On September 6th, I suggested that Congress should would wait for the U.N. lab report before voting on military strikes in Syria. The U.N. is getting ready to release that report, which they say will show that chemical weapons were used on August 21 in Syria, which is coinciding with the rather incredible news this morning that we got a U.N. resolution on Syria.
It’s important to remember how we got here, and that no one – including the U.N. – was stepping up until the American President took a stand.
The UN chief said he is “very much troubled” by divisions over Syria among members of the UN Security Council, which hasn’t been able to adopt any resolutions on humanitarian, political and security issues regarding Syria during 2 1/2 years of conflict.
If the deadlock continues it will represent a “failure” by the UN, Ban said.
President Obama set the fire that ended that deadlock.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was caught on camera saying that the results of the report would be “overwhelming” in showing that chemical weapons were used. “In unusual candor, the secretary-general said that Syrian President Bashar Assad ‘has committed many crimes against humanity.’”
In case you’re only watching the calls, this means Obama didn’t lie. But much more importantly, Obama was not the only person to notice that the U.N.’s failure left the responsibility to the U.S. Luckily the Obama administration stepped up to the plate but left the door open for diplomacy and worked to get Russia on board, which tipped the possibility of a U.N. resolution into the possible category.
Until President Obama brought up the possibility of a military strike, no one was paying attention to the grave violations of human rights in Syria.
So no, Obama’s not Bush and again, this isn’t Iraq. But that’s clear from the U.S. backing off even the threat of military action, as the U.S. didn’t insist on the threat of force in a U.N. resolution, a senior official told CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante.
The upcoming U.N. report shouldn’t be a surprise based on the fact that other tests were run that concluded that chemical weapons were used, geospatial intelligence suggested the chemical weapon attack occurred, and doctors described the symptoms of the victims as consistent with sarin gas.
The horrible truth may be that things are much worse than we suspected in Syria. While we moaned about how we were being lied to by our government (a luxury if you’re being gassed by your government), sarin gas was being used on Assad’s own people, including children.
It’s sobering to realize how the wounds of Bush caused us to turn us away from who we believe ourselves to be. When the U.N. is failing and we won’t listen as our own President tries to explain the issue to us, we should check ourselves. Skepticism is good, but cynicism is not skepticism and is not any more objective than blind worship.
Meanwhile, former RNC spokesman Michael Steele wanted to know on Real Time Friday night how getting involved in Syria has anything to do with our national security. So, if we can’t make tons of money with war contracts, who gives a crap about basic human rights. We can only be “liberators” and “heroes” if we can make a lot of money while we do it, apparently.
Sadly, the American people have bought this Republican frame, due to the austerity being imposed on them by Republicans — which was the entire point of austerity. First you turn on each other and then you turn away from each other, and meanwhile they get more of our resources and more power.
Turning our backs on crimes against humanity isn’t the same thing as turning our backs on a civil war. Crimes against humanity are a crime against our humanity. We are defined by what we tolerate and what we ignore. If 1,400 people have been gassed and we did nothing, and the U.N. wasn’t going to do anything, what would have stopped Assad from continuing? Indeed, our intelligence said there was evidence that more attacks were planned.
Isolationism is not the height of being a peace activist. And while we may not wish to be the world’s police, are we not grateful at times like this, at times when it really matters, that we have a leader who valued human rights enough to stand up when no one else would. Are we not grateful that we have the power to say no to sarin gas. To put our foot down and have it mean something.
Power is not always a bad thing – it depends on how it is used and to what ends.
Turning our backs on the use of sarin gas is morally deplorable, and history won’t be kind to nations of power who do. As François-Marie Arouet (aka Voltaire) posited, with great power comes great responsibility. Obama displayed the reliably good judgment that got him re-elected. He took a courageous stand for human rights when few would join him, and somehow he managed to get what just a week ago seemed unthinkable — he got Putin on board with a U.N. agreement, and so he got a diplomatic agreement in place of strikes.
Is this not what liberals voted for? Crickets from the accusers, once again, who called everyone who didn’t agree with them a warmonger. Apparently that’s what peacemakers do, when they aren’t pretending they didn’t get it wrong again and finding a way to credit themselves for the victory instead of Obama, always failing to see that if they are correct — if their complaints are what stopped him from bombing the world, mere words! — then he isn’t much of a war-mongering dictator.
Can you imagine Bush getting ready to invade Iraq and then pulling back because he listened to the people’s dissent? No one was allowed to even question Bush, let alone disagree, without being demonized by the jingoistic patriotism that accompanies hard sells and propaganda. This is not difficult to discern as it’s happening.
Somehow people always miss democracy when they have it. The fact that everyone was allowed to weigh in without being demonized (Dixie Chicks) by their own leaders should have been clue number one that this was not Iraq.