I’m sure everyone has his/her reason(s) for voting NO. Here are mine:
1. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” (The Who) This has often if not always been the result of forced regime change, especially in the Middle East. If brutality is in their blood, then the regime may change, but the brutality will remain.
2. The rebels are not a unified entity. There are some 1200 groups/factions/sides among them. (http://news.yahoo.com/freedom-fighters-al-qaeda-know-syrian-rebels-110000779.html) For the moment, they have a common enemy and act in alliance, but if/when the Assad regime is toppled, these groups/factions/sides would/will turn on each other in a bloody power struggle resulting in a civil war which the most brutal would/will win.
3. The current Syrian government is secular. Among the 1200 factions are Al Qaeda and Islamic extremists. How would you like a new regime that is brutal, Islamic AND Jihadist?
4. I don’t see too many “limited wars” remaining limited. The Iraq War was said to be “Get in, depose, get out”. Remember G.W. Bush’s huge banner saying “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”? 10 years later… In the case of a civil war after the deposition of Assad, will the US stay in Syria “to keep the peace”? How many American lives will this then entail?
5. The congressional hearings have grossly underplayed and even buried the Russian factor, while as we speak, Russia is sending warships to the eastern Mediterranean where the US warships are massed. Should there be any direct conflict between the US and Russian forces, especially if it results in damage, ships sunk or fatalities on either side, by accident or intent, could the consequences be contained?
6. And then there is Iran, who vows to intervene should an attack against Syria occur. I doubt that it would directly tangle with the US, but it could certainly retaliate on Israel. If this happens, could the US not engage Iran as well, meaning, escalate the conflict?
7. I don’t see too many “surgical strikes” that do not incur civilian casualties. General Martin Dempsey himself talked about “acceptable collateral damage.” Where the victims are concerned, is it better to be killed by a bomb than by a gas?
8. Striking chemical weapon stockpiles with explosives risk releasing the poisonous gas among the populace. If that happens, who will bomb the US? China?
9. In the G20 summit, most countries question that the chemical weapons were necessarily unleashed by the Assad government and not by the rebels. This needs to be firmly resolved. So far, not a single shred of evidence has surfaced either way. http://news.yahoo.com/lingering-doubts-over-syria-gas-attack-evidence-072755287.html Whatever happened to “Innocent until proven guilty”? As is, the Obama posture is “Shoot, aim, ready”, or “Shoot first, ask questions later”, the key word being of course “Shoot”. (I used to side with Obama over the Republicans on most issues, e.g. climate change, but not in this case. He is losing me, not that he cares.)
10. The US is already cash-strapped and debt-laden. According to Dempsey, a “surgical strike” alone, with “no boots on the ground”, will cost “tens of millions of dollars”. Is the US going to borrow more money to fund this new action? Or else take it from the poor and the elderly? Rest assured that the top 1% won’t have to pay; on the contrary, they stand to gain.
11. What if the situation “gets out of hand” (a phrase that cropped up more than once in the congressional hearing)? How many more “tens of millions of dollars” is the US ready, able and willing to shell out?
12. If Assad is cornered and toppling is imminent, he might fire his chemical-weapons-loaded missiles at Israel, or worse, at a US warship. What would be the consequence of this, considering that the Middle East is already a powder keg waiting to explode?
13. Finally, what is the true motive of the US? Righteousness or Dominance? The invasion of Iraq was justified by assertions of presence of WMDs when none were found. We’ve been fooled too many times to not be skeptical.
14. There is in fact one more MAJOR reason, perhaps THE major reason, but one too big for this post. See: http://www.activistpost.com/2013/09/us-planned-syrian-civilian-catastrophe.html
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)