It is one thing to provide humanitarian aid to the suffering Syrian people (although that is hardly an easy task to accomplish, as praiseworthy as it may be), but it is a grave mistake for America to attempt to get involved in the military conflict. There is hardly a “lesser of two evils” to side with there.
On the one hand, we know that President Bashar Assad has continued in his father’s tyrannous and murderous footsteps, with the blood of tens of thousands of his people already on his head. In fact, some of the bloodshed has taken place in the very same locations, with Hafez Assad being responsible for the 1982 massacre in Hama that took the lives of between 10,000-40,000 Syrians, while in 2012, Bashar Assad’s troops slaughtered scores of insurgents in the same city.
And there is no doubt that the reports of wholesale torture, imprisonment, rape, and murder of men, women, and children by Assad’s forces are largely accurate. (Can you imagine what the world outrage would be if the government of Israel engaged in atrocities 1/100th this severe?)
It is understandable, then, that we feel the need to take action against the Assad regime.
But what would happen if Assad was toppled? And if we stand against Assad, who are we standing with? (Sarah Palin’s recent quip at the Faith and Freedom Conference, “Let Allah sort it out” – meaning, until we have strong leadership in the White House, we should keep our hands out of Syria – is actually somewhat apropos.)
We have witnessed the slaughter and/or exodus of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians since the fall of Saddam Hussein, an eventuality that the Bush administration apparently gave little thought to, while the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood continues to rise. (The mass exodus of Christians from the Muslim Middle East is well-documented, even if underreported.)
In the same way, there is good evidence that the fall of Assad would open the door to the massacre of the Christian population of Syria, with reports of 300,000 Christians already fleeing the country. Does America want to be party to this? Have we learned our lessons from Iraq? (This is not to say that the war was wrong but rather that we failed to think through the implications of our actions.) Have we learned our lessons from Egypt, where the “Arab Spring” quickly became a “Sharia Fall”?
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, including Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message, and he hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.