The often uncomfortable details that should give us further pause as we consider military action against the Assad regime, laid out clearly. As Fallows says, It wouldn’t hurt if Senators and Representatives read it too.

Your Labor Day Syria Reader, Part 2: William Polk

Curtis Olson September 03, 2013 13:19

I found #4 the most interesting. I don’t know if the analysis is slanted or biased, but these are good questions to ask and plausible answers provided; asking who would benefit, or think they would benefit.  Also another good general question to ask is who would have the capability to do something like this (that could narrow the field substantially, or add suspects we might not initially consider.)  I think there is a perception among some that the USA is big and strong with a whole lot of muscle, but not a whole lot of smarts upstairs … so we could potentially be manipulated to get angry at one side and then affect the outcome of the conflict the way the manipulators want.  Almost like the classic story line of some of the mouse, cat, bull dog cartoons I grew up on.  Is there a way to get involved that wouldn’t benefit one side or the other, but would help protect civilian life and bring peace back to the region?  I don’t think tomahawks or drones help towards that end.

David Megginson September 03, 2013 18:25

+Curtis Olson let’s start by giving humanitarian agencies like UNHCR more money and political support for helping the displaced, wounded, and starving victims. Not only is that humane, but it gives Syrians a chance to see the West as a source of help rather than hurler of missiles. While we’re debating attack/no-attack, hundreds of thousands of people are wondering how to get food and shelter to help their families survive another week.

Curtis Olson September 03, 2013 20:03

My other question is does all humanitarian effort all hinge on the USA?  There’s nothing holding back other countries from doing the right thing.  Definitely help the displaced and starving and hurt … don’t wait for the USA to figure out what it is going to do.  Obama and the democrats are great at messaging, but not at instinctively knowing “the right thing to do.”  Obama hasn’t decided, hasn’t decided, hasn’t decided, now kicks it over to congress with it’s 3% approval rating to make the decision.  So the rest of the world, let’s go!  Don’t wait around for us to sort out the most politically advantageous way forward.

David Megginson September 03, 2013 20:17

+Curtis Olson asks “does all humanitarian effort all hinge on the USA?”

Not at all, but if the US is trying to put together a coalition to attack Syria, then it’s trying to convince other rich countries to spend billions of dollars on weapons instead of humanitarian aid.  At a minimum, I think it’s fair to ask the US to stop making things worse.

FWIW, the biggest contributor to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is Sweden, not the US.

Imported from Google+ — content and formatting may not be reliable