The endless cycle of war continues

The repetition of events that led up to previous US attacks on other countries gains pace. We are now at the stage of whipping up public support for yet another bombing campaign. It almost seems as if there is a standard script that is hauled out on such occasions in which just the name of the country is kept blank.

So now we learn that the UK is carrying out its usual role of carrying water for the US and will present a resolution at the UN calling for action in Syria. This is the obligatory nod to legality. When that resolution does not pass, there will be stern denunciations that the UN is not fulfilling its obligations and that the US and its NATO allies and whoever else can be roped in are ‘reluctantly’ being ‘forced’ to take actions through other channels, although these actions have likely been in the works for a while and only required an excuse. The UN is seen as worthy only when it does exactly what the US wants.

We already have the media salivating at the ratings boost that wars always give them. We have the return of familiar catchphrases and euphemisms such as ‘surgical strikes’, such a nice antiseptic phrase suggesting that one neatly excises a wound, rather than the reality that you are going to blow up a lot people immediately and destroy vital infrastructure that will result in misery for the survivors for a long time to come. We will learn of the wonderful new military hardware that has come online since the last glorious shock-and-awe. We also have the familiar troupe of of armchair strategists talking endlessly about the ‘end game’ and the ‘exit strategy’ and what targets should be picked.

And the reasons, purpose, and goals for this latest action? To punish the Syrian government? To overthrow them and replace them with another one? To tip the balance in favor of the rebels? To maintain Obama’s credibility after his stupid ‘red line’ comment? As usual all that is left vague so that warmongers can use any one that happens to be convenient at the moment, and seamlessly shift to another one when cornered by critics. All these warriors safely ensconced far from the battlefield also seem remarkably sanguine that this action will not result in an expansion of the conflict. It is surprising how much play Obama’s credibility is getting this time around as a reason for military action. Listen to this NPR report by its favorite warmongering correspondent Tom Gjelten.

It is not as if Obama has any credibility worth salvaging. For example, back in 2008, then candidate Obama was asked, “In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress?” His answer? “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

The difference between candidate Obama and president Obama is like night and day. But of course, no questions will be asked as to why his shredded credibility on issues like this is not worth salvaging or why the people of other countries should be the ones who pay the price for his braggadocio. Whipping up support for another war to demonstrate US might is too important to get distracted with little things like the constitution.


  1. CaitieCat says

    Said this in longer form chez Ed, but basically, yes. I see no reasonable way this will end well for anyone involved. I’d much rather go looking in the dark for a length of rubber tubing in a box of angry poisonous snakes, than stick a toe of a military boot into that situation. It’s like Shinseki said about going into Iraq: if you’re not willing to put in half a million troops, don’t put in any. Syria wouldn’t take as many as that, but it would take a LOT more than any nation is willing to commit, or the UN able to organize over the objections of Assad’s allies on the security council.

    Bad, bad, bad situation.

  2. Dunc says

    Here’s an interesting list of things proper journalists should be doing in the run up to any war, from Dan Froomkin back in 2007: How the press can prevent another Iraq. Sadly, I expect the press to continue their usual approach of doing the exact opposite of every one of them.

    And here’s an interesting post from the last round of chemical-weapons inspired escalation in Syria, which everybody seems to have already forgotten about even though it was only a couple of months ago: Meet The New Boss. Pull quote: “Every major political actor involved in this godawful catastrophe is lying about their intentions, be they dictator or democrat, and not one of them fears inflating the horror more than they fear backing the losing side… And every single one of them is willing to get people killed in large numbers to get what they want.”

  3. says

    As Andrew Bacevich writes in “American Empire” – the Americans have never bombed a country that had even a decent chance of being able to bomb them back.

  4. says

    I was just reading the coverage on the front of google news. What is the one thing I notice about all the talks of strikes on Syria??? Nobody is talking about what happens afterward. Could it be that their plan is no more complicated than that they’re going to cause random suffering and chaos like they did in Libya?

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