Our Eternal War

Our Eternal War June 8, 2013

A woman cries at the scene of one of the explosion sites in Reyhanli, near Turkey’s border with Syria, May 11, 2013. (Cem Genco, Associated Press)

It’s rare for me to agree with Rand Paul, but I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with the sabre-rattling going on in Washington about Syria. You simply cannot watch Fog of War or Fahrenheit 9/11 without knowing that many members of Congress are deeply funded by the military-industrial complex. And now, just as the war in Afganistan is winding down, low-and-behold, the need us in Syria!

Glenn Garvin penned an important commentary this week in which he argues that, unless we say no to this war, we are condemning ourselves to an eternal war in the Middle East:

Is a dangerous partisan divide really destroying the American government? It’s pretty hard to discern that from the policy debate on Syria, where our two-party system divides like this: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on one side, and everybody else on the other.

Paul argues that there are no clear good guys in Syria; that the recent U.S. track record in the Middle East — from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya — suggests that nobody in the American government has a credible understanding of the region’s political nuances, and that any U.S. intervention is likely to create more problems than it will solve.

On the other side of the argument are such supposed ideological opposites as Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; Bob Casey, D-Pa., and John McCain, R-Ariz., all of whom want the United States to sweep into Syria with guns blazing. McCain, who has never encountered a foreign-policy problem that couldn’t, in his opinion, be solved by dropping a bomb on it, even labeled Paul a “wacko bird” for his dangerous unbelligerence.

The relentless yammering of the Syria hawks is pushing President Obama steadily toward another Middle Eastern military intervention. The administration originally offered rhetorical sympathy, but not much more, to the rebels trying to oust Bashar Assad. Then it decided to permit other countries to ship U.S. arms to the (supposedly) nonradical factions of the rebels. Now we’re giving guns directly to those rebels.

The next step down this slippery slope, which McCain and others are urging (and for which the Pentagon is preparing plans), is establishing a no-fly zone over Syria to negate the power of Assad’s air force against the rebels. This sounds innocuous, but it isn’t.

Read the rest: Syria threatens to suck U.S. into eternal war | StarTribune.com.

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