Saturday, June 15, 2013

U.S. to arm Syrians Rebels –Really?

President Obama boxed himself into a corner when he said that if President Assad of Syria used chemical weapons, it would be “a game changer," a “red line” that we would not tolerate. Assad was apparently not intimidated and used the weapons (at least once) and now Obama has been forced to react or to eat his own words.

His reaction is reportedly to start arming the opposition and to enforce a “limited” no-fly zone operating out of Jordan.

It’s just my opinion, but I do not like this whole idea, and I do not like where this is going.

It will probably surprise some of my friends, who generally consider me a bit of a “war-hawk," but I do not want to send arms and ammunition to those guys, and I do not want to see our troops (even “support” troops) sent into the Middle East again. You see, I may be an old war-hawk, but I am a very weary old war-hawk. And I cannot, for the life of me, understand what all this has to do with our national interests or security. I hear the arguments, but they don’t make any real sense to me:

Assad is a tyrant who is killing his people. Yeah, so? What has that got to do with us? If they want to get rid of him, it’s their country, let them –but let’s stay out of it, it’s their country.

Assad is a strong ally of Iran and Russia. Okay, but he and his family have been for half a century now, and we have been dealing with it just fine. Why risk American lives in an attempt to change that?

This is an opportunity to replace the Syrian government with one that is more pro-western. Yeah, really? How’s that been working out for us in Libya and Egypt? One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. How, exactly, is it going to be different this time?

Assad and Syria are threats to Israel. That is a very bad argument. In the first place, Israel is a pretty tough little county, and they are very good at identifying and taking out threats. If they thought Assad was a real threat, he’d be history already.

Secondly, the real threats to Israel are Hezbollah and Iran. Our arming the rebels will force them to increase support for Assad. It will tie them together even more, and it will bring Russia and Iran closer together. How’s that in our national interests?

And, while we’re on the subject, has anyone asked the Israelis what they think? They are our staunchest and strongest ally in the region. Do you suppose they think that is in their best interests to send sophisticated weapons to the rebels?

Rebels need more arms.....

Then there is the small matter of what happens if and when Assad falls. I just this morning read a report that identified over 230 separate rebel groups. Two hundred and thirty! With Assad gone, who’s going to be in control? I’ll tell you. No one, that's who! It’s going to be chaos. Chaos is where civilization fails, and evil (like Al Qaeda) flourishes. This civil war will become another civil war, and the killing will continue ad infinitum.

That should be no surprise, however. If you’d take a quick look at history -that IS the history of the Middle East. The surprise is that we seem so anxious to jump feet first from the frying pan into the fire–again!

That last argument I'd make against getting more involved is the simple fact that this is a significant escalation. We start sending arms and enforce a no-fly zone so Iran, Hezbollah and Russia feel they have to send even more arms and more troops. The war escalating in a part of the world already full of tension and hate runs the very real risk of spilling over into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey or even Israel. That could easily ignite a regional war. Whose national interests does that serve? Iran? Al Qaeda? Syria? Certainly not Jordan or Lebanon or Isreal -and certainly not ours!

This is already a mess. We can send support and assistance in the form of humanitarian aid and medical supplies. That's actually a good thing. But to send arms and commit U.S. forces to enforce a no-fly zone is just pulling us deeper into the conflict. And I am afraid we will wake up some morning and wish to hell we had not done it.

Live Long and Prosper....

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