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What does the USS Maine and Syria have in common? A smoking gun with no finger prints and, more than a one suspect.

Starting in 1895, the second revolt of Cuba began. The first revolt from 1868 until 1878, ended in failure for the rebels. And, during that rebellion the United States nearly went to war with Spain over the capture of the Viginus.

The Virginus was a filibuster ship that was seized with most of the crew being executed by Spanish Authorities. The crew included a number of American Citizens. A filibuster ship is a craft that is in another country's territorial waters without authorization and with ill intent. Such vessels are considered akin to pirate ships. To avoid another such incident, during the second revoultion, President Mckinley sent the USS Maine.
 
On 24 January 1898, the United States sent the USS Maine to Havana Harbor to protect American lives and interests. She arrived on station 25 January 1898. Because the Spanish governor of Cuba was unsure of American intent, Captain Charles Sigsbee, the commanding officer of the Maine, suspended shore leave for the enlisted men aboard. Thus the ship sat quietly in Havana Harbor until the evening of 15 February 1898 when inexplicibly, she exploded and sank killing 266 American Sailors.

After a month long investigation by the U. S. Navy, it was determined that the ship was destroyed by a sea mine deliberatly placed by the Spainish Government of Cuba. Theodore Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy at the time and thus began what he called, "The Splendid Little War." The problem is, to this day the jury is still out on what happened to the Maine.

There are three theories on why the Maine sank. The first is that the Spainish did sink her. Second, the revolutionaries sank her to involve America in their bid for independence from Spain. And third, a spontaneous fire in a coal bunker caused nearly 5 tons of gun powder to explode.

Why would the Spanish sink a foreign naval vessel without provocation? Maybe they thought that by doing so America would get the message and stay out of Spain's affairs. Would it be worth the risk of causing a war so far from home? Good question. If so, it boomeranged badly. Maybe the rebels sank her.

The revolutionaries knew that by sinking an American Naval vessel the United States would be forced to take up the cause. The insurrectionists had a better reason to sink the Maine than the Spanish governor of Cuba; a lesson learned from the first revolt. Or, maybe, it was a horrible accident.

Coal bunkers were notorious for spontaneous fires. Could the Maine have carried the seeds of her destruction within her own stores? It seems that Captain Charles Sigsbee was open to the possibility. In his report to Washington, he specifically asked the American public to withhold judgement until after all of the evidence was reviewed. Fast forward to today.

Are we on the verge of taking the same course of action as Theodore Roosevelt, and President McKinley? How can we be sure that it was President Assad who used chemical weapons?

What do we know? We know that someone used chemical weapons. It was no accident. But who?

Maybe Assad did use Sarin Gas or some other agent. Who else has such weapons in the area? Iran? The insurgents? Before we jump on Assad, ( I am no friend of his but fair is fair), who else could benefit from all of Obama's retoric about crossing red lines?

Assad has friends in Russia and Iran and he is capable of unleashing such monstrousities on his own people. So, the insurgents could benefit too from limited attacks on their own citizens. How better to get the United States to give greater aid, gain in status, and garner sympathy?

With al-qeda supporting the rebellion everyone knows the we are hesitant to provide much in the way of military aid. By using al-qeda logic the collateral damage of a few hundred allied deaths mean nothing, when the end result is the ousting of Assad and a new base within which to operate and attack our interests abroad. I'm not proposing this or any therory. All are equally vile.

America is a laughing stock in other parts of the world. Will sending a few rockets into Syria be enough? Doubtful. Without troops in country, bombing won't do much.

By advertising our intent, coupled with an intelligent reluctance to put ground forces in Syria, this action is without teeth. Former President Bush gave Saddam Hussein ample warning and he (Saddam) used that time to disperse his WMDs. (if you don't think Saddam had WMDs who gassed the Kurds of Northern Iraq? Spain maybe?) The end result is that Bush must have lied...of course. Americans have really short memories.

Maybe we should stay out of Syria's affairs. We have enough problems here without adding to the mix. Sunni and Shi'ia Muslims have been fighting each other since Mohammed died. How will our paltry missile strikes end a blood feud thousands of years old?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David Arthur Liddle September 12, 2013 at 08:35 AM
A lot of good points here. Certainly no one else has ever been able to bring sanity to these insane people so what makes us think we be any different?

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