What's the point?

Syria prompts vital questions, but military action is a poor answer

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Tens of thousands of deaths and several years in, we have reached the inevitable “somebody should do something” phase of the Syrian civil war.

Thanks to President Obama’s vague and platitudinous threats, the United States now appears obliged to “do something” about the Syrian regime’s chemical attacks on its own civilians.

The ugly results of the attacks have been horrific and galvanizing, even for a gutless and divided international community. And, after months of deliberately imprecise talk of chemical weapons use crossing his “red line,” a blustery but irresolute President Obama is being pressured to act on his loosely worded principles.

Someone in Syria – presumably the Assad regime, but perhaps the rebel opposition – has called his bluff.

Perhaps a military strike is called for. Perhaps no one is situated to do it quite like we are. And the fact that Russia and China are warning us not to strike Syria makes it a bit more appealing to do so. The chance to blow up Syria’s ill-begotten Russian hardware is just a great byproduct.

Russia and China, after all, have prevented an already weak-willed United Nations from long ago marginalizing Bashar al-Assad by peaceful means. Thanks for nothing, comrades. The blood of those Syrian children are on the hands not just of the Syrian murderers but on those of their patrons’.

But while we may have to take action just to safeguard our president’s waning credibility, some vital questions loom. What is the U.S. interest in Syria? What would the strategic objective of a military strike be? How many American lives are we willing to put at risk? Is it likely that any amount of American intervention will ingratiate us to that ceaselessly hostile part of the world?

We frankly don’t think the answers to those practical questions lead to American military action.

Moreover, the Obama administration and the American media have done everything but check Assad’s calendar in warning him about our plans: Two or three days of air strikes on some 50 targets starting as early as today.

Indeed, it all sounds more like an appointment on a calendar than an entry into a war: CNN quotes an Obama administration official as saying there’s “a desire to get it done before the president leaves for Russia next week.”

“We are all familiar with the concept of ‘surgical strikes,’” writes The Weekly Standard. “This is more like scheduled surgery. Outpatient style. Assad may not even need to change his dinner plans.”

What’s the point?

If it’s to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to wage war on its own people, let’s hope the “brief and limited” operation is enough of a commitment to do that. If it’s simply to punish the regime, how will a spanking change the behavior of a mass murderer?

Besides, punishing someone is a rather odd use of a military.

Meanwhile, with Mr. Obama leaving it to surrogates to make an unconvincing case for intervention, polls show a Syrian adventure to be this country’s least-supported military action in modern history.

“About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act,” Reuters reports on its own poll.

Nor has Mr. Obama done much to win the support of our elected representatives in Congress. And guess who said, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” That’s right: Barack Obama, back in 2008.

With a paralyzed and complicit United Nations looking on these past few desperate years – what amount or quality of atrocities does it take to get thrown out of that useless debating society? – there’s almost no way the Syrian war ends well.

Getting embroiled in it can’t be much more promising.

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Darby
33273
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Darby 08/29/13 - 01:45 am
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2
I could not care less if we bomb Assad

and his Micky Mouse regime into the stone age.

I'm more concerned as to what happens afterward. Look at Egypt, look at Iraq, look at Libya.

Take military action IF it is the best course. But plan ahead.

Who will fill the vacuum left if we take him out?

shrimp for breakfast
5762
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shrimp for breakfast 08/29/13 - 05:40 am
5
1
Let them duke it out

These people have been killing each other for thousands of years. Don't even report on it anymore. Oh yeah we have 24 hr news organizations with a lot of empty air time now that the Zimmerman trial has faded.

deestafford
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deestafford 08/29/13 - 05:52 am
7
1
Excellent editorial of touching all the key points

The UN is a totally neutered organization which we should kick out of the US. The only thing I can remember John McCain saying when he ran for president that I really liked was that we should disband the UN and replace it with an organization of democratic countries. I would also tie our foreign aid to those countries that vote with us a minimum of 75% of the time. By the way, UN Security Council urgent meetings must not mean much to the obama people since our UN representative, Stephanie Powers who had been on the job for 19 days, decided her vacation in Ireland was more important than an emergency meeting on Syria by the Security Council.

obama has not made the first major decision in a timely manner. This lack of timely decision making is one result of his lack of executive experience prior to becoming president. He dilly dallied on making decisions in Iraq and Afghanistan until it was too late for both and as a result the best decisions for the US were not made. His lack of decision on the Keystone Pipeline is a farce. On what should have been decided in less than 30 days has taken much longer than the planning for the D-Day invasion of Europe.

Good arguments can be made on both sides for military strikes against Syria. The decision would have been much easier and more pertinent if it had been made over a year ago. The key question is what is in the national interest of the US? Where were all these liberals you see on TV supporting a strike by obama when Saddam Hussein gassed over 100,000 Kurds? If we do strike we should make sure it is a decimating strike and just a "feel good" one like Clinton did in Africa shooting missiles at some empty tents.

Those strikes showed Osama Bin Laden that the US was a weak horse and finalized his thinking that led to 9-11 attacks.

