But should Assad fall, the result will be the persecution of the Syrian Christians, a massacre of the Alawites, and a possible takeover of the country by the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and ISIS.
Is any of that in America's interests?
Vladimir Putin lately raised a valid question: Why, in Syria, are the Americans on the same side as the people who took down the twin towers? Indeed, why are we?
And who is fighting al-Qaida and ISIS in Syria, battling those McCain calls an "existential threat" to American security?
Bashar Assad. Hezbollah. Iran. Russia.
Tehran has reportedly volunteered to work with us in providing military aid to prop up the Maliki regime and keep ISIS out of Baghdad.
If we regard the survival of the Maliki regime to be in our national interests, why would we not green-light the Iranians to do this?
When Hitler turned on his partner Stalin, the United States rushed military aid to save the monster whom FDR and Truman took to calling "Good Old Joe" and "Uncle Joe" at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam.
Is the Ayatollah somehow worse than Stalin?
Yet, consider, too, how our allies in the Gulf and Middle East have behaved in Syria.
The Turks, clamoring for the overthrow of Assad, looked the other way as jihadists moved into Syria. The Gulf states and Saudis have reportedly sent money and military aid to the extremists.
Are the Turks and Gulf Arabs aiding these jihadists in the belief they will not turn on them, if and when Assad and Maliki fall? Do they think that by feeding this tiger ISIS, it will eat them last?
We may be entering the early stages of a sectarian war between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East. The ISIS claim of having executed 1,700 captured Shia soldiers in Iraq is surely intended to ignite one.
If it happens, this war could spread to Lebanon, Jordan and down into the Gulf states where Shia outnumber Sunnis in Bahrain and in the oil-producing provinces of the Saudi northeast.
Does the Middle East today -- Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon -- look like what we were promised by George Bush and his neocon advisers when they were beating the drums for a U.S. invasion of Iraq?
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