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War with Syria is now inevitable

I hate to say it but it looks like war with Syria is now inevitable.

Philip Weiss reports that the Israel lobby, which was keeping a low profile on its views about Syria, has come out into the open with a full-throated lobbying effort in Congress to authorize a war with Syria. Obama’s statement that he seeks a broader goal than merely ‘punishing’ Syria and that he seeks to destabilize the government must have helped in its decision.

Why? Because it sees Syria as an ally of Iran and attacking Syria is seen as a blow against Iran. M. J. Rosenberg says that Israel has cultivated ties with Syria’s leadership and that it would not support an attack on it just to destabilize that government. But it sees this war as setting a precedent for attacking Iran and hence has signed on because if Obama is thwarted on Syria, he is less likely to attack Iran, and that is the main goal of Israel and its lobby in the US. Rosenberg, who once worked as a congressional aide, also describes how the lobby systematically works to influence members of congress.

Why now? Weiss says that what was holding the lobby back until now was the desire to not be seen as taking a stand in favor of one party. The key development was president Obama persuading Republicans John McCain, Lindsay Graham, John Boehner, and Eric Cantor to join him in the warmongering, making it into that perpetual dream of the Washington beltway class: a bipartisan consensus for war.

With the Israel lobby, the White House, and the congressional leadership of both parties (with it being only a matter of time before Mitch McConnell joins in) acting in concert, it is futile to expect Congress to vote against an attack on Syria, even though public opinion is overwhelmingly against the attack, even if it is shown that Syria used chemical weapons. They oppose even just arming the rebels. And the opposition cuts across partisan lines. But what does the mere opinion of the people matter when the government leadership and the Israel lobby want war on yet another country?

Once Congress passes the resolution, Obama will start his new war because that is how the dynamic works. [UPDATE: Obama is now trying to weasel his way out of his 'red line' mess in order to try and spread the blame for any fiasco that ensues.] And the major media of course loves a new war since it is great for ratings and visuals and we are going to wallow in ‘war porn’, the endless scenes of destruction and killing in the name of freedom.

So I am afraid that we need to brace ourselves. We are in an unstoppable mode towards war.

Comments

  1. doublereed says

    Thank you for referring to it as the Israel Lobby instead of the Jewish Lobby. That’s a really annoying mistake people make, as if all Jewish Americans are Israel-before-America or something.

    It’s ridiculous how corrupt this system is. Nobody wants this war, yet it’s inevitable? Wtf is that crap?

  2. Mano Singham says

    People often don’t realize that, as Mearsheimer and Walt emphasized in their book on the lobby, that (a) a large segment of American Jews have very little sympathy for the goals of the lobby and are often the most vocal opponents of its actions; and (b) the lobby has a lot of non-Jewish people in it.

    It basically represents the views of an extreme right wing warmongering faction of US and Israeli politics and has to be viewed primarily the way that other lobbies like the the NRA and other lobbying outfits operate. The big difference is that unlike most lobbies, but like the NRA, it is immensely influential.

  3. kyoseki says

    I’m not the only person who is getting really annoyed with the continued use of the term “red line” when what people really mean is “ultimatum” am I?

    You don’t issue a “red line”, you issue an ultimatum, the phrase “red line” appears at least half a dozen times in that CNN article, the word “ultimatum” is completely absent.

    Is the word ultimatum considered too complicated for the average voter to grasp?

  4. says

    I agree. “Ultimatum” or “threat” are better words — which is exactly why the media won’t use them. For one thing, it’s a violation of international law to threaten other countries. Even the relatively spineless UN has actually said that the US is breaking the law.

    That’s one place Orwell got it wrong. Not, “We have always been at war with Eastasia” today it would be “We have always been in extended dialogue with Eastasia”

  5. sqlrob says

    I think it’s more of who is responsible.

    *They* cross a line
    *We* issue an ultimatum

    We’re never at fault for something bad, it’s always their fault over there, don’t look at the man behind the curtain.

  6. Nick Gotts says

    We are in an unstoppable mode towards war. – Mano Singham

    So it appears, but then I thought we in the UK were as well*. So don’t give up – bombard your Congresspersons with “red lines” – that if they vote for war, you’ll vote against them next time whoever they’re up against.

    More generally, however, foreign policy and war have always been areas that, even in “democratic” states, the elite try hard to reserve to themselves. however, I think there’s some chance of preventing that in this case because of the scale of the screw-ups** of the past decade.

    *That we turn out not to be was partly an accidental result of political maneuvering by both the government and the Labour Party leadership, but it was the strong public opposition that led to this, and is keeping the outcome in place.

    **These screw-ups were also crimes, of course.

  7. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    “nobody wants this war” eh?

    Funny, I must’ve dreamt about those people on Al Jazeera even but also elsewhere putting the case for it forward. Hell, even in France ..

