I agree with the one who told the parable of the Good Samaritan: that those who passed the man hurt by thieves would be partly responsible if he died.

Yet life is a bit more complicated in reality.

A few days ago, Kerry (said that he will) hold objectors to Obama’s wishes as responsible for future atrocities, one first must ask: atrocities by whom?

For if the US enters into Syria’s civil war, there is a very large possibility that the original Syrian rebels won’t win, but the more aggressive Alqaeda supported wing of the rebels.

One must ask: but what if a worse regieme gets put in, a regime by Alqaeda types that will ethnically cleanse non Sunnis and anyone who isn’t their radical  brand of Islam, who will be a worse harbor for terrorism than Assad (Assad had made the devil’s agreement that if terror groups left his government alone, he would ignore their support for terrorism in Iraq and other countries).

In a civil war, where both sides are terrible and atrocities are committed by both sides, and when there is the possibility that replacing a bad guy with a worse one might not improve things, one does wish someone would push peace.

Putin is the key to this: Yet ironically, instead of pushing our common values with Russia, Obama is going out of his way to personally insult the guy.

True, Putin is a dictator: the “new Czar”.  But he has an interest in stopping the aggressive forms of Islam too. Chechnya? Belsen massacre?

Obama thinks it is better to keep the gays on your side (and reap lots of political donations from this group) even if it means to insult Putin, who has banned the promotion of gay literature to children, but the insults go further than that. The Obama administration is angry that Russia allowed Snowdon, the NSA whistleblower, political asylum: Yet Snowdon only accepted this offer after the Obama administration prevented him from settling elsewhere.

Policy differences are the basis for the problems between the US and Russia, yet such differences do not preclue a personal relationship that can often solve sticky problem. And here, Obama’s personal insults to Putin are part of the problem.
From Bloomberg news:

“This is the worst personal relationship of the U.S. and Russian leaders in history,” said Andrew Kuchins, an expert on Russia at the Center for International and Strategic Studies in Washington

When Obama at an Aug. 9 news conference compared Putin to the disinterested slouching kid in the back of the classroom “you’ve taken the relationship to a personal level,” Kuchins said. “Mr. Putin is not a person that forgets many personal insults, and it’s not played well in the relationship.”

This is in contrast to Putin’s relationship with Bush. I was once was startled when Putin, goaded by an anti American BBC commentator to criticize Bush, actually defended him and insisted that he was a good man. They could talk and disagree, because they were friends. Now, alas, that is not true.

The pettiness of President Obama extends beyond insulting those he needs to work with to develop a peace plan in the Middle East. A lot of cynics think this is about destroying the Republicans, not saving Syria.

When Kerry essentially says that if the Republicans stop the war, they will be blamed for atrocities, he is essentially politicizing the issue. This is important, since major domestic issues are due to be discussed by congress, from immigration to the budget.

Presumably, Kerry is implying that the Republican opposition will be obediently smeared in the mainstream media when the inevitable atrocities occur, and that this can be used to destroy opposition to their domestic policies.

And, of course, if the Republicans go along with the war, well, no problem. Obama will be a “war president” and everyone will obediently fall behind him in any issue.

So where are the anti war Democrats in this? Well, this photo is being posted on some conservative/libertarian blogs:



The war in Syria gives us no choice between good and bad, only between bad and worse.

But if Kerry insists that those opposing a war are responsible for the atrocities by the other side, then maybe one should ask the same of Kerry, whose “winter soldier” testimony helped stopped America’s defense of South VietNam and the takeover of that country by the communists.

Is Kerry taking responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of deaths in VietNam from the communist government, via “reeducation camps”, by execution, or by their bad economic policies that resulted in starvation of a country that is a major rice exporter and is able to get three rice harvests a year? And did he ever lift a finger to help the millions of boat people, both those fleeing because they had supported the previous government, but also the Chinese community that was ethnically cleansed?

Answer: no. Like most of the anti war movement, he had “moved on”: in his case to politics, pretending he was Irish to win votes.

Sometimes the choice is not between good and bad, but between bad and worse.

Someone once wrote that the difference between a dictatorship and a tyranny: the tyranny wants to control everything.

Assad is a nasty dictator who supported terrorism as long as they left his country alone, but the Alqaeda types, (who think that the Wahabbi religious police in Saudi are too lenient) would want to control everything inside that modern country, and also support terrorism.

The result could be a fight against a country with modern weapons and expertise.

In this case, no one wants the bad guys to win: the real question is could Assad make a peace agreement with the original moderate rebels, after 100 thousand deaths and a couple million refugees have fled?

Yet sometimes a war weary country will agree to peace because they are tired of war, and they will even agree to compromise with their worst enemies.

Iran is a religious dictatorship who wants a bomb to protect themselves against the Arabs, while Saudi is a friendly-to-the-west religious tyranny, but maybe they could agree that peace might be a better alternative than a major Sunni/Shiia war.

The main obstacle at this point is the American president.



Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines

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