We Must Bomb Syria to Save Civilians From – Err – to Frighten Iran!

John Glaser, September 03, 2013

After meeting with President Obama, Republican House Speaker John Boehner spoke to reporters outside the White House to publicly voice his support for the administration’s case for bombing Syria.

We must bomb Syria “to warn others around the world that this type of behavior is not to be tolerated,” Boehner claimed, repeating administration talking points.

“We have enemies around the world that need to understand that we’re not going to tolerate this type of behavior,” he added. “We also have allies around the world and allies in the region who also need to know that America will be there and stand up when it’s necessary.”

Is there anyone with even the most superficial understanding of U.S. foreign policy that doesn’t know who Mr. Boehner is referring to?

Yesterday, another Syria hawk urging war spoke to the press outside the White House immediately following a meeting with the President. “If we don’t get Syria right,” Lindsey Graham warned, “Iran is surely going to take the signals that we don’t care about their nuclear program, and it weighs on the President’s mind strongly about the signals we send.”

“Iran will read importantly what we decide to do with regard to the [chemical weapons] convention,” Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday. “Likewise, Israel: Israel is at risk.”

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday:

President Obama’s strategy for winning congressional support for military strikes on Syria relies on two of lawmakers’ most powerful impulses: to challenge Iran and to protect Israel.

Although Congress is deeply divided on the wisdom of Obama’s planned cruise missile campaign, members are generally united in not wanting to send a signal to Iran that the United States won’t stop it from building a nuclear bomb. And they understand that Israel, while silent on the issue of the strikes, is looking to Washington to help shield it from regional spillover from the Syrian civil war.

The media and Americans more generally are framing the imminent attack on Syria as part of a humanitarian effort to save the Syrian people from the Assad regime. That narrative is conspicuously absent from the administration’s rhetoric, with a few exceptions. This is because the “limited” strike on a selection of Assad’s chemical weapons delivery systems has nothing to do with humanitarian intervention and everything to do with making America’s threat to Iran as real as possible.

It is strange how this can simultaneously be the reason for war and yet not at all. There is nothing in the text of the Obama administration’s draft legislation seeking authorization for the use of force against Syria that mentions Iran. There, it’s all about chemical weapons use – a justification rejected by the UN Security Council, NATO, the American people, and quite possibly Congress. If there was even a minimal level of honesty in Washington, the AUMF would say what Kerry, Graham, Boenher, the Los Angeles Times and others say openly.

But again, I guess it’s harder to sell a war in the following formulation: We must bomb Syria to frighten Iran.

By the way, the case for war on Iran is about as weak as the one for Syria. The best U.S. intelligence estimate available concludes Iran hasn’t decided to pursue a nuclear weapon and the military and strategic consequences of a preventive (read: offensive) war on Iran would be orders of magnitude more catastrophic than those we face with Syria.

Some might say we’ve done enough to Iranians. First we overthrew their democratically elected government and imposed a brutal dictatorship. Then we helped Saddam Hussein conduct chemical warfare on them in the 1980s, and now we’re imposing comprehensive economic sanctions on them, blocking – ironically – the medical treatment that survivors of U.S.-aided Iraqi chemical warfare desperately need.




17 Responses to “We Must Bomb Syria to Save Civilians From – Err – to Frighten Iran!”

  1. [...] Print This | Share This | Send a letter to the editor | Letters | Antiwar Forum [...]

  2. this kind of behavior will not be tolerated? ok. but set some guidelines as to how to deal with such behavior as it happens and if it already happened, be fair, investigate who was responsible and proceed according to reason and justice.

  3. Silber on how the U.S. government nuked Japan, not to end the war, but to "send a message" to Russia. Killing civilians of one country in order to send a message to another: http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2006/06/cult

    As for how this statement is translated:
    “We have enemies around the world that need to understand that we’re not going to tolerate this type of behavior” [from "our" "ememies"] he added. “We also have allies around the world and allies in the region who also need to know that America will be there and stand up when it’s necessary.” [p.s. we'l'l tolerate this behavior from you, at least as long as you stay our "allies"!]

    The not tolerating this behavior message is of course a fairly popular one, as if the U.S. had any moral (or quite frankly legal – unilateral aggressive war is not legal based on treaties the U.S. has signed) standing whatsoever to enforce that even *if* it should be enforced.

  4. Obama clearly got out the POD PEOPLEATOR and applied it to the honorable…

    Oh wait, it's Boehner who is a Pod Person all the time anyway. Never mind.

  5. Just what America can't afford, doesn't need and non of it's business. The United Nations business and World Police not America. No budget in 4 1/2 years and no budget in site. 17 Trillion Dollar National Debt that will fall on our children and grandchildren. Maybe the President and Congress see no happy ending in site so they are willing to light the 1st match to World War III.

  6. Easy for these mother fuckers to say we must bomb Syria cause there not the ones fighting and dying. Why don't Obama and everyone else that supports this go fucken fight with the soldiers who are giving up their lives for this fucken nosey ass country. Worse thing I did was vote for Obama I mean the antichrist.

  7. Boehner has never been, is not, nor will he ever be, what we might describe as a "normal" person.

  8. All these reasons for an attack against Syria are starting to sound like all the reasons for invading and staying in Iraq. Only difference, Syria doesn't have a lot of oil.

  9. [...] I wrote earlier this week, much of the pretext for bombing Syria because of chemical weapons use is overshadowed by more [...]

  10. [...] I wrote earlier this week, much of the pretext for bombing Syria because of chemical weapons use is overshadowed by more [...]

  11. Ok but what the childrens and women’s why they give their baad death this is very pathetic act by Americans its very disappointed job done by them

  12. No, but Iran does- and Iran is Syria's key ally

  13. The answer to the problem in Syria is not bombing a bunch of airfields and radar installations with missiles, it is putting together a coalition to go into Syria, find Assad and his henchmen, arrest them, and cart them off to the Hague to be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. If it in fact it is against UN laws to use chemical weapons, then get the guy responsible for it and bring him to justice. Period. In the mean time, tell the Syrian military and the rebels that we have no intention of engaging them in combat, nor of working with them in any way except to arrest the people who used the chemicals, after which we will go home. Tell them our intention is to go into Syria, arrest the criminals, and then leave. They can then resume their civil war any way they like. And, of course, anyone, military or not, that tries to stop the coalition from arresting Assad will be “taken out” if needed. Our issue is with the perpetrators of this crime against humanity, not with one side or the other in terms of who should rule the country.

  14. [...] I wrote earlier this week, much of the pretext for bombing Syria because of chemical weapons use is overshadowed by more [...]

  15. There are 193 counties in the united nations, Including Syria. If their country broke a world law ( which they did) The united nations should decide the consequences for their actions. The president of one county ( the united states) should NOT be in charge of deciding the consequences for another country breaking a world law. I didn't think the United States was THE WORLD POLICE. I also voted for Obama, everyone makes mistakes.

  16. During the last round of negotiations, Iran was reported to have made considerable concessions in its proposed deal. These included “a freeze on production of 20% enriched uranium” and “a pledge to convert its stockpile to fuel rods

  17. During the last round of negotiations, Iran was reported to have made considerable concessions in its proposed deal. These included a??a freeze on production of 20% enriched uraniuma?? and a??a pledge to convert its stockpile to fuel rods