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Should the US Intervene in Syria?

After two years of fighting, tens of thousands dead, and loads of foot-dragging in Washington, the time has finally come.

Bashar al-Assad has crossed President Obama’s red line.  It has been verified he has used chemical weapons, so the time has come to aid the Syrian “rebels.”  From here on, we shall supply the rebels with small arms…against the professional troops and armor of Syria and Iran and Russia.

Glad to know the administration is taking a rebellion it ostensibly supports so seriously.  Just like the pro-democracy Green Movement in Iran.

Before I go on, I feel the need to bring up an event that I was not alive for.  I seem to recall hearing back in the 1980s that the United States funded and armed Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan, allowing them to resist the occupation of the Soviet Union.  Of course, the victory of the Mujahadeen paved the way for the eventual rise of the Taliban in that country.

It is an argument frequently used by the left to argue against interventionism, the base assumption that we cause more harm than good when we do so.

Ironically, it is many on the left proposing to do that very same thing in Syria.

Of course, the lines in this Syrian rebellion are a tad blurred.

On the one side, we have thorn to the West and Israel, President Bashar al-Assad.  A dictator following in the footsteps of his father, Assad is also the primary surrogate of Iran, giving the larger eastern nation a Mediterranean port and a way to supply Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Syria is also a proxy for a less-than-friendly Russia, as well, though that is more of an open secret.

On the other side, it is less clearly defined.  The only aspect of the “rebels” that is known for certain is that they oppose Assad   Otherwise, what they believe is unknown, which, in the Middle East, is dangerous.  However, the recent development of the conflict taking on a religious aspect (particularly along Sunni/Shi’ite lines) does not bode well.

They are “rebels,” though, and in today’s liberal culture, rebellion is lionized, no matter what it leads to…unless of course, it leads to greater liberty for the individual.  Then it’s just evil.

A common mistake made by the left and many others is the assumption that the people of Middle East think like we in the West.

Now, that is not to say there aren’t liberty-minded people in that part of the world.  There most certainly are, particularly among the youth.  However, those yearning for freedom are both the minority and weak.  In almost every case in the “Arab Spring” they were swiftly supplanted by the stronger and more popular Islamists.

A similar situation could very easily arise in Syria, particularly with the more overt Islamist influence on both sides of the conflict.

Keep in mind, I do not write about this because I oppose interventionism necessarily.  I think intervention is sometimes a necessity and possibly in situations without direct national security implications.  However, this occassion does have such implications but does not require intervention.

Right now, our enemies are killing each other (and civilians) in Syria.  What good will it do America to arm one of those sides when the victor may turn around and use those arms to attack Israel or the United States?  It may save civilians caught in the conflict, but what good will that do if Israelis and Americans are killed after the conflict has ended?

The answer seems obvious.

Sadly, this intervention seems to be a half-hearted attempt to fulfill the promises of the President’s empty bluster as the conflict began and escalated.  He made a promise to send aid if Assad went too far and now has to fulfill that promise in a way that seems unappealing and uncaring.  I might disagree if he began an air campaign or put boots on the ground, but at the very least, it would seem consistent with his professed support for the “rebels.”

By engaging in half-measures, President Obama only serves to bolster future enemies and look weak in the process.

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