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OP-ED: A Time for Atheists to Pray
At this point, denial of the president's commitment to level a strike at Assad could be a political calamity of major proportions, not because it is the right thing to do but because it has been made into the politically necessary thing to do.
So it will happen, whatever "it" actually is.
Realistically, if the gas charge is correct, one has to know that all the heat generated around the world would make it foolish for Assad to use the gas again, so what would the strike do? If it hits repositories of the gas, it might ignite it into the environment or worse. If the strike is used to punish Assad, it will look as if we are doing it with a wet noodle,no matter how big the missiles used because of all the scurrying around that will have been necessary to get the job done.
And so it is the "morning after" the strike. What now? What are we then willing to commit in addition to the unleashing of missiles from off-shore bases so we can get the hell out of the area afterward? Some good people disagree with me as to the need for the President to lay out even a generalization of our next steps. But it is imperative!
As I have continually demanded to know: Why Obama has not at the very least urged if not demanded that Syria's neighbors become involved for their own protection. We of course have answered that query through our always being available to do it for them. Or could it be that the same countries that tossed close to $13 billion into Egypt before we could even call the military action a coup, figure we will sift through the rebels and the rubble after striking Assad to figure out who the good guys might be in that bunch. After all, have we not seen the laughing rebels after they had killed off and stacked up the bodies of Syrian soldiers.
Sometime back, I wrote a commentary raising the question as to what we would do if someone organized an uprising like that in Libya right here in America. No one I talked with wanted to deal with the question which was a natural followup to the questions I raised about our involvements in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the end, whatever an "end" will look like, we will not conclude the internal revolution In Syria by "punishing" Assad without removing him, nor will we do much for the rebels except for the public demonstration that we can do damage without showing up personally. We will also be in the position we were in Libya and Egypt not knowing who the good guys are even as we know ones in political power were not good guys. And it is worth repeating :there will be the lingering logical questions as to why the Saudis, Kuwaitis, et al don't even seem to have received any calls from the President or his Secretary of State.
So there is little question in my mind the strike will occur, not knowing what the term actually means beyond what we hope will be well aimed million dollar missiles, more of which defense industry folks will be happy to manufacture. We hope also they will avoid the kinds of civilian innocents we seem to hit with our drones.
All of that ready to be launched because it must be if we are not to look like damned fools for all our rhetoric etc,but what will it do for the little people, the refugees who fled to neighboring countries, among others? And what will we do if Assad decides, what the hell, and launches some missiles at Israel whose Iron Dome might not catch?
Then what will we say to the survivors in Somalia who lost more than two million without a peep from the West? And what will we say as to why we kept silent even as we knew chemical gases were flowing into Syria as far back as 2009, according to the NYT?
The American sales force for the strike has been doing a compelling presentation,,totally avoiding the reality that for every action, there is always a reaction.
Finally, if the off the cuff remark by Secretary of State Kerry results in a deal, assisted by Russia’s Putin to get the poison gas out of town, it will have solved nothing at all in the overall problem of the Assad police state and its rule over the Syrian people. It will signal to Assad that he can go on as before, just without the gas. And it will be a long, long time when we are again a credible source of power or threa
It's a time for atheists to pray.
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Joseph J. Honick is a Bainbridge Island, WA-based international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications, including www.huntingtonnews.net. Honick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.