War With Syria is Not Inevitable, Someone Should Alert the Media

The ongoing civil war in Syria is a conundrum. There’s no question that the Syrian government has committed war crimes, using chemical weapons against its own people in an effort to bring the battle to an end. There’s also little question that the government of Bashar al-Assad has lost any support it might once have had from the west and from Gulf states. The simple desire to do something to help those who have been affected is understandable, and one I share.

That said, what to do is far from clear. The Syrian military is still strong; it has willing fighters streaming in from Hezbollah in Lebanon. It continues to receive military support from Iran and Russia. The U.S. may wish to take some military steps to aid the rebels, but the danger of being drawn into another war, in a country that borders a nation we just ended a war with, is very real. Even if we do attack the government of al-Assad, there’s no guarantee that eliminating him will solve the problems. Ongoing violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya has made it very clear that winning a war is no guarantee of lasting peace.

Yes, the civil war in Syria is a conundrum, and whether or not to intervene is a difficult question with no obvious answer.

You would not know that, however, from watching the news. With the prospect of a shiny new war, American media has gone all-in on war talk, pushing for the U.S. to intervene, and questioning why President Obama hasn’t done so already. The media’s consensus is that war in Syria is inevitable, nothing can stop it now that Obama’s “red line” of chemical weapon use has been crossed and that we really need to just get on with it already. Even Britain’s The Guardian, which has all but accused Obama of being an imperialist tyrant bent on world domination, ran an article by Tom Rogan demanding that Obama lead the West into a military engagement with Syria.

Now, maybe the consensus is right. 1300 people died in chemical weapon attacks, many of them civilians. That is the kind of horrific act that the international community really should not abide and that makes military intervention potentially justified. For example, Just War Theory — a Catholic ethical doctrine guiding when war may be morally acceptable — says that force may be used to correct “a grave public evil” such as “massive violation of the basic human rights of whole populations.” Launching chemical attacks against one’s own people surely qualifies as that.

However, it is ridiculous beyond absurdity to demand that America rush to war, without first weighing the significant consequences of that action. Just as Just War Theory says that war to protect people’s basic human rights may be justified, it also states that the use of force should always be a last resort — something you do only when no other option remains, and the cost of inaction is greater than that of action.

War is terrible. Atrocities will occur in war, not just because one side or another may be evil (though they certainly may be), but because war is inherently destructive. Even if the U.S. keeps its involvement limited to cruise missiles and a bombing campaign, the result of those actions will be death, including the death of civilians.

Some wars must be fought, but we should never engage in wars if we can help it. Our first and lasting mistake in Iraq was that the Bush Administration rushed to war, pushing aside any concerns that it could go badly because war was exciting and fun, and who could deny that Saddam Hussein was a terrible human being?

A decade later, with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, not to mention thousands of Americans, that knee-jerk decision was clearly wrong. By rushing to war, and refusing to pay attention to any warnings that it could go badly, we did our nation and the world a great wrong.

U.S. military intervention in Syria may be necessary, but it should not be rushed into, nor taken lightly. I appreciate that the Obama Administration appears to be circumspect about intervention. I just wish our media would be, too.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Deborah W.
Deborah W5 years ago

Are you ready for a third world war? If you give this irrational loose cannon a green light, that's what you'll be getting.

This is a CIVIL WAR people. That's CIVIL ... a war between opposing groups of citizens OF THE SAME COUNTRY, between political factions or regions WITHIN THE SAME COUNTRY.

Having so stated, when the general consensus of we the people cannot be gotten, and "the pause while negotiating" fails, what is left is OUR intrusion into THEIR country ... at that point WE BECOME THE AGGRESSORS and justifiably provoke retaliation. Are you really ready for that, I'm not.

If's it's a "proxy" we're after, so state, hit Iran head-on and hard. Otherwise, let it play out within the regioin and, in the meantime, zip it. Tired of the back-pedaling and embarrassment of a president (who works for us by the way) imposing HIS will when we are plainly in majority against a strike.

Margaret Goodman
Margaret Goodman5 years ago

Another miracle! David F. and I agree that
"The radical Libs and Conservatives are in complete agreement here. Why spend 100s millions to jump into some ones civil war, when both sides are shooting at us, there is no national threat and no exit strategy?"

As a radical Lib, I tend to agree with Ros G., Eleonora O., Liliana G., and James R. B.. I almost find myself agreeing with Penny D., although Penny's talk of the Rothschild conspiracy makes me, as a Jew, worry about another Auschwitz.

Eleonora asks "Qui bono?". I've heard that the United States economy is propped up by "petrodollars", an agreement where oil-producing countries accept payment for oil only in U. S. dollars, and that Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and gosh knows who else have been invaded to keep them in petrodollars. Of course U. S. and European oil companies are interested in maintaining control of oil pipelines, oil extraction, and the Leviathan deposit.

So, it seems to me that the purpose of invading Syria is to maintain that control and the petrodollars. It also has the "nice" side advantage of keeping the military-industrial complex happy. However, Iran, Russia, and possibly Syria have supersonic missiles that can take out U. S. ships and their cruise missiles in the Syria area.

