Syria: Limited evidence, and for U.S., there are no good options
May 01, 2013 12:05 AM | 1140 views | 1 1 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In a letter to hawkish senators like John McCain (R-Ariz.), who are demanding that the White House take sterner action against Syria now that persuasive but hardly conclusive evidence of the limited use of the chemical weapon Sarin has surfaced, the White House wrote that “no option is off the table.”

The problem is President Barack Obama’s administration has no good options, other than what it’s given in humanitarian aid to the refugees and limited nonlethal military aid to the rebels, who now seem to have picked up a sizable radical Islamic component.

We could pump arms into Syria, but we have no guarantees into whose hand those weapons ultimately will fall. Even so, that might be our best option at this point if our goal, as it should be, is to undermine Iran’s poisonous influence on that country and the region.

The U.S., along with several other Western nations, proposed having the United Nations investigate the possible limited use of sarin last month in a village near Aleppo and in the Damascus suburbs and perhaps earlier in the city of Homs. But involving the U.N. is clearly a way of buying time in hopes that more conclusive proof and a better solution will arise. And it opened Obama to the charge by House Speaker John Boehner that the president was outsourcing U.S. security to the U.N.

McCain is urging that the U.S. use its airpower to create a no-fly, safe haven for refugees made homeless by the fighting, as George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton did with Iraq. But Syria has formidable Soviet-era air defenses, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War cited by the Associated Press — 300 mobile surface-to-air missile systems and defense systems, and more than 600 static launching sites.

One proposal is that U.S. troops enter the country to take control of and secure Syria’s stocks of chemical weapons, but Pentagon officials tell The Washington Post it could take “tens of thousands” of U.S. troops to do so. And, the AP noted pointedly after a closed-door bipartisan briefing by Secretary of State John Kerry, “No lawmaker pressed for a U.S. military invasion after more than 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

No surprise there.

Much of this bind is of Obama’s own doing. Earlier, Obama had said that Syria’s use of chemical weapons would be a “red line,” “a game changer.”

Another example of Obama’s loose use of words. He now will probably have to eat those words.

It’s probably a mistake to call for a game changer until we know exactly what game we’re playing and, frankly, that’s still somewhat murky. After the Iraq weapons-of-mass destruction fiasco, the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies believe with “varying degrees of confidence” that Syria used poison gas is hardly 100 percent convincing.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
May 01, 2013
Once Assad is toppled , the Muslim brotherhood will have Syria behaving as Egypt is today. Christians will be persecuted and the country will become totally Muslim. That will leave Lebanon, as, I believe , the last bastion of Christianity in the Mid East and we all now that to maintain Christianity in Lebanon has been a long struggle with many dying over the years.

Are there any Americans out there who can see this grand plan? At the same time , it is estimated that Europe has some 50 million Muslims , many illegal, in their countries now.

I guess I am just paranoid, as were the Jews who left Germany before Hitler came into power.

What kind of leaders do we have who support the ongoing conversion of America to a third world open borders country which protects invaders from, even, the words of citizens , via Political Correctness while jobs disappear?

*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides