Here are ten excellent reasons for not sending American soldiers to bomb and/or invade Syria.
1. The United States just disengaged from Iraq.
On Dec. 15, 2011, the American military formally ended its mission there. The war–begun in 2003–had killed 4,487 service members and wounded another 32,226.
2. The United States is still fighting a brutal war in Afghanistan.
By early 2012, the United States had about 90,000 troops in Afghanistan, with 22,000 of them due home by the fall.
No schedule has been set for the pace of the withdrawal of the 68,000 American troops who will remain, only that all are to be out by the end of 2016.
The initial goal of this war was to destroy Al Qaeda–especially its leader, Osama Bin Laden.
But, over time, Washington policy-makers embarked on a “nation-building” effort. That meant trying to turn primitive, xenophobic Afghans into a modern-day, right-supporting people.
American soldiers in Afghanistan
So the American military wound up occupying the country for the next ten years. This increasingly brought them into conflict with the local population.
A series of murderous attacks on American soldiers by their supposed Afghan comrades-in-arms led to the inevitable result: American forces no longer trust their Afghan “allies” to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them against the Taliban.
3. The war in Iraq fell victim to the law of unintended consequences.
The Bush administration invaded Iraq to turn it into a base–from which to intimidate its neighboring states: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, Syria and Iran.
This demanded the quick pacification of Iraq. But the Iraqi insurgency totally undermined that goal, forcing U.S. troops to focus all their efforts inward.
Another unintended result of the war: Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had been a counter-weight to the regional ambitions of Iran. The destruction of the Iraqi military created a power-vacumn.
Into this–eagerly–stepped the Iranian mullahs.
4. Intervening in Syria could produce similar unintended consequences for American forces–and make the United States a target for more Islamic terrorism.
American bombs or missiles could land on one or more sites containing stockpiles of chemical weapons. Imagine the international outrage that will result if the release of those weapons kills hundreds or thousands of Syrians.
U.S. warship firing Tomahawk Cruise missile
Within the Islamic world, the United States will be seen as waging a war against Islam, and not simply another Islamic dictator.
Almost certainly, an American military strike on Syria would lead its dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to attack Israel–perhaps even with chemical weapons.
Assad could do this simply because he hates Jews–or to lure Israel into attacking Syria.
If that happened, the Islamic world–which lusts to destroy Israel more than anything else–would rally to Syria against the United States, Israel’s chief ally.
5. Since 1979, Syria has been listed by the U.S. State Department as a sponsor of terrorism.
Among the terrorist groups it supports are Hizbollah and Hamas. For years, Syria provided a safe-house in Damascus to Ilich Ramírez Sánchez–the notorious terrorist better known as Carlos the Jackal.
There are no “good Syrians” for the United States to support–only murderers who have long served a tyrant and now wish to become the next tyrant.
6. The United States doesn’t know what it wants to do in Syria, other than “send a message.”
Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian military theorist, wrote: “War is the continuation of state policy by other means.” But President Barack Obama hasn’t stated what he intends gain by attacking Syria.
Obama has said he’s “not after regime-change.” If true, that would leave Assad in power–and free to go on killing those who resist his rule.
So it appears that Obama’s “message” is: “You can continue killing your own people–so long as you don’t use weapons that upset American TV viewers.”
7. The Assad regime is backed by–among others–the Iranian-supported terrorist group, Hizbollah (Party of God). Its enemies include another terrorist group–Al Qaeda.
When your enemies are intent on killing each other, it’s best to stand aside and let them do it.
8. China and Russia are fully supporting the Assad dictatorship–and the brutalities it commits against its own citizens.
This reflects badly on them–not the United States.
9. The United States could find itself in a shooting war with Russia and/or China.
The Russians have sent two warships to Syria, in direct response to President Obama’s threat to “punish” Assad for using chemical weapons against unsurgents.
What happens if American and Russian warships start trading salvos? Or if Russian President Vladimir Putin orders an attack on Israel, in return for America’s attack on Russia’s ally, Syria?
It was exactly that scenario–Great Powers going to war over conflicts between their small-state allies–that triggered World War l.
10. While Islamic nations like Syria and Egypt wage war within their own borders, they will lack the resources to launch attacks against the United States.
When Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, then-Senator Harry Truman said: “I hope the Russians kill lots of Nazis and vice versa.”
That should be America’s view whenever its sworn enemies start killing themselves off. Americans should welcome such self-slaughters, not become entrapped in them.