What are we supposed to do?
First, I’m relatively more hawkish than the Left or my Libertarian brothers. When the time comes for the use of force, I’m very alright with using that force and then walking away – the walking away part is the hard part. But here in Syria, we have such a different set of circumstances.
First, there are no “good guys” in the fight. To be sure, there are innocent civilians being impacted in horrible horrible ways, but the aggressive actors are all rotten – we have no natural ally in the field. Given this, by attacking Syria, we are, by definition, helping Al Qaeda.
Frankly, when asked who we would root for in a war between Syria and Al Qaeda, the only sane answer is “Casualties”.
Second, if a state uses chemical weapons, the line has been crossed and distinct action must take place. The world is no place for nation states, complete with well functioning chains of command, to be using chemical weapons. Against an enemy or against its own citizenry.
Good guy or bad guy – that cannot go unpunished.
Which brings me to my third point. There is no rational reason for the Assad regime to carry out a chemical attack against his own people. Those that hate him, already do. And those that support him, again, already do. There is nothing to gain by the mass murder of that many innocent people.
Assad surly must know that America would strike. That we would take action and react to that red line. And that if he was faced with using chemical weapons, it must be in a case that NOT using them was worse than the repercussions OF using them.
And I don’t see a compelling argument that Assad took any advantage by the use of that chemical strike.
I’m sure that a crime against humanity has been committed. And I’m sure that someone must be held accountable for this crime. I just don’t think that America should act as the world’s police force and rush to judgement -and sentencing- of this particular crime.
Let the UN handle it.
And you know what? It would seem that elements of the Left agree with me!
This time, maybe the Obama administration isn’t about to launch cruise missiles against Syria. Maybe there’s still time to prevent it. Right now, those risking their lives on the ground to help the Syrian people are the UN inspectors. If the United States is really concerned about their safety, and recognizes the legitimacy of UN inspectors, the Obama administration should immediately engage with the UN leadership and with the Syrian, Russian and other relevant governments to insure their safety while they continue their crucial efforts. Cruise missiles will make that work impossible. What’s needed now is tough diplomacy, not politically motivated military strikes that will make a horrific war even worse.
I’m not one to source The Nation, but go read Bennis’ article – worth the time.