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Obama Has it About Right on Syria

by Keith Koffler on March 22, 2012, 3:03 pm

What is happening in Syria is an awful thing to behold. And we can act to end it. And we shouldn’t.

By refusing to commit U.S. airpower to helping the Syrian rebels, President Obama is making judicious use of the most important resource the world has – the U.S. military.

We can’t fight every battle. We can’t overextend ourselves.

We have to be ready to attack Iran’s nuclear program at any moment, when our intel services suddenly realize, for example, that the Mullahs are much further along than we think.

We have to act to counter Chinese influence in Asia, protect South Korea and Taiwan, and make sure the Russians know not to press the reset button on expansionism.

We have to keep the world’s sea lanes open, and be ready to intervene in Latin America, where our troops are periodically called upon to act.

And we have no money. We’ve spent it all. We’re drunks, and the bar tab is coming due.

We can’t just fling our bombs around and commit ourselves to engagements in which the call to become gradually more deeply involved would begin to blare the moment we dispatched the first F-16s.

Syria is backed by Iran and Russia. It has proxy war written all over it. The Iranians would massively resupply the Syrian regime. Once we’ve begun a military action, we cannot fail. If the bombs didn’t dislodge Bashar Assad, we’d have to put troops on the ground. And then we’re in it deep.

It would be good, both morally and strategically, to rid Damascus of the Assad clan. But we have more urgent matters to deal with.

The people we would help are disunited and often militarily inept. And we’ve learned that too often, little that is good replaces these regimes once they topple.

I backed intervening in Libya – before Obama did – because I believed with relatively little effort we could destroy someone who had supported terrorism and killed Americans. And I was right, though the failure to act when Muammar Qaddafi was initially on the ropes resulted in a longer and more deadly campaign.

I despair for the Syrian people and grieve for their suffering. I think we should consider at least arming the rebels, on the bet that Assad is so bad that whatever replaces him can’t be much worse.

But Obama is right, and John McCain, who wants to unleash the Air Force, is wrong. We can’t be Rome and fight the Barbarians on every front. We have to pick our battles. And not this one.

{ 12 comments }

srdem65 March 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm

He may have it right, but not for the right reasons. He most certainly doesn’t want to get engaged in another conflict that we will simply not win during this election period. There’s no outcry for intervention in Syrias civil war.

This is Libya, Egypt all over again; a common uprising against the regime in power. The revolutionaries have no descernable leader, no means to protect the innocent, not enough fire-power and no reason to assume that anything would change if they were successful.

Jeff March 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm

No but we can back turkey with it, Assad must fall, when that happens the Iranians will stand up again and maybe, just maybe Lebanon will deal with Hezbollah.I speak to people in both locals daily, and Hezbo and the Mullahs are wearing out their welcome real fast..
Notice not one word on the TV news that African-Islamic country of Mali fell last night in a coup…

bettyann March 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I say we worry more about domestic terror: why the straining over Syria by our dear little muslim in chief, when the NYPD is under siege for defending our own shores? CAIR regularly stuffs it to the American public, and muslims are what, .06% of the population?

Obama has all his priorities back assward.

James Crawford March 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Obama had it wrong in Libya and Egypt and may be right in Syria.

Mubarak had been a US ally that kept the peace with Israel for three decades, so Obama incited a revolt against him.

Daffy Gadaffy had been a sponsor of terrorism, but he repented and even surrendered WMD that the CIA didn’t know he had, so Obama incited a revolt against him too then bombed him to help the rebels. The obvious lesson is that the US is dangerous to it’s friends. The video of Gadaffy being
sodomized with a bayonet by his captors certainly reinforces this point.

Assad didn’t surrender his WMD including chemical weapons that may have been evacuated from Iraq in the weeks prior to the invasion. The WMD buys Assad immunity from intervention.

The lessons to America’s former allies and long time enemies are obvious.

DeniseVB March 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Group Hug:

http://bloghopenchangery.com/2012/03/18/voters-this-is-why-obama-must-be-fired-in-november/

…sorry, just can’t get behind the creepy press releases, we need to question, and question hard. :D

Susan March 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Obama and the left have no moral core, so they will do whatever they think will be most beneficial to them. They don’t gain anything by helping liberate brutalized Syrians from Assad the butcher, so it’s just the price they have to pay to keep Obama’s base happy. We can send 100 troops to Africa for heaven knows what or why, but we can’t send a special ops team in to Syria to take out a monster. No wonder nobody respects America any longer.

domenico dario March 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm

When a law of the Eternal God is broken, punishment will always follow.
USA Has:
Caused Drought – Now they have drought.
Starved Millions – Now millions are starving.
Caused Floods – Now they have floods.
Destroyed Millions of Homes – Now Homes are being destroyed.
Destroyed the Infra-structure
of Many nations. – Now theirs are being destroyed.
Killed Millions – Now they are being killed.
Plundered Nations – Now they are being plundered.
Tortured Millions – Yet to happen in a big way.
Enslaved Millions – Yet to happen in a big way.
God Is Not Mocked
http://www.peterjamesx.com/docs/God%20Is%20Not%20Mocked.htm

Susan March 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Nothing but a bunch of un-American hogwash. America is not responsible for all the world’s ills.

Susan March 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Guess he’s bypassing Congress again… Sending $1.5 billion to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt by instructing Clinton to use waiver authority.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2012/03/22/us_to_ok_egypt_aid_despite_congressional_concerns/?rss_id=Boston.com+–+Top+political+stories

Stephen C. March 22, 2012 at 9:36 pm

What’s the damn difference between humans in Libya wanting hope and change as compared to humans in Syria wanting hope and change? Nothing!
As I said before, Pressintent Obama doesn’t have the testicular fortitude to attack a predominately pro-Iranian nation. Our Air Force and Navy could destroy and take no prisoners if need be… Oust Obama and let’s clean up his mess.

BARKLEY PONTREE March 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm

The difference is Libya had turned a page, come to the USA, given up their nuke program and were helping with our war on terrorism. So we screwed them, got rid of Omar, and now the muslim brotherhood is in charge and will soon receive millions in US aid. Syria, is led by a bad guy, wants to nuke Israel, friends with Iran, Russia, and China. So we let him be.

This is why rumors flourish on Obama’s religious affiliation. His behavior seems to support radical muslims while ignoring friends and people who were peaceful to Israel. Okay, I know Omar was a really bad guy but the last 10 years or so he’d seen the light and was playing ball with the US. Also, he gave up his nuke program and look what happened to him, which is why Iran won’t.

barkleypontree.blogspot.com

Heinz March 23, 2012 at 8:04 am

Well Put.
The Military is at the point of institutional exhaustion.
ANDREW LIVES!