Sunday, April 09, 2017

Can we stop...

Can we stop saying "we are at war with Syria"? One of the sad things about this week's strike against Syria is that we are not at war with Syria. Not that I want this country to be at war with the Syrian government, but the reality is that if Syria had done to the U.S. what the U.S. just did to Syria, we would be at war. If any other country lobbed several dozen cruise missiles at an American military base, it would be viewed as an act of war and would automatically be the beginning of a longer conflict. It would never just be a one-off strike, or viewed as some kind of "statement" to our government about the attacking government's displeasure with the U.S. But that is precisely what has happened with Syria, Despite having attacked a Syrian military base, we all know that Syria is not going to attack the U.S., not just because they can't but even if they could, they wouldn't. It is because the underlying assumption in the world today is that the U.S. has the right to attack anyone anywhere without it being viewed as an "act of war."

Can we stop saying "we just invaded Syria" because of those 50-some tomahawk missiles? The U.S. has been bombing Syria for years. More recently, U.S. ground forces have been fighting there as well. We already invaded Syria. The new thing that happened this week, is the U.S. on purpose attacked the Assad government. This is not a new country to add to the list of countries where the U.S. is intervening militarily. It was already on the list. The thing that changed is who the U.S. targeted with the attack--which is a significant difference, but it's not like America wasn't killing Syrians already.

Can we stop claiming that the attack didn't do anything. It is true that the strike did not take the air base out of commission and the Syrians were able to use it to launch fighter jets the day after the American strike. Fifteen people were killed by the American cruise missiles (6 Syrian soldiers and 9 civilians, although you have to read 19 paragraphs into this story to find out the Syrian toll). While the Russians were warned of the attack and they probably told the Syrians, a bunch of Syrians died, most of whom are civilians. That should be a big deal, so stop saying the attacks didn't do anything.