#5. John McCain’s Hard-On For War
Easily one of the biggest reasons to be wary of entering the Syrian conflict would have to be Senator John McCain’s tireless effort to get us into Syria. He’s been calling Obama out over and over again, insisting we’re standing by while atrocities are committed. Here’s the tough pill to swallow — he’s right. But we simply can’t go wading into every war in every part of the world because truly horrible things are happening there, and to be sure that’s what’s going down in Syria. However, we’re not the only power in the world, and we aren’t the only ones capable of helping. McCain is so transparent as a War Hawk that I’m surprised he didn’t bring his old fatigues with him when he went to Syria last weekend so he could just jump right in on the combat.
#4. Do You Know Your Enemy?
Not to sound glib, but we really have no solid team to pick here. Clearly Assad is an asshole — a murderous and genocidal asshole. But this is a sectarian civil war we’re talking about, and the opposition forces aren’t really all that trustworthy either. How many times in the post-WW2 era has America packed its youth up and shipped them off to fight in a country where it was really hard to tell who was on “our side” and who wasn’t? Too many. Vietnam all over again, that’s what Syria would be.
#3. A Post-Nuclear World War Would Kind of Suck
Russia’s already said they’ve got Assad’s back, and they’ve been very clear about it. They went so far as to commit to give the Syrian government anti-aircraft missiles. Do you know why Russia would give Syria anti-aircraft missiles? Because then the Syrian government could shoot down American fighter jets, that’s why. Add to this tinderbox the fact that Israel with their hawk of a Prime Minister is spoiling to get involved because they feel threatened by the missiles being promised to Syria, and they’re not very happy because Iran and Syria are allies as well. If Israel gets hit, America enters the fray. And then we have ourselves and old-fashioned post-nuclear war, don’t we?
I’m not saying that this is World War III in the making here, but international clusterfucks of diplomacy and military power don’t exactly lend themselves to easy, peaceful negotiations. That said, I’m still confident diplomatic routes can be taken to solve this problem, and I’m eternally thankful NeoCons aren’t in the White House right now.
#2. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Ready for me to lay a non-mind-blowing fact on you? War is fucking expensive. It’s so expensive, George W. Bush hid the cost of his two wars by putting them on a credit card that didn’t deliver a statement until President Obama took office and actually put the wars on our books. Almost $1.5 trillion to date has been spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let that number sink in a bit. Think about how the sequester cuts that are really starting to be felt now were over just $85 billion. Think about how many hot meals, how many student loans, how many bridge and road improvements we can do with over a trillion dollars. We need jobs in this country, and it’s downright criminal to start a war when so many in this country don’t get a steady paycheck.
#1. Iraq, Iraq, and Then For Good Measure, More Iraq
Seriously, didn’t we learn anything fighting in Iraq for ten years? Didn’t we learn that an ambiguous timeline and difficulties identifying the “Good Guys” makes a bad combination for starting a war? Reports about chemical weapons make this a compelling story, but it’s not our story to tell. The United States can be just as effective by dropping smart phones with Internet access into the country as we could be dropping smart bombs, more so in fact.