Let’s Debate Syria

Yesterday in class a student requested a substantive talk on the Syrian situation….and since I encourage my students to research a situation I decided to closed down my lesson for a half hour to have a debate on Syria….( I have the power)…..

The young lady started with that she understood why we were in Syria but was confused why so many people compare it to Iraq.  She was not sure why.

I spent about 10 minutes explaining the mash up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq…that apparently it was started on lies.

She then asked if not doing something in the face of humanitarian crisis would have been the right thing……I asked her she was talking about non-intervention….she was…..after about 5 minutes of back and forth I asked her where she had got her info for the questions….

This is the report that she had read…….

It’s remarkable just how little the basic contours of the Syria debate have changed, despite more than five years of brutal civil war. The same perceptions and misperceptions about intervention dominate today. In some ways, they are even worse now because of the distorting figure of President Donald Trump. Is it possible to separate one’s feelings about the man from the recognition that he is, whether we like it or not, our commander-in-chief?

Source: A practical guide for avoiding fallacies on Syria | Brookings Institution

After we talked for awhile longer and I told her that Brookings did some good research and papers….but that they have an agenda….like most think tanks….they say they are non-partisan but most consider them a liberal think tank…in so it has been known to change views depending of politics…..that it is a good place to start but not to end.

I decide to forgo the lesson plan for the day and to talk to the class about Syria…in the headlines but few know why…..

Below is a good synopsis…..

As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh year, more than 465,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting, more than a million injured and over 12 million Syrians – half the country’s prewar population – have been displaced from their homes.

In 2011, what became known as the Arab Spring revolts toppled Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Source: Syria’s civil war explained from the beginning | News | Al Jazeera

After 5 years and an all out assault on a Syrian airbase……what should come next?

Whether one believes they were the long-overdue response to the Syrian regime’s brutality, a one-off event that will not affect the conflict’s trajectory, a risky step that could prompt military escalation or all of the above, the 7 April U.S. missile strikes on Syria’s Shayrat air base in response to the regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons should be seized upon as an opportunity to jumpstart diplomatic efforts. The strikes have heightened tension between Moscow and Washington. Yet, this added volatility and the risks attached to it could and should prompt more serious pursuit by the two countries of their purportedly common interest: de-escalating violence sufficiently to establish a meaningful political track. This can be best achieved by deepening rather than breaking off U.S.-Russian cooperation.

Source: Syria after the U.S. Strike: What Should Come Next | Crisis Group

I have said a couple of times that I am disturbed on how the media has framed this…..they are basically a cheerleader for military action…..and has uplifted Trump from “Dud to Dude”……

It is pretty amazing how quickly the media and suck-up politicians can transform a mendacious, hypocritical, amateurish, ignorant, incoherent, bigoted buffoon who is way, way out of his depth into a man of courage, which is what they did to President Trump this past weekend. All it takes is some saber rattling and launching a few dozen missiles. Granted, the Trump brand is already so tarnished that he didn’t get the bounce or the adulation that the Bushes, pere and fils, got when they began their wars. According to one poll, only 51 percent of Americans approved of Trump’s action, but given that Trump’s favorability rating has hovered around or even south of 40 percent, this is an improvement.

Source: Why Trump Was Able to Sucker the World on Syria | By Neal Gabler | Common Dreams

Trump has drawn his little line in the sand (the problem with those lines is a wind blows up and they disappear) and all the king’s boyz have had their say on Syria….but really what is next?

Since World War II, every war America started without just cause it lost. Vietnam and the second Iraq War are tragic proof of this conclusion. But America also failed when it intervened with military force for similarly flawed reasons. The reasons are obvious. First, America failed to exercise sound strategic thinking and judgment. Second, America lacked sufficient knowledge and understanding of conditions in which force was used.

In other terms, White Houses never answered the fatal “what next?” question. Congresses never demanded answers. And the public was too often disengaged and disinterested to demand accountability.

Source: Does America ever learn? What next in Syria? – UPI.com

All in all a good session in class…..BTW the young lady that started the class down this path will be getting a favorable grade for showing initiative on the Syria situation…..(I need more like her)……


10 thoughts on “Let’s Debate Syria

  1. Hey it is me Wasberry and I have decided to get serious about my writing.

    Trump did this because Psychopaths have a fetish for violence. It is like decadent sex to them… The reality is the man is pure fucking insane. He has gotten his way with violence in his personal life and now he moves it to the national stage. Trump is basically the brat who always got his way.

    Trump is going to soon unleash violence on North Korea. This will piss off China and Russia. A good World War will solidify him as our supreme leader in his mind!

  2. It’s been my experience through life, chuq, and more so in the last decade… where young people might ask me about some current crisis fomenting into some nuclear conflagration. It seems each generation has its fear of some nuclear exchange that ends the world. Having lived through a lot of these “episodes” in changing world events. I usually tell them that nothing they are experiencing now was worse than the Cold War and how we actually got close during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even the world situation today, given all its possibilities of military action, is in no way in any risk of some nuclear holocaust. A local flare up? To be sure that risk is there. But because one or two nukes are attempted to be used by a belligerent nation does not mean the end of the world… and it certainly does not mean anything will strike America, or even Hawaii.

    We may be in a current pissing match with Russia but Putin is in NO frame of mind to want to lob over nukes on us. China has NO interest in those damn things either and will not respond if we end up having to nuke North Korea in the event we need to respond to Dear Leader launching one first. Also, one nuke does not necessarily “obliterate” anyone. North Korea hasn’t got the capacity to obliterate a damn thing. Make a mess? Yep.. but it’s not the end of the world by a long shot.

    I am guessing, as much as anyone else can, but even if NK launches a missile with a nuke, and it can be confirmed it was a nuke… or even a conventional ICBM… we will likely respond with conventional weapons or battlefield low yield tactical nukes against hardened targets rather than risk turning the Korean Peninsula into a cancer ground for the next 20 years.

    But… I am not in any Pentagon general’s Rol-o-dex in the event they might want my advice. And for certain Trump and I aren’t talking.

    1. LIke I said…a couple of gorillas thumping their chest and then split a banana….LOL Is everything okay? You have been away and just wanted to check….chuq

      1. Thanks for asking, chuq. Just taking a short respite. As you well know, sometimes one has to step back a bit before plowing ahead more. 🙂
        Tomorrow I have eyeball number one scheduled for cataract surgery. Such is age. Maybe after tomorrow I can actually SEE the nonsense I am posting. 🙂

      2. Oh I understand…that is why I do what I do on weekends….nice to be away from the keyboard…..good luck with the eyeball and your stuff is far from nonsense…keep up the good work….chuq

  3. I tend to side with Doug’s argument here. I also believe that Russia and China want to avoid war, and that they are both getting mightily pissed off with supporting the DPRK.
    I doubt any nation really wants an all-out nuclear war, even Trump’s America. If it came to it, Pyongyang could be flattened in a very short time, using existing conventional weapons. Without that flagship capital, and the power base it represents, it is unlikely that the North Koreans could continue, as long as China and Russia look the other way at the right moment.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I am hoping after 66 years of this North Korean love fest we’ve gotten enough intel to locate most of the Dear Leader’s larger military installations where destroying population centers wouldn’t be necessary. But you are likely very correct, Pete… DPRK could be flattened in a worst case scenario. Then we can sit back and watch the cloud drift southward…. 🙂

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