Syria: War Has Been a Long Time Coming

The groundwork for whatever might be happening with the U.S. military in Syria has been percolating for a long time.

freestylee / Foter / CC BYfreestylee / Foter / CC BY

I wrote in April 2003 that the logic of U.S. actions in the Middle East demanded eventual war on Syria (and I wasn't alone). The Bush adminstration began the sanction crackdown on Syria by 2004, and kept it up.

The tenacious, very long-view neocon foreign policy hawks surrounding Weekly Standard were pushing loudly for that war in 2005, and the Bush administration was listening. (That I've been worried about this since 2003 may, you might say, mean I'm a moonbat ninny who has predicted 8 of the last 4 wars or somesuch cute riposte. It may be, though, that I saw that the people wanting this war are patient and tenacious and influential and cross party and administration lines.)

By last March the war seemed inevitable to many, even though history gives us no reason to be hopeful about the outcome of the U.S. making a better Syria.

It might also be worth Americans' time as we contemplate unleashing the dogs of war over reports from distant lands from self-interested parties to read about knowledgeable people who aren't quite so sure about the supposed chemical attacks, and to recall that even if we know they happened, we don't necessarily know whodunit.

Just kidding, Americans, it doesn't matter what you (or your elected representatives) know, believe, or think about Syria. The administration is going to do whatever it wants.

And remember: how we intervene in our Syria crisis of today will merely be prelude to our Syria crisis of tomorrow, until we return the U.S. military to its constitutional mission of defense and not an endless one of using disruptive mechanized violence against overseas strangers and hoping the results are "worth it."

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Aloysious||

    Argh. Thanks for the squirrel punch.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    “Hysteria is growing and confrontation is incited,” Lavrov said in what he portrayed as an emergency press conference. He said the United States and its European allies have condemned the regime of Bashar al-Assad without any evidence that it actually used chemical weapons in an assault on a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21.


    Don't try to be reasonable, you commie!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html
  • CampingInYourPark||

    “Hysteria is growing and confrontation is incited,” Lavrov said in what he portrayed as an emergency press conference. He said the United States and its European allies have condemned the regime of Bashar al-Assad without any evidence that it actually used chemical weapons in an assault on a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21.


    Don't try to be reasonable, you commie!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html
  • bmp1701||

    Exactly what do they plan to do? Who is going to replace Assad? Why is the replacement going to be able to maintain a cohesive society where Assad could not? Will the replacement be a tribalistic lunatic who declares war on various minority groups? Will a majority of Syrians actually accept the replacement? Will they accept any American-favored person when any such person could be easily tagged as a Yankee toady?

  • Hyperion||

    Who is going to replace Assad?

    We've already seen this film once, in Egypt. It just didn't require our help that time.

  • John||

    You watch, Obama will intervene and an Islamist anti-US government will be the result. It is like that is the result he wants.

  • Hyperion||

    That's exactly what I just said.

    What else can possibly happen? A great Arab Spring Democracy? Bwhaahhahahaaa!

  • Invisible Finger||

    It is certainly the result the military-industrial complex wants.

  • albo||

    Will the replacement be a tribalistic lunatic who declares war on various minority groups

    Maybe we need to admit that the various tribal cultures of the Middle East, the Caucuses, and the Balkans aren't really "country" people.

    Undraw the current map lines and let them figure it out by themselves.

  • Invisible Finger||

    They're trying to do that but the US (and Israel) keeps trying to stop them.

  • Bam!||

    Pffft. Trying to answer those questions might demonstrate that we shouldn't intervene. Best to attack now and sort it out later.

    Or: Fuck you, that's where/when/why/how.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Who is going to replace Assad?

    The wise electorate, through the magic of democracy, will come up with someone. Just like they did in Iraq and Egypt.

    For fuck's sake, even Americans don't know how to elect a President that isn't a total asshole.

  • John||

    So Bush caused the revolution? So Bush should have never sanctioned Syria even though Assad was trying to make Lebanon into a puppet state? I don't recall Reason ever having a problem with the sanctions against Syria.

