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WILLIAMS: Syria is for dummies
President Obama learned nothing from the war failures of President George W. Bush. In fact, he continues to make the same (and worse) mistakes under the cover of a sympathetic media and a blindly loyal Democratic electorate.
We absolutely should not directly intervene in Syria. There are two reasons why: (1) the entire situation was brought on by a reckless ad-libbing policy to the media; (2) we have no end-state objective.
Mr. Obama has only himself to blame for putting himself in this position. Back in May, the president declared a “red line” that cannot be crossed. That red line was the use of chemical weapons by the regime of Bashar Assad.
Last week, it was discovered that chemical weapons had, in fact, been used during fighting in Damascus. Whether or not Mr. Assad’s forces, the Syrian rebels, or even a rogue element fired them is not being asked in the West. Mr. Assad has already been found guilty so no investigation is necessary.
Of course, the United Nations, Russia and China are asking for more time to investigate, but the latter two countries are our enemies and we cannot listen to them. The fact that the Syrian rebels are lead by al Qaeda and have every reason to lie about the chemical attack is not important.
What is important is ego. Mr. Obama declared a “red line” and he means to enforce it.
The administration talked boldly and is now forced to use a big stick for fear that any other warning they make to rogue nations, like North Korea and Iran, is serious. The bluff was called and now you have to show them your 3, 7 off suit.
It really should not come as a surprise since U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, her successor John F. Kerry, former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, and Vice President Joseph R. Biden have been beating the war drum on Syria for more than a year. You may have thought Republicans were the war party, but outside Sen. John McCain you hear nary a peep. Apparently the conservatives learned their lesson from the misleading neocons.
The president backed himself into the same position with Libya when he declared that Moammar Gadhafi must be removed. Never mind that NATO did not have a mandate to do so. By drawing the line in the sand, the U.S. was left with no choice but to lead the mission and make sure Libya’s dictator was replaced.
And we saw the result of that action: the Benghazi consulate attack. Because the U.S. and its allies did not have an end-goal beyond blowing stuff up, we lost an ambassador and several Americans that should have never been there in the first place. Libyan weapons and fighters have continued to migrate throughout Africa and the Middle East, wreaking havoc.
In Iraq, we invaded with no plan for the aftermath. The only thing holding the country together by 2011 was the remaining U.S. soldiers. But Mr. Obama had said he would bring everyone home and so his ego had to be appeased. Iraq is now in the midst of a civil war.
In Afghanistan, we invaded with no end-goal beyond killing as many al Qaeda and Taliban as possible. We stuck around under the guise of nation building in a place that has no conception of the Westphalian state. We should have left years ago, but Mr. Obama said Afghanistan was the good war, so he threw more troops, money and drones into the fire with no real objective. We still have no definition of victory, yet cannot figure out a good excuse to leave.
And now we have Syria.
No one has verbalized our objective. Do we intend this raid to be humanitarian or simply punishment? Is success measured by the number of bombs dropped and missiles fired? What comes after?
In all honesty, neither side of the Syrian conflict benefits us. Hezbollah versus al Qaeda? Better to let them both kill each other on their own.
America would most likely be blamed and hated by some for not intervening. However, it is even worse to jump in now — we are guaranteed to decrease our standing in the region. We will shoot some missiles and call it a day, but once again, have created an expectation. The rebels will keep calling for more. The rebels in other countries will demand our help more and know that any weapons of mass destruction accusation they can pin on the opposition is the ticket to U.S. airstrikes.
In some circles, they are whispering that we are telling Mr. Assad when and where we will strike, thus avoiding casualties. So the punishment for crossing a “red line” is that the U.S. will waste millions of dollars destroying non-essential targets so the bad guy learns his lesson and we can feel like we did something. That might be even more insulting, paramount to “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” diplomacy — we pretend to punish you and hope you pretend to be chastised.
Stupid. Deranged. Cuckoo.
The definition of insane is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Apparently being Democrat or Republican does not matter. Our dear leaders continue to engage in foreign policies that blatantly risk American lives with no thought to the consequences of their actions.
• Armstrong Williams is the author of the book “Reawakening Virtues.” Join him from 4 to 5 a.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. daily on Sirius/XM Power 128. Become a fan on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
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