Tipton: No reason to attack Syria

Delta crowd applauds congressman's opposition to force

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Today’s Daily Sentinel editorial (“Congress should say ‘No’ to intervention in Syria”) may be both popular and correct – but for all the wrong reasons.

First, reliance on the “Weinberger Doctrine” is inherently suspect.  While Secretary of Defense, Weinberger oversaw the transfer to Iraq of the materials from which Saddam manufactured the illegal chemical weapons used in the Iran-Iraq War and against the Kurds.  Weinberger also supervised the illegal transfer of weapons to Iran, was later indicted for perjury in the Iran-Contra affair, but was then pardoned by “Papa” Bush.

Second, precisely because our “vital national security interests must be involved”, the Sentinel’s references to Rwanda and Korea are asinine.  “We didn’t invade Rwanda” to stop genocide because doing so was militarily infeasible.  We did “invade” North Korea, but – due to McArthur’s military incompetence—were repelled by the Red Chinese. 

More apropos is NATO’s/President Clinton’s air campaign against Serbia after the Bosnian/Kosovo genocides in 1995, which was initiated with only Senate approval, before the House registered a tie vote a month later, and was indisputably successful.

Third, because a retaliatory “act of war” is not the same as “war”, the nebulous concept of “winning” is irrelevant.  However, because a Congressional authorization for the use of force suspends the legal prohibition against assassinating enemy leaders, our cruise missile targets could include Assad and his cronies (“command and control elements”).

Fourth, enforcing international norms prohibiting the use of chemical weapons is a “clear definition of the military and political objectives”, but – revealingly – the “Weinberger Doctrine” makes no reference to America’s leadership role in the broader international community, because his ilk routinely disparages the U.N. as a surrender of sovereignty.

Obviously, some Americans – including our own “Tea Party” hypocrite Scott Tipton—are “against it” because President Obama is “for it”, even though President McCain and/or Romney would likely have already “done it”.

The current debate over Syria is reminiscent of the toxic partisan political environment preceding World War II, when U.S. popular opinion was overwhelmingly isolationist and FDR risked impeachment by surreptitiously arming Britain to resist Hitler.

Democratic President Woodrow Wilson conditioned U.S. involvement in World War I on allied acceptance of “Fourteen Points” – which included creating a League of Nations.

However, isolationist demagogues in the U.S. fostered the notion that we’d been drawn into WWI by duplicitous Europeans, and must never be so gullible again.  Consequently, the Republican-controlled Senate rejected America’s membership in the League.

Wilson promoted “national self-determination” for ethnic populations inhabiting defined territories.  While the allies applied that principle in dismembering the Austro-Hungarian Empire and (arguably) in the Balfour Declaration (creating a Zionist homeland), Britain and France (eager to expand their colonial empires) violated it elsewhere – particularly in dismembering the Ottoman Empire.

Republican sabotage of America’s role in the League of Nations – and abandonment of the universal principle of “self determination”—contributed to subsequent world events, including German revanchism, Italian and Japanese expansionism, World War II, Viet Nam, the Bosnian/Kosovo intervention, the Iraq War, and now the civil war in Syria.

Barack Obama is President of the United States today because he early-on opposed the Iraq War, while then-Senators Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Joe Biden voted for it.

President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 because he expressed commitment to principles of international law and respect for the world community – thus impliedly rejecting both the paranoid isolationism and the lawless jingoism of his predecessors.

Thus, Syria is setting the stage for a 2016 presidential campaign in which Hillary Clinton and/or Joe Biden – both more “hawkish” than President Obama – will debate America’s role in the world with neo-isolationist Rand Paul and/or Hitler-like opportunist Ted Cruz.

As Gary Harmon chronicled in Friday’s Sentinel – “Tipton:  No reason to attack Syria” –  “Tea Party” Congressman Scott Tipton’s demagogic pandering to under-informed locals continues unabated.

If Tipton honestly sees “no reason to attack Syria”, then he remains willfully ignorant of the historically-proven imperative to enforce international norms – lest failure to do so encourage “bad actors” to escalate such behavior.

While it may be premature to “attack Syria” before U.N. inspectors finalize their report, and/or before Congress authorizes the use of force, and/or before the U.N., NATO, or the Arab League conveys legitimacy under international law, Tipton’s applause-line reflects the strong likelihood that he (and his “town hall” lemmings) are “against it” because President Obama is “for it” – when would-be Presidents McCain and/or Romney (whom Tipton and his ilk undoubtedly supported) would have already “done it” – and more.

While Tipton rhetorically assigned an inestimably high value to “one American life”, he is not so generous when supporting Republican war-mongers or “tort reform” that would cap jury awards to grieving Americans when medical malpractice kills their loved ones.

Tipton also opposes any “pathway to citizenship” for some 11 million undocumented – even if loyal and productive – immigrants, even though the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill (S.799) would reduce the federal deficit by $1+ trillion over the next 20 years and assure reliable labor to Olathe’s farmers and Palisade’s orchardists.

Rather, Tipton endorsed the “red card” scam – proffered by the Koch brothers’ American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”)(which also authored “stand your ground” and voter suppression laws) – cynically intended to shield scofflaw employers from criminal and/or civil liability for illegally hiring and exploiting undocumented workers.

Tipton also supports the Orwellian-titled “Empowering Patients First Act” – which would increase federal subsidies to health insurers, permit discrimination based on “pre-existing conditions”, and cost $100 billion more than “ObamaCare”!

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