George Graham

Only Fools Rush in When it Comes to the Mideast

The old war horses are at it again, pressuring the president to intervene in Syria. And blood-soaked media reports provide overwhelming support for the argument that America has a moral obligation to protect the Syrian people from Assad’s butchery. How can the greatest power on earth stand idly by while this diabolical despot savages his own people – even using chemical weapons in his vicious campaign against the insurgents?

It’s a valid question. But here’s the rub.

The “insurgents” include America’s sworn enemies – the same kind of political zealots who talked those young idiots into blowing up innocent runners and spectators at the Boston Marathon. It would be folly to help that kind of Muslim get into power in Syria.

What you don’t usually hear about the Iraq War is how self-defeating it was for America. Bad as Saddam Hussein undoubtedly was, he was much more friendly to the US than the Shiites who were swept into power once he was overthrown.  Ask yourself what America achieved by sending its young men and women to die for Iraqi “democracy.”

Perhaps the new George W. Bush library will have a good answer. But I doubt it.

You would think that after Iraq, America – and the other western democracies – would’ve learned to be more cautious before rushing in to aid those Mideast “freedom fighters.” But, goaded by a sensationalist press and self-serving politicians, they rushed in again to save Egypt and Libya from evil dictatorships.

What do they have to show for it?

New “democracies” controlled by elements hostile to the very ideals that prompted western intervention.

I am deeply saddened – outraged – by the butchery and injustice to which so many of the world’s people are subjected. My first instinct is to rush to their aid – with warplanes and tanks if necessary. But on second thought, an old Jamaican proverb comes to mind. It goes something like this:

A cockroach has no business in a chicken fight.

The president has resolutely resisted his opponents’ goading. But Assad’s apparent use of chemical weapons may force his hand. According to a Reuters report Wednesday:

An Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said re-examining the option of arming the rebels was part of a broad look at ways to hasten an end to the conflict, which has cost more than 70,000 lives and forced refugees to flee to U.S. allies Turkey and Jordan.

 “Does that mean that they (arms) will be provided? No, it means we’re reviewing all options to see how we can accelerate the transition in Syria,” the official told Reuters.

Fortunately for America, it seems the Obama Administration shares my reluctance to get involved in another lose-lose Mideast situation. The Reuters report begins with the caveat that:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel cautioned that giving weapons to the forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad was only one option being considered by the United States. It carries the risk of arms finding their way into the hands of anti-American extremists among the insurgents, such as the Nusra Front.

As Hamlet so wisely put it, ah, there’s the rub.

Photo shows Egyptians burning a US flag during a wave of protests in 2012.

Click here for the Reuters report.

Click here for more on Islamic extremists’ involvement in Syria.

Click here for more on post-Gaddafi Libya.

Click here for more on Egypt.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for