July 28, 2014

We Must Go To War. Just Not With Syria


“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” Those were the words of John Kerry on April 22nd, 1971 when he addressed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the attempt to stop the Vietnam War. The questions now should be the following. How do you ask a person to be the first one to die for a mistake? How do you ask a floundering middle class to place the burden of yet another country on their backs?

The premise for military action against Syria is that they violated an international norm, an international treaty, the Geneva Protocol & the Chemical Weapons Convention of which Syria is not signatory. Ironically this norm has been violated several times. It was violated by Iraq as well as by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the Reagan administration. No action was taken by the United States even though it was known to have occurred because it was not in the interest of the United States to take action.

Chris Hayes interviewed Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry attempted to make the case for military action on several premises. One premise was that rogue states would view inaction as a green light for pursuing their misdeeds. The other premise was that the pain and suffering of the children made it unconscionable for the US to not intervene. The former is refuted by the status quo that occurred even after rogue states had used these weapons without retaliation. The latter is a bait and switch as many more people as well as children have died with conventional weapons.

It is indeed worrisome how similar the drumbeat to this ‘limited action’ is to the lead up to the Iraq war. While it is not as obscene as during the Bush years (e.g., you are either with us or against us, the outright lie about weapons of mass destruction), the outcome is likely the same as limited military actions always suffer from mission creep.

Retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson gave the best perspective on this on “All In With Chris Hayes”. He lays out the flaw in making this use of chemical weapons the real red line.

To intervene militarily in Syria because of a flawed treaty as implied by Wilkerson is something the John Kerry of 1971 would never advocate for. The Obama administration is asking authorization for a military strike that will kill a few more people because of the ‘few more’ people killed by chemical weapons, but will do nothing to stop the killing of thousands by means of conventional weapons used on both sides of the civil war.

There are only two winners if this action is taken. It is not Syria. It is not the Syrian rebels. It is definitely not America. The only winners are the military industrial complex and a corporatocracy dependent on cheap oil.

One can see the influence of the both as the same discredited characters that led the debacle of the last decade are being recycled, conservatives (e.g., Krystol, Rumsfeld, Senor) providing wisdom and backing for a President that was convinced to go to war by likely military industrial complex and corporatist insiders. They assume an uninformed America will either not know who they are or know that they were responsible for pilfering of America’s treasure and the deaths and maiming of thousands of our young soldiers.

America must go to war alright. America must go to war with those who are pushing war with Syria. America must go to war with those that profit from war. America must go to war with those selling guns and allowing the indiscriminate sale of guns to terrorists & criminals both abroad and domestically.

America must go to war with a financial sector that continues to strive by pilfering the working middle class through instruments of mass financial destruction like reverse mortgages, predatory interest rates, high frequency trading, credit default swaps, etc. America must go to war with corporations that unpatriotically export American jobs yet expect the American taxpayers to keep a strong and oversized military to keep sea lanes open and foreign countries fairly safe and accountable for their capital. America must go to war at home to cleanup urban blight. America must go to war at home on poverty and unemployment.

Over the years it has always been easy to go to war on foreign soil by scaring Americans about the consequence of inaction. In the process billions were made by the war profiteers on the backs of the American taxpayer. It is time to make war on foreign soil difficult or impossible as war on what ails America at home is made easy, imperative, and profitable for the working middle class.

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About Egberto Willies

Egberto Willies is a radio show host, author, blogger, political activist, DailyKOS Featured Writer, Vice President of Coffee Party USA, Executive Committee member of Move to Amend, 2nd Annual CNN iReport Spirit Award Honoree, HuffPost Live Contributor, self-employed software developer, & web designer. Egberto wrote the book ‘As I See It:Class Warfare The Only Resort To Right Wing Doom’ based on his belief that the mainstream media is derelict in its duty to relate what really ails the middle class and the complicity of the Right Wing in its demise. Bio: http://egbertowillies.com/bio/ Linked In: http://linkd.in/TOiHUS. Google


  1. Well said!

  2. Well said sir.
    I seldom pay much attention to the author unless the piece is REALLY BAD or quite good
    This is the later. thanks

  3. Very good commentary –thanks. The Coffee Party seems to be moving to be more in alignment with my observations, which is a good thing for me–except that things the way I see them are pretty dire. Be it energy, food, water or healthcare, the Corporations are in control; in fact, they are our unelected leaders and they are prepared to do maximum harm–for power, for money or for genocide (take your pick as to what you believe the motivation is….)

