From the Connection:
To the Editor:
Representative Jim Moran’s commentary on Syria ["Fear of Action Opens Way for Diplomacy," Connection, Sept. 12-18, 2013] deserves a response.
First, Rep. Moran writes that the calls he has received are “running 93 percent to 7 percent” against U.S. military intervention, yet he explains his support for the president to intervene because the situation in Syria is “very different.”
He is “Representative” Jim Moran. The U.S. has a “representative” form of government. Does he then act in good faith to so blatantly ignore the very unambiguous desires of his constituents to steer clear?
He then proceeds to well, quite simply, blame President Bush. C’mon. We are now almost five years into an Obama administration, and a decade since the start of the Iraq war. Syria is on Mr. Obama; even more so given the engagement with Mr. Assad by (then) Senator Kerry, and (then) Secretary of State Clinton who herself had earlier judged him [quote] “a reformer.”
Next, he writes that the “situation in Syria is very different” (from Iraq). Really. Despite the probable use of chemical weapons, Syria was self-contained as a civil war in an “Arab Spring” type uprising. Assad, so far, is just trying to survive. Conversely, Saddam had invaded and occupied another country (Kuwait) and had his sights on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields. He had also used chemical weapons on his own people, was at least bluffing the production of chemical and nuclear weapons (remember those U.N. inspectors?), and had fought a brutal war with Iran when his Air Force attacked the USS Stark in the Arabian Gulf in 1987 killing 37 U.S. sailors. Is it truly Rep. Moran’s belief that Syria with Assad is worse than Iraq with Saddam?
Maybe Rep. Moran’s most worrisome statement is, “What the president has been talking about is not war. It’s limited missile strikes … ” Despite overwhelming U.S. Military superiority, even if Mr. Obama does choose to strike it will not be the U.S. that ultimately decides whether it is war or not. If Syria responds militarily (which it can), or it potentially strikes back with a proxy war via terrorist affiliates across the globe, it could be both costly and bloody. It would indeed be war. Of all the statements made by Congressman Moran, I would ask him to reconsider the wisdom of that statement.
The reality of the Syrian situation is that Syria is Russia’s client state. Russia is not some disinterested third party seeking peace out of the goodness of its heart. Russia has supplied the Assad regime with the weapons of war, likely continues to do so, and Moscow wants nothing more than for its client, Mr. Assad, to survive in power. The U.S. has now ceded its leadership role to Mr. Putin, and we must now standby for Moscow’s moves. As a bonus, the former KGB colonel lectures us in our own newspapers.
Since Rep. Moran’s comments were written, Putin has publicly insisted that any negotiations be predicated on a U.S. commitment to not use force against Assad, and as the Connection was being delivered to our houses, it was Mr. Assad himself repeating that same demand to the U.S.
Given Rep. Moran’s own references to Mr. Bush, I’ll re-cycle his infamous “Brownie” quote and turn the tables. “President Obama, you’re doing a helluva job.”
Chris J. Krisinger
Col. USAF (Ret.)