What I Commented in the New York Times about
by Stanley Heller
Charles Blow's Opposition to More War
Good for you, Charles Blow, to try to slow down the rush to war. How exactly is it legal for the U.S. to bomb Iraq and Syria? There is a binding document called the U.N. Charter that bans military action except in cases of self-defense. As nasty as ISIS is the USA has not been attacked. The legal response to a perceived international crisis is to bring it to the Security Council for action. Let the U.N. handle it. And let the U.N. handle it without U.S. troops. In case anyone has forgotten U.S. governments have totally mucked up the region, killing massive numbers with sanctions and war and ruling and devastating Iraq through divide and conquer tactics. Yes, there are terrible troubles in Iraq and Syria, but one does not ask the arsonist to put out the fire.
There's another reason the U.S. government should steer clear of all this. It can't defeat Islamic Extremism because it doesn't really want to. The U.S. 1% has a love/hate relationship with the fanatics. It sees them as useful vehicle to put down "the commies" whether Soviets in Afghanistan or populists in (1970's) Pakistan. Read Ed Husain's 2012 article on the Council of Foreign Relations website where he explains how policymakers believe the Free Syrian Army (and the U.S.) needs Al-Qaeda in Syria.
So the U.S. winked as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey flooded Syria with extremists and weapons. How well did that work out?
There's also the question of the U.S. total and continuing support for the gang that runs Saudi Arabia, the inspirers and paymasters of all the fanatics from the Taliban to ISIS. This is a country totally under the thrall of the Saud family whose mixture of public asceticism, abysmal human rights practices and private excess is well known. Yet the U.S. pretends the Saudi monarchy to be made up of "moderates" and sells them tens of billions in weapons.
Yes, the U.S. government should take action to work against ISIS. It should suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Otherwise it should help things immeasurably by keeping its nose out.
By the way take a look at our Saudi archive. There was a piece in the New York Times last week by Ed Husain correctly bashes Saudi Arabia for exporting extremism. However, two years ago Husain was saying the Free Syrian Army needed al-Qaeda forces in Syria to stiffen the spine of the rebels!!