It seems as though America is faced with a blast from the past. The Syrian conflict has escalated, and today Obama announced that he wishes to send aid to the rebellion, and punish Assad for the use of chemical weapons. What does this remind many in America of?
Vietnam. While I was not alive during the war I hear accounts of veterans and survivors who can truly grasp the brevity of the war. We supported South Vietnam because we did not want to lose the nation to Communism, and as such we went into war based on a lie. The Gulf of Tonkin incident was a lie so we could go into war, and such began the state of perpetual war, funded by military contractors and politicians who cared naught for its own citizens spilling blood in a foreign nation.
So the question now that we face is what should be our response to Syria? Obama claims that we would enter Syria if Assad were to use chemical weapons. While there are conflicting reports that chemical weapons were used, it seems likely that Assad, along with the rebels, have used chemical weapons. And who else has used chemical weapons? We have and Israel have used them. Have we been punished for using chemical weapons in Iraq or Vietnam? No. Has Israel been punished for using white phosphorous on The Gaza Strip? No.
The main problem with this civil war is there are 'no good guys,' the rebels are no better than Assad. If we arm the rebels could a situation like Iraq with Saddam Hussein occur again? Will we support a dictator because they are pro US, even if they are massively inhuman and commit genocide? We once supported Saddam Hussein, but then he invaded Kuwait and we viewed him as a genocidal monster. Obama claimed that he does not wish to remove the regime, though given Assad's anti-U.S. sentiment and cult of personality it is very likely that Obama seeks to replace him with a more pro-U.S. leader. As terrible as it sounds we have to let Syria work this out, for if we intervene we shall know the answers to these terrifying questions.
We classify Assad's use of chemical weapons as a type of genocide, contrasting him to Saddam and Hitler. Sure enough Assad has used the Socialist Ba'ath Party as a means of propelling himself into a God to his people similar to Hitler or Saddam, but he has not enacted genocide in the same right. All leaders of a type of fascist party they follow suit by repressing freedom of speech information and religion, however unlike Saddam and Hitler he has not committed genocide. It is true that most reports show that Assad is winning the war due to superior technology and likely use of chemical weapons, but the comparison to true genocide is an absurd one. It is a civil war not genocide, a civil war where The United States needs not have a presence.
Genocide is far more justifiable for intervention, because there is a true humanitarian crisis at hand. It can be debated whether or not the United States should intervene in genocide, but in genocides like Rwanda it can certainly be argued that the only thing protecting those who are subject to persecution are outside forces. Even a small presence can bring an end to genocide, such as The U.S. intervention in Bosnia. Again, a civil war is not genocide and it is not our place to stop civil war for internal political conflict as shown through history is a constant.
Other than the distinction between genocide and war there is one other significant aspect that most media seems to forget. In a recent Reuters poll 56 percent of adults are against intervention, with only 19 percent supporting some kind of action. Obama cares little for the American people, claiming at first that he has the executive power to launch a strike without congressional consent as he had done in Libya. An honest debate can emerge if we are attacked whether or not the president can strike another nation but such is not the situation we are faced with. Fortunately Obama is 'allowing' for a vote on military intervention, but if the vote does not turn his way he, at least according to the executive branch, has the power to disregard this and strike anyway. Democracy for the imperial president, not for the people.
President Kennedy once said, "Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind." There is no good war; there is only chaos in war. This has shown been shown to be even more true since World War II, as every conflict we engage in we only lose. We do not win wars. In Vietnam we won every battle, but we still lost the war. We can win, but we will continue to lose not only American lives, but the hope of a people, something that President Obama once was viewed as an icon of.
He has extinguished that hope from a people. The youth who were proud to be an American for the first time in eight years vowed to support this idealistic figure. In his campaign he claimed to be against perpetual war, though in his five years in office he has gotten America into even more conflicts than Bush had been in. He has expanded the police state, killed American citizens with drone strikes, and has signed the NDAA. Even Dick Cheney could not use drones because it was considered too radical, but our imperial president does so without question.
The American people do not want war. They never want war. The anti-war candidates almost always win national elections, because the American people never want war. I do not want war. I do not want to see American lives wasted so military contractors can make a buck. I do not want to see the United States continue the perpetual war, and lose so much in the process.