Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No More Wars Drums Are Beating for New Military Adventures, but America Has Other Fish to Fry

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No More Wars Drums Are Beating for New Military Adventures, but America Has Other Fish to Fry

Article excerpt

The American people are being tee-ed up by the U.S. military, the U.S. military-industrial complex and some lackey media figures for a new war or two to replace the completed Iraq war and the winding- down Afghanistan war.

It is essential for the country, given its drastic need to concentrate on its own problems at home -- including education, health care, infrastructure, budget deficits and the mounting national debt -- that President Barack Obama and his administration not allow themselves to get suckered into these wars. They are the Syrian affair, the conflict in northern Mali and China's spats with its neighbors over bits of rock in the East China and South China seas.

The reason the U.S. military is so interested in getting the United States involved is that it faces end-of-war- and general- budget-dictated funding cuts that it wishes fervently to head off by coming up with new, marketable "defense" expenditures. This would allow it to continue financing its lifestyle and fancy weapons.

If our hapless leaders in Washington cannot avoid going over the fiscal cliff, the Pentagon will lose $800 billion over the next 10 years. This sounds big, but is, in fact, a relative drop in the bucket given the Defense Department's levels of expenditure.

The most important war for the United States to continue avoiding is the now 20-month-old conflict in Syria. There is there a strong risk of mission creep. There is heat on us -- apart from internal U.S. pressure -- to engage.

It comes from Sunni Muslim states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, big arms buyers from the United States who already provide weapons to the Syrian rebels. It comes from Turkey, a NATO ally correctly upset over the spillover of the war into Turkey in the form of refugees, stray shells and internal pressure from Turkey's Kurdish minority now that Syria's Kurdish minority is rebelling. It comes from humanitarian circles, again correctly upset by the suffering inflicted on the Syrian population. It comes from Europeans, including other NATO allies, who would much rather see the United States drawn into the Syria conflict than themselves.

But the Syrian war remains a no-win situation for the United States. The regime of Bashar Assad, still hanging on, is unspeakable in many ways. But so is the rebel opposition, still disunited and thoroughly riddled with Islamist radicals. If the opposition were to somehow take power in Syria, there is every reason to believe it would make today's disorder in post-Gadhafi Libya -- no authority, no law and order -- look like the Bridgeville Borough Council by comparison.

Pay no attention to the alarmist reporting about Syria and chemical weapons. Bear in mind what we were told about Iraq's alleged but never found nuclear, chemical and biological weapons when the Bush administration was beating the drums for the Iraq invasion. …

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