John McCain has admitted that the extremist, pro Al-Queida faction of the rebels is by far the larger and more dominant group fighting Assad. So, we are going to help arm the small, so-called “pro-Western” group, and this will make a difference–this will enable that relatively small, unpopular faction to beat the pro-Christian Assad and turn back the Islamic extremists—like what we did in Egypt? Or Iraq?

Third, the basic question remains: why? Why is a civil war in the Middle East that does not threaten us, not even in a tertiary way, our concern? Why must we commit ourselves–again!–to involvement, supplying weapons, maybe even a no-fly zone, and eventual possible shoot-downs of American air craft? That paragon of intellectual pygmytosis, John McCain, says: “Oh, the sky is falling—93,000 people have been killed in Syria! Therefore, the US MUST get involved. And we MUST establish a new ‘model’ liberal democracy there! It is our mission!!!”

Who made us the world’s new god?

For McCain, Lindsey Graham, Dick Cheney, and the neo-conservatives, any place in this world, at any time, where people are not living with all the blessings of a liberal democratic government, where American big business doesn’t have a stranglehold not just on the economy, but also in destroying and remaking the traditional culture–in such a benighted country American arms, air power, and maybe even boots on the ground must be in play.

For traditional conservatives, believers in George Washington’s admonition not to become involved in foreign conflicts that did not concern us–for those concerned about the increasingly powerful and authoritarian managerial security state here in the US—such views should be anathema. But too often, simply because the advocate has an “R” after his name, we go along with the inanity. The result has been the exponential growth of super-state government here in America, and the over-extension of American arms overseas.

Foreign policy analyst Zbigniew Brzezinski, interviewed recently, has warned about our headlong descent into another bottomless conflict where goals remain ill-defined, results not clearly foreseen, and means up for grabs. Too often this has characterized our foreign policy, under both Democrats AND Republicans since the end of the Cold War. It characterizes our present approach to Syria.

Americans, especially committed conservatives, need to stand up and recover their attachment to our basic traditions, and reject the foolish nostrums not just of Obama, but of the war-loving neo-conservatives. We have enough problems HERE in the USA to keep us busy….

**Written by Boyd Cathey, sent originally as a mass email to notable conservatives in Mecklenburg County and across the state.

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