"Oh, when will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?" -- Peter, Paul and Mary
By the time you read this, U.S. missiles and bombs may be falling on Syria. Why? Syria hasn't attacked us. It does not pose a security threat to the United States.
These were arguments made against the Bush administration's intervention in Iraq by some who now urge us to make war on Syria.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who as a senator was for the funding of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, before he was against it, says the United States is certain that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons on his own people, thus crossing a "red line" established by President Obama. Never mind there were similar reports in June that al-Assad had used chemical weapons. This time it means war! Weren't we told of the "certainty" that Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons?
Have we learned nothing? The future of Iraq is in doubt after a huge American investment of lives and money. Ditto Afghanistan. After U.S. help in toppling Moammar Gadhafi, Libya is anything but stable. Egypt is in turmoil after the Obama administration backed its Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government, whose leader and elected president, Mohamed Morsi, has been ousted by the military.
What makes anyone think bombing Damascus is going to bring positive change?
President Obama has not asked Congress for permission to attack Syria, as President Bush did before attacking Iraq. He hasn't gone to the feckless United Nations, because Russia and China have announced they will veto any resolution authorizing military force. The president doesn't appear to have established anything like a "coalition of the willing," as President Bush did with Iraq. Britain is with us, as usual, and France has pledged support, but what about the Arab World? The Saudis may be quietly helping, but that appears to be about it.
What's the endgame? If by some miracle al-Assad and his leadership are hit by a missile, how do we prevent al-Qaida, present in Syria, from seizing power? There is a secular faction in Syria, but given the strength of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the region it is doubtful they will play a role.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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