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Road to Damascus ^ | September 11, 2013 | John Stossel

Posted on 09/11/2013 3:33:11 AM PDT by Kaslin

Some things you just have to do, in spite of great uncertainty.

Launching missiles at Syria isn't one of them.

Many pundits talk about going to war as if all we have to do is make up our minds about what "ought" to happen -- who the bad guys are -- and the rest is just details. If we decide we must punish a tyrant, let the military worry about how to get it done.

We ought to worry more about details.

Everyone agrees there are huge "known unknowns" in Syria -- we barely know the composition of the rebel movement we're supposed to aid -- but we should be more concerned about "unknown unknowns," to borrow former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's phrase.

Remember the confidence with which he and other Bush administration officials described their plans to remake Iraq? Dick Cheney said, "We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." The Wall Street Journal beat the drums for war for a year. I read that Iraq was full of repressed democratic activists just waiting for Saddam to be overthrown.

Pundits also argued that once the authoritarian ruler was gone, Iraq would blossom into a showcase of peace and democracy that would inspire transformation throughout the region. I wanted to believe it. Once they had a choice, why wouldn't they pursue our way of life? It's clearly better!

Instead, we've spent more than a decade fighting feuding factions that most Americans have never heard of -- and still can't name.

When pro-war pundits did admit to uncertainty about what would happen in Iraq, it was often to stoke fear about what would happen if we didn't intervene. Saddam might use chemical weapons! Saddam might get nukes! Well, maybe.

I'm glad Saddam is gone, and Iraqis are better off. But the masses yearning to breathe free turned out to include more troublemakers than we expected.

I don't trust John Kerry, but I'll accept his claim that Syria's leaders probably used chemical weapons to kill 1,400 people. Horrible.

But are we going to enforce a "red line" to tell dictators that if they murder their people, they better use conventional weapons?

Even if that's the goal, our options are limited. Maybe we'll:

--Lob a few cruise missiles, like Bill Clinton did in Sudan.

--Hit Assad's compound, killing hundreds of innocents, without killing Assad.

--Kill Assad himself and then ... what?

President Obama argues that limited intervention in Syria might accomplish good more quickly and cheaply than our efforts in Iraq did. He said he wants a two-day engagement instead of months of fighting.

But we thought that would happen in Iraq, too. We didn't foresee years of civil war. What do we fail to foresee now? More intervention from Russia? China? Iran? World war?

Even if the conflict remains localized and contained -- a dangerous assumption in the "fog of war" -- we can't assume that a new government will be more democratic or tolerant than Assad's regime.

We already know that the rebel forces include factions allied with al-Qaida. Some of those people execute Christians and want to replace Assad's repressive but multi-faith regime with Islamic totalitarianism. If they murder Christians while still fighting Assad, what will they do once in power?

Years ago, al-Qaida (and Osama bin Laden) gained power because America funded "rebels" fighting the Russians in Afghanistan.

Given what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, there are worse things than leaving murderous Russian-backed governments in place.

I hate Assad. I hate what's happened in Syria. I also hate what happened in Rwanda and Darfur and what still happens in Somalia, China, Russia, Zimbabwe and so on. But there's just not much we can do about it without making new enemies and exacerbating America's coming bankruptcy. America cannot police the world and shouldn't try.

Defense should mean defense. Unless we are attacked, we shouldn't go to war.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Russia
KEYWORDS: assadregime; syria; usmilitary

1 posted on 09/11/2013 3:33:11 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Bronco Bama, that renegade cowboy who comes into town with his posse and guns blazing - but the only probability of any damage actually inflicted is from “lead rain”, some stray bullet falling on a (probably) non-combatant, because he has no idea who the players are or how they may respond.

2 posted on 09/11/2013 3:40:38 AM PDT by alloysteel (Those who deny natural climate change are forever doomed to stupidity. AGW is a LIE.)
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To: Kaslin

Johnny boy here proves that he is still a dumb arse by believing anything that the LIAR OF STATE says.

3 posted on 09/11/2013 3:49:47 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!)
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To: LibLieSlayer

Did you read the article? It sure doesn’t look like it

4 posted on 09/11/2013 3:55:04 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin
A very moving emotional pitch to remain isolationist but we need to confront reality. 12 years ago we paid the price for ignoring looming threats overseas.

Then we got “over-involved” and wasted precious human and material resources but did not finish the job if there is such a thing. Our enemies, sensing our frustration and fatigue stepped up their attacks and now were reeling and they know it.

When the author says, “there are worse things than leaving murderous Russian-backed governments in place”, he is right viscerally but wrong strategically.

We have now paved the way for a “Russian-backed government” (Iran) to obtain a nuclear bomb. This is (or will be) the most significant event of the century because it means that the US and the West (Israel) will be blackmailed from this point forward.

Get ready to pay $30 for a gallon of gas...

