Monday, 2 September 2013

ON SYRIA: HOW THE WEST GOT IT SO WRONG

The idea that America and Great Britain won’t assist in stopping war crimes in Syria is offensive to the time held principles that both countries have sought to uphold for centuries.

David Cameron and Barack Obama both had sweeping authority to do what is right without the need to consult with lawmakers. Some may say that Cameron and now Obama are doing the correct thing and that may be the case, but the last few weeks have been amateur at best.

If you are certain of your position, why have William Hague go on the record and say:
We, the United States, many other countries including France, are clear that we can't allow the idea in the 21st century that chemical weapons can be used with impunity
Same thing can be said about Obama. On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry was bold in his rhetoric about Syria:


Well, we know that the Assad regime has the largest chemical weapons programs in the entire Middle East. We know that the regime has used those weapons multiple times this year, and has used them on a smaller scale but still it has used them against its own people, including not very far from where last Wednesday's attack happened.We know that the regime was specifically determined to rid the Damascus suburbs of the opposition, and it was frustrated that it hadn't succeeded in doing so.We know that for three days before the attack, the Syrian regime's chemical weapons personnel were on the ground in the area, making preparations.And we know that the Syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons.We know that these were specific instructions.We know where the rockets were launched from, and at what time. We know where they landed, and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods.And we know, as does the world, that just 90 minutes later all hell broke loose in the social media. With our own eyes we have seen the thousands of reports from 11 separate sites in the Damascus suburbs. All of them show and report victims with breathing difficulties, people twitching with spasms, coughing, rapid heartbeats, foaming at the mouth, unconsciousness, and death. And we know it was ordinary Syrian citizens who reported all of these horrors.

Sec. Kerry was essentially speaking at the behest of Obama. A mere few hours went by and Obama flipped positions and said:
While I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger and our actions will be even more effective, if the strike is authorized by Congress.
What is happening here?! You talk a tough line on Syria and when push comes to shove you pass the buck onto Congress? Furthermore, if this matter is so urgent, Mr President, why don’t you recall Congress today, rather than wait until September 9th when they are due to return to session?

To make matters even worse, the fact that the media are talking about the fractions of the US-UK ‘special relationship’ rather than the fact that the Syria have committed war crimes on its own people is utterly repugnant in my eyes.

Obama and Cameron both have the power to at least carry out a targeted strike, or destroy the stockpiles of chemical weapons. We can debate whether it will actually do something long term but what is unequivocally clear is that by talking a big game but acting like a wimp when it comes down to it, is the worst thing you can do. Credibility aside, it is morally wrong to conduct foreign policy like that.

I do seriously question what will happen if this violence spills over out of Syria. Obama and Cameron have created a name for themselves on the world stage. Iran, Syria, China, Al-Qaeda and Israel all now know that Obama doesn’t have the temerity to act when it the crunch comes. The fact that Iran and Syria are emboldened not in retreat after the events of last week is an indictment against the Western alliance.

Chemical Weapons have been used and America and the West must be the standard-bearers for liberty, human rights and the rule of law. Obama & Cameron have essentially put all of that to one side with their actions over the last week or so.

I know that some folks don’t like this but the voice of America and the free world means a lot. The concept of liberty and freedom is what most of the world crave and associate with America.
In World War II, Vietnam, Soviet Union, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya to mention a few - America stood up for what is right and gave their hand to extend freedom to those yearning for it.

One person, who would not have stood by and allowed himself or the country to beholden by events and other players, is George W. Bush. Call him a warmonger all you like but the fact is he built massive alliances to tackle Islamic extremism and was able to build personal bonds with sometimes ‘sticky foes’ from Russia and China. The same cannot be said for Obama. 
You also knew that post 9/11 you didn't want cross him. His belief was there for all to see and that was freedom. In his 2004 RNC convention speech he said:

“This moment in the life of our country will be remembered. Generations will know if we kept our faith and kept our word. Generations will know if we seized this moment and used it to build a future of safety and peace. The freedom of many and the future security of our nation now depend on us. Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America.”

Obama, Cameron all other players must take note of that message. What is the free world all about if we allow a chemical massacre to take place without clear ramifications?  Instead of dithering, take decisive (legal) action and ensure that folks know what you stand for? 

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