Former Texas congressman Ron Paul stated today that a "no" vote from the American Congress on the use of military force against Syria will mark the "beginning of the end of the American Empire." Asserting that Americans are growing tired of war and citing the fact that we simply do not have the money to fight another war, Paul added that failing to give the president authority to attack Syria would "be a great victory for the cause of liberty and peace." Paul's remarks stand in stark contrast to the progressives and neoconservatives who seem to be thirsting for American intervention despite the fact that we do not have conclusive proof that the Assad regime is guilty of using chemical weapons against its own people. Even if Assad is responsible for the deaths of innocent people, that in itself does not give credence to the idea that the United States is obligated to take a stand and become involved in a very complex and dangerous situation.
One suspects that what Paul says has some validity. At some point, we had to know that the end would come. The United States simply couldn't police the world for another fifty years without running out of money or having sound principles to justify our nation-building. Despite the fact that the Obama administration and the neoconservatives in Congress are desperately attempting to convince Americans that this atrocity committed against civilians is in the direct interests of our own people, the public is not buying the propaganda. Not to mention that one of the most vocal propagandists, Secretary of State John Kerry, has serious issues with the United States wanting to do what he thought was reprehensible in 1971, that is, to engage our military remotely without putting boots on the ground. The situations are more than forty years apart, but the principles remain the same. Kerry's assertion that Congress need not declare war unless troops are on the ground is nonsensical and, if accepted as viable, dangerous to the extent that it leaves any president with broad, unchecked powers to utilize the military in any fashion he deems necessary short of landing troops.
During today's hearing on Capitol Hill, John Kerry responded to a question from Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky by saying that "we don't want to go to war. We don’t believe we are going to go war in the classic sense of taking American troops and America to war." This is a type of comment often spoken by those who seek military ventures to make it seem as though they are going to war as a last resort. And he's employing a strategy that is commonplace with this administration, which is giving something a different name to justify the administration's motives. Kerry's concept that this war would not be a "classic war" would be more plausible and more acceptable were there something concrete that we could latch onto, some plan that the president still doesn't have long after he was ready to give the marching orders to the military to begin the operation. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, could not even give a clear assessment of the administration's purpose in seeking congressional authority to attack Syria. When questioned by Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) about what he is seeking, Dempsey merely replied "I can't answer that, what we're seeking." And therein lies the best argument for not moving forward with this plan. When a country can no longer justify its military operations, when it can no longer give a solid reason why the country should go to war, then its days as an empire are numbered.