Chemical warfare and Syria. Guest blogger: Marcus Einfeld

Sep 4, 2013

I never thought I would ever agree with Glenn Beck, the US shock jock from the extreme right of the political spectrum. I think he is right about the US not intervening in the Middle East again. Difficult as it is to say, President Putin is also right even if his reasons are not pure.

The Americans [Administrations, not the very many brilliant and informed Americans who know better] never seem to understand the “enemy”, invariably miscalculate the consequences of their actions and never have an exit strategy. This time they do not even have an entry strategy. The US military top brass do not have the best record in assessing outcomes of their escapades. The jingoisms that punctuated the evidence given this week to the Senate Foreign Relations and Defence Committee by the Secretaries of State and Defence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must have horrified US thinkers and intelligentsia, not to mention the public at large.

Imagine arguing, as the Obama Administration seems to be doing, that North Korea and Iran will be dissuaded from using chemical weapons if we punish the Syrian regime by bombing the hell out of its country. It is arrogant to believe that these countries, including the Syrians themselves, will just accept western scolding and decide to behave themselves as we dictate. The Iranians will just be emboldened to do the job better than the Syrians. For its part, the North Korean leadership will hardly know where Syria is and will care even less.

Bombing, indeed any type of aerial or missile intervention will inevitably hit innocent people and not destroy the regime, or even its chemical weaponry. Even if the regime does fall, who on earth will replace it? Vide Egypt and Libya. Israel is in real danger from this proposed attack on Syria, possibly from the same chemical weapons. And if Israel is threatened, fighting as it would be for its very survival, its response can be expected to be deadly and devastating. With Russia and China actively resisting in the wings, the real possibility of a World War or at least a major conflagration will be at hand from the proposed intervention. It has already been proved over and over that despite its powerful armoury and presumably best intentions, the US is simply unable to contain the effects of what it is pleased to call “limited” intervention.

The hypocrisy of western horror at the Syrian use of chemical weapons is nothing short of breath-taking. In principle, this wickedness must of course be resisted if possible. But horrendous as the Syrians have been, they at least are using them on their own people, as did the notorious Saddam Hussein who killed and maimed thousands of Iraqi Kurds and other citizens with chemical weapons while the international community simply looked on silently. Moreover, the Americans, with Australia and others at their side, used endless chemical weapons on thousands of innocent foreigners in Vietnam and Cambodia.

The dilemma is awful and I am glad it is not me who has to resolve it, but it seems to me that if the choice has to be made, it is better to let the Syrians carry on as they have been doing unhindered by the international community for the last two years [with disastrous effects on their population] rather than we western democrats do it for them. I am afraid that the British Parliament and the governments of the other refusing countries like Canada are right.

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