THE BLOG

Syria: The 'No Boots on the Ground' Deception

When U.S. politicians like "Mr. bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" himself, Senator John McCain, promise the American people, "No boots on the ground" in Syria, it is meant to calm the public's fears about a possible U.S. war against Syria by reassuring it that no US troops will be deployed to fight on the ground. In other words, American lives will not be put at risk, only the hardware that America builds that blows up and kills people who are not Americans.

On Thursday (September 5), Senator McCain held a town hall meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. The topic was the Obama administration's proposal to launch airstrikes at Syria as punishment for the Assad government's alleged use of chemical weapons against its people. He opened with the following remarks:

"So I want to begin by saying to you that I am unalterably opposed to having a single American boot on the ground in Syria. There's no contemplation of having American boots on the ground. The American people wouldn't stand for it, and second of all it would not be anything but counterproductive to do that, and American blood and treasure is too precious to do that."

On Wednesday (September 4), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to explain U.S. intentions toward Syria. He too sought to reassure the public. He promised, "There will not be American boots on the ground with respect to the civil war." But note that Secretary Kerry qualified his promise with, "with respect to the civil war".

This is perhaps the most important line that has been uttered thus far in the entire debate over US involvement in Syria, because it opens the door for the insertion of U.S. ground troops should all-out chaos break out in that country following the envisioned U.S. bombing campaign -- the kind of chaos what would jeopardize U.S. and Israeli security interests.

The most obvious concern would have to do with Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles. Secretary Kerry mentioned it in his testimony. This is what he said:

"In the event Syria imploded, for instance, or in the event there was a threat of a chemical weapons cache falling into the hands of al-Nusra or someone else and it was clearly in the interest of our allies -- and all of us, the British, the French and others to prevent those weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of the worst elements. I don't want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to the president of the United States to secure our country."

So when Secretary Kerry and Senator McCain tell us, in no uncertain terms, that there will not be American boots on the ground in Syria, it's not exactly a lie... but it is an extremely dishonest and calculated deception. The American people need to understand this before they start jumping on the "let's bomb Syria" bandwagon.

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