Does anybody think the US or Europe have a credible deterrent force now? Putin is reduced America's Foreign Policy and interests to a shambles...

5 posted on 09/11/2013 4:04:31 AM PDT by Netz
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To: Netz; Kaslin

The other problem with the isolationist approach - and, heck, with our entire Mid-East approach - is that we consistently ignore the one most crucial factor: Islam.

In the ME, we’re not dealing with normal people who might actually like to get out from under a dictatorship. For one thing, in many cases they realize that the dictatorship is the only thing that stands between them and being devoured by Islamic lunatics. And another - as soon as the dictator is gone, Islam sweeps in and makes the situation of those people ten times worse.

And Islam is also not something we can shrug off by saying that if we don’t attack it, it won’t attack us. It will, as we have seen on numerous occasions.

But unless we actually acknowledge the problem, we won’t be able to deal with it.

Sure, there are multiple issues in dealing with the ME, ranging from the rivalry for oil and gas resources to the failed economies of all those countries. But unless we confront the truly destabilizing force, the ideology which is Islam, we’re neither going to be able to make a difference there nor protect ourselves here.

6 posted on 09/11/2013 5:09:39 AM PDT by livius
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To: Kaslin

Of course I did and I liked much in it but... butall it takes is for one deep to the ground bow to anything connected with obama and his administration... to completely destroy an article. This throwing out of faint praise... as in believing kerry about anything... is just proof that John does not see the entire truth. I hope that I am making myself clear on this.

7 posted on 09/11/2013 5:14:55 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!)
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To: livius
There used to be an old State Dept. concept (also used by the Israeli Left during the Oslo Peace [War] process), that states that you have to “dry up” the poverty swamps and provide these savages with flush toilets, a secure income and some kind of hope for their kid's future they will embrace freedom and Democracy.

This is also called, “nation building”. You cannot “buy” or steer these savages away from their national will or insane religious agenda.

They may initially appreciate the “liberation” but then they go right back to killing, pillaging, raping, murdering, mutilating, desecrating and generally causing mayhem. This is what the Palestinians did, this is what the Iraqis and Afghanis have done. Al-Qaeda is a DEFAULT button. THIS IS THEIR (can I use the term) "Civilization", this is their way of life. Face it.

The first “suckers” to attempt this was Israel with the PLO, (1993-2003). Israel's “visionary” dreamer and recipient of the Neville Chamberlain Award for Stupidity, the Hon. Shimon Peres (today Israel's President at age 90) often repeated that Israel and the West had to convert the Palestinian territories including the Gaza Strip into the “Singapore” of the Middle East and in that way, they will slowly move away from violence because then, they have “something (material) to lose”.

An international airport (Dahaniya) was built in Gaza by the West and Israel. Various trade and industrial zones were built for Israeli Palestinian cooperation. The concept was to build them up so they might have value or something to lose.

BY giving them independence (the Palestinian Authority) they would turn away from the “Armed Struggle” (read, kill every Jew) and begin their own nation building.

Well, that backfired totally and 1,000 Israelis were murdered, thousands maimed by the events preceding and during the 2nd Intifada.

The Israelis agonized and lived in denial. In order to affect change and bring the PLO around, they even voted (within the span of 10 years) Left, Center and finally, Right wing governments to see of they could be more flexible, like Obama’s promise to the Russians. Israelis, especially Likud right-wingers were always characterized with the term, “Intransigent”, not moving on the Territorial compromises. It was the Israelis who would not budge. This is still the perception in many parts of the world due to ignorance and a hostile press.

All of these moves failed as Arafart and now Abbas remained in a state of suspended animation. There is no compromise in the Arab-Islamic world. Look how they slaughter each other and blow up each other’s mosques! Get this into your heads, there is no compromise in the Arab or Islamic world. For a Westerner this is a difficult concept to understand.

You think leaders would learn, but they don't.

By constantly supplanting our Western values onto peoples that are only 2 stages beyond the Australopithecus human chain of development, you fail time and time again in these endeavors.

These peoples are just not ready for civil, Western forms of rule. After pumping trillions of Dollars into the Palestinian Authority and later Iraq and Afghanistan, one sees that they take the tools and implements you have given them on a silver platter and defecate on it. They do so because THAT IS WHAT THEY KNOW HOW TO DO, defecate on themselves repeatedly and roll in it, occasionally asking you to intervene on their behalf. “Come on in, the feces are great”!

So now they're trying to establish a Palestinian state via the “two-state solution” model (a revamped 1947 Partition of Palestine motion at the UN that failed too). The idea is to establish YET ANOTHER FAILED NATION STATE in Israel's heartland I don't get it. Oh, right, Israelis have to compromise for peace, yeah, right.

So, we must try to learn and understand the enemy, first recognizing that they ARE the enemy all the while supporting our ONLY, true, reliable and consistent partner in the Middle East, Israel.

8 posted on 09/11/2013 6:05:41 AM PDT by Netz
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