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

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail