Ten Reasons to Oppose the Obama Intervention in Syria by Norman Markowitz

In the 2008 election, I wrote an article  "10  things to consider in the voting booth" an appeal to support Barack Obama's election.  I would do that again and I would also, given the political realities that exist in the U.S. and have existed for a long time, once more support his election, not only as a lesser of the available evils, but for the small but significant advances his administration has made on a variety of domestic policy issues against a Republican opposition commiited to sabotaging all of this initiatives in the House of Representatives and then undermining them further at the state level

But I cannot in any way support  the administration's proposed intervention in the Civil War raging in Syria.  It must be opposed and condemned, both for what it means to U.S. foreign policy and to future of the Obama administration.    We can't blame the Republican Right here for sabotaging and undermining the administration.  It is doing that to itself and, the tens of millions of Americans who supported it in two national elections should act now to save it from itself

So Here are ten reasons to oppose and condemn the administration's policy

1.  It is unilateral intervention, opposed by the United Nations General Secretary and even NAT0 bloc allies.  This is a textbook case of the Bush policies, which tens of millions of voters repudiated in 2008 when they voted against John McCain, who is a staunch supporter of this intervention

2. Those who support in a knee jerk way military interventionism overwhelmingly oppose the administration's progressive initiatives and the President himself.  Acts like this increase their influence in society

3. Those who oppose this intervention are both the same people and their likeminded descendants who opposed the Vietnam War intervention and escalations, the Reagan Contra Wars in Central America, Bush the Father's first Gulf War, and Bush' the Son's Invasion and Occupation of Iraq.  Lyndon Johnson, with a large congressional majority and a progressive Supreme Court, destroyed his own great Society Program in the late 1960s by his Vietnam War escalation. Barack Obama risks making his administration hostage in its last two years to a Republican controlled House and Senate by this intervention

4. Syria is a medium sized country with advanced weapons, including missiles that can hit planes and ships.  The danger exists  that Syrian actions(which would in this case be in self defense) might result in further escalating the conflict and U.S. involvement in it.

5. No one should really believe that the action will deter the use of chemical weapons in the future.  In the 1980s, the Reagan administration tacitly supported Hussein's use of chemical weapons against the Iranians and used its influence in the United Nations to bloc UN condemnations of the use of such weapons.  Retaliation in kind did not prevent the use of such weapons in WWI.  Unilateral actions will in all probabilty increase the possibility that such weapons will be used.

6. The Intervention can only be seen as an act of imperialism through the region, undermining any positive role that the U.S. might play in the future

7. The military intervention, with or without congressional approval, can  only intensifiy conflicts in Egypt, Iraq, throughout the Arabic speaking world, strengthening both reactionary clerical forces struggling against repressive military backed regimes, with tens of millions of Arabic speaking people suffering the consequences

8. Even if one supports the U.S. policy of gunboat/dollar diplomacy, begun in the Western Hemisphere more than a century ago and globalized with the Truman Doctrine and the cold war, that is, the  creation of "protectorates," "satellites," "client states" there is no one in this conflict, between the Baath party dictatorship and its diverse enemies, who in any way represent either political rights for the people  Syria, economic and social progress for the people of Syria, or any possible regime to emerge from the fighting that will represent U.S. economic interests.

9. The likely political winners from an upcoming vote will be the "tea party" Republicans, whose likely opposition to the intervention will strengthen theme nationally among voters hostile to the Obama policy, just as the Obama administration's failure to address the jobs question effectively and its apparent "bailouts" of Wall Street and Industry  led to their victories in  the 2010 congressional elections

10.  The major winner in terms of political economy will be the major institutional enemy of progress in the United States since the end of WWII, the military industrial complex, which feeds off all militarist involvements and escalations to keep draining more and more resources away from the American people. 

Groups are ciculating petitions  through the Internet for citizens to contact their congressional representatives.  Also, for those in the New York area, a demonstration is planned for Times Square, 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue, against the Intervention  this Saturday at 1 PM. 



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  • replying to Goldenboy on my own behalf and not Professor Markowitz's:

    If one wants to square the circle of historical evidence of good leaders doing bad things and bad leaders doing good things, than one simply accepts the fact that every personage of note, including oneself, actively does both good and bad things. I adore LBJ and have an enormous private library of books on him and his efforts and realize all too well that he was a merciless and cruel master as well as legislative genius, that he ruined Leland Olds but uplifted civil rights. On the other side Nikita Khrushchev was the same story. Bad acts, good acts. Every leader, ditto. Even monsters of repression had their good moments. We readers likewise. It is no paradox and it doesn't need explaining. It is us.

