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By caving on Syria, Obama opens yet another Pandora’s Box of American adventurism

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on 7 Comments

This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

Amazing how concerned we are with chemical weapon attacks while the bloodletting in Syria has continued year after year with the United States safely on the sidelines.  Even the coming overt American intervention is to be conducted from (our) safe corner.

The refugee crisis, already reaching into the millions, has accelerated with the American missile threat and subsequent delay.  After all, Congressional authorization via moral outrage is essential to make America’ safe-haven militarism seem bold.  It has little to do with the wellbeing of the Syrian people.

So Senator John McCain and Secretary of State Kerry – both virtual mouthpieces for President Obama – are now bosom buddies.  Did you ever think it would come to this, American liberals like Obama and Kerry and windbags like McCain joining forces in moral outrage and imperial displays of power? Or have liberals become windbags, too?

Now the question is whether the Congressional authorization that allows for striking Syria is really a blank check to take the war to Iran and beyond.  But, then, with all the saber rattling and war mongering over the last decade and more, who in the American public would restrict the President from striking wherever the US isn’t striking now?

What is President Obama’s endgame?  By caving into pressure on Syria, he has opened yet another Pandora’s Box of American adventurism.  No doubt, Obama believes he can manage his unruly Congressional classroom but those with their hopes bent on the ever expanding American empire have their own ideas.  As does Israel, AIPAC and their rock solid Arab Middle Eastern allies.

How to explain these moral obscenity alliances in conventional political terms is daunting.  Perhaps we have reached a point where conventional politics should be declared terminal.  Will this be Obama’s ultimate legacy?

Marc H. Ellis
About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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7 Responses

  1. Citizen
    Citizen
    September 3, 2013, 1:00 pm

    The only axis of power that captures the whys of the current situation is this one:
    AIPAC/Israel-Military-Industrial-Security Complex-Big Corporate-Big Banks.

  2. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther
    September 3, 2013, 1:26 pm

    Impeach Obama, Indict Bush.

  3. ivri
    ivri
    September 3, 2013, 1:34 pm

    “A blank check to take the war to Ira and beyond”
    At this point of time there is no beyond – Iran is this era`s “crux of the matter”. Conflicts can never be dragged forever and the one with Iran is already brewing very long with zero chance of being resolved peacefully (never mind the sugar-coating exercise with the new Iranian president); Lebanon became endemically unstable because of its proxy there and Syria, its main ally, is in an incredible mess and a practical stalemate. Then, the real and final “last moment” with Iran itself is rapidly approaching – it is getting very close to THE Bomb, something that would be a plain disaster for ALL US allies in the region and beyond (and here there is a beyond since nuclear devices can be carried anywhere on ships). The grand finale is getting real near and Syria seems to provide the trigger for it (or be also a catalyst if the conflagration between Iran and the rest will be fought over it).

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 3, 2013, 10:44 pm

      “Then, the real and final “last moment” with Iran itself is rapidly approaching – it is getting very close to THE Bomb”

      Iran has been getting very close to THE Bomb for about 33 years now. There was talk of an Iranian nuke in the Shah’s era, and we have heard “they are just a year or two away” for the past fifteen years or so.

      And Iran still does not have nuclear weapons. There is no evidence that Iran will have nukes in the near future. There is no evidence that Iran is developing nukes. It is highly unlikely that Iran would attack anyone with nukes even it had nukes.

      So drop that silly stuff.

    • K Renner
      K Renner
      September 4, 2013, 1:41 am

      This is such rubbish. Iran is wary because they can see the war drums banging around in Israel– I suppose dialogue is out of the question when you know you can get your big ol’ attack dog America on the alert through the usual procedures and through the de facto Israel-occupied territory of the American congress and senate.

      If you a**holes do start a shooting war with Iran, I sincerely hope that you’re in the first rank of offensive, and with no weapons or body armour.

  4. just
    just
    September 3, 2013, 10:14 pm

    ivri–

    “At this point of time there is no beyond – Iran is this era`s “crux of the matter”. Conflicts can never be dragged forever and the one with Iran is already brewing very long with zero chance of being resolved peacefully (never mind the sugar-coating exercise with the new Iranian president)”

    Just what has Iran done to you or yours, or me or mine?

    Stop with the bs, please.” Conflicts” between Israel and Iran are only manufactured by Israel.

  5. piotr
    piotr
    September 4, 2013, 7:44 am

    Incidentally, McCain is a hilariously inappropriate vehicle for “moral outrage”. He was just filmed playing poker during Senate debate:

    BY JOSEPH STRAW AND CORKY SIEMASZKO / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    PUBLISHED: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2013, 12:01 PM
    UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2013, 4:19 AM

    Print
    US Republican Senator from Arizona John McCain listens during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on September 3, 2013 in Washington. US Secretary of State John Kerry, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel appeared before the committee to present the Obama Administration’s views on Congressional authorization for the use of military force in Syria. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKIBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
    BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

    Sen. John McCain got caught virtual gambling during critical congressional hearing on probable attack on Syria.
    That’s one way to flush out a joker.

    While President Obama’s top aides were gambling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would back a military strike on Syria, Sen. John McCain was playing poker on his iPhone.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/obama-wins-boehner-support-syrian-military-strike-article-1.1444420#ixzz2dvJLAKmv

    I am shocked! I guess we have to introduce phrase “immoral outrage”.

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