Bottom line is obama once again has not failed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

carcraft
32225
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carcraft 08/29/13 - 07:10 am
6
2
UN maybe doing payback!

Don't forget that the NSA has been found to be spying on the UN. Obama does not accept the legitimacy of US sovereignty. International backing by the UN would give the operation "legitimacy ". Obama wants to bomb Syria to prove to Putin he is tough after Putin snubbed him. This whole thing is more about Obama's ego than foreign policy!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/29/13 - 07:54 am
9
3
We'd be better off bombing

We'd be better off bombing the UN than Syria.

localguy55
5477
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localguy55 08/29/13 - 08:03 am
9
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Let'em fight each other

The Middle east has been a powder keg of violence for as long as memory serves. No amount of intervention will stop the factions from waring on each other. These people are religiously motivated to a fanatical point. Look at Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Lybia, and now Egypt. The only type of governing body that keeps these fanatics in check are the totalitarian autocratic leadership style governance, I.E. heavy handed Dictators. And our attempt to bring democratic order to these people is a pipe dream. You will never tame the Middle East. It is occupied by generational religious fanatics hell bent on pushing their way of life even to the destruction of anyone that gets in their way. I say let them kill each other. Both sides are our enemy so let them have at it.

jimmymac
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jimmymac 08/29/13 - 08:37 am
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LOCAL GUY
Unpublished

You hit the nail on the head! We shouldn't put one soldier in harms way for any of these middle east wacko's. They all hate us and our way of life. The biggest mistake Bush #2 did was to invade Iraq. We could have killed Saddam with a cruise missle. They're now having almost daily bombings based on religious identities. If the world's diplomatic bodies hate what's going on so much let them grow a pair and stop it. Keep our people out of it and concentrate on the invasion that's going on here on our Southern border.

Bizkit
42001
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Bizkit 08/29/13 - 08:42 am
5
2
So now we give Assad plenty

So now we give Assad plenty of time to clear the fifty sites of any military or personnel that we can bomb the area into oblivion. Why not just set off fireworks because it all must be for a show.

soapy_725
44754
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soapy_725 08/29/13 - 09:03 am
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Chemical weapons. LOL The absolute reason for war. Again.
Unpublished

Chemical weapons. LOL The absolute reason for war. Again.

soapy_725
44754
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soapy_725 08/29/13 - 09:04 am
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The battle cry, "Remember the Chemical Weapons". Nuke 'em.
Unpublished

The battle cry, "Remember the Chemical Weapons". Nuke 'em.

soapy_725
44754
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soapy_725 08/29/13 - 09:05 am
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Over there, over there; there's a job to be done over there.....
Unpublished

Over there, over there; there's a job to be done over there.....

soapy_725
44754
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soapy_725 08/29/13 - 09:07 am
0
0
Peace time soldiers, a liability. War time soldiers, casualties
Unpublished

Peace time soldiers, a liability. War time soldiers, casualties

Bizkit
42001
Points
Bizkit 08/29/13 - 09:20 am
8
1
I don't understand why the

I don't understand why the president has changed so much. Saddam used chemical weapons on his own people too, yet Obama was outspoken of not supporting Iraq. Now he wants air strikes in Syria as a shot across the bow because all his soft diplomacy has cornered him into now looking strong and being a cowboy. What a hypocrite and flip-flopper.

justthefacts
30072
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justthefacts 08/29/13 - 09:27 am
2
4
Cain?

Wish ole Cain would weigh in on all this.

dahreese
4961
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dahreese 08/29/13 - 11:07 am
2
5
This is a rather
Unpublished

This is a rather irresponsible statement; "...the fact that Russia and China are warning us not to strike Syria makes it a bit more appealing to do so."
------------------------------------------------------
"Saddam used chemical weapons on his own people too...."

And Obama was not president when this happened. In fact, the chemicals were purchased from the United States - during the term of Bush 41st.

And there is also the online video/photo of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam (ahem!) during the administration of Ronald Reagan.

Additionally, it hasn't been proven yet that Bashar al-Assad gave the order for the gassing.

dichotomy
42109
Points
dichotomy 08/29/13 - 11:15 am
4
2
"The only type of governing

"The only type of governing body that keeps these fanatics in check are the totalitarian autocratic leadership style governance, I.E. heavy handed Dictators."

Yep. Mubarak, Gaddafi, Shah of Iran, and even old Hussein were the good old days. They could be bought, or at least contained, and it was cheap insurance. We should always back the guy who does our bidding and look out for our own interests when it comes to the Middle East. There are only two kinds of possible governments in the Arab world. Strong dictators who kill the opposition, usually radical Islamists, or radical Islamic governments who kill the opposition and all other religions to include moderate Islamists. Secular democratically elected governments just ain't happening over there.

Now we have lost all control and influence to most of the Middle East and North Africa to the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaeda. And we are probably getting ready to hand them Syria. When this "arab spring" spreads to Saudi Arabia and the big oil spigot gets turned off we will regret our decisions of the past and, in particular, the total collapse of Obama's and Hillary's foreign policy in the Middle East. We have made some bad decisions in the past but we have really screwed up the past 4 1/2 years....on a lot of things.....but particularly Middle East foreign policy.

