September 12, 2013

#Syria, #sarin and the #neocons

Frederick, Kimberly Kagan in Iraq.
ISW website via Wikipedia
Update, Sept. 18: The UN investigation seems to tie the attacks to senior officers of President Bashar Assad. Whether they were following orders or not may still not be final, but the linked New York Times story indicates the answer is yes.

That said, per the oft-cited piece by William Polk at the Atlantic? His "cui bono" was, and still is, a good question. And, if part of why he wrote that piece was pushback, given America's generally poor history of regime change in the Middle East, the neocons leading the charge again on this one and Obama not having a Syria exit plan, the shoot-first warmongers can still look themselves in the mirror.

Now, back to the original blog post.

The Nation is halfway right about alleged Syrian expert Elizabeth O'Bagy. It is a wag the dog, to some degree.

Whether from The Nation or elsewhere, though, it's not the deal that she has a "fake Ph.D." O'Bagy is actually in a Ph.D. program at a recognized university. She just hasn't defended her dissertation.

Yes, it's a degree of fakery. However, it shouldn't lead people to believe she's not an alleged expert on Syria.

Let's get to that "alleged."

The real issue is the one Greg Mitchell missed, and it's the issue of the neoconservatives trying to play Barack Obama like George W. Bush. Kimberly Kagan, the founder of the Institute for the Study of War, is part of the neocon wing of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment. She is Fred Kagan's wife, Donald Kagan's daughter in law and Robert Kagan's sister in law.

I mean, the Kagans are the FFN — the First Family of Neoconservatives, quite arguably.

For Greg Mitchell to not have drilled down that far is kind of sad.

That said, as I said on another blog post, that's why Wilsonian interventionism among modern American liberals who aren't left-liberals is just a foreign policy version of neoliberalism. Or, if you will, it's the left wing of neoconservativism.  Proof of the bipartisan nature of this is found in things like Victoria Nuland being married to Donald Kagan.

And, this shouldn't be surprising. Syria was and is next on the target list for the Project for a New American Century, after Iran, Iraq and Libya. 

And, as Peter Beinart notes, AIPAC has been beating the drums for Syria action, too.
“The civilized world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons” because “[t]his is a critical moment when America must also send a forceful message of resolve to Iran and Hezbollah.” It is a “momentous vote,” a “critical decision” that if not enacted could “greatly endanger our country’s security and interests and those of our regional allies.”
Just like invading Iraq sent a message to Iran?

The piece is well worth a read; on my pondering the "cui bono," or who benefits question about who would gain from the sarin attack, we should also ponder who gains, or hopes to, from an attack on Assad. We should also wonder who gains from pushing for such an attack.
Theories on the high profile of the AIPAC effort range from sheer hubris, to a desire to showcase its power and/or its support for the strikes, to a simple miscalculation. Most likely, AIPAC decided that the risks of a public intervention (getting members’ backs up, opening themselves up to “the-Jews-want-war-again” accusations, turning their failure to get the yes vote out into a public spectacle) were simply worth the benefits.  
Beinart notes that most mainstream Jewish lobbying groups have taken the same position, and same tactics.

And, judging by comments on right-wing magazines, the neocon ground troops are out in full force.

Now, none of this is to say we shouldn't intervene in Syria.

But, it adds to the issue of making very sure we have the right people "targeted" for any military action, first.

Second, it means making sure we have the right follow-up and exit strategy.

Obamiacs like to deride Bush's Iraq adventure on both counts, the second count being that Sunni militants whom we befriended as part of the Anbar Awakening figured they could simply outwait us, until we ended the "surge" beloved of PNAC folks and then drew down even more troops after that.

And this, in turn, gets back to Obama sounding a lot like Bush on Syria. Let's add, for good measure, the fact that Slick Willie was at least halfway in bed with the neocons from 1998 on. That's another reason I don't vote for Democratic presidents, and consider myself some sort of left-liberal, at least in American terms.

I'm sure a lot of Democratic rank-and-file don't like to hear that. Well, sorry, but ... that's your problem. I can't think of any other way to put it.

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