DUMPSTER DIVING IN SYRIA
During the week of March 5, Senator John McCain called on Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to start military action in Syria. McCain seemed irritated at Panetta’s hesitancy. However, the secretary retorted that he had to give long and careful thought to sending American military into of harm’s way. McCain retorted that what Panetta had left out of his reply was the need for America to maintain its military superiority and pre-eminence in the world. I noticed the press didn’t give much space to this two-man debate.
As I stated in beginning these blogs, I am not promoting a political point-of-view or a theological ideology. My objective is to clarify the current situation in as correct and comprehensive a light as possible. Therefore, I’m not debating whether saving lives is more important that maintaining global pre-eminence. I leave it to you sort out whether you feel McCain or Panetta were on the right track. My concern is highlighting a serious situation that continues to escalate. As noted earlier, the Russian and Chinese vetoes at the United Nations have only resulted in more deaths.
Through a personal conversation this week with a Muslim born, raised, and now living near Syria, I had the fact confirmed that Syria has called in Iranian troops that are major players in the atrocities occurring daily. Iranian soldiers have raped many Syrian women suspected as supporting the uprising. I listened to a Syrian cleric in a Friday sermon in a Mosque proclaim, “What a humiliated life a man has when his sisters are being raped and his brother oppressed and their dignity and religion is trampled over.” The clergyman was urging his hearers to rise up and not wait for NATO to protect them. His point was the audience in the mosque must assert themselves to fight against the invaders from Iran.
Well-fed Americans sitting on comfortable leather couches watching large screen televisions in climate-controlled houses have a hard time grasping the terror these good people face because they could be killed at any moment by a rocket dropping indiscriminately on their roof. Syrian government troops running down the street could kill them with mortars or automatic weapon fire while randomly targeting any house. Such is the current situation in Syria.
What should be done?
Unlike Libya, Syria has strategic importance because it sits in the midst of ethnic, religious, and regional rivalries that could turn the entire region upside down. If the Assad regime topples, it could send the entire area into a tail spin. A proxy war might pit the gulf states and Saudi Arabia against Iran. Who knows where that conflict could go?
Israelis worry while juggling their problems with Iran’s nuclear program. They must consider what a change in the leadership in the Syrian government could mean for their nation.
So, I return to Senator John McCain’s question. Is this the right time for American intervention? While I certainly have no knowledge that this assertion is true, my hunch is that the United States has already begun sending military supplies to the insurgents behind the scenes. If this is correct, we have another of those old “under the table” wars going on with the Russians.
Does that make your stomach churn? It does mine.
Should the United States enter the Syrian conflict? Can the world standby and allow innocent people to be killed?