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 08/29/13 - 11:34 am
1
4
Quote from editorial

"We frankly don’t think the answers to those practical questions lead to American military action"

My wife, who is a republican, even thinks The US should; at the very least; bomb strategic instilations and set up a no fly zone. This dictator has gone against The Geneva Agreement and must at least be shown that The Allies WILL NOT sit idaly by! Was it just an aside event when The Allies stopped the savage slauter of Jews in Germany??!!

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 08/29/13 - 11:39 am
0
0
The problem I have
Unpublished

is that the pinko libs threw a major hissie fit when the Republicans found WMD"s in iraq and planned to rid the country of them. (even though some pinko libs were in agreement there were WMD"s) Now massa obama wishes to attack syria. He doesn't even know what is in his own obamacare much less what the syrians are doing. His sources have been rather lax. Just look at benghazi and how his sec. of state hitlary handled that assassination. john kerry is about as reliable as beano at a pinto bean eating contest.

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 08/29/13 - 11:39 am
1
4
Dahreese @ 11:07

"And Obama was not president when this happened. In fact, the chemicals were purchased from the United States - during the term of Bush 41st"

YOU SAID IT!!

Little Lamb
52566
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Little Lamb 08/29/13 - 11:44 am
3
2
Chemicals

It is only logical that the nerve gas used in Syria was manufactured in Russia and purchased by the Syrians from Russia. So, tell me, isn’t Russia likely to veto a Security Council resolution to send missiles into Syria?

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 08/29/13 - 11:46 am
1
4
Quote from editorial

"Tens of thousands of deaths and several years in, we have reached the inevitable “somebody should do something” phase of the Syrian civil war"

Somebody SHOULD do something about Syria!! They have broken The Geneva Agreement by the use of chemical weapons!! If The Allies will come together, the bomb strikes will be more universal action.

Little Lamb
52566
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Little Lamb 08/29/13 - 11:51 am
2
2
No Fly Zone?

t3bledsoe posted:

My wife . . . even thinks the US should; at the very least; bomb strategic installations and set up a no fly zone.

The No Fly Zone didn't work too well in Iraq. I can't see it working any better in Syria.

The Obama regime's insistence on a limited military strike to "teach ’em a lesson" will be like Bill Clinton's strike on the aspirin factory. No risk to us, and no harm to them. It's just a move to deflect perceptions of weak character. In the case of Obama (and Clinton as well), the charges of flawed character are more than perceptions — they are accurate.

t3bledsoe
14291
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t3bledsoe 08/29/13 - 11:50 am
1
2
LL @ 11:44

"It is only logical that the nerve gas used in Syria was manufactured in Russia and purchased by the Syrians from Russia. So, tell me, isn’t Russia likely to veto a Security Council resolution to send missiles into Syria"

Of course The Russians and China will most likely vote against a bomb strike, BUT with The Allies agreement, shouldn't that be enough??!!

Little Lamb
52566
Points
Little Lamb 08/29/13 - 11:54 am
1
2
Enough

It wasn't enough to attack Iraq. The UN Security Council signed off on that.

Of course, the U.S. Constitution requires that the U.S. Congress declare wars on other nations. President Bush got the Congress to go along before the attack.

I don't think the Obama regime holds the Constitution as being meaningful, so he'll just ignore it again.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/29/13 - 11:55 am
1
2
LL @ 11:50

"The No Fly Zone didn't work too well in Iraq. I can't see it working any better in Syria"

I agree, but I don't think Iraq had many jets and helicopters. After the bomb strikes in Syria, perhaps a no fly zone would further show The Allies mean business.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/29/13 - 11:59 am
1
2
LL @ 11:54

"I don't think the Obama regime holds the Constitution as being meaningful, so he'll just ignore it again"

With all due respect, I don't think The Republicans will go along with it.

CobaltGeorge
202898
Points
CobaltGeorge 08/29/13 - 12:05 pm
5
2
I've Said It Before & Will Say It Again.

We do not need to get involved in this Sandbox Fight. Period.
We have a heck of a lot more to battle right here on our home front.
Starting with our "OWN" dictator leader........

Darby
33273
Points
Darby 08/29/13 - 12:23 pm
3
2
With all due respect, I don't think The

Republicans will go along with it.

.
From where I'm sitting, I'm seeing too many Republicans who are all too willing to jump in without knowing the facts.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/29/13 - 12:23 pm
1
3
Quote from editorial

"Someone in Syria – presumably the Assad regime, but perhaps the rebel opposition – has called his bluff"

DOES ANYBODY really think the rebel opposition would use chemical weapons??!!

CobaltGeorge
202898
Points
CobaltGeorge 08/29/13 - 12:56 pm
4
2
I'm Telling You Folks,

If the US does anything in Syria, It will be chewing off a lot more than it can swallow.

I pray that I'm WRONG!

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