From a news article about Syria: “Senators Robert Menendez and Bob Corker have drafted a bill that would give President Obama the authority to begin arming select rebel factions.”
Are Menendez and the rest of the neocons who say the same kinds of things as dumb as they sound? Assuming that he is not a complete liar and hypocrite, which I will do for the sake of illuminating his remarks, then I must reach that conclusion. Of course, I could do the opposite, assume that he and the neocons are not at all simpletons but highly knowledgeable, in which case I’d have to conclude that they are liars. And the truth may lie in between these extremes. They may in fact possess an inability to think straight, be ignorant, be biased and be liars.
For one thing, the U.S. has already been providing rebel support via Saudia Arabia and Quatar, and already has found that it is impossible to arm “select rebel factions”. It’s bad enough supplying arms, aid, and intelligence somewhat undercover, it’s worse directly to enter yet another war and one that is starting to spread into Lebanon, and one that has no other objective than to install a government under the U.S. thumb. This was done with Iran and the Shah and the ultimate result has hardly been a progressive one.
Why should the U.S. start its own war against Assad? Here’s what Menendez says:
“Vital national interests are at stake and we cannot watch from the sidelines as the Iranian presence in Syria grows, a growing refugee crisis threatens to destabilize the region, chemical weapons are used against the Syrian people, and al Qaeda-affiliated groups take root there.”
I say he’s dumb because he’s the chair of the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, and he should know far better than to make such stupid comments. There are no vital national interests at stake in Syria. None. Not Iran, not Israel and not oil. Yes, we can watch from the sidelines and let the Iranians and Syrians form their own politics. This is what the U.S. did with Mexico and Canada. Did the U.S. relish interference from Spain, France, Great Britain and Russia into its affairs?
How brainless is it to act as if the refugee crisis is an independent reason for intervening, when it is an outcome of the war itself, which has been encouraged every step of the way by the U.S.?
And why must the U.S. rectify this tragedy? The world is replete with human tragedies. Does not each one of us have a right to direct our limited wealth, time, and emotional commitment to those cases of misery and tragedy that we know best and choose to alleviate? Aren’t we suppose to be free to do that? What good is a “freedom” that marches us off to wars willy-nilly or grabs our wealth to do what it wills with it anywhere it pleases?
How stupid is it to charge that the refugees are destabilizing the region when they are victims? The U.S. government has done more to destabilize the Middle East than any refugees.
And how dumb is it of Menendez to use chemical weapons as a rationale for U.S. intervention on a deeper and larger scale? He is charging that Assad has used them against his own people, which makes little sense. On the other hand, there are charges of the opposite having occurred, that rebel elements used them. But in any event, there is no substantial or widespread evidence of chemical warfare. If the latter had occurred, there would be such evidence. So that this rationale mouthed by Menendez is trumped up.
Menendez is at his dumbest when he says that the U.S. must intervene to prevent al-Qaeda style or affiliated groups to take root. In Iraq, that was the result that the U.S. produced. In Libya, that too was the result. Whenever one of these governments is destroyed in these kinds of countries, the social equilibrium is torn up and so is the armed hand of the government. Since the U.S. in such circumstances cannot create a stable social-political outcome to replace it (it hasn’t yet succeeded in doing this anywhere), this leaves open a space for armed jihadists to enter, and some of these will use terror methods.
The U.S. government almost invariably speaks of “building” or “constructing” a free society or a free state or a free government. Americans historically have been builders and mechanics. They take available materials and arrange them into new physical structures and products. They also have “built” organizations, but how that is done differs fundamentally from how one builds a cabin, a gun or an airplane. It is a vast error to transfer this metaphor of “building” over into social matters and to think that one levels an old society and an old political system and then erects a new one on a new foundation. The U.S. sends in a crew of experts who help form coalitions who then debate, write constitutions, erect a voting machinery, and on and on. This is supposed to produce a stable and free society and government. This doesn’t work in most countries and most cases. A people is not necessarily formed in this way and this path doesn’t necessarily produce a progressive and stable outcome.
The U.S. not only has no right to do this, it usually fails at doing it. The U.S. controlled Haiti for many years and never succeeded in making a stable and progressive society out of it. Where there appears to have been success in nation-state building, it has been because the elements of stability and progressiveness had already been present prior to the shock of the dissolution or the alteration or the revolution that has occurred. This happened in Japan and Germany after World War 2.
There is no single factor that leads to U.S. interventions and the U.S. policies of empire. Besides pure stupidity, ignorance, blind semi-religious belief in the U.S. and its system, mis-directed ideas of doing good, mis-directed ideas of how to do good, we also have that the U.S. policies are heavily influenced by the military-industrial complex and lately by neocon ideas in both parties. The U.S. empire is a tree with many roots, watered from many sources.
I’ve picked on Senator Menendez only because his remarks happen to be of recent and pertinent vintage. He has lots of company in Washington and throughout this land. None of his rationales for intervention in Syria make any sense. None of the rationales for U.S. armed interventions as a force for doing good and spreading the American ways and system as a means for doing good make any sense because they contain an inherent contradiction. They deny the individual freedom of each of us to do good and influence others as we as individuals see fit. These interventions all involve a collective system that takes resources from millions of unwilling Americans by force, through taxation.
If Senator Menendez and other Americans want to go to Syria, pay for arms, or even shoot them themselves, let them do it on their own hook and be responsible for their actions. Let’s see how far he can get with such an effort.
Why should he have the power to direct the entire nation via the U.S. government to engage in a Syrian war? This, at root, is a deep flaw and contradiction at work. The U.S. Constitution allocates the power to declare war to the U.S. government. Combined with its power to tax, the potential for warfare is always present, and the U.S. government has seen fit to exercise it almost continually since its inception. This system is WRONG, very wrong for political-economic reasons and wrong as well morally speaking.
In economic terms, those in government will make more unnecessary, larger and bloodier wars when they have the powers to declare them and finance them forcibly. Morally, a person should have the right to decide whether or not to go to war. A person should have an immediate and direct say in this most important decision. He should not be the hapless draft-inductee or forced financier paying for those who want to make war, build armaments, or march off to war as paid soldiers, killers, clerks, cooks, managers and administrators.7:53 am on May 27, 2013 Email Michael S. Rozeff