Panetta: Unilateral U.S. Military Intervention in Syria Would Be a Serious Mistake

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"
--- Edmund Burke

Follow clayclai on Twitter
Unilateral U.S. military intervention in Syria would be “a serious mistake.” said US Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on the very day that saw the greatest number of Syrians slaughtered in the eighteen months since the Assad regime first started shooting unarmed protesters. They are still shooting unarmed protesters, only now many of those protesters have armed themselves.

Oddly, Panetta made this statement, not in response to a call for unilateral U.S. military intervention, he made it in response to a call for Arab military intervention. Nevertheless, his words were taken as an objection to any military intervention to stop the massacres:

Panetta said reports that the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, advocated Arab intervention in Syria don’t change his belief that the best approach remains international “diplomatic and economic pressure on Assad to step down.”

The word "unilateral" makes his response unresponsive. There can be no question of "unilateral" US action against Assad because France, Turkey, and a number of other countries have already signaled their willingness to go much further than the US in fighting Assad. It is the US that is holding them back. Adding "unilateral" makes his statement easy to agree with, but it is a canard, it makes it completely unresponsive to the world situation because nobody is calling for "unilateral U.S. military intervention."

But Panetta's statement raises a question: It would be "serious mistake" for who?

A "serious mistake" for the children of Syria, who keep getting their heads blown off? See video of another little girl who's brain cavity has been blown empty since Panetta's statement below the fold. Would stopping the bombing and shelling have been a "serious mistake" for her?

Would it be a "serious mistake" for humanity as a whole?

Or would it be a "serious mistake" for US imperialism, Israel and the Obama campaign?

There are different interests represented, so "serious mistake" for who? Please, you are not being clear.

Because I don't think taking down the killer who has his gun aimed at me would be a "serious mistake."

And I want the police to try to talk him out of it first, but I hope that they won't limit themselves to verbal remedies.

I don't think that using measured violence to take down a hijacker or a suicide bomber is necessarily a "serious mistake."

And I don't think this father, hugging his daughter who just had her head blown off, [picture omitted from the Daily Kos version {see note}], thinks it would be a "serious mistake."

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
--- Bishop Desmond Tutu

I know that many people look upon the US role in the Syrian Civil war as that of a neutral, or even one of benign support for the rebels.

Others see in Syria not a war between sectarian factions, but a largely non-violent popular uprising against a police state that has been forced over to self-defense and armed struggle by 18 months of regime violence.

They see an extremely uneven fight in which the Assad regime, with material and political support from its allies, Russia and Iran, is seeking to crush any but the most tame opposition with massive applications of violence that began with snipers shooting unarmed demonstrators, and when that failed to stop the protests,

escalated to the use of attack helicopters, jet planes dropping bombs, long range artillery firing cluster munitions, and tanks fire supporting goons that go home to home and slaughter anyone they find.

Most agencies have given up trying to keep an accurate body count but many believe it is now well above 30,000. Most of these are civilians and many of them are children The UNHRC expects as many as 700,000 Syrians will have fled their country by the end of the year and there is no end in sight. This past Wednesday saw the bloodiest day of the conflict so far.

from the official Syrian Arab News Agency

Panetta: Unilateral U.S. Military Intervention in Syria Would Be a Serious Mistake
Sep 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, (SANA)- US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned against unilateral U.S. military intervention in Syria, saying taking a decision in this regard would be "a serious mistake".

The UPI quoted Panetta as saying to the reporters at the Pentagon that the call of Emir of Qatar for military intervention in Syria will not change his conviction that such an intervention would be "a serious mistake".

Panetta called however for escalating the international diplomatic and economic pressure on Syria.

H. Said

To understand why the Syrians being slaughtered by their government, and people around the world desperate to see this slaughter stop, abhor Panetta's statement on the one hand; and why the Syrian state news agency would publish it approvingly and without criticism on the other, is to understand why an increasing number of people in Syria and around the world see the US position as one that is favorable to the murderous Assad regime.

The opposition knows that, at this point, only an armed response to Assad's violence can bring any meaningful relief to the Syrian people. The regime also knows that Panetta's threat of "escalating the international diplomatic and economic pressure on Syria" will not stand in their way of murdering all Syrians that oppose it.

They see these repeated promises that the Obama administration will not favor military action against the Syrian dictatorship as green lighting Assad's escalation of violence against his own people.

On 6 October 2012, a large part of the anti-war movement will raise the demand:

Hands Off Syria!

Paradoxically, that is also the demand of the Assad regime and the US government. The stars are aligned.

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
BREAKING: 305 Syrians slaughtered in bloodiest day yet
Syria: Secret source of rebel arms revealed
BREAKING: Amnesty on Syria - Assad Regime guilty on indiscriminate slaughter
Syrian Revolution Digest shows "disgusting" photos!
Syria: The Killing Field the World is Learning to Live With
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
LIVE VIDEO: “World Silence is Killing #Syria” Rally in #DC
Free #Syria responds to Robert Fisk
UPDATED: #Assad: "#Syria doesn't need a green light!"
#Obama opposes French support for #Assad's opposition in #Syria
BREAKING: Amnesty site hacked, Assad propaganda posted
BREAKING: 630 Slaughtered in new massacre in Syria
Special message from Syrian children to Obama
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
General Meade at Gettysburg
Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists
UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
Iran increasing its intervention in Syria
Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout