FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Immo Alea Iacta Non Est

by RAOUF J. HALABY

Dear Mr. Obama:

Little did you know, Mr. President, that, when you announced, several months past, that, should Syria cross a red line, these words would come to haunt you.  You have, Sir, painted yourself in a corner and boxed yourself so tightly that, to use Macbeth’s words: “For mine own good/All causes shall give way/ I am … stepped in so far that, should I wade no more/ Returning were as tedious as go over.”

As you know, Mr. President, the Latin term rubico  means red. If, indeed, the evidence is reliable, then Assad has crossed an international Rubicon, that red line in the sand which you drew for him. Frankly, Mr. President, the  advisors with whom you have surrounded yourself have not served you well. That even before the U.N. investigative team – a team invited by the Syrian government  —  had arrived in Damascus for its investigation you made a hasty decision to attack undermined your credibility. Or, was this a contrived excuse and an opportune time for you to put the final nails in the Assad regime’s coffin and effect the regime change you and your predecessor have called for? In short, you exercised an  alea iacta est  (the die has been cast) dictum.

In need of a fig leaf, you deferred to Congress in the hopes of getting the necessary votes for a strike on Syria. Furthermore, you and your team initiated a full court press at home and abroad with very limited success. The Brits turned you down soundly, the Germans are lukewarm, the French are going to give you token support, the Israelis want you to fight yet another war on their behalf (as George Bush did in Iraq), and the greedy Saudi sheikhs  have offered to underwrite the 1 billion dollar expense for the limited strike, or, is itstrikes? They know full well that any military action is a win win situation for them for it will spike the price of oil thus sticking it to the American middle class and enriching them. They did it in 1973, and with the cooperation of the domestic oil magnates, they’ve been doing it since. And won’t these strikes damage any chance of an economic recovery at home? The citizens of this country have spoken loudly and clearly; they are war weary, and they do not wish to be involved in yet another adventure in the Middle East.  If you go through with theselimited targeted strikes, history will not treat you kindly.

I would like to submit to you, Mr. President, that while Macbeth’s statement “Returning [is] as tedious as go over” holds a certain measure of pragmatic veracity,  in this particular circumstance in which you and your advisors have boxed your administration,  “returning” instead of going “over”  is an infinitely better choice.

While deferring the matter to Congress has given you a fig leaf, albeit a flimsy one, it is, at very best, a very minute leaf.  And while it is laudable that some conservative Republicans will vote against granting you authorization to go to war, to cast a negative vote solely because these votes are intended to embarrass and undermine you and your administration is unconscionable.  And, while John McCain’s service to his country is laudable and duly noted, Mr. President, please do not let him and Lindsey Graham Lady-Macbeth you. Did not the Vietnam War end in 1973?

You would do well to consider the Russian proposal to remove the chemical weapons from Syria. Very rarely are world leaders handed the opportunity to walk away from bad decisions and war in a graceful manner.  While Greek tragedians did not grant their tragic heroes the opportunity to change course because their destiny was controlled by forces beyond their power, Shakespeare accorded his tragic heroes the opportunity to chart their course and determine their destiny.  Whether it was excessive pride, political ambition, arrogance, revenge, or jealousy,  Shakespeare’s tragic heroes made decisions that affected their lives and the lives of others. The Russian proposal gives you the perfect political fig leaf and the opportunity to: listen to the voices of the American people who have spoken loudly and clearly and to act accordingly; it will reduce tensions at home and abroad;  it will provide for a smoother transition in Syria, hopefully one unlike Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Iraq;  it will assure that Islamists don’t overrun a secular country ; it will get your Secretary of State back on track with the Israel/Palestine negotiations, at best a very long shot; it will put the war mongers on a shorter leash; it will let the Saudis and Israelis know that they cannot always buy and influence American foreign policy; it will prove to the world that negotiations instead of war are a change in which they can believe; it will perhaps give you the opportunity to earn a fragment of the Peace Prize; and most significantly, no American men and women will have to go into harm’s way should there be any  fallout from the laws of unintended consequences.

No doubt you, your cabinet, and Congress will have to blow some bluster lest you appear weak and indecisive. Miss Hillary’s already lectured us on this matter. And the same is true for Syria’s tyrannical rulers; they’re likely to priss around like roosters bragging about how they made a super power back down.

Mr. President, I’d like to believe that immo alea iacta non est (no, the die has not been cast).

Wishing you the best as you forge ahead guided by wisdom, grace, compassion, and moral fortitude.

Sincerely and Salaam.

Raouf J. Halaby is a teacher, a gardener, a sculptor and a peace activist. He can be reached at: halabyr@obu.edu.

Raouf J. Halaby has just recently been awarded a Professor Emeritus status. He taught English and art for 42 years. He is a writer, a sculptor, a photographer, and an avid gardener. He can be reached at rrhalaby@suddenlink.net

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail