Friday, September 13, 2013

"I Think No War": Nancy Pelosi's Grandson and the Syrian Crisis

"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) emerged from a meeting with President Obama and other congressional leaders earlier today and publicly declared her continued support for military intervention in Syria. But before she left the press gaggle, she shared one last story about a curious conversation she had with her five-year-old grandson over Labor Day weekend.

"Before she left her home in San Francisco, Pelosi said her grandson approached her with this question: 'Are you ‘yes’ war with Syria, ‘no’ war with Syria?' ...when she asked her grandson what he thought, he said, 'I think no war.' She proceeded to make her case to the young man, describing how Bashar al-Assad’s regime has 'killed hundreds of children there.'" (

So who wants this war with Syria, and who doesn't?  Let's start with the 'ayes', shall we.

Of course, we can begin by listing the usual Washington 'hawks': Senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who seem to be in favor of any war, at any time, in any place.  And they especially like Middle Eastern wars for some reason.
Nancy Pelosi and her grandchildren

And then there is the brood of vipers called 'neo-conservatives', led by the unctuous Bill Kristol and his 'Weekly Standard', the Kagan clan of Washington insiders (Frederick, Robert, etc.), Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, etc.  This poisonous nest of copperheads was given a place to infest in the Bush administration, resulting in the 2003 Iraq catastrophe.  They retreated back to their nest after that war went 'south', so to speak, but it seems that they are beginning to find Obama's 'toughness' on chemical wars something to applaud and support, since it gives them entry to the desired war on Syria.

One cannot forget to mention, of course, the deadly duo of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, partners in international war crimes.  Together since the Nixon and Ford Presidencies, these two super villains led the way via George W. Bush into the Iraq quagmire, followed by the ever-gullible American people.

But along with this standard cast of characters, you now have (since it is a Democratic administration) the 'humanitarian interventionists', aka 'liberal internationalists'.  These are the (mostly) Democrats who want to go to war to defend 'human rights' and 'world peace'.  They last were in power during the Clinton administration and pursued their trade in Yugoslavia.  Now, under the leadership of Susan Rice, Samantha Powers, and I suppose, John Kerry, they are waxing eloquent about the moral necessity of bombing Syria to teach Syria a lesson about the use of chemical weapons.  Nancy Pelosi is one of these (though her grandson appears not to be!).

Among the foreign forces pushing for war, of course, we can't forget to mention Israel and their American Jewish lobby.  Everything I read says they are pushing hard for an American military strike on Syria, which is of course one of their mortal enemies in the Middle East, exceeded only by the dreaded Iran.

Hidden behind all of these forces are the countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Jordan: they also want war with Syria.  In fact, they are directly providing the logistics for the military support of the Syrian opposition, composed of both Syrian dissidents/rebels and foreign Islamist militants.  It is with these frontline countries that the U.S., the U.K., and France have been working for years now to try and overthrow the current Syrian government.

This is a formidable alliance wanting to take over Syria and transform it into something else (a Sunni client state of all of the above?).  What has kept that from happening?

While there is a desperate and powerful Syrian regime in place, led by young Bashar al-Assad, that wouldn't be enough to prevent its overthrow without the help and support of Russia, China, and Iran.  These three nations (and others too, I'm sure) have helped maintain the Syrian status quo, in the face of growing opposition.

Russia and Syria have long been allies, and Russia maintains its only naval base on the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Syria.  So despite the fact that Russia is only a shadow of its former military self, it is still the second largest nuclear power in the world, and that causes everyone, including the US, to be wary of a direct confrontation.

Britain has long been a US partner in Middle East intervention, primarily because they were one of the big colonial powers in the region after WWI.  However, the Britain people (as reflected in the Parliament refusing to go along with PM Cameron's Syria war proposal) seem to be as war-weary as the American people are, it appears.  This may well have been the final straw in Obama's decision to go to the Congress for approval, in order to be avoid being ALL alone in attacking Syria.

On the domestic front, the American Military also seems to be hesitant about a new Syrian commitment, from what I can see on the internet.  So this is definitely not the Pentagon pushing for a new war.  They need time to recuperate from the 2+ wars they are just winding down.

But strangely enough, perhaps the biggest ally coming to the aid of Syria in the last month or so is the war-weary American public, led by the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party in Congress.  Of course, the true Left in America (not the neo-liberals like Obama and his administration) has always been against our Middle East adventures (read the website Counterpunch if you want to see what they're like).  But the opposition of the American Right to another military strike/invasion is something new.

In 2003, on the eve of the Iraq invasion, the peace movement consisted mostly of the anti-war Left and a few scattered libertarian or old Right neo-isolationsts.  But now, after a decade of war, many thousands dead, and trillions of dollars wasted with little to show for it, many average Americans who would normally considered to be sympathetic to our various wars can be considered that way no longer.  They are listening and agreeing with the Ron/ Rand Pauls of the Republican Party, who are arguing against military action against Syria.

This is something new in American politics, something that hasn't been seen since the days before Pearl Harbor and WWII.  Whether it will outlast Obama and the Right's contempt for him is hard to know (indeed, if a President Mitt Romney were urging a Syrian strike on the country, would the Republican Party support him?).  But for now, the plans for a Syrian military strike are having to be reconfigured, and we shall see where all of this leads.

But you know, the truth, as it often does and when you least expect it, may have ultimately come out of a child's mouth, that of Nancy Pelosi's grandson of all people:  "I think no war!"

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