Iraq 2.0 seems all but imminent, except this time the destination of American missiles is Syria.
If I were an American citizen, that’s probably the way I would look at it.
The United States of America, owner of the world’s largest military force, is preparing to launch an offensive on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his insurgent forces.
All that awaits is the golden order belonging solely to President Barack Obama.
Yes, Obama has asked Congress to vote on whether it believes America should storm into Syria and remove al-Assad like they did Saddam Hussein in 2003.
After all, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “Bashar al-Assad now joins a list that has Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein as those who have used these weapons in time of war.”
While Kerry’s conjecture may be accurate, and while America may be justified in springing into another war in the Middle East, there is one significant element of the equation that is being overlooked in this controversy: the Syrian people.
I would even like to narrow that down to Syrian refugees in nearby countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
There are more than two million Syrians — according to the United Nations — who have fled their homeland since the conflict began in 2011, with most of them having done so over the past six or so months.
An estimated one million of the total refugees are children.
The Zaatari refugee camp, for example, is located in the dreary Jordanian desert and only about eight kilometres from the Syria-Jordan border.
It only spans about three square miles, but is the temporary home to of approximately 130,000 Syrians.
Let those figures sink in for a moment.
Now think about what is being done for those refugees.
Are their basic needs being looked after by the UN, the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations?
I’m afraid I don’t know the answers to those questions.
What I do know is that politically, Syria is lost.
It will take years upon years for it to return to the way it was before al-Assad flushed his charismatic leadership down the toilet — if he ever had an inkling of it.
In the meantime, however, the American government should not trifle in deciding whether or not Syria should be bombarded with air raids from its own military envoys.
Obama and his staffers should instead look at supplying food, water, clothing and advancing the needs of Syrians displaced by the unspeakable horrors that are ongoing in their homeland.
I like Obama.
If I were an American citizen I would have voted for him in each of the last two presidential elections.
However, if he wants to pull a George Bush, there is nothing I can do to stop him.
If he wants to be remembered more as a humanitarian in this time of crisis, then I suggest he leave Syria be — as hard as that sounds — and throw America’s financial weight behind supporting Syria’s vast collection of refugees.
So what will Obama do?
Here’s hoping he doesn’t let this Middle Eastern conundrum blow up his political legacy.
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.