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Why Doing Nothing in Syria Is Better than an Attack

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Staff member
Why Doing Nothing in Syria Is Better than a Minimal Attack

While I sympathize with Rich Lowry’s position reluctantly favoring a strike in Syria — and fully recognize that there are no good options, just a choice between bad and worse — I must disagree.
My disagreement centers around this statement:
It’s becoming a conservative trope to say doing nothing would be better than a minimal attack. How would this work in the real world, though? Not only would the president have to eat his words now, he would have to mumble and look at his shoes during what would surely be subsequent and perhaps much worse chemical attacks in the future. Does anyone doubt that Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah would be delighted at our humiliation?

I have two thoughts in response. First, in the Middle East when Israel or the United States launch much-publicized offensives — and the enemy lives to fight another day — it is the enemy who often emerges stronger. Pinprick strikes tend to barely injure our opponents while granting them moral victories. Al-Qaeda, for example, was able to use U.S. cruise missiles as evidence of American weakness, calling more jihadists to the cause. Even aggressive warfare, unless waged to completion, has meant enhanced prestige for our enemies, whether it’s Hezbollah emerging battered but intact in 2006 after Israel’s assault, or Muqtada al-Sadr surviving the initial American attacks in 2004. In Sadr’s case, his forces had to be fought again, in 2008, in the Battle of Basra.

To borrow a saying from HBO’s The Wire, when you come at the king, you best not miss. If we come at the Assad regime with a “shot across the bow,” then we’re almost guaranteed to miss. And that could well grant Assad more prestige than not shooting at all.

The exception to this rule is when the strike is aimed at a discrete objective — such as a nuclear plant, shipment of missiles, or individual leader — and succeeds. Yet there’s no indication that the planned strike would actually remove Assad’s chemical weapons from the field. If we could be reasonably certain that we could destroy Assad’s chemical stocks, then the calculus could change, but I’ve heard no indication that’s a feasible objective.

Second, while doing nothing would inevitably represent a humiliating climb-down, the ascendance of al-Qaeda and other jihadists amongst the rebels has fundamentally changed the strategic equation. Let’s not forget the New York Times report from April:
In Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, rebels aligned with Al Qaeda control the power plant, run the bakeries and head a court that applies Islamic law. Elsewhere, they have seized government oil fields, put employees back to work and now profit from the crude they produce.

Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by extremists. Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government.

Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.

We have to adapt to the circumstances on the ground. While I understand the desire to create or strengthen an actual allied force, until we can present a better alternative to the Assad regime, we’re risking aiding al-Qaeda — the one entity in the Syrian civil war that we’re actually fighting in a congressionally-declared armed conflict.

One final note: Leaving aside, for the moment, the wisdom of the “red line” comment, the Syrian conflict would be difficult for any president to handle, and in wars where evil fights evil, the range of palatable options for protecting civilians and preventing genocide narrows even more. I do not envy the administration’s challenge, and I pray God grants them wisdom.

This article is crossposted at National Review Online.
New Member
I personally don't buy the whole humanitarian thing that obama is trying to display, mentioning the children (he seems to like using children to push and further his goals, ie using the sandy hook tragedy as a catalyst to try to violate our constitution and rights) to try to get the american people to sympathize and therefore support him in attacking syria. There is a very sinister reason behind the whole syria thing. It's been said that there has been a plan in place for a while now to take complete control of the middle east especially those rich in oil and other resources by destabilizing key countries in the middle east, orchestrating riots and causing people to be influenced by that and have a revolution take place to over throw that particular government and such to take place then swoop in and "be the heroes" and cause that country to go from whatever form of government they had to a democratic government (libya and egypt anyone?). It's all about control and power to these people. Obama is nothing more but a puppet being used by those that really control the US and just about the world and bring about a New World Order, and of course satan is the head of all this. Thankfully Jesus has already overcome the world (John 16:33) and is the one who is actually in control and working out everything for His Glory, His Sovereign righteous plan and for the good of His beloved children.

Chad i truly hope you are not drinking the obama kool-aid and buying into his and his administrations lies and nonsense.
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New Member
We have a missionary who goes to the Middle East about once a month. He just last week got back from Syria. The Christian churches over there do not want Assad to lose to the Rebels. They know if the Rebels win it will cost them their life.

My problem with Obama is that he didn't want us to be in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now he's been involved in Libya and he was in favor of regime change in Egypt. I believe he wants regime change in Syria and is just looking for an opportunity to do it. I believe he is a Muslim at heart and wants the extreme views to take over the Middle East. I believe the Rebels are the ones who used the chemicals on their own people so they could get the world to back them up. They may even believe that Obama is the person to do it(Libya&Egypt).
New Member
Yea i've heard that Assad has been supportive over Christians and has even been protecting them. Also that supposedly there are al-qaeda members who are apart of the rebellion in syria, which obama wants to help, just like he has supported the extremist muslim brotherhood in egypt. I personally don't trust him (obama) at all and i believe he will prove to be even worse then bush.
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