COMMUNITY VOICES | Doug Mann opposes war against Syria


by Doug Mann, Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate endorsed by the New Progressive Alliance

       Opinion polls revealed a lack of support and massive opposition to the Obama administration’s plan to devastate Syria with air strikes, as it did in Libya, in order to shift the balance of forces in a civil war. The administration’s allegations about the use of chemical weapons by Syria, it’s self-declared humanitarian motivations, and denials about having any interest in dominating the Middle East were met with skepticism and outright disbelief at home and abroad. The British Parliament opposed British participation in this project. 
        There is something very wrong about what the US did to Libya under the leadership of Barack Obama, and to Iraq under the leadership of George W. Bush. These so-called humanitarian interventions destroyed much of the economic infrastructure of these countries, and brought death, misery, and more oppressive regimes to the masses of people.

        And it will not stop with Syria. Iran has long been in the cross-hairs. Iran has a nuclear energy program: A good excuse to bomb it back into stone age. Another opportunity for Blitzkrieg diplomacy. God forbid that the people of these Middle Eastern countries should benefit from the immense wealth they are sitting on.
       The Russians are trying to act as a counter-weight to the US, as a champion of sovereignty, as a more-or-less honest power broker. But Russia is no match for the US militarily. Of course, the Russians are pursuing what they see as best for Russia. However, in this situation, I see our own government as the greater evil. It is our government that is posing the greatest threat to peace and justice in the world.

       Opinion polls suggested to the Obama administration a danger of mass protests in the streets of the US if he moved forward too quickly with a bombing campaign against Syria. So Obama paused and changed his approach. He went to Congress to buy some time to win the public support he needs. The debate going on in Congress, with many Congress members opposed to the air strikes against Syria, has helped to put the general public into a spectator mode. The focus on letter writing by peace groups plays into that. But make no mistake: The Obama administration is determined to engage in a shock and awe blitzkrieg against Syria, as it did in Libya, as the Bush administration did in Iraq. The Obama administration is quite willing, though not thrilled about having to engage in protracted diplomatic foreplay beforehand. A majority in Congress will very likely come around to support the rape of Syria, unless there are massive protests in the streets of the US.

      The best way to promote an end to the civil war in Syria, to achieve a viable political settlement of the conflict is for the US to get its hands off Syria, and keep them off. The US and Saudi Arabia have been supplying the rebels, who probably lack the popular support necessary to overthrow the Assad regime, as unpopular as that regime is, without massive, direct intervention by the US. The US intervention could very well set in motion destabilizing forces in the Middle East that could cause significant blow-back against the US and its regional partners, including Israel and Saudi Arabia. The US might very well have to put boots on the ground, maybe restart the draft and ramp up production of body bags for US soldiers. And if this splendid little war goes well for the US, the next target is Iran.

It is time to hit the streets: US hands off Syria! Withdraw US military forces from forward positions now!


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