|Photo courtesy AP|
SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- President Obama honored the 12th anniversary of 9/11 this Wednesday during a solemn memorial service in which he remembered the 3,000 victims who perished during al Qaeda's September 2001 terror plots in New York and D.C., but then forgot them moments later by indirectly urging public support for a U.S. strike against Syria to "defend our nation" against enduring threats, though different than the ones faced by the nation in 2001. Analysts warn that U.S. involvement in Syria could reignite anti-American sentiment among militant Islamic terror groups.
In a week that recalls ideological aggression by extreme Islamists on American soil, President Obama on Tuesday, despite opposing public opinion, made the administration's case for bringing the United States to the verge of military action in the Middle East once again. The ostensible rationale is to punish the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria for deploying chemical weapons against his own people. Experts caution that any action, limited or otherwise, will further plunge the United States into an inextricable quagmire. The regional players affected are considered too important to U.S. interests to ignore, but within those ranks, many remain enemies of each other.
Involvement in Syria will have serious ramifications for existing U.S. relationships with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Russia, China, Iran, Libya, North Korea and others. Moving forward without the consent of the American people, Congress and the United Nations could also compromise alliances with historically strong partners such as Great Britain.
Others worry that if Obama orders the missile strikes, tenuous ties with Russia would unravel, paving the way for problems with China, Iran and North Korea. Even worse, a weakened Syrian infrastructure, which has already allowed violence to spill into Iraq, could open the doors for new al Qaeda strongholds and foster sympathy for Islamic terror organizations. Foreign policy experts suggest that it would be easy to portray the United States as an aggressor for striking a sovereign Middle East nation that poses no direct threat.
The president acknowledged that Syria's civil war does nothing directly to imperil the physical safety of the United States or its citizens, but sought to convince the public that the obligation to use military force against al-Assad is a moral one.
"What kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law ... and we choose to look the other way?" Obama asked in his address from the White House's East Room. "Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria, along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the worst weapons will never be used."
President Obama admitted that a war-weary population will not likely support new conflicts abroad, but explained that the United States must serve as the World's Police Force to help allies such as the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Jordan spread Western democracy.
"We can't look the other way on the crimes committed by oppressive dictators," he appealed. "Think of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in Guinea, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir in the Sudan, Paul Kagame in Rwanda, Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, Michael Sata in Zambia, Than Shwe in Burma, the Castros in Cuba, Kim Jong-un in North Korea and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney quickly covered President Obama's microphone, but could be heard reminding him that the United States would not be intervening in the these dictatorships, several of which are friendly to the United States.
It should be noted, however, that police work of any scope is a complex process full of gray areas. A fair amount of triage and difficult decision making must take place. If a Shell pipeline and a private home come under attack, authorities must mobilize to Shell as the larger threat with the greater overall impact. If an Exxon tanker is raided by pirates, it requires a full naval response even though a cruise ship might be stalled in the same waters. And isolated tribal genocides in jungles of the Congo must take a backseat to civil wars in the oil fields of the Middle East that could cripple the economic lifeblood transported through the region by countless neighboring allies.
"Besides," one White House aide quipped, "we're not ignoring those other atrocities. For example, we've got some of our top people working on Africa: Bill Gates, Bono, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Oprah. And as awful as situations like Rwanda might be, we're talking about women and children being hacked apart by machetes...not gassed by chemical weapons. A broad brush cleaver is not a weapon of mass destruction."
2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.