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Thu Aug 29, 2013, 11:11 PM

"Syria - It Takes More Courage to Say There Is Nothing Outsiders Can Do" [View all]

The human misery in Syria is agonising to watch. But intervention-lite is a bad idea for all but the politicians' egos
by Simon Jenkins
The Guardian, Thursday 29 August 2013 18.42 EDT

Something-must-be-done wars have a long and wretched history, notably in the Middle East. It was after Ronald Reagan saw television footage of the Sabra and Shatila massacres in 1982 that he ordered his marines into Beirut. He later withdrew them, leaving 265 American dead and Lebanon with a further decade of ghastly civil conflict.

In 1986, the US tried to kill Libya's Colonel Gaddafi over a terrorist attack in Berlin, merely ensuring a further burst of Gaddafi-sponsored terrorism. In Kosovo in 1999, the Nato bombing of Belgrade did nothing to impede ethnic cleansing, indeed it probably expedited it. What tipped the Russians into forcing Serbia to back down was the threat of a western land invasion.

In 1993, President Clinton bombed Baghdad in retaliation for a claimed plot to kill former president George H Bush. This was followed five years later by the further bombing of Iraq in Operation Desert Fox, this time to deflect attention from the Monica Lewinsky affair. Its declared purpose of eliminating weapons of mass destruction was so botched as to require more bombing and the eventual invasion in 2003. Then as now, the zest for aggression seemed driven as much by the military-industrial complex as by legality or evidence.

Overstating the military and political potency of air power mostly as a "sending of messages" is as old as air war itself. Tactical bombing is occasionally effective where, as in Libya and initially in Afghanistan, it is in close support of ground forces. When, as now, it is intended as a soft option to ground action, it merely destroys.


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Reply "Syria - It Takes More Courage to Say There Is Nothing Outsiders Can Do" [View all]
Divernan Aug 2013 OP
davidpdx Aug 2013 #1
Faryn Balyncd Aug 2013 #2
robinlynne Aug 2013 #3
liberal_at_heart Aug 2013 #4
Iliyah Aug 2013 #5
kardonb Aug 2013 #7
Iliyah Aug 2013 #8
JDPriestly Aug 2013 #12
Mr.Bill Aug 2013 #6
awoke_in_2003 Aug 2013 #9
Amonester Aug 2013 #10
Iliyah Aug 2013 #11