It’s fascinating to watch the slow jingoistic buildup against Syria that the White House is spearheading. It started a few weeks ago, with a lone mention of Syria by Rumsfeld that left reporters scratching their heads. Then, out of the blue, Syria was warned not to harbor former Iraqi leaders last Friday. Saturday, Rumsfeld and Bush both said that Syria has chemical weapons, they think, and that Syria should look no farther than Iraq to see what happens to countries that have chemical weapons.
It’s obvious where all of this is going, of course. We’re going to have a repeat Afghanistan/Iraq performance in Syria in another 6-18 months. Afghanistan is already a disaster — the police have quit (they have been paid in months), the Taliban is once again running the country, and Karzai, as the mayor of Kabul, is a sitting duck. Iraq will be in similar shape in 12 months’ time, no doubt.
As a liberal Democrat, the only way that I can stomach this is to view all of this with a detached fascination, bordering on bemusement. It’s difficult not to giggle when a CNN poll shows at just under a third of people believe that Syria is the biggest threat to the U.S. I’m certain that 0% of those people could possibly describe what that threat might be. That’s because it doesn’t exist.
How much longer will the American people bleat along behind the Bush White House while they shepherd us into a new era of violence and war?