Monday, June 24, 2013

Back to War

When the San Antonio Spurs took the court for the NBA Finals, it wasn't with just a bunch of locals. They have a guy from Brazil, a guy from Argentina and two guys from France. On top of that, their best known player was born in Jamaica.
The opposing Miami Heat have a guy with an odd mohawk haircut and tattoos up to his neck. They call him "Bird Man". But they also have the league's M.V.P., a native of Akron, and that turned out to be enough for the Heat to repeat in seven games, although it was very close.

I'm not sure how many of Iowa's roughly three million citizens are involved in Medicaid, nor how many pregnancies that group is likely to generate in an average year. But I do know that anyone in this group who wants, for whatever reason, to terminate the pregnancy now has to make one person happy - the governor. Yes, it's the guv who goes thumbs up or down in every Medicaid-funded abortion question. This new policy comes from those advocates of  "small government", the Republican Party.
Yes, the current governor is a Republican and, no, he has no medical training.

Now, to ask the question - "Why are we likely to go to war in Syria?" It's true that helping the rebels there would hurt the Russian influence in the area, but I don't think that's reason enough, nor that it's the whole story.
The Obama administration shut down the Iraq war/occupation, and the few troops that remain are there mainly to guard our huge embassy started under Bush. The Afghan conflict, by any description, is winding down mostly from fatigue brought on from trying to turn the country into something else. Now we find ourselves sitting down to negotiate with those nasty Taliban guys.
Perhaps someone has pointed out that ending two wars makes it possible to become involved in a new one. I'm not saying this is a good reason to intervene, but just that someone might be making the case.
Then there's the "You'll regret not using power." argument, probably made best by Bill Clinton, who feels that the biggest blot on his administration was not intervening in Rwanda, a country as far removed from the US as it's possible to be, when it suffered a mass genocide.
There's the political argument. Americans usually aren't squeamish about sending troops overseas, as long as they are all volunteers. Even so, there is no big public cry for another war. And Obama's no fool. He knows that Republicans will take the opposite side of whatever he decides to do, then pretend they have always felt that way.
There's the "Let's stand for freedom!" argument. Gosh knows this one has been used before, especially in support of oppressed people with lots of oil. Folks from Middle East countries seem to want to rid themselves of dictators, but they don't seem all that crazy about democracy. Can we guarantee that Egypt, for instance, will not return to 'strong man" government in the next twenty years? Ah, no.
It's even worse in Syria, because some of the groups that make up what we call "the rebels" are our outright enemies. Just how fun could it be to have Al Qaeda as an ally, especially after the Assad crowd is evicted? Obama said that the use of chemical weapons would be a "red line" for US involvement, but the "proof" we are leaning on passed through more than one set of hands before  landing in ours. The whole thing could be as phony as the Gulf of Tonkien.
So where does that leave us? Perhaps we'll be stuck with the vague but sometimes persuasive argument - " History will judge us as unsure and timid if we don't act." I wish we could do better.        


Post a Comment

<< Home