Our government leaders are beating the war drums, decrying Syria’s use of chemical weapons. John Kerry sees “dangerous consequences” for the U.S.
Senate Foreign Relations Chair Menendez says the U.S. must be serious about stopping the proliferation of chemical weapons.
House Speaker Boehner says “The use of chemical weapons is a barbarous act.”
These gentlemen have short memories. Between 1962 and 1971, the United States sprayed approximately 20 million gallons of toxic agent orange over South Vietnam’s jungles and villages. Up to three million Vietnamese people were exposed to the chemical, and perhaps 150,000 children have been born with birth defects.
Since the Vietnam War, the U.S. and Vietnam have been engaged in a joint agent orange cleanup and victim support effort which could cost the U.S. at least $450 million.
The Syria struggle is actually part of the very long running Shia-Sunni conflict in the Middle East. Iran is backing Assad’s Shia government. Saudi Arabia is backing the Sunni rebels which include al Qaeda from several Middle East countries.
Remember Afghanistan, where we armed (Osama) bin Ladin’s Sunni fighters against the Russians, and where that got us? In Iraq we threw out Sunni Saddam, and a Shia government, favored by Iran, took over. The religious conflict in Iraq now continues unabated.
Let us hope President Obama maintains a cautious approach to any more interventions in this centuries old Middle East conflict. A hopeful factor is that oil resource potential in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and South America is gradually making the Western Hemisphere independent of Middle East oil.