The debate continues over intervention in Syria. Some of it based on wrong information, such as that from Florida Representative Ros-Lehtinen, some of it that asks tough questions, such as that from former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, Robert Reich.
See below for those two examples and tell us what your thoughts are.
WRONG INFORMATION -- Representative Ileana ROS-LEHTINEN (R-Florida):
"It is against the norms of international standards and to let something like this go unanswered, I think will weaken our resolve. I — I know that President Reagan would have never let this happen. He would stand up to this. And President Obama — the only reason he is consulting with Congress, he wants to blame somebody for his lack of resolve. We have to think like President Reagan would do and he would say chemical use is unacceptable."
What Ros-Lehtinen seems oddly unaware of, however, is that Ronald Reagan did exactly the opposite. For the majority of the 1980s, Iraq under Sadaam Hussein was locked in combat with the Islamic Republic of Iran in a war that killed more than 1,000,000 people on both sides. The United States explicitly backed the secular Hussein over the Ayatollah Khomeini’s government in Tehran, still smarting from the embassy hostage crisis that had only ended when Reagan took office. That backing not only included the shipment of tons of weapons to support Baghdad, but also looking the other way when Iraq unleashed its chemical weapons stockpiles — including sarin and mustard gas — against Iranian civilians and soldiers alike.
Recently declassified documents from that time indicate that not only did the U.S. government know that Hussein possessed these weapons, but “conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin.”
President Reagan also remained silent during the Al-Anfal campaign, in which Hussein used poison gas against the Kurdish population in Northern Iraq to put down a revolt against his rule. In what has later been called a genocide, more than 100,000 men, women, and children were killed, nearly 100 times more than the attack that took place outside of Damascus last month.
CNN found that intervention is often weighed against political and economic costs. Declassified U.S. government documents show that while Saddam Hussein was gassing Iraqi Kurds, the U.S. opposed punishing Iraq with a trade embargo because it was cultivating Iraq as an ally against Iran and as a market for U.S. farm exports.
According to Peter Galbraith, then an idealistic Senate staffer determined to stop Hussein from committing genocide, the Reagan administration "got carried away with their own propaganda. They began to believe that Saddam Hussein could be a reliable partner." Read once-secret U.S. documents
Here are Robert Reich's questions on intervention in Syria:
(1) Were Syrian civilians killed by chemical weapons? Yes.
(2) How many? Estimates vary.
(3) Was Assad responsible? Probably but not definitely.
(4) Should the world respond? Yes.
(5) What’s the best response? Economic sanctions and a freeze on Syrian assets.
(6) What are the advantages of bombing Syria with missiles?
- (a) Highly visible response,
- (b) no American troops on the ground.
(7) What are the disadvantages?
- (a) Syrian civilians will inevitably be killed,
- (b) it will fuel more anti-American, anti-Western sentiment, thereby increasing the ranks of terrorists in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East,
- (c) our involvement will escalate if Assad or others use additional chemical weapons or engage in retribution against the us or Israel,
- (d) we have no exit strategy,
- (e) most of our allies aren’t with us, and we can’t be the world’s policeman everywhere,
- (f) it will distract us from critical problems at home,
- (g) the Syrian rebels are not our friends.
- (8) So why is Obama pursuing this so vigorously?
All good questions. What do you think?
I'm still not convinced we should intervene at all.
For a very good analysis, go visit Infidel753 and read his thoughtful post. Then call your Congressman or Congresswoman and let your voice be heard.