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U.S. Senators foaming at the mouth over Syria

should take the time to read two articles in today's Ha'aretz (April 29). It might sober them up.The first by Chemi Shalev invites readers to consider the "Law of Unintended Consequences": "It doesnt take long to prove that in the Middle East, the Law of Unintended Consequences reins supreme, and usually for the worse. It was Israel, you will recall, who built up Hamas in the 1980s so that it would serve as a counterweight to the PLO; Israel who viewed the Shiites as an ally in the Lebanon War; America which imposed its freedom agenda on Israel in Gaza; America that built up Iran by invading Iraq; and Israel, when it comes to it, that subjugated itself to 47 years of debilitating occupation in its miraculous victory in the Six Day War."So before calling in the U.S. cavalry, perhaps one should take stock of the things one knows that one doesnt know, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, ever mindful that there are countless other things - usually bad things - that one doesnt know." The author enumerates 10 things we don't know.In the second, Amos Harel on why the United States should hesitate. He lays out the difficulties of securing Syria's chemical weapons: Most significant: at least 75,000 troops would be required to secure at least 18 sites with no guarantees that they would succeed. 

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Weapons of Mass Destructions (WMDs)? Where have I heard that before? Ugh.Nope We should not fall for a war in Syria; not one American should die there. Let France and Russia settle the matter; let them do something for once.

I noticed a story in today's NYTimes reporting that France has to cut its military budget. So maybe it will have to be the Russians--or heaven help us! the Iranians, who have criticized the use of chemical weapons (if they have been) and joined others in asking the UN to investigate. Iran lost hundreds of thousands to gas attacks during their war with Iraq; they know whereof they speak.

Also, the Turks are part of NATO if they want to kick some Syrian butt, let them handle this.Someone on the radio recently pointed out that neither Russia nor China have authorized (paid for) any large movement of troops for at least the last 15 years. The last time the Brits did anything militarily was the Falkland Islands (in the Reagan years). France of course has not moved any large numbers of troops in decades.Not forgetting about the bloodshed, why are we paying to haul and station troops all over the world?The only thing we need to know about Syria is the phone number of whoever is in charge, in case we want to buy some oil.Time to put America first.

I heard a good quip this morning regading Syria; seems like we have already "been there, done that, and bought the hat".

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.