My conclusion is that if the United States goes in, the conflict will be at least as expensive and antagonizing as Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani5 years ago

If anyone still has question marks about what the real aim of the intended US strikes are – here we have it from the horse’s poodle’s mouth:

The French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Wednesday (4 Sept) morning that “a punitive military response would help shift the balance in a 2 ½-year-old civil war - which was tipping in favor of Assad - and was the only way to convince the Syrian leader …”. This was later followed by a press conference where the spokes woman (didn’t get her name) for the French Government stated: “The strike will RE-BALANCE the situation”.

Can it be said any clearer than that? The West wants the Syrian civil war to rage on - not to end. Ayrault was also talking about getting the Syrian leader to the negotiating table. Yes? Why did then the US and the West obstruct and delay in the past 2 years any and all efforts to achieve exactly that? Why were they dragging their feet for so long albeit they were enough calls to intensify diplomacy? Talks were suggested to cease the violence, discuss a different path for the governance of the Syrian people, more freedom, et al. This at a time when there was truly an uprising of the Syrian people against their oppressive regime. This was the case before the uprising was hijacked.

After some 4 months the US stepped in and armed and trained the fundamentalists among the Syrian people (Muslimbrothers and Al Qaida members). WHY?

GGma Sheila D.
Sheila D5 years ago

Have sad from the beginning that the rebels have more to gain by using chemicals than Assad. By blaming Assad the rebels can take over after Assad is taken down...they hope, and are pushing for, the US to do that for them. Always worry when it's "unnamed sources"

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani5 years ago

To Ros - I guess it's good that we don't know ;-).

To those who are truly interested in the issue "Syria" and would like to understand the mechanisms behind the disaster I'd highly recommend to read in the forum "There are now one million child refugees from Syria ...":


It's worth to read especially what Sheila H. put in today. It's in a nutshell (with many interesting links) the background to the whole despicable farce played out today for public consumption.

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani5 years ago

Hi Ros - Do you think that John Kerry’s statement is one of the reasons why the video link I posted further down is “frozen”? Are these the corpses they took blood samples from?

From my earlier posting: “Look at this video; it is claimed to be of elements of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” (the Muslim Brother rebels) surreptitiously injecting corpses of civilians in various locations of the body with chemical matter. Now … why would anyone do that if not for “evidence” that would show up in subsequent autopsies, making the allegations against the Syrian gov. stick. Judge for yourself:

The whole situation is – emotion aside – such a see-through farçe that I wonder how people can still honestly go for this adulterated BS?

Good luck for Saturday – I assume the wanna be PM is still better than Stephanie Banister (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/08/stephanie-banister-australia_n_3726171.html)? She’s really something else!

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani5 years ago

Ros, I thought you might "like" this comment I picked up on the CNN website:

"But it faces something of a quandary. Launching the kind of large-scale campaign necessary to topple Assad would be lengthy and whoever replaces Assad could be even worse for U.S. interests than Assad himself, given the fact that the most successful opposition groups on the ground are aligned with al Qaeda." It seems someone is waking up ... to the fact that too many normal people know ... maybe ?? ... and an adjustment of tactics is in order?

CNN "So, the military intervention has to be large enough to punish Assad but not so large as to actually overthrow him. For U.S. policymakers this is the least bad decision they likely feel they can make."

WOW - can you make sense out of this?!?! I mean ... other than such that we'd been called "conspiracy theorists" - LOL.

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani5 years ago

cont from below ...

As another side note: why is it that Egypt/Israel has still after so many decades peace keeping troups on the West (!!) side of Sinai (which is not the international border!) but calls by the Arab League and others for UN troups in Syria to keep the parties apart are ignored since one and a half year?! They're not even discussed ...

Am I safe in assuming that you will not vote for the wanna be new PM ;-) ?! And such people want to lead a nation ...

Stay safe too!

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani5 years ago

To Ros - sorry for coming back a bit late (we've got some internet troubles). Here's what they had to say - I assume by now it has hit the international wire too:

Arab League Resolution Summary

There obviously are differing viewpoints and stands taken by the member countries, hence the tasteless, odorless, shapeless outcome. Here’s what’s been agreed:
1. Honor the resolutions of the UN
2. Harshly punish the culprit, having used weapons that are internationally banned
3. Hold the Regime accountable as it is still in charge of the State; regardless of who actually did it!!

N.B.: According to the Secretary General of the League, the UN inspection team is only asked to establish whether chemical weapons have been used. It is not within its scope to determine who the guilty party was!!! He said he spoke with Ban Ki-moon asking him to extend the Team’s mandate. The latter responded that he could not alter the mandate as set by the Security Council…

Now - can you or anyone else tell me what the idea then was in the first place?!?! I mean ... we all know that chemical weapons were/are used! To determine this there was no need to spend more money!

And again my eternal question: Cui Bono?

As another side note: why is it that Egypt/Israel has still after so many decades peace keeping troups at the Suez Canal (which is not the international border!) but calls by the Arab League and others for peace keeping troups are ignored since one and a h