    If we go into Syria, it won't be a result of Bush's sanctions or any actions Bush took. That is the most idiotic thing I have read today. Just stop it Reason. Let other people argue against this. I think this is the worst idea ever. It is totally stupid to do this. But your arguments are so stupid and so forced, I am starting to get embarrassed feeling that way. Does anyone with any sense object to this thing? Or is it all a bunch of morons who object to anything and have thus lost the ability to make rational arguments against intervention?

  • ||

    If we go into Syria, it won't be a result of Bush's sanctions or any actions Bush took.

    Where did Doherty say or imply it would?

  • John||

    yes. That is the whole point. You see our prior interventions with Syria have produced this one so therefore this one will just produce more.

    The article is so poorly written and incoherent, I can understand why you didn't immediately see that. But that is exactly what he is saying

  • ||

    The article is saying that the neocons were making rumbling noises about invading

    The tenacious, very long-view neocon foreign policy hawks surrounding Weekly Standard were pushing loudly for that war in 2005, and the Bush administration was listening.

    And now that the liberals are in charge and have discovered their own arrogant warboner, they are going down the same path. It's almost like they two parties are not all that different, especially when it comes to foreign policy.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    And the neocons were just disgruntled Dems. It's not like Woodrow Wilson, FDR or LBJ weren't hawkish. Nor was Clinton for that matter.

  • Xenocles||

    See? Yet again the President has been forced into doing something he doesn't want to do by Bush.

  • Almanian!||

    John, it's really starting to sound like your butt hurts. And that makes me haz a sad, cause then your posts get all pissy.

    Will it help you feel better is I say, "I, Almanian, am opposed to US intervention in Syria (military or otherwise, but mostly military) because 1) it's a bad fucking idea and will end in tears 2) there's no national defense interest being served 3) there's no national non-defense interest being served (that I can see) 4) we're just gonna get a bunch of troops killed and 5) we won't have any control of the outcome.

    So I say STAY THE FUCK OUT, regardless of prior US actions in the region, regardless of potential calls of "hypocricy" in our foreign policy (cause our interests change, and foreign policy may be 'point-in-time'...just cause it's a bad idea right now, for lots of reasons. Let's sit out, see what happens, and respond to the reality based on US interests (not involving furthering our imperial warboner).

    To: John
    Fr: Almanian

  • John||

    Even as a joke, you make more reasonable arguments than Doherty does. Even when I agree with their overall position, reason manages to be a bunch of fucking annoying idiotic peaceniks.

  • ||

    I despise pacifism, but you're being a little hard on Reason. Relax, and have a beer. :)

  • Hyperion||

    I guess we all should be glad that they have another target, far far away, to play with their toys.

    After all, when they run out of foreign play grounds, who do you think is next? Yep, those scary terrorists right here at home, those scary nut cases who talk about liberty and that old constitution thing.

  • John||

    We should be very glad they have an other target. It is in the US's interest for this war to go on. It ties down both of our enemies. Let Asad and Iran spend their blood and treasure fighting Al Quada. And let every swinging dick wanna be jihadist have a place to go and die that doesn't involve coming here. What is the downside?

  • Invisible Finger||

    We won't be able to get an exclusivity contract from one side to buy our stuff?

  • Bam!||

    Go ahead, government; try and invade Texas. See what happens.

  • ||

    My earnest hope is that sufficient independence remains in the spirits of Americans that a federal invasion of a state would result in armed insurrection, preferably nationwide.

    As an entirely sovereign nation, Texas would possess enough power and wealth to be classified comfortably as an emerging superpower. I don't think it would be the federal government's first choice for enslavement were such a scenario as you describe to materialize.

  • Xenocles||

    The Eisenhower administration is on the line for you, RPA.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Mexico would probably win.

  • creech||

    a) we will never run out of foreign playgrounds and b)they don't need to run out of foreign playgrounds to target "scary nut cases" at home. And, guess what, the domestic leftists are just as likely as the righties to be labeled the "scary nut cases." I can never understand the left's anti-gun boner- they need to watch out what they wish for.

