Congressional debate on Syria
(KPLR) – In Tuesday’s Jacology, Charles Jaco looks at the upcoming congressional debate on Syria.
We’re about to have the kind of debate we don’t do very well any more. Congress is about to debate taking military action against Syria. This is the sort of debate that requires some knowledge of something besides partisan talking points. It requires a passing familiarity with U.S. military doctrine and capabilities. It requires some insight, however small into what’s happening in the civil war in Syria. It requiressomething approaching concern over the use of chemical weapons against civilians. And it requires the memory of how we were lied to about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Since this requires knowledge, skepticism and a realistic view of chemical weapons and also requires some sort if moral position; it may be beyond the capabilities of the people in this congress. That’s because the majority of them are mostly concerned about one thing, reelection. And for most of them, it means appeasing the partisan yahoos in their own districts.
So when you ask the real questions they tend to get lost. Those questions are straightforward. If we have evidence Assad used chemicals against his own people, should we hit him with missiles to teach him a lesson? If we do, what happens then? Will pounding Syria with around 12-hundred tons of warhead explosives from cruise missiles stop Assad from using chemicals again? Will it swing the balance of Syria’s civil war to the rebels, many if not most of whom are now Islamic fundamentalists?
A debate like the one coming up in congress requires informed lawmakers. But that presupposes that the voters who elect them are informed. The problem is, most of those voters can’t find Syria on a map. They can’t tell a Shiite from a Sunni from an Alewite. All most of them know is their tired of 12 years of war. They know they were lied to about Iraq. And they know whether or not they like or hate President Obama. Based on that, I get the feeling the upcoming debate on Syria may not be one of American democracy’s finest hours. I hope I’m wrong.
I’m Charles Jacoand that’s Jacology.