Friday, June 14, 2013

Into Syria

From the New York Times:

The Obama administration, concluding that the troops of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria have used chemical weapons against rebel forces in his country’s civil war, has decided to begin supplying the rebels for the first time with small arms and ammunition, according to American officials.

The officials held out the possibility that the assistance, coordinated by the Central Intelligence Agency, could include antitank weapons, but they said that for now supplying the antiaircraft weapons that rebel commanders have said they sorely need is not under consideration.

Supplying weapons to the rebels has been a long-sought goal of advocates of a more aggressive American response to the Syrian civil war. A proposal made last year by David H. Petraeus, then the director of the C.I.A., and backed by the State Department and the Pentagon to supply weapons was rejected by the White House because of President Obama’s deep reluctance to be drawn into another war in the Middle East.

To quote the immortal Han Solo, I have a bad feeling about this.

Once we do this, we are in it with no way out other than to win, and the only way to win is by sending more money and material to yet another war in the Middle East.  And when it’s over — assuming that it is — we can then add it to the list of countries we own over there.  We all know how that’s gone for us in the last fifty years.

I am sure that the White House and the president will come up with a cogent, well-thought out, and perfectly reasonable explanation of why we must do this.  They always do — to keep America safe, to protect our allies, to pursue the ambition of freedom and democracy that we all crave.  It sounds so good going in… and so very hollow when the planes start landing at Dover and the insurgents, once fighting the government there, start throwing bombs at the foreign invaders.  Somehow they never seem to think of that side of the equation.

I am sure that Mr. Obama will come up with the appropriate talking points, including his emphasis on his “deep reluctance” to go to war.  And I’m sure he’ll tell us it has nothing whatsoever to do with being goaded into it by a former president who used schoolyard taunts to get him to go.  We always go to war for the most noble reasons, right?