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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)……