Good day, Editor,
I recently met up with a gentleman who I have known for a number of years. A gentleman who voted for the current occupant of the Oval Office. “Well, what do you think now?,” he asked. “Trump attacked Syria.” Answer: “It is not what I think, but rather yourself. You voted for Trump, and you got Hillary.” Reply: “That is terrible.” Riposte: “So’s resorting to the use of force without including Congress and even worse, eschewing the Constitution or even the War Powers Act.”
Trump stated, at one point, that he was going to pull American troops from Syria. Enter John Bolton; a dyed-in-wool Neocon (a persuasion to which Hillary subscribes) who now has the ear of Trump. The same Bolton who favors bombing Iran and North Korea. And so the “tough” maverick from Gotham wilted again. Just as he did after he took office by taking on eight representatives from Goldman Sachs, on the heels of vilifying that omnipotent financial institution during the run up to the election in November 2016. Indeed, the Philistine from Queens is just another prevaricator sailing under false colors. But how successful was the strike?
First, it was a pinprick raid. An action taken by a government needing to save face as opposed to actually accomplishing anything of substance; supported, in this case, by such lapdogs as Britain and France. The standard bearers of the West unleashed some 105 cruise missiles onto three targets considered affiliated with Assad’s chemical weapons program. However, much of Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure – including the ability to deliver same – remain largely intact. An historical parallel manifests itself here: Iraq. The U.S. and Britain attacked on March 19, 2003, resulting in a miserable political failure, to which Syria is a result. And Assad is saved here because of Russia and to a lesser extent, the growing power of Iran which has been accentuated by American blundering in Iraq. But Russia is a key here.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, France warned that without a viable counterweight, America as the sole superpower would be a development dangerous to the international scene . . . a prognostication which has proven correct. But in Syria, Washington cannot – at least at this stage – prosecute the Neocon agenda of removing Assad because of . . . Russian involvement. Putin’s Russia is certainly not the counterweight of the Soviet Union; but, it is a counterweight in the Levant nevertheless; just as it is proving an impediment to NATO expansion into Ukraine.
The U.S. Department of Defense has asserted on more than one occasion that the attack was intended to prevent further Syrian government use of chemical weapons. However, as opposed to last year’s strike against Shayrat air base, the recent attack avoided the proximity of Russian or Iranian troops. And so while Russian and Iranian deployments did not deter American attacks, they have severely restricted Washington’s options; which is aggravated by the fact that last year’s attack at the Shayrat air base did not stop the use of chemical weapons . . . and this recent expression of frustration will probably be just as successful.
Washington, at one point, drew a red line at the employment of nerve agents, as opposed to such less potent types as chlorine or even phosgene, World War I gas agents which attack the lungs. Problem with proportionality is determining whether chemical agents were even used; which can be an issue when small amounts are unleashed, especially on a confused battlefield such as Syria. So launching strikes over small applications can be a dilemma of the most concerted type.
But of major concern is the legality for such an employment of military power. Congress, it seems, was not consulted; of course, one must advance the question as to whether the current occupant of the Oval Office has ever read our blueprint for government. General Mattis, on the other hand, offered, in a news briefing, that Trump had Constitutional authority . . . a curious assessment from a man who should know better since Trump does not have such authority. Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, sees the President as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The Constitution, though, gives Congress the power to declare war, under Article I, Section 8; it is Congress, too, with the power to raise armies and navies; again, not the President. Democrats have been making noises as to the Constitutionality of Trump’s actions in Syria; an insincerity at its most hypocritical. The previous occupant of the Oval Office, that Windy City graduate of the Daly School of Politics, avoided the Constitution altogether, as well as the War Powers Act, with his shenanigans in Libya, a point made by Jim Himes when running for reelection in November 2016. Interesting aspect here is that Chicago’s favorite son, a Democrat, was supposed to be Constitutional lawyer.
The poverty of deference for and compliance with the Rule of Law by our selected (elected) officials clearly betrays the present state of the nation; a condition to which the average American voter is equally culpable, since on many occasions foreign policy sojourns are carried out in the “name of the American people” . . . therefore, guilt by association. This lack of regard for Constitutional precepts by many in the electorate as well as office holders clearly demonstrates why America is in irrevocable decline; the result of an Elective Despotism which breeds a tyranny antithetical to the communion of sympathy and interests for representative government; forging deep political wounds resistant to the medicament of elections, lacerations oozing gangrenous with germs such as corporate greed, cronyism and corruption. Indeed, representative government and empire are opposing poles on the bar of irreconcilability. No nation, for long, can practice both; since the latter will eventually corrupt the former; suborning constitutional government, transferring power to a privileged elite while at the same time, reducing the citizenry to a spiritless, pigeon-hearted inert mass, incapable of little more than following the dictates of their masters. . .