In the two weeks since the last We, the PEOPLE!! a lot has happened regarding the threat of a surgical strike by a coalition of military forces led the the USA against Syria’s ability to deliver chemical weapons (CWs) against either its own people or anyone else.
First, in an incredibly close vote of 285 to 272, the British parliament narrowly defeated a bid by British prime minister David Cameron to join an international coalition in a limited surgical attack against the Syrian CWs capabilities. Explaining why they refused to support the attack, a member of the opposition stated that they were still recovering from the UK being dragged into the Iraq war which was sold as quick in-and-out conflict to remove Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), consisting primarily of nuclear materials and perhaps even biological materials by faulty and manipulated intelligence which was submitted to the UK.
US president Obama, realizing that his razor-thin international coalition might collapse without UK participation, decided to submit the issue to the US congress for their support and approval. That was a bold move, considering that France was the only other nation able to militarily support an attack on Syria with substantial assets alongside the USA. After all, even though more that 2 dozen other nations supported actions against the Syrian regime and its use of CWs against innocent men, women and children (more than 400 of whom were killed by what is now known to have been sarin gas attacks), those nations are not equipped to provide much in the way of effective military support for a sophisticated surgical strike with a narrow but intense and extremely focused objective.
It was a gutsy move on Obama’s part and to some extent a baffling one. It was also unexpected, as was the British parliament’s refusal to join the party. The initial belief of the experts and the pundits was that Obama would go it alone or with France. But when he pivoted and punted the ball over to the congress, the initial belief was that congress would forget partisan politics on this issue and this issue only, and support the officer of the US president against the atrocities committed by a brutal dictator.
Remember for one moment why Obama came out swinging to begin with: The Russians, who are one of five permanent members on the UN Security Council, made it clear they would veto any proposal to hold Syria accountable for using CWs, and in fact, they supported the ridiculous premise that it was the rag-tag rebels who had used them. They also claimed that Syria’s Assad did not even possess CWs.
Even when Obama sent the issue to congress for their approval, he never specifically said that he would not act if they voted against action. That was key, because after that event the Russian and perhaps even the Syrians cooked up a plan whereby Syria’s CWs would be placed under international control (to be ultimately destroyed). Russia thus de facto admitted that Syria did indeed possess CWs (and therefore de facto admitted that the Syrian government under Assad was the logical origin of the August 21st CWs attack). Furthermore, Russia got Syria to agree to sign the latest international anti-CWs protocols, joining the rest of the international community in swearing off CWs.
It’s really hard to believe that any of this would have happened if the USA hadn’t rattled the sabre as it did.
But to back up just a skosh, or a scintilla, or a nano-moment, before the Russians blinked…when Obama took the issue to congress:
As time wore on, the patina of “us vs. them” wore off and was replaced with “us vs. them vs. you vs. us vs you and forget about them”. People began to retreat back into their familiar zones of comfort. More and more republicans (you remember, the folks who brought us Afghanistan and Iraq?) signed onto the “Let’s stay out of this one” list.
And while this was happening, back in the middle of the homeland (Missouri, to be exact), the republican state legislature passed a state bill (vetoed by the the democratic governor) that prohibited federal agents from enforcing federal gun control laws in Missouri…to protect the US second amendment from federal interference! That veto is being submitted to the legislature for a possible veto overturning vote.
Yep! You read it right. Republicans, in order to protect the sanctity of the national constitution, will pass state laws nullifying national laws. And republicans, in order to protect the world against weapons of mass destruction that do not exist, will embroil the USA and its allies in 2 10-year-+ wars at the same time.
But to protect children from chemical weapons attacks that are proven to have taken place, and to protect our own troops from the possibility of those same CWs being used against them at some future date?
Not if it was Obama’s idea.