The upside of failure is that it allows us to visualize what steps and actions we have taken and the adverse consequences that have resulted from these actions—essentially we know what not to do again, cognizant of the unfortunate results. A wise and healthy adult uses this knowledge and insight to chart a course towards a more successful life and each lesson learned comes with a hardship that yields dividends of endurance, grit, and tenacity. Notice I said wise and healthy adult, because dysfunctional adults or children have a tendency to recklessly ignore warnings, and blind themselves to the errors of their past.
Our current regime, in its quest for American hegemony, has blatantly ignored the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan and has already embarked to stir up yet another mess in Syria—a prolonged and deadly Syrian civil war whose endpoint remains very vague and unclear.
Ten years ago when the Iraqis were alleged to have WMDs, the USA subsequently invaded and ended up with nothing to show for it, except negative returns, thousands of innocent lives lost, and trillions of dollars in debt due to the most costly wars in American history, and resulting in a region no more stable, secure or free of “terrorists” than when we dove in with guns blazing.
The Obama administration had pledged that the strikes in Syria will be “limited”, but what happens when the Syrians fight back? What happens if they destroy a U.S. ship or they have agents who start hitting targets inside the United States? The Syrian government has already said that it will use “all means available” to defend itself if we attack. Would that include terror attacks on US allies or diplomats in the Middle East?
What happens if the Syrians decide to retaliate against Israel? If Syrian missiles hit Tel Aviv, the Israelis will be justified in declaring war on Syria, and Israel is more than capable of executing a successful military campaign. Are we to expect that Hezbollah and Iran will remain idle as their close ally is wiped off the map by the great American empire? Both the Russians and Chinese warned the U.S. government not to get involved in the region—by ignoring these alerts, have we initiated a cascade of events that could eventually lead to a war of the superpowers (i.e. WWIII)?
Iraq and Afghanistan were supposed to be “quick and easy” wars and we all know how well that turned out. Even as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, said last month, the possible results of enforcing a “quick and easy” no-fly zone could “include the loss of U.S. aircraft, which would require us to insert personnel recovery forces. It may also fail to reduce the violence, or shift the momentum, because the regime relies overwhelmingly on surface fires … mortars, artillery, and missiles.” The Chairman went on to say, “Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid.” Limited missile strikes on Syria may achieve some ends, but it will not be an end in and of itself, nor will it safeguard against the expected incremental retaliation; instead our hopes of limited involvement will be the start of another long and costly military fiasco. Violence never begets peace, it only begets more bloodshed.
President Obama originally intended to engage Syria on his own executive “authority”. Where did our President unilaterally obtain the authorization to declare war on another sovereign nation without the approval of Congress, as is required by the Constitution? Does anyone else find it completely ironic that our do-nothing Congress has finally “come together” to develop a bipartisan plan to initiate destruction, kill civilians, and start a war half way around the globe—only then with the intent to democratically vote on said plan, as if this in some way legitimizes our government’s immorality (then again, Hitler was voted into office…).
Americans are overwhelmingly not in favor of taking some form of action. A recent Reuter’s poll states that 60 percent of the public opposes military intervention in Syria, while just 9 percent support it. Support for intervention is still extremely low, even if Syria used chemical weapons, with just 25 percent saying they would support military involvement.
I have often asked myself even if the ‘credible’ evidence that Assad’s regime used chemical weapons is indeed proved ‘valid’, what incentive would Assad possibly have to use them, cognizant of all the adverse consequences that this action would cause? Why would the Assad regime use chemical weapons on defenseless women and children, in a civil war that is at worst in a stalemate, and at best slightly in Assad’s favor? The only faction who would benefit from such an attack would be the rebels, and despite all the political pushback, no leader (in their right mind) of a foreign state in the Middle East would voluntarily want to engage the United States in war—the game is rigged and they are guaranteed to lose. For Assad to choose to use chemical weapons serves no strategic advantage.
As George Friedman said recently, “Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya have driven home the principle that deposing one regime means living with an imperfect successor. In those cases, changing the regime wound up rapidly entangling the United States in civil wars, the outcomes of which have not been worth the price.”
Sadly, we have learned nothing from our tumultuous past but instead have purposely chosen to unlearn the lessons of what has gone before. No good can be expected to come from plans based on foolishness, deception, and lies.
Dr. C.H.E. Sadaphal