Biden’s and Carney’s Vacuous Justifications for Bombing Syria

I’ve already outlined what are the real reasons for the administration wanting to attack Syria. The use of chemical weapons was not among them. That’s a pretext or a pretend excuse, no matter whether the event was staged or actual. The idea of “punishing” Assad is a downright silly justification, even though those saying it may be in earnest and have some sort of a wildly imprudent notion that gas justifies a strong response. However, these same people don’t raise a stink when the police or FBI throw gas cannisters that cause fires and kill people. I do not believe they are in earnest. I do not believe that the world or terrorists are going to beat a path to the door of chemical weaponry because chemicals have been used between Iraq and Iran or in Japan or Syria, if that is the case. How many terrorists will feel safe holding nerve gas and sarin prior to dispersing it?

Carney has another vacuous justification: “…allowing the use of chemical weapons on a significant scale to take place without a response would represent a significant challenge or threat to the United States’ security interests.” This is more than empty. It’s crazy. Syria is absolutely rent by a horrible civil war. There is no way that it represents a challenge to the security interests of the U.S., much less a significant challenge. The U.S. government is itself endangering peace and risking a wider war if it attacks Syria. This lowers the security of Americans.

I’ve located 3 elaborations of what these supposed security interests might be. One is humanitarian. This is unpersuasive because the world is filled with evils that cry out for humanitarian concern. Furthermore, why are bombing, warfare and violence appropriate means for alleviating these problems? And if this is a sensible justification, the U.S. would be entering civil wars constantly. The second is to reinforce the taboo against chemical weapons. But this too is unpersuasive. The Chemical Weapons Convention has been a far more appropriate means, and it has been reasonably successful. This agreement does not authorize the U.S. or any signatory to attack those nations that have not signed on. Will the world follow a path of comity among nations or aggression?

The third reads “The security interest in ensuring that Syria’s chemical arsenal stays under tight command and control and does not leak out to terrorists who might use them against U.S. interests, personnel, or the homeland.” This one can’t be taken seriously because the U.S. has seen fit time and again either to work with terrorists or encourage them or create opportunities for them to sprout and gain traction by destabilizing countries like Iraq, Libya and now Syria. The U.S. has already increased the risk of chemicals falling into the hands of terrorists by supporting the rebel side. If terrorists really want to employ nerve gas or sarin, they will find ways to manufacture them or some substitute.

There is evidence that the rebels (including terrorist elements) already have used some chemicals that came from Saudi Arabia. There is no evidence that they have accessed the stores of the Syrian government. Weaponizing chemicals and using them effectively is not a routine matter. Terrorists have at their fingertips a wide array of far more controllable, flexible and deadly weapons than chemical weapons. They have powerful improvised explosive devices (IEDs), do-it-yourself weapons (DIY), and all sorts of light and effective arms.

What Carney fears most is gas attacks on U.S. embassies. This is a real risk, if terrorists chose to become proficient in chemical weaponry. This risk won’t disappear by bombing Syria, because in the long run terrorists can learn how to make chemical weapons. This is a risk that U.S. leaders have brought on themselves by their interventionist policies and by their support of Israel.


3:56 pm on August 28, 2013