Oh Yeah, Syria
Until very recently an old pal of mine was living and working in Syria. She's since split, because her momma raised no fools. When I hear American folks--both progressive and conservative--start to get lathered about what's happing in Syria, the talk turns pretty quickly to sending troops, and I've got to level with you: Even if the citizens of the United States had the stomach for a new and exciting war, I'm pretty sure that Syria's problem right now *isn't* an insufficiency of bullets and bombs. There are currently half-a-million Syrians in refugee camps and snow will be coming soon, I'm told. Meanwhile, I live in Michigan, where we don't get snow any more. In other words, I've got some extra blankets. I've got some extra money that I won't need for heat this winter. I've got an extra special Xmas Wish that someday folks who speak languages I can't even readily identify will recognize "MADE IN U.S.A." as the thing stamped on the sides of crates full of peanut butter, woolens, and water purifiers, not the motto stamped on the side of tear-gas canisters and unexploded ordinance.
But, so, here's a little bit about Iran and Syria and Russia and China and Us and them:
“No, she’s fine,” W. quips.
“Because if they kill her, Obama will make a war on Syria,” B. rejoins. “But us—10,000 people make no difference.”
Though America is not really a consistent enemy. It sanctions Syria as a sponsor of terrorism, but also renders terrorists there for interrogation on its behalf. Syria, too, has excelled at double-dealing: after backing Iran in its war against Iraq, the rival Baathist next door, Assad senior then backed the U.S.—no friend of Khomeini—in its 1991 war against the same. In return, the U.S. tacitly allowed Syria to increase its influence over Lebanon—including its world-class hash production, thus guaranteeing Hezbollah a lucrative market among the pot-smokers of “The Zionist Entity.”
It's a long read, but worth it, and worth meditating on, because the situation is complex. It reminds me of my favorite sinister joke from back in the G.W. Bush years:
"Whoa" says I, "How is that going to happen?"
"Well," says Rumsfeld, "We plan to kill five hundred thousand Iranians and one bicycle repair man."
"No way!" says I, "Why would you kill a bicycle repair man?"
Bush then smacks Rumsfeld on the arm and says "See, I told you no one would care about five hundred thousand dead Iranians!"