  • ||

    1) From a practical perspective, there is no way to know whether the people who replace Doctor Julian Bashir's administration will be any more adherent to the principles of liberty and justice than he and his cadre of despotic fuckwits are.

    2) It is not the responsibility of the United States to give a shit about a third-world latrine's domestic problems. Fuck Syria, and fuck Syrians. Seriously. Enough of this bullshit.

    3) Not one drop of American blood, nor one dollar of American money, should be spent on these people. We owe the world nothing. Let the peoples of the various nations mend their societies themselves.

  • Eitan||

  • Goldwin Smith||

    So any anti-war protests yet? And how much media coverage?

    Thank goodness a Nobel Peace Prize winner Democrat is in the White House to end US imperialism!

  • John||

    There will not be any protests. What is interesting about this is the country hates this idea but the Dems and the left are too far up Obama's ass to say anything. They are going to wind up owning a wildly unpopular war. Good luck with that.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    And the DemOP media is going to ignore any actual anti-war protests and isn't going cover the war in a negative fashion.

  • Tony||

    And nothing would make you happier.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Nothing says "Freedom" and "Peace" like Socialist Realism!

  • Bam!||

    Days like today are Obama was awarded the Peace Prize. When he holds a press conference announcing the bombing, he should have it around his neck.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Teddy and Woodrow at least got the Prize for negotiating peace treaties while the O got it for essentially being a Democrat.

  • Tony||

    He never claimed to be a pacifist or that he deserved the Prize.

    Syria is a complicated and difficult issue. Is the humanitarian thing to do to continue letting banned chemical weapons be used on civilians? There's definitely an argument for nonintervention but there's at least as good an argument for putting our money where our mouth is with respect to the use of unconventional weapons.

  • bmp1701||

    Syria is a complicated and difficult issue.

    How complicated is "stand on the sidelines and watch them die"?

    Is the humanitarian thing to do to continue letting banned chemical weapons be used on civilians?

    Why should we give a shit? Assad has been slugging away with conventional tanks and artillery for years. Those are not any prettier than chem weapons, once you exit the land of Michael Bay and enter reality.

  • R C Dean||

    Is the humanitarian thing to do to continue letting banned chemical weapons be used on civilians?

    Setting aside the superstitious fear of chemical weapons, we may manage to tolerate far bigger body counts by other means without staging a humanitarian bombing campaign.

  • R C Dean||

    Syria is a complicated and difficult issue.

    Not really. It is currently run by an authoritarian as a proxy of Iran, our enemy in the Mideast. The civil war is between pro-Iranian Assadistas and a variety of mainly Islamonutter groups, with anyone who might want to implement something remotely approaching a legitimate government firmly on the sidelines.

    US intervention at this point would be to support our Islamonutter enemies and pave the way for them to take over another state.

    Not too tough, really, to see that the smart move here, especially in light of the epic Egyptian clusterhump, is to stay out of it.

  • Brian Doherty||

    This blog post, in and of itself, isn't making an "argument," though some of the pieces it links to do. It implicitly treating non-intervention as an understood good, just as many things in Reason treat liberty implicitly as an understood good without "arguing" for it per se. (I understand this is unsatisfying to some.)

    It is not blaming anything on the Bush administration---it is just a little history lesson for those who might have forgotten, pointing out that the set of reasons established in U.S. foreign policy thinking, both within and without the administration, which Obama has done nothing to change, have been pushing in this direction for many years, long before the current rebellion or supposed use of chem weapons (tho the POSSESSION of them was part of the reasoning back in 2003.)

  • Not an Economist||

    If we were going to intervene in Syria we should have done it early on in the revolt, when the moderates were in charge. Instead the present leaders of the revolt are at a minimum ideological compatriots to Al Quaeda, if not directly associated.

    Of course I'm not saying intervening in Syria was ever a good idea, just that it is a worse idea now than it was a while ago.

  • LibertarianChad||

    Good article Brian

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement