As Congress debates whether to authorize President Obama to go to war against Syria, it appears that the U.S. populace is exhibiting signs of a new antiwar consensus—the Iraq/Afghanistan Syndrome. Having been lied to and marched off to war by cynical and incompetent forces in government and the war industry, U.S. working people are not lining up to back a new conflagration.
If this sounds familiar, it’s not surprising. The first such antiwar symptoms were identified following the defeat of U.S. forces in Southeast Asia. Then it was called the Vietnam Syndrome.
Hawks in every presidential administration between Richard Nixon and George Bush II told the U.S. public it had to get over this ailment. Forget the lies told by former presidents and their generals, the two million civilians and 58,000 U.S. soldiers who died, the 5.3 million civilians and 300,000 U.S. soldiers wounded, and the use of chemical weapons that caused permanent neurological damage. The U.S. must “man up” and reclaim its place in the post-Vietnam era as the imperial policeman swinging a club around the globe.
For this reason, in 1991 the first President George Bush launched a ground war against Iraq when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The war lasted all of five days and was militarily unnecessary. Saddam Hussein had already signaled his willingness to withdraw troops from Kuwait. But Bush wanted a ground war to “kick the Vietnam Syndrome.”
Now, with the popular abhorrence of a new war following Iraq and Afghanistan, it seems that President Obama is back to square one. However, with or without Congressional (or public) approval, Obama has already lined up the necessary military and naval power to launch an attack on Syria. History proves the barbaric use of chemical warfare has little to do with his plans for intervention.
Before the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein was a U.S. ally, he used poisonous sarin and mustard gas against both the Kurds in his own country and the Iranians with whom he was at war. The largest use of chemical weapons in modern history, these attacks were facilitated by U.S. tactical information provided by the CIA. The Reagan administration had decided that the use of chemical warfare was worth supporting if it turned the tide of the war against the Iranians.
Now President Obama is attempting to contain the civil war in Syria in order to guarantee an outcome favorable to U.S. imperialism—using the sarin attack as an excuse. This is not humanitarianism: it is cold, calculated, devious manipulation that will lead to greater suffering for the Syrian people and the defeat of the revolution they are fighting and dying to make.
The Freedom Socialist Party condemns U.S. intervention in Syria regardless of the guise in which it is delivered. The U.S. war machine and its “humanitarian” ruling-class supporters at home and abroad share no common interests with the Syrian people. Freedom for Syrians will be won by the Syrian people themselves, just as the working people of the United States must fight for and win our own freedom from our corporate masters.
No U.S. war on Syria! Long live the Arab Spring! Down with the Assad dictatorship!