    If what Goldenboy is advocating: Nihil magnum, nisi bonum...I too used to hold that idea, but no longer..I will take what I can get from people's best and try to adapt to the rest. Being a Marxist doesn't force moral absolutism in viewing leadership. Gramsci has interesting observations on this

    Posted by Michael Sweney, 09/11/2013 12:13pm (7 years ago)

  • Norman, what you and other left critics/supporters of the Obama regime cannot explain is how its utter mendacity and brutality in the international sphere coexists quite happily with what you presume to be its overall good intentions, which in the domestic arena are supposedly thwarted by evil forces. In fact people have been trying without success to square this same circle since at least Lyndon Johnson's time. As a Marxist in a Marxist periodical you could do better.

    Posted by goldenboy, 09/10/2013 9:50pm (7 years ago)

  • A current article by Susan Webb in the PW stresses the need to work locally and congressionally to fight the effort of the Obama administration to enter this war. This is very critical and necessary at this political moment. Thank you Norman Markowitz for addressing this issue with considerable information at this moment.
    The disgraceful and dangerous effort to enter this war, on "humanitarian" grounds, is only a transparent cover for the irresponsible and disastrous policies of imperialism in the volatile Mid-East.
    It follows on the heels of the disgraceful Nobel "Peace" acceptance speech of president Obama.
    The president, Obama, disgraces our national heritage of peace, left us by the courageous activism of W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and many, many more. Obama dismisses the alternatives to imperialism and war in his speech, stating that they are "impractical", reminding us that this is the "real world". One can easily and forcibly answer the president's nonsensical assertion by restating what M L K said in his 1964 Nobel Peace acceptance speech that, "I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up tor the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him.
    I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright day break of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality."
    Critically and further from M L K:
    "I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land.
    "And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.""
    [The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
    and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
    and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them] Isaiah 11:6 Another current article in PW, by Emile Schepers, Schepers goes far to completely expose this phony Obama"humanity" of imperialism.
    Schepers indicates that oil pipelines and imperialist contentions for their alternate routes may indeed be the grubby interests of British, French and U. S. imperialists. Syria and Assad may want to go through Iran favoring Russia with these, and not traditional imperialist and Qatar.
    Further, Schepers exposes again the phony R2P designs of the U. S. and Samantha Powers, which are only guidelines, not international law.
    No military, imperialist intervention in Syria, peaceful intervention with no violence and oppression-which would help rescue humanity from its past of oppression and violence, setting a path to save the environment from humanity's violence toward it, also.
    Again, from our King:
    "Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood."
    Syria and war intervention of the United States of America are the cosmic elegy.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 09/06/2013 2:49pm (7 years ago)

  • Hi Norman,

    I agree fully and think the crucial issues are concern over a regional war or worse, the expansion of U.S. and European imperialism, and the moral question of bombing, no matter how odious the regime. Some of the Left is wrong in its support for the bombing of key German cities in 1945, where many civilians were killed and injured, including those who were slave laborers. Also Japan of course, where carpet bombing punished civilians for the actions of the state. Let's support any effort by UFPJ and USLAW to mobilize opposition on moral grounds.


    Posted by Immanuel Ness, 09/04/2013 3:12pm (7 years ago)

  • Norman is entirely correct. This is madness that even exceeds the Iraq fiasco intervention. Exactly the same media build-up to war drumbeat; exactly the same saturation coverage. It is a replay of a scenario that everyone admits was mistaken, yet we are ready to make that same error again. No one wants to sit by idly while children are gassed, but no one can deny that if war starts children will die in multitudes that are alive today. And that is my eleventh reason to add ot Norman's ten.

    Posted by Michael Sweney, 09/04/2013 3:06pm (7 years ago)

  • Thanks for writing this, Norman.
    I would urge everyone who reads this to go also to
    peoplesworld.org; read the article and sign the CREDO petition.
    It is painful to watch the Obama administration get themselves into such a bad situation.

    Posted by Ben, 09/04/2013 2:08pm (7 years ago)

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