First, why does this particular heinous act rise to the level of justifying a military response? More specifically, why did a similarly heinous act by the Egyptian army elicit from Washington only the mildest response? Just weeks ago, Egyptian security forces slaughtered hundreds of Egyptians whose “crime” was to protest a military coup that overthrew a legitimately elected president. Why the double standard?
Second, once U.S. military action against Syria begins, when will it end? What is the political objective? Wrapping the Assad regime on the knuckles is unlikely to persuade it to change its ways. That regime is engaged in a fight for survival. So what exactly does the United States intend to achieve and how much is President Obama willing to spend in lives and treasure to get there? War is a risky business. Is the president willing to commit U.S. forces to what could well become another protracted and costly struggle?
I’ve never been a fan of “let them all kill each other, fuck ’em” glibertarian foreign policy, but somebody should also have to explain what exactly AMERICA gets out of this. Best case scenario is we spend a shitload of money bombing with few if any American lives lost. We’ll kill a bunch more Muslims, whose relatives will all be justifiably pissed at us. Assad will fall, or he won’t, and the bombing will continue, or it won’t, and we’ll be safer and better positioned in the world how?
I’m not applauding the idea of chemical weapons attacks with impunity. I’m asking what exactly our obligation here is, especially given how well it’s been going, our kicking wasps’ nests in the world. If we had a long track record of being able to go into someplace and get people to stop their shit, maybe I’d be less likely to worry, but lately? All we seem to do is get stung and fall down hills.
I’m willing to be persauded on this topic, but only by actual arguments, not impassioned statements about how chemical weapons are terrible, because not a person alive including the person firing them at innocent people disagrees with that.