‘There’s no stupider reason to go to war than fear that people will think you are weak’ — Chris Hayes

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Thank god, Chris Hayes is serving as a node for opposition to the Syrian strike. On last night’s show he did the Stephen Colbert thing, but more subtly, playing earnest devil’s advocate for the strike, while continually graveling at the plans.

“I still haven’t heard anything convincing. Saddam Hussein used these weapons twice.”

Saying that Republicans were the base of opposition to the strike, Hayes interviewed strike opponents Jim Risch, Republican Senator from Idaho, and Bassam Haddad of George Mason University.

Hayes asked Risch, Did anything you heard at the Kerry hearing change your mind today?

Risch: Not really… [A president seeking my support for war] would have to have better answers than what this administration has, as far as making justifications and more importantly to me where are we going with this.  What does success look like. What does day two and three and four look like? How are you going to deal with the fallout, assuming Russia reacts adversely…?

Everybody knows that this is not the first time that Assad has used gas against his own people… The other thing that’s overlooked here is that he’s already killed 100,000 people with conventional weapons. That is bad. I don’t want to minimize what this man has done.. On the other hand, I do not buy on to the theory that this is a national security matter for the United States….

Professor Haddad spoke of the confused support for the strike, including the goal of supporting the “settler colonial state of Israel”– have you ever heard those words on cable TV before? — and said a strike will foreclose a political solution, which would involve Russia and the US forcing all parties to the conflict to come together. Haddad:

“A limited strike first of all will not be effective, second of all will make the conflict more volatile and third of all will foreclose any possibility of a political solution down the road. It’s basically eliminating that possibility for the sake of very limited gains that can spin out of control and bring the entire region into this conflict.”

In a subsequent debate on air, Hayes covered himself with MSNBC by having two hawks and one dove, and again, Hayes kept mouthing arguments for a strike, so as to remove the rationale for it.

The dove was Ben Domenech of Heartland Institute, who responded to former national security spokesperson Tom Vietor:

The word you use is punish. This is why it fails the just war test. You have to have just cause, just authority and just result…You don’t have the result being protection for the people.

Hayes finished the debate by making a “definitive statement” as the host:

There is no stupider, more bankrupt reason to go to war than the fear that people will think you’re weak or call you a wimp.

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