While working out today, I was watching the Congressional Committee hearings on a possible US military response to chemical weapons use in Syria. Interesting, but nothing more.
Like apparently most people I am horrified by the use of gas, but less then thrilled with a unilateral bombing attack by the United States. That said. I believe there are other options, or perhaps it would be better to say, there should be better options. I also believe that those of us on the left, those of us who call ourselves progressives, Marxists, anarchists, anti-war activists, etc. could and should say more than just that we are opposed to a unilateral US military strike. It is important to say that, but it isn't enough. It is important for people like me to also state up front that we support the multitude of working people in Syria, as everywhere, in their struggle against Empire, the local State and government, and all the rest of the players within global capital. We support revolution and the creation of a new world entirely at all times and everywhere. However, that, too, is not always enough and certainly not immediate enough.
So what other options are there?
The other day I got to thinking about this and tried to come up with some other option in situations like this. Before I lay it out here, I will state up front, there is a lot that would be easily criticized with my suggestion. In fact, my suggestion probably makes more sense as a goal for the future, if it makes sense at all. However, one of the reasons for this is merely to get us, you and I, to think about these things in more than just a knee jerk way. I am going to go out on a limb here and actually make a concrete suggestion, a dangerous thing to do sometimes on the left. However, I have my reasons and I invite comments and criticisms. I invite your concrete ideas though, not just empty rhetoric and critiques. Here is what I wrote on my facebook page:
Thinking aloud here about Syria and similar situations.
There should exist some way for the WORLD to respond to this sort of shit. I, however, don't kmow what that is. Perhaps, the International Court of Criminal Justice should have a military arm. If anyone does anything, perhaps, the first step beyond simple, and often useless diplomacy, could be declaring certain areas within Syria, probably near a border, should be declared a safe haven for refugees and defended by air power (which stated right up front will be used in the event of any intrusions), and if possible some group of peacekeepers from Norway or China or Spain or Senegal, or Vietnam, or S. Africa, or somewhere...rather then just a senseless bombing run. Meanwhile, rather then just presenting the evidence to the UN, it should be presented to like the Arab League, ASEAN, the OAU. Like many, I am weary of the world just turning away while atrocities of all kinds are committed. I also understand the horror of chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, but for the dead, I am not sure they care all that much if it is a chemical weapon, a bomb, an artillery strike, or a bullet. In Syria alone, how many hundreds of thousands of non combatant dead without Chemical weapons is too much.
Notice also that my proposal does not even rely on proving who used the chemical weapons, merely that they were used. The warning about messing with the safe havens would also apply to everyone. It also makes irrelevant USA (or anyone else's) past actions. The only thing that matters is here and now...
Perhaps, in a more ideal world, the safe havens themselves could become autonomous zones, similar to what the Zapatistas have created, where people could learn and create a whole new way of living together, governing themselves, and creating a new world (see for example, http://oreaddaily.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-world-where-autonomy-isnt-just-talked.html).
Okay, that said, I would love to hear other ideas and, again, I realize there are a number of problems with the above scenario.
The post below is a statement of a number of groups scattered around the middle east and north Africa about the overall situation in Syria and which makes a clear statement that all of the discussions, well most of them, going on today miss the point entirely. I post it to remind US that there are "good guys" out there. I post this to remind US that we can remain true to our principles in these situations and we don't have to choose between two sets of bad actors. We don't have to choose between the Empire, fundamentalist religious reactionaries, tin horn dictators, the USA, this State or that State. The following is from Europe solidaire sans frontieres.