  4. False comparisons, weak thinking, a poor grasp of history, and a conclusion out of left field. Bravo Egberto. Once again, you argue that since dead is dead we should care about how people die. Of course, 1400 dead and thousands more wounded doesn’t seem like much. Bombs and bullets could have killed just as many. It’s a damn sight harder though. During the D-Day invasions we had a total of 2500 allied service members killed (British, Canadian, and American). That’s in the teeth of some of the hardest defense we’ve ever seen seen with tens of thousands on each side. Turns out killing a whole bunch of people in a single day with bombs and bullets is not nearly as easy as lobbing 30 to 40 gas canisters and wiping out 1,400 people – almost all of whom were civilians in a couple of hours.

    Of course, you can kill a lot of people with machetes and clubs, like in Rwanda were 800,000 were killed in a multi-week orgy of hacking, slashing, clubbing, and raping. What are your feelings on Rwanda? We did the right thing by not getting involved there right? Sure, they were breaking an international prohibition against genocide but it was our people being killed so why get involved? We didn’t get involved in the killing fields of Cambodia either so it would have been inconsistent if we got involved in Rwanda. So were you okay with us staying out of Rwanda and didn’t like a lot of other people, see it as a major failure of leadership by the world.

    We have a choice to make right here and right now. Do international conventions, treaties, and prohibitions mean *anything*? Can they mean anything if all we do is wag our fingers at the bad guys and say “Oooo! I’ll be so cross if you do that again!” If you are alright with, as far as I’m concerned, ripping up a foundational part of the rules of conduct in the international system then so be it. You have to live with yourself after all. Personally, I’m not alright with that. I’m not okay with leaning back and watching wonton cruelty and horror and outrageous action happen without doing something. I can sleep at night knowing that I’m trying even if trying means taking forceful action to prevent a greater wrong.

    • Actually my friend I think the week thinking is on your part. Most Americans see war in an antiseptic manner for the damage our weapons do but with full graphics for the other side. That is why we are always so ready to go to war. May be if most Americans were watching Al Jazeera, foreign newspapers, and blog sites we would be a lot less anxious to go to war.

      As Retired Colonel Wilkerson said, the only reason many signed the chemical weapon treaty is that they are ineffective. Note we did not ban white phosphorous, mines, cluster bombs, etc. Have you seen the massive damage they do? You should listen to him here.

      I can tell you, America invaded Panama and killed 10,000 innocent civilians to get a dictator that was on the CIA payroll and who was the ultimate capitalist in fulfilling America’s drug demands. Because he would not join in invading another Central American country among other reasons he was extracted from the country with the same type of urgency we see now.

      If the president invades, rest assured you won’t see the blood and guts. All the other countries around the world will. You will then ask why they hate us. Very few Americans absent soldiers know war. Those that have not served or seenwar urging war should simply step back.

    • “wag our fingers at the bad guys…” “our” government, doing the bidding of international corporations, is the “bad guy.” That’s Mr. Willies point. He has identified the bad guy. You have not. The USA has used chemical warfare around the world ; “our” government is spraying chemicals even at home, on our fields in our waters and on our schools, homes and hospitals as we speak (Monsanto and other biotechs and their toxic pesticides. )Corporations are behind the MANY forms of chemical warfare taking place worldwide. We have to go to war against THEM, not the civilians of Syria. Clear thinking from the Coffee Party.

  5. “It was violated by Iraq as well as by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the Reagan administration. No action was taken by the United States…”

    We didn’t respond?! We gave the anti-Soviet rebels Stingers which pretty much won them the war and we bombed Iraq’s chemical weapon stockpiles (part of the reason we didn’t find them when we invaded) and imposed a no fly zone over 60%+ of the country.

    Revisionist history is NOT a good thing.

  6. How can the nation and the world get people to hear this when Tea Party types ( a black relative) sign letters, “God Bless America,” and “I stand with Israel.” These obscenities assault me with every message.

    Get the RIGHT message to EVERYONE–beyond Chris Hayes and MSNBC. HOW???

    • What you call “obscenities,” I call “freedom of expression.” But then again, you Ob*ma voters don’t really care about freedom — except freedom to murder your unborn children.

  7. America must go to war against the Ob*ma Regime for having tripled the national debt, for having destroyed our constitutional rights, for QE3, which ongoing creates 2 trillion dollars out of thin air and gives it to European bankers, and for Ob*maCare, which enslaves the US population, takes over 1/7th of the US economy, and punishes us with a tax on breathing. Ob*ma must be impeached, tried for treason, and if found guilty, hanged with all of his apparatchiks who have done same.


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