Marco Cáceres di Iorio

John McCain’s Sophomoric Rationale for U.S. Military Involvement in Syria

the sophomoric John McCain

Perhaps the most idiotic comments made thus far to try and rationalize United States military involvement in Syria were uttered by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on Sunday’s Meet the Press. It went like this:

The Syrian people are angry and bitter at the United States. I was in a refugee camp in Jordan, and there’re thousands of people and kids, and this woman who’s a school teacher said, ‘Senator McCain, you see these children here. They’re going to take revenge on those people who refuse to help them.’ They’re angry and bitter, and that legacy could last for a long time too, unless we assist them.

Really Johnny Mac, really? Syrians (and others in the Middle East) are going to take vengeance on the U.S. for not sending in the cavalry or launching cruise missiles or dropping bombs or deploying drones or supplying arms or creating no-fly zones, in which we first have to destroy their anti-aircraft missile batteries and fighter aircraft by… launching cruise missiles and dropping bombs.

It is possible to construct a rational case for aiding the moderate opposition forces in Syria so that they, and not the fundamentalist religious jihadists come to power when, eventually, the government of Bashar al-Assad is overthrown or at least forced to carve out a separate Alawite state in a small corner of Syria. It’s reasonable to think about developing a strategy to secure Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons so that they not fall into the hands of terrorists groups.

But to even remotely suggest that a reason the U.S. should become involved militarily in Syria is so that young Syrian boys and girls, when they grow up, not attack the U.S. for its inaction is just too dumb for words. This is the guy who’s leading the charge for yet another U.S. war in the Middle East? Mr. “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran”? Ugh…

This past weekend, I saw a good movie called The Peacemaker starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. It was about a Serbian Croat Muslim man who had lost his wife and daughter during the Yugoslavian wars of the 1990s. The man was never able to recover from the tragedy, and ultimately he blamed the West for the loss of his family. He dedicates the rest of life to taking vengeance by acquiring a nuclear bomb and trying detonate it near the United Nations building in New York City.

The following is an excerpt from the movie. The terrorist—Vlado Mirich—has recorded a message to the world.

You will look at what I have done and say, ‘Of course, why not? They are all animals. They have slaughtered each other for centuries.’ But the truth is, I’m not a monster. I’m a human man. I’m just like you. Whether you like it or not. For years, we have tried to live together. Until a war was waged on us. On all of us. A war waged by our own leaders. And who supplied the Serb cluster bombs, the Croatian tanks, the Muslim artillery shells that killed our sons and daughters? It was the governments of the West who drew the boundaries of our countries… sometimes in ink, sometimes in blood. The blood of our people. And now you dispatch your peacekeepers to write our destiny again. We can never accept this peace that leaves us with nothing but pain… Pain the peacemakers must be made to feel. Their wives, their children, their houses and churches. So now you know. Now you must understand. Leave us to find our own destiny.

 Not everyone wants to be left alone to find their own destiny, particularly not when it looks like they may be fighting a hopeless struggle. There are times when the U.S. has to unwillingly enter a conflict. But the justification should never be, “If we don’t, they’ll come after us later.” The fact is that the more likely reason people come after us is precisely because we keep sticking our nose in places it doesn’t belong.

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