Posted by: coastcontact | April 28, 2013

The Syrian Dilemma

Barack ObamaJune 14, 2013

This article was originally posted on April 28, 2013.  Nothing has really changed since then except the White House now confirms that Assad has used chemical weapons.  Jeffrey Goldberg posted his opinion today (June 14, 2013) on bloomberg.com that simply reinforces my views. “Five Depressing Thoughts About Arming Syria’s Rebels” is worth reading.

President Obama made public his opinion that the use or movement of chemical weapons would be a “red line for the United   States.”  He said that in 2012.  Now there is evidence that those kinds of weapons were used in small quantities.

That puts the president in a box if he really does not want to become involved in the Syrian Civil War.  No action by the United States indicates to the world that our words mean nothing.  That will frighten our friends around the world.

Republican congressmen and senators are using this situation to paint the president in the worst possible light.  Mike Rogers (R-MI) appeared on Charlie Rose on Bloomberg TV on Saturday April 27 where he demanded leadership by the president on this subject.  He proposed a variety of vague actions the president should take.  However, when asked what specific actions the president should take he became even more vague and said we should not “put boots on the ground” in Syria.

There is the problem.  Republicans and Democrats alike want the United   States to take action but stop short of putting American troops in Syria.  No wonder. The outcome in Iraq and Afghanistan has been dismal.  Iraq appears to be on the verge of a civil war. Afghanistan will probably be overrun by the Taliban in most of that country, with the exception of Kabul, once American troops have mostly withdrawn.

The Syrian test is obvious.   How much gas can Bashar Assad use and still avoid entry of the United States into their war?  Is it the number of people killed?  Ten is OK but 100 aren’t?  To me the question ought to be, when Assad falls what will happen to those chemicals?  He won’t fall?

Reports appearing yesterday in the Los Angeles Times are that the number of business men and industrialists leaving Damascus for cities outside Syria is on the rise.  They can see the hand writing on the wall.

Articles like this, Lawmakers: Syria chemical weapons could menace US are meant to prepare Americans for another war.  This reminds me of the scare tactics used by the George W. Bush administration to justify the invasion of Iraq.  The difference might be that Barack Obama wants to avoid war.  Then again may be not.  After all his directions have been even more aggressive than Bush’s.  Obama did catch and kill Osama bin Laden.  Drones are now utilized far more than those days of the Bush administration.  The Strait of Hormuz is regularly patrolled by the U.S. Navy.

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