Bombing Syria: Congress Says Go For It!

by lizard

It’s looking increasingly possible that the hawks in DC will finally get their chance to bomb Syria, and there are “key U.S. lawmakers” who don’t care if the president asks them before the bombs drop, or after, if it’s cool to use military might to overthrow the government of another Middle Eastern country:

Two key members of congressional foreign affairs panels say they expect the United States to strike Syria following reports of chemical weapons attacks in that country last week, though other lawmakers interviewed Sunday cautioned that unilateral action would be misguided.

“I think we will respond in a surgical way and I hope the president, as soon as we get back to Washington, will ask for authorization from Congress to do something in a very surgical and proportional way. Something that gets their attention, that causes them to understand that we are not going to put up with that kind of activity,” Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

But Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs panel, said President Barack Obama may not need to wait for congressional authorization.

“Congress needs to be involved but perhaps not initially,” Engel said. “Perhaps the president could start and then Congress needs to resolve it and assent to it. We cannot sit still. We’ve got to move and we’ve got to move quickly.”

It’s all good, prez, just go ahead and start bombing shit, ’cause we got your back.

It’s also astounding to see how the media operates in this country. From the beginning of this “humanitarian” crisis, our corporate media has tried to sell us on intervention. Now, read this New York Times opinion piece, especially this part:

Things looked far less gloomy when the rebellion began two years ago. At the time, it seemed that Syrian society as a whole had emerged from the grip of fear to demand an end to Mr. Assad’s dictatorship. Back then, it was realistic to hope that moderates of one sort or another would replace the Assad regime, because they make up a large share of the population. It was also reasonable to expect that the fighting would not last long, because neighboring Turkey, a much larger country with a powerful army and a long border with Syria, would exert its power to end the war.

As soon as the violence began in Syria in mid-2011, Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, loudly demanded that it end. But instead of being intimidated into surrender, Mr. Assad’s spokesmen publicly ridiculed Mr. Erdogan, while his armed forces proceeded to shoot down a Turkish fighter jet, before repeatedly firing artillery rounds into Turkish territory and setting off lethal car bombs at a Turkish border crossing. To everyone’s surprise, there was no significant retaliation. The reason is that Turkey has large and restless minority populations that don’t trust their own government, which itself does not trust its own army. The result has been paralysis instead of power, leaving Mr. Erdogan an impotent spectator of the civil war on his doorstep.

Consequently, instead of a Turkey-based and Turkish-supervised rebellion that the United States could have supported with weapons, intelligence and advice, Syria is plagued by anarchic violence.

The war is now being waged by petty warlords and dangerous extremists of every sort: Taliban-style Salafist fanatics who beat and kill even devout Sunnis because they fail to ape their alien ways; Sunni extremists who have been murdering innocent Alawites and Christians merely because of their religion; and jihadis from Iraq and all over the world who have advertised their intention to turn Syria into a base for global jihad aimed at Europe and the United States.

Yes, things “looked less gloomy” because two and a half years ago the humanitarian intervention narrative was working its magic, and if it wasn’t for the veto from Russia and China at the UN, Syria would already be enjoying its postmortem liberty, like Libya. And Iraq. And soon, Afghanistan.

There are times when the president says something that leads to action. Declaring his RED-LINE policy using chemical weapons as the trigger now forces him to do something, even if it’s just a few delicately placed cruise missiles.

It also provides the “rebels” with an idea: hey, since we’re getting our asses kicked, and we have foreign jihadists who don’t care about blowing up civilians, we might as well kick it up a notch, if that’s what Americans need to hear about on NPR.

I also like the part in the quote above that ridicules Turkey for not risking internal upheaval to take the fight to its border with Syria more forcefully. What a dick, and further proof how truly clueless the chattering class can be.

What the blabbing chicken hawks don’t seem to get is that at any point the whole region could go hot, so I don’t blame US proxies for their reluctance.

It would make sense, however, to ponder if there has ever been a more craven collection of Congress critters in the short history of this country.  I mean, fuck.

Well, to wrap up another depressing post, I will leave you with a letter from our President. It’s from a few years ago, but I’m assuming it’s become a new presidential ritual—extending the blessed national emergency, which justifies all this imperial madness:

September 10, 2010

Dear Madam Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1622(d), provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. Consistent with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register the enclosed notice, stating that the emergency declared with respect to the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, is to continue in effect for an additional year.

The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect after September 14, 2010, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat.



  1. lizard19

    I came across this Foreign Police article too late to include the body of the post, but it certainly needs to be included in the comments.

    CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran:

    U.S. officials have long denied acquiescing to Iraqi chemical attacks, insisting that Hussein’s government never announced he was going to use the weapons. But retired Air Force Col. Rick Francona, who was a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 strikes, paints a different picture.

    “The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn’t have to. We already knew,” he told Foreign Policy.

    According to recently declassified CIA documents and interviews with former intelligence officials like Francona, the U.S. had firm evidence of Iraqi chemical attacks beginning in 1983. At the time, Iran was publicly alleging that illegal chemical attacks were carried out on its forces, and was building a case to present to the United Nations. But it lacked the evidence implicating Iraq, much of which was contained in top secret reports and memoranda sent to the most senior intelligence officials in the U.S. government. The CIA declined to comment for this story.

    In contrast to today’s wrenching debate over whether the United States should intervene to stop alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, the United States applied a cold calculus three decades ago to Hussein’s widespread use of chemical weapons against his enemies and his own people. The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted.

    well, we certainly don’t have to worry about Americans getting exposed to our ugly national hypocrisy.

  2. Big Swede

    Going for another Nobel Peace Prize.

  3. No surprise that we’re about to be involved in yet another debacle. I’d heard about a month ago that some U.S. troops – those involved in intelligence – were being redeployed from Afghanistan to the general Syria vicinity. I guess we just needed a public reason to make that happen. Sad day for all.

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