When War Gets Politicized

-By Frank Salvato

A recent ABC News item reported on an Israeli airstrike that took place early last month inside Syria. This airstrike allegedly destroyed a fledgling nuclear reactor being constructed deep in the Syrian desert. What makes this story more than it appears is that it exposes the fact the United States balked, flinched on preventing Syria, a State Department designated state sponsor of terrorism and an ally of Iran, from attempting to attain nuclear capability. Instead, the United States stood by as Israel set the Syrian nuclear clock back.

The airstrike is still cloaked in secrecy. The Israeli press is forbidden from reporting on it and only a few White House insiders are privy to the details which led to the action. But ABC News reported a “high ranking intelligence official” divulged that Israel had infiltrated the team constructing the nuclear facility. The operative meticulously documented the work being done, gathering evidence that would render impotent any argument that anything but a nuclear facility was being constructed. The operative also gathered evidence that North Korean nuclear technology was being exploited at the Syrian construction site.

All of this would lead one to believe that Syria has enlisted the help of North Korea to build a clandestine nuclear facility in an extremely remote location, far from the public eye.

That Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, is known to be untrustworthy is tantamount to the understatement of the year. His government has engaged in the assassinations of anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians and supports the operations of Hezbollah, not only on Syrian soil but on Lebanese soil as well. He has allied himself with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and now, evidently, Kim Jong-il, the despotic leader of North Korea. All of this and the fact that he has done little to stem the flow of Islamofascist insurgents from his country into Iraq prove beyond any doubt that the Syrian government is anything but friendly to the United States.

It is for this singular reason that we must make sure Syria – and its allies – never attain nuclear capability. Once Syria or Iran attain nuclear capability they will supply the technology – in whatever form they can – to terrorist organizations whose stated goal is the destruction of the United States and US interests abroad.

After Israeli intelligence shared its information with the Central Intelligence Agency, the US focused its own intelligence assets on the Syrian location. Once the Israeli intelligence was confirmed, the US military weighed its options with regard to destroying the site, the boldest plan being a Special Forces operation designed to gather evidence before destroying the facility.

So why, with all of the clear-cut evidence attained by Israeli and US intelligence, the stakes as high as they were and strategies for addressing the issue in place, did the United States opt out of engaging in military action against the Syrian nuclear facility?

The answer to this question illustrates why military operations – and war in general – can never, ever be politicized; it demonstrates how politicizing matters of war, for the sake of political opportunism, places each and every one of us in harms way.

After weighing all of the evidence the White House indicated that it was not interested in engaging in any military action against the Syrian facility. Those examining this decision, including those at ABC News, believe the White House balked, in a large part, because the evidence presented wasn’t overwhelming enough. They believe that because fissionable material hadn’t actually been created that there wasn’t enough evidence to act.

Although the threat of nuclear proliferation by a state sponsor of terrorism should be of utmost importance to us all it is easy – albeit disturbing – to see why the Bush Administration would refuse to take action without actual WMD being developed. It is easy to understand because the world just witnessed the demonizing of the Bush Administration for thwarting the nuclear capabilities of Saddam Hussein’s regime, a regime that was much further along in nuclear proliferation than Syria. This demonizing was the result of political opportunism.

Those willing to be honest, listened to or read President Bush’s September 12, 2002 address to the UN General Assembly and understood that the existence of WMD in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was the least among the reasons given for regime change in that country. People of integrity, who chose to familiarize themselves with the facts, understand that there were several more critical reasons why Hussein’s regime had to come to an end, including the genocide of the Iraqi Kurds and Saddam Hussein’s nuclear development program, which was far more advanced than the Syrian or Iranian programs.

Of course, all of those elected to office are not honest or people of integrity. Many elected to office are agenda and ideologically driven, simply engaged in the pursuit of power. To these people, the truth is a “good thing” when it aids their cause and something to be spun or ignored when it stands to detract from their agendas. Such is the case with the WMD argument of the Secular-Progressive, anti-war Left.

Armed with a solid understanding of the facts and a genuine accounting of the reasons for military action in Iraq, it is hard to recognize the rhetoric of the Secular-Progressive, anti-war Left as anything but dishonest. Those with a fact-based understanding of the issue understand the Secular-Progressive, anti-war Left employed a political tactic used to effect a change of power in Washington toward a government more favorable to their ideology. With a faithful lapdog in the mainstream media, their disinformation campaign to obfuscate the truth in their quest for power is formidable.

Normally this type of behavior is greeted with a roll of the eyes or a sigh of intellectual exhaustion for its ability to sap the will of even the most ardent supporters of the truth. But this time deceitful political opportunists have literally put us all in harms way. This time they have intimidated the powers that be into examining solid, actionable evidence of nuclear proliferation by a nefarious, terrorist supporting nation and, in the face of that evidence, contemplate to the point of inaction as to whether the evidence was “enough” to justify action. In our government’s hunt to attain enough “evidence” to convince the inconvincible they almost allowed a terrorist friendly nation to move closer to attaining the capability for bringing about a nuclear Armageddon.

Thank God for Israel.

Isn’t it time that the silent majority here in the United States got off their butts and became vocal enough to counter the counter-culture of the Secular-Progressive, anti-war Left? Conservatives fumbled the ball in 2006 because of ideological infighting and a naïve belief that if we “sent a message” to the Republican Party they would “learn a lesson.” In reality all Conservative separatists achieved was a Secular-Progressive, anti-war Left controlled Congress and a gun-shy Executive Branch willing to seek compromise on even the issue of nuclear proliferation.

Our country has been made less safe by the fact that politics infringed upon the decision to thwart Syria’s attempt to attain nuclear capability. We must stop pretending that we have no stake in this very real war. We must all educate ourselves on the facts. We must all understand the consequences of our apathy for there is no compromise where nuclear war is concerned. We either keep that capability out of the hands of those who hate us because of who we are or we suffer the consequences.

Related Links:

What Israel Hit in Syria

Country Reports on Terrorism 2006: Chapter 3 — State Sponsors of Terrorism Overview

‘So close to war’

President’s Remarks at the United Nations General Assembly

Basics Project: Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam

Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal . He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. He recently partnered in producing the first-ever symposium on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism in Washington, DC. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. He can be contacted at oped@newmediajournal.us

Copyright Publius Forum 2001