|Cropped version of File:Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Why, oh, why does President Obama think he can correct or improve anything by launching a military attack on Syria? There are so many things wrong with this, it's hard to know where to start. I am listing a few of the major reasons why I believe Obama's proposed attack is a very bad idea.
- Obama has waited too long for military action to be of any benefit. Two years ago was the time to do something, if something was to be done. He chose not to. That was a good choice, but now the situation has changed so much that even if military action were a good idea now in some kind of theory, which it definitely is not, there are many complications that make it very unlikely to succeed in any significant way. Russia is Syria's supplier and champion. Hezbollah and various other entities have reinforced Assad to the point that without America's actual participation in the civil war, Assad is virtually assured of victory. Even if he were deposed, his replacement would be someone even worse. The rebels would soon set about to create an Islamic state that would hate America as much as Assad does, or more.
- If there were any practicality to attacking Syria now, and there isn't, telegraphing the intention weeks in advance could only harm the chance of success of actually destroying anything that would affect the outcome in Syria.
- The leaders of the so-called “free world,” not necessarily the sharpest these days, are at least smart enough to see that Obama's desired attack is a misguided idea. There would be little support in the international community for his actions, and much blame for America for things that would go wrong.
- Just about everyone can see the utter hypocrisy of overreacting to the tragic gas attack – when Saddam Hussein was gassing his own countrymen during the George W. Bush years, Obama and his friends saw no need to do anything about it. Saddam killed many thousands more than Assad has thus far. Also, Obama knows that under Assad over 100,000 Syrians have died by means of bullets and bombs, but that has warranted no action on the part of the U.S. in Obama's estimation. But the people killed by conventional means are just as dead as those killed by poison gas.
- Obama brought this “crisis” upon himself with his “red line” statements. It was a red line that seemed definite, but the consequences of crossing it (more than once) were anything but. It is mainly to avoid the embarrassment of not enforcing the red line at all that Obama now wants to attack Syria. As bad as the evil gas attack was, it does not warrant the response Obama wants to use.
- Obama's proposed attack would require a supplemental appropriation by Congress since there is not sufficient funding to do it otherwise. It is doubtful that Congress wants to approve Obama's plan (to the extent he has any plan), and doing so would cost many millions and kill a good many people – for what? To save Obama's ego?
- It seems obvious that this idea is poorly thought out in terms of its consequences. Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that this would not be like Iraq, but if one examines the history of U.S. interventions in the Middle East under Obama, it's easy to see that nothing has worked out as well as was hoped. Libya has been changed from a dictatorship under Qaddafi into an Al-Qaeda stronghold. Egypt, where we have not intervened militarily but diplomatically, has endured an Islamist regime only recently removed. Egypt is now a horrifying place for its citizens, especially the Christians. The economy is in shambles. How long before someone thinks we must intervene militarily there, too? “Mission creep” is inevitable in military interventions. The war in Afghanistan has dragged on for over a decade without really accomplishing the whole mission, not because of our military, but because of our politicians.After the U.S. Attacks Syria, if such an attack takes place, what happens to the neighboring countries, especially Israel? Neither Syria nor Iran nor Hezbollah would feel constrained from sending multiple rockets there if they feared no U.S. response, or maybe even if they did. In any event, Israel would be left in a very difficult position, and the result could well be a wider Mid-East war in which we would have to fight.
Probably, some big financiers think they would profit from an attack on Syria, as they typically do from any war. As I see it, it would be of serious harm to America and Israel and would not be of any benefit to Syrian people vulnerable to Assad's attacks with either conventional or chemical weapons. The only realistic solution is a negotiated settlement, to be reached, hopefully, before Assad destroys even more thousands of people. The U.S. can probably have very little influence on such a settlement.
The Obama Administration and Congress need to think this through a lot more thoroughly than they have up to now. They should listen to Sarah Palin's advice: “Let Allah sort it out.”