It’s looking less likely every day that Barack Obama will make good on his diabolical threat to attack Syria.
What’s discouraging is that so many Democrats and Republicans in Congress are still attempting to justify this unjustifiable action.
Why is it unjustifiable?
Let me count the ways:
- There is no purpose to it, no strategic goals set forward, no endgame: Obama says someone needs to be punished for the use of chemical weapons in Syria. He and his administration claim use of the weapons was authorized by the regime of Bashar Assad. But the administration is speechless when it comes time to explaining what kind of targets would be hit to inflict that punishment. No one can explain what the strategic goals of this action are or how they might be achieved by such a show of force. In the unlikely event that the attack be devastating enough to cause the regime to fall, who will fill the power vacuum in Syria? The questions are many. The answers are few.
- Assad is a bad actor, but hardly the worst on the world scene: In fact, by Mideast standards, you could say he is one of the better authoritarians – actually offering some measure of protection for religious minorities. As you read this column, the opposition rebels, supported by the U.S., are taking over Christian towns and offering this choice to civilians: Embrace Allah and Islam or die. Syria is one of the few countries left in the Muslim Middle East with a large Christian population. They are being massacred and driven into exile. Many of these Christians fled Iraq when Saddam Hussein was toppled and the Sunni Islamist war machine was unleashed to savage religious minorities. That was, presumably, a tragic unintended consequence of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Do Americans want to see that kind of history repeated in Syria?
- There is no compelling evidence Assad’s regime even used chemical weapons: There’s at least as much evidence suggesting the U.S.-backed rebels did. By the way, despite assurances to the contrary by Secretary of State John Kerry, these rebels include al-Qaida terrorists. Kerry has relied on a graduate student with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood to separate the “moderate” rebels from the “extreme” rebels. No one has yet tried to explain the definition of a “moderate” gun-toting warrior. Intelligence expert Yossef Bodansky says the chemical weapons used in Syria were of the “kitchen” variety – unsophisticated enough to be produced by the rebels. And who were the victims of the chemical attacks? They were Assad’s Syrian soldiers and civilians. Would they be the likely target of a chemical attack by the regime? It defies common sense.
- Why would we take sides in what is clearly a religious conflict essentially between Sunni and Shia Islam? That’s what we are already doing with our involvement in the civil unrest of a sovereign nation that poses no strategic threat to the U.S. The U.S., under Obama, has adopted a policy of supporting Sunni extremists over Shia extremists. It’s a policy supported enthusiastically by Saudi Arabia, the home of Sunni Islam, but why is the U.S. involved in an internecine war between Muslims sects?
- Are we prepared for the inevitable retaliation from Iran and Hezbollah? Nothing good can possibly come from America’s military involvement in a country that poses no threat to the U.S. Syria is a virtual client state of Iran, and Hezbollah, the largest terrorist organization in the world, is on the front lines of Syria’s defense. The likelihood of Hezbollah reprisals against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests is nearly guaranteed should America involve itself directly in the shooting war.
- The attack could escalate into a major conflict involving Russia: Syria is not only a Russian ally, it represents a vital interest to Moscow. Russia has made it clear that it fully supports Assad’s regime. Is it worth risking a direct conflict with Russia to fire off a few cruise missiles in an impotent military gesture designed to bolster Obama’s leadership bona fides?
- The U.S. has no vital national security interests in Syria: I repeat – the U.S. has no vital national security interests in Syria. So why are we even talking about bombing it?
- Many of those who are so eager to attack Syria for what they allege to be a very limited chemical weapons attack opposed the war in Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein, a dictator who not only invaded his neighbors but used massive amounts of chemical weapons against both his own people and against his neighbors. How does one explain this sudden zealotry over the limited use of chemical weapons in Syria when Obama opposed the attack on Iraq, a nation that had used more chemical weapons than any since Nazi Germany in World War II?
The beating of U.S. war drums over Syria is irrational, immoral and counterproductive to the best interests of our country.
It’s time to stop, think and get a grip on reality.
America has enough real problems without inventing new ones – or creating crises that run the risk of spiraling out of control.