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Lessons From Syria

This national debate over what to do in Syria has highlighted so many problems with the way Americans think it’s hard to know where to begin.

First off, there’s the obvious issue that most Americans seem to grasp — that any kind of intervention in that part of the world inevitably ends in failure. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were total disasters, and it’s encouraging to see that most Americans do at least understand that now, even though it was painfully obvious even before we invaded Iraq. At least the hindsight is working OK.

Yet still most people fail to grasp the bigger issues of why we are even involved there at all — which is, of course, because that’s where the oil is. Here we are, twelve years since the 9/11 terrorist attack, and we’ve done absolutely nothing to solve the real problem of our dependence on their oil. And so Syria is just the latest hot spot. This insanity is going to continue forever (well, at least until all the oil is gone) unless we do something about our dependence on oil. And yet we do nothing.

Beyond the oil thing, there’s another issue that never gets addressed at all — that we as a people are totally incapable of understanding the people of the Mid East. It’s a different religion, a different culture, with different values and morals and ethics. For us to intercede there and try and thrust our way of life on them is, again, insanity.

Then there’s this comical idea that the U.S. has any kind of moral authority. That’s the one that really boggles my mind. Here we are, a nation that committed one of the worst acts of genocide in history against Native Americans. The only nation in the history of the world to use atomic weapons against another country, and we did it not once, but twice! What Syria is now accused of doing pales in comparison to the horrendousness of what we did to American Indians and the Japanese. And how do we set ourselves up as some type of international policeman, when we have continually thumbed our noses at international law by torturing prisoners on a regular basis?

This notion that we should be telling the rest of the world how to behave is ludicrous.

And what is bizarre about this affair is the way many Americans are reacting to what Obama is doing in Syria. To his credit, Obama decided not to act on his own but to seek Congressional approval. And at least so far, he has not received that and so has not acted. And yet, you have people criticizing him for that? Sheez, that’s the way things are supposed to work in a democracy — these right-wing war-mongers that are all upset with Obama not acting clearly have no concept of how a democracy works. But no surprise there.

But the utmost absurdity is the people criticizing the administration because they are now seeking a diplomatic solution with Russia playing a key role. Again, isn’t this the way things are supposed to work? Doesn’t it make sense that international problems be solved by international accords, not by one country playing policeman? What does it matter who is involved as long as you get a positive solution to the problem? But that’s the way these people think — they really don’t care about what problems get solved or what positive things happen, they only care about who gets credit. It’s their defining trait, pure selfishness. If something doesn’t benefit them directly, even if it makes the world a better place for 99% of people, they’re opposed to it.

But then, this is just another week in Idiot Nation.