Syria Strike? No! Aggressive National Defense? Yes!

Written by Steve Pauwels on September 18, 2013

Let me make myself clear, upfront: I oppose military action in Syria.

I start with that unvarnished assertion because , likely, I’m about to ignite the functional pacifists among us. Seems they’re everywhere lately — those not only sharing my objection to missile strikes on Assad and Co., but also, essentially, opining: War? Never necessary; under any circumstances.

The “peace-at-any-price” lobby,  long prevailing among armed-forces-besmirching Leftists, is proliferating in Libertarian precincts lately. And shockingly, they’ve begun gravitating vocally to the forefront of more traditionally conservative ranks, as well.

Yes, heartbreakingly, a disturbing number of my fellow, Constitution-enshrining “right-wingers” are denouncing missile bombardments of Syrian WMDs by peddling a narrative that is a) philosophically off-kilter; b) historically inaccurate (at best) or dishonest (at worst); c) shortsighted;  and, thus, d) dangerous for America. Our nation, they snarl, must stay out of the Syria conflict because, don’cha know, that would be a repeat of our misadventurism in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Misadventurism in Afghanistan and Iraq?

I’ll quickly admit, the more vividly revealed become the consequences of too many of George W. Bush’s wrong-headed, all-things-to-all-caucuses initiatives, the less inclined I am to defend his presidency. His enthusiasm for government spending established a catastrophic pace — one which so emboldened his egregious successor that he’s gone on to make GWB look like a money-squandering piker. The “Man from Crawford“, furthermore, seemed inordinately preoccupied with appeasing his political adversaries, fixatedly boning-up his “moderate” bona fides to appease a Lefty mob of haters who’d despise him no matter what he did.

So, when it comes to GWB’s eight years in the Oval Office, I’m not exactly an unqualified fan.

And did I mention I oppose military action in Syria?

That doesn’t mean recent, galling events haven’t tempted me to jettison my ample beefs with “Dubya” and offer myself, instead, as sword-twirling guardian of his flame.

The Bush-Could-Do-Nothing-Right-For-Eight-Years dump-truck continues rumbling down the media-politcal highway, manned by smug, “Progressive” blusterers still pathetically vexed with Bush-Derangement Syndrome — and I can handle that; I’ve gotten used to it. But, mountingly and maddeningly, crawling into the cab alongside them are Libertarians and, worse, otherwise reliable Conservatives who really ought to know better.

Syria equals Afghanistan equals Iraq, they chant faciley — trashing Obama and heaping a fresh, and in this case undeserved, load of obloquy on GW, in the process.

Pointedly, the Obama-Syria hash-up has — let’s see, how can I put this? — LITTLE TO NOTHING to do with the Bush-Afghanistan/Bush-Iraq campaigns.

Permit me to emphasize: LITTLE TO NOTHING.

Afghanistan, y’all might remember, hosted the cabal of cretins who engineered an Islamist terror-attack on American soil a dozen years ago. Three-thousand souls horrifyingly murdered.

Raining our military’s armor-plated fury on the Hindu Kush in response? That’s a no-brainer — the kind of retribution any self-respecting, God-ordained government would undertake when it concludes its people imperiled.

While space limitations, moreover, prevent a full rehearsing of all the reasonsbushels of them — our 2003 violence against Saddam Hussein (“Operation Iraqi Freedom”) was robustly justified, allow me to mention: Saddam had possessed WMDs and used them extensively (on Iranians, Kurds and “Marsh Arabs”). He’d previously invaded a neighboring, sovereign country (Kuwait). He’d orchestrated a (failed, thankfully) assassination attempt on President Bush ’41. Iraq was firing regularly on US jets patrolling its northern “No-Fly Zone”. There’s compelling evidence Saddam was allowing al-Qaeda leadership to seclude within Iraq and he openly egged-on/enabled  Palestine suicide bombers.

Most of the civilized, Western world were convinced Saddam continued hoarding WMD, partially because, as he admitted to FBI interrogators after his eventual capture,  that’s what he wanted the planet to believe. Ergo, his insolent, months-enduring refusal to co-operate with United Nations demands that he demonstrate his megalomaniacal harmlessness. At any juncture, he could have unrestrictedly opened to weapons inspectors the corners of his shadowy despotism and proved his benignity. He wouldn’t do so.

NRO’s Andrew McCartney nutshells it: “[T]he 9/11 attacks convinced the American public – including … much of the Left – that the U.S. could not abide the risk of WMD left in the hands of regimes that had a demonstrated propensity to cooperate with anti-American jihadists. Those political conditions induced Bush to act against Afghanistan and caused the public to support … action against Iraq.”

It would have been criminally irresponsible for GWB, armed with that information at that moment, to have done nothing about the sadistic Ba’athist’s devilry. Bush’s ultimate, Saddam-overthrowing, Iraqi-regime-changing strategy wasn’t merely defensible but, considering the ostensible threat to American interests he was facing in real-world time? It was incumbent upon any Commander-in-Chief worth his nation-protecting salt.

A man who’d confront a constellation of circumstances like that and shrug his shoulders, rolling the national-security dice? He shouldn’t be anywhere near calling the shots from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Subsequent failure to uncover warehouse-quantity WMDs? No repudiation of “Iraqi Freedom“ ‘s legitimacy. Hundreds of metric tons of yellowcake — potentially nuke-weapon-enriching — uranium were discovered (and relocated to Canada); as were stores of sarin and mustard gas. Clandestine capabilities for resuming WMD production were found in place. And another post-capture confession from “the Butcher of Baghdad“: His plan had been to wait-out the world-monitoring heat and then fully reconstitute his nefarious bio/chem/nuclear stockpiles.

Bush vindicated. The execrable, Bush/Saddam/Iraq mythology vanquished. This must be driven home unrelentingly.

Bush ’43’s dispatching of US military might into vital Afghanistan/Iraq theaters can be compared, in no intellectually dignified manner, to Obama’s ham-handed, ad-hoc, incoherent determination to smuggle America into the Syrian civil war.

What is genuinely chilling is the gestating, long-view fallout from all this bad-mouthing of GWB’s efforts to protect our Republic. The unfailingly insightful Tom Sowell remarked years ago, we ought to be soberingly concerned about some future President’s failure to act with necessary decisiveness against international predators because he’s been spooked by Bush ‘43’s Afghanistan/Iraq blowback.

Once more, America’s attacking Syria? Mark me down as “Nay“.

America’s flexing her “shock-and-awe” muscle when villains threaten us? Unhesitatingly, that’s another matter.

Image: The Knight of Knowledge; author: LKK06; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.