Thursday, August 29, 2013

Have we ever stumbled into war more stupidly than we're about to?

Sorry, I promised a long time ago this was not going to be a political blog, but I can't help it. Have we ever stumbled into war more stupidly than we're about to? I know what you're thinking: Iraq, Afghanistan... Believe me, I hate to defend the people that started those wars but at least they had distinct, start-to-finish plans, as deluded as they might have been. In Syria, the plan seems to be to launch a few cruise missiles to "teach Al-Assad a lesson," and then...something.

A little history lesson: On August 2, 1962, the USS Maddox engaged with three North Vietnamese boats in the Gulf of Tonkin, claiming the boats had fired first. A second engagement supposedly took place on August 4th. It's clear today that the NV boats on the August 2nd incident didn't fire first, and that that there was no enemy at all on August 4th. President Johnson himself privately said "For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there." Nevertheless, the Johnson Administration quickly pressured Congress into authorizing military force against North Vietnam. Which as we all remember, worked out fabulously.

As with the GOT incident, we still have very little knowledge of what happened in Syria. We're not even 100% certain chemical weapons were used. If they were, we don't know if it was Assad or some rogue splinter of his forces that used them. For all we know, it was the rebels that used the chemical weapons. We have little to no idea what happened, assuming we're even trying very hard to figure it out. I assume we're not. And all of this is based on the idea that killing people with gas is so much more horrible than shooting them or blowing them up, something that a lot of people have been questioning lately. 

So why is Obama so eager to start shooting? Because if he doesn't he looks like a pussy, and by implication so do we. This isn't just implied, this is the reason people are openly giving. There's not one person who seriously thinks that launching a few cruise missiles into the catastrophe that is the Syrian civil war will make things better. Not one. It's just that we said that if the bad guys used gas we'd do get them, and they did, so we have to do it. 

This means that our motivations for getting involved in the Syrian conflict is entirely more likely to even be stupider than the GOT Incident. Because at least Johnson knew he was telling a lie to start a war, just as Bush did 30 years later. 

Either Obama is insane enough to want to get us into this clusterfuck, which is bad, or he doesn't want to but feels like he has to, which is worse. 

If you think that the worst thing that can happen from this is that a few innocent civilians die and we reveal ourselves to be worse dickheads than we already are, then fuck do I hope you are right. But let's just consider all the ways it can get worse. Iran and Israel have been fighting a cold war in the Middle East for quite a while now, one that Israel has shown itself eager to drag us into. Syria is Iran's closest ally, and a historical enemy of our ally Israel. Russia and China are both supportive of, if not outright allied to, the Syrian regime. Furthermore the whole region is on the brink of a massive Sunni-Shiite bloody schism. One of the deadliest wars to occur since WWII was the brutal war between Iran and Iraq, centered where just such a sectarian fight would play out. 

So if you're thinking I'm just saying this might be August 1962 all over again... it's a lot worse than that. I'm saying this might be August 1914. 

Nobody knows who I am or cares what I say. But if anyone looks at this, if anyone's listening, please let's think about what we're doing before we press any launch buttons. Just this once. Let's think what we're getting ourselves into. 

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