  8. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    I on’t know whether an attack on Syria -sepcifically President / Dictator Assad a good idea or not. On this issue I’m ..indecisive.

    I don’t see any good options and plenty of problems whatever is done or not done.

  9. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Ed line, line in the sand (even when the ground ain’t sandy), these figures of speech sure are pushing the envelope and testing our limits. Guess we’re about to cross another (river) Rubicon on this one although we shouldn’t count our chickens till they’re hatched.

    Meaning is plain as mud & that’s rock solid in cliche land..

    Obama apparently denies having said it now if something I just heard on Letterman is correct which, well, dunno.

  10. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    These screw-ups were also crimes, of course.

    Were they?

    It’s impossible to you that maybe the people in charge actually thought they were doing the right thing at the time based on what they knew or thought they knew at the time and just stuffed up?

    I don’t suppose you can imagine how it would be to be in say President Bush’es place at the time can you?

    Also, y’think maybe Saddam Hussein might’ve had a bit more to do with the situation and Israel maybe a lot less? I mean its not like Saddam was running the whole Iraqi nation and bluffing he had WMDs when he hadn’t to keep himself in power ..oh wait – it was!

  11. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @2. dezn_98 : Why don’t you tell the families and / or next of kin who died in Assad’s chemical attacks that?

    Ridiculous maybe. Tragic and a waste of human life and flippin’ horrific for those in the situation(s) – definitely.

  12. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Ed lin = Red line natch.

    (Nearly ended up with “Reed line” there instead too!)

  13. doubtthat says

    Well, I’ll explain to the families of the Syrians who died in the chemical attacks why we won’t be blowing up thousands of other innocent civilians if you explain to the families of the 100,000 who died prior to the chemical attack that their lives weren’t worth considering.

    I agree with you that it’s a tragedy, and I am unable to find a “good” option, but after years of arguing that America has the right to kill anyone in the world with a loose affiliation to Al Qaeda absent anything resembling due process, the idea of bombing to benefit the Al Qaeda-backed opposition forces is a little tough to swallow.

    Also, what will the bombing accomplish? We fucking demolished the entire nation of Iraq because we wrongly assumed Saddaam had chemical weapons, that didn’t seem to deter whoever ordered the strike in Syria. A couple of strategic bombings that are either (1) total ineffective or (2) really effective and aid the opposition forces composed of a cocktail of Al Qaeda members, radical extremists, and all manner of villains doesn’t seem like an awesome proposition, no matter how much we oppose sarin gas.

  14. doubtthat says

    It’s impossible to you that maybe the people in charge actually thought they were doing the right thing at the time based on what they knew or thought they knew at the time and just stuffed up?

    It should be impossible for anyone minimally aware of the past decade. Have you already forgotten the yellow cake? Curveball? The insane, failed effort at creating some link between Hussein and Al Qaeda? The fact that the weapons inspectors had exhaustively documented the destruction of Saddam’s arsenal following Gulf War I?

    I know I will be fighting this battle for the rest of my life, but your attempt to whitewash the obvious history is not impressive. Those same claims were made in real time. They were absurd and thin before we spent a decade digging in the sand to no avail.

    By the way, I’m curious, why did we go to war? What did Bush see that necessitated the invasion? I’m curious if you can link to a quote of Bush or an administration official arguing for invasion using the rationale you find compelling prior to the commencement of the campaign.

    I don’t suppose you can imagine how it would be to be in say President Bush’es place at the time can you?

    Yes, I can imagine that. I know very clearly that I wouldn’t try to conjure up bullshit reasons to invade a nation.

    Also, y’think maybe Saddam Hussein might’ve had a bit more to do with the situation and Israel maybe a lot less?

    Israel was not a necessary element of the Iraq invasion.

  15. Nick Gotts says

    I said nothing whatever about Israel, you lying scumbag. The attack on Iraq was a crime because the USA is a signatory to the United Nations Charter, which outlaws the use of force except in self-defence or with the approval of the UNSC – neither of which was the case – and international treaties have the force of law. moreover, it is abundantly clear that the US and UK governments lied shamelessly – they knew very well they did not have evidence of WMDs, but insisted on launching their invasion before the UN weapons inspectors could finish their work. similarly, Obama’s drone attacks on targets in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere have no conceivable justification under the UN Charter, and hence are also crimes under US law. Now fuck off.

  16. Nick Gotts says

    Someone may object that the USA gets little of its oil and gas from the Middle East, and will get less in future. But that’s not the point, which is not supply but control, and with it, the ability to manipulate prices and in extremis, cut off supplies to others.

    he who controls the spice oil controls the universe.

    Adapted from Baron Vladimir* Harkonnen, in Dino de Laurentis 1984 film of Frank Herbert’s Dune.

    *You could tell he was the baddie just from the name!

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