How stupid is America?
That's the real question we should be asking concerning Syria. Not whether Assad gassed people - he probably did and it killed way fewer Syrians than guns have the past two years. But just how stupid will an American response be?
It's been pretty stupid so far, but only stateside. A hollow gesture from House Republicans and a few Democrats, making a show of demanding to be in on the war planning without actually canceling their vacation plans. And a good number of them cheered on the much costlier Iraq invasion, after they voted to give the President first strike powers in 2001.
So typical American politics - lots of noise about "principle" without even getting off the couch.
But that's not where the stupid ends. Oh no - we've got the New York Times op-ed exploding with saber rattling! International law professor and damned idiot Ian Hurd actually wrote in the paper of record "Bomb Syria even if it is illegal!" A long whinge on the morality of bombing the shit out of people who kill in an arbitrarily unacceptable way. Hurd isn't the only one pitching this ludicrous course of action but he does it so badly you really have to wonder how hard it is to become a law professor these days...
And then there's the American people, the bedrock stupid. While there's no real enthusiasm for attacking Syria, it ain't because of some newfound collective conscience. Mid-East war is a bummer now, thanks to Bush, and "Thou shalt not impose a bummer on the American people!" is the only moral precept followed in this country. That's why rather than opposition or even honest indifference, all the polls show Americans want Obama to get the Just War stamp from Congress first. Because legalistic dithering matters more to you morons than cold imperial strategy.
The thing is, even if Assad was deploying weaponized ebola, attacking Syria would be the worst kind of stupid. It would antagonize Russia and Iran, wouldn't do a thing to stop the Syrian civil war, and would make the US allies of Sunni jihadis whose biggest ambition after killing all the Alawites is killing all the Americans. Dennis Kucinich, the last honest human being to serve in Congress, put it best - "What are we now, al Qaeda's air force?"
So it's just stupid all around. The only thing dragging Obama into it is all the rhetoric about "red lines" and bourgeois guilt over brown people dying somewhere. Every idiot trying to look compassionate is hand-wringing over the "ordinary" Syrians caught in the middle, despite that not being the case at all. This is a threeway blood feud and anyone who wanted no part of it has long ago been stood up in front of a pockmarked wall in Damascus or Aleppo.
You can see Obama doesn't want any part of that mess, but he made the mistake of trying to lead a very stupid nation. One that will hound and despise any elected leader who does not reinforce our cherished cultural delusion that we can save the downtrodden by bombing the shit out of 'em.