Commentary – Syria and Humanitarian Intervention

April 7, 2017

Lyle Jeremy Rubin, former Marine and veteran of the war in Afghanistan

Our government incinerated over 200 civilians in Mosul about two weeks ago. We slaughtered over 40 civilians in Syria the week before. And we killed dozens of civilians in Yemen about a month ago. Speaking of Yemen, we’ve killed thousands of civilians there in recent years, and thanks to our efforts, 7 million are now at risk of starvation. Our wars the past 15 years have claimed the lives of well over a million and destroyed seven countries. Our government has achieved hardly any of its stated aims, humanitarian or otherwise, and easily caused more harm than good, as admitted by our very own government reports (see the US Army’s SSI report in the comments).

Syria’s government is being sponsored by the largest nuclear power in the world, a power that just ended a crucial airspace deconfliction agreement with the US and warned about further “consequences” in response to our government’s missile strike against Assad’s forces. The Syrian civil war involves at least a half dozen major interests and powers, all of whom are armed to the teeth and none of whom will go gently into that good night.

I can’t begin to fathom how any intelligent or decent person, at this late stage in America’s never-ending wars, could even entertain the possibility that (a) the U.S. government (never mind Trump) has humanitarian concerns at heart and (b) that even if it did, it was capable of succeeding in said humanitarian intervention.  With the possible exceptions of Bosnia and to an even lesser extent Kosovo, neither of which were ringing successes, every U.S.-led “humanitarian” intervention at least since the Korean War (and arguably since WWII) has failed, and most have exacerbated the bloodshed. The Syrian Civil War itself was largely caused and fueled by American foreign policy, beginning with our invasion of Iraq and followed by our funding and training of groups that quickly congealed into ISIS.

The pertinent question at this juncture is not “What’s the alternative?” but “How many more people must we kill or maim, how many more countries and economies must we destroy, before we learn our bloodstained, Godforsaken lesson?”

Supplemental Links:

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/seven-million-people-ever-closer-starvation-yemen-un-940004872

https://calculators.io/body-count-war-on-terror/

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/02/03/by-the-numbers-the-cost-of-war-and-peace-in-mena

https://nationalinterest.org/commentary/forgotten-failure-bosnia-7365

https://www.democracynow.org/2014/8/13/the_rise_of_isis_us_invasion

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/06/opinion/dont-intervene-in-syria.html