Saturday, August 31, 2013

To Syria or Not

James Fallows in The Atlantic provides some needed perspective as we ponder yet another military adventure in the Middle East.
The perspective is not so much his as that of exhausted members of the US Military who are not at all enthusiastic about a strike on Syria.  We hear from one military wife in particular who seems to speak for many.
As an actively serving officer’s wife, I would like to offer a short explanation/response/defense for the frustrated officer (presumably NOT my husband!)[JF note: correct, NOT]  that Mr. Russo responded to.I think that the frustration the officer expressed about the clueless “We don’t know war” stems from a general “last straw” feeling in the military community.  Undeniably, any sort of military option in Syria exponentionally increases the risk that we are going to have  a prolonged or extended military action/presence there. The current administration (and Congress, to fairly share the blame) treats service members like disposable minions.

We are all disposable minions these days, which probably explains the powerlessness people feel as officialdom once again gives us the August 1914 excuse:  "It's gonna happen because it's gonna happen."

Gassing over 1400 people with sarin is indeed a war crime; but, so is the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians that has been going on for 2 years without us so much as raising a peep of protest.  The only real way to stop these kinds of war crimes is to somehow stop the civil war.  Diplomacy has largely failed, not least because of so many other countries playing regional politics and using the combatants in Syria as proxies.  A military action risks involving us in a tangled snake pit of a conflict with no end in sight.  I'm not sure that there is much we can do or should do, other than evacuate the people who want to get out.

Besides, after Iraq, our credibility in these matters is zero.

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