Opinion | Time to intervene in Syria has passed: U.S. can no longer oversee transition of power
Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 01:09
There are no direct comparisons that can be made to the conflict in Syria. Not Bosnia and not Kosovo. The only comparison worth making is simply pointing out that the actions taken by the United States thus far are eerily reminiscent of those during the 1980’s Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Then it was the Soviet Union using chemical weapons to kill not only enemy combatants but also innocent civilians.
And while the Soviets did this the United States armed the Mujahedeen and provided them with CIA training. Now a days it is small arms shipments to Syrian rebels fighting against the Assad regime.
It is unlikely the arms and training provided in Syria will be turned around one day on our own forces as they were in Afghanistan, but what happened in Afghanistan should give congressional leaders pause.
And while it is troubling that arms have been shipped to the Syrian rebels, 25 percent of whom, according to Secretary Kerry, have ties to radical extremist organizations, it is even more troubling that the United States is about to enter into the conflict in a much more serious way.
Still, before Congress returns from recess to consider giving President Obama an authorization to use military force for 60 days with an additional 30 day extension period should it prove necessary, there are several questions worth raising.
The million dollar question is what happens at the end of the 90 days? The situation will likely have changed little and Bashar Assad will still be in power, having weathered the storm of limited engagement, only to begin acting up again.
The reason for this is Assad has no reason to fear threats from the United States
In a recent interview, the president indicated that the United States has no intentions of removing Assad from power, saying of the proposed intervention that it will be just “a shot across the bow” intended only to stop Assad from using chemical weapons once more.
Still, this statement and the resolution come because Assad violated the president’s own “red line,” not once but at least two times or more. This past spring, a fact confirmed by both international inspectors and multiple congressional investigations, and then again this past month when chemical weapons killed 300 or more innocent civilians.
And the only way to combat this is to remove Assad and choose what appears to be the lesser of two evils – a group of rebels that is only 25 percent radical extremist.
Certainly what has happened in Syria is a tragedy, millions of people have been displaced, hundreds of thousands are dead and there is no end in sight. Still, neither that nor the recent chemical weapon attacks mean the United States should intervene.
The time for intervention has long passed. The time for that would have been when the United States could have helped oversee the transition of power from Assad to the protestors who just two years ago flooded the streets demanding democracy.
Now all that is left is death and destruction.
When Congress returns I am hopeful that they will consider Proverbs 1:8-33 that speaks of two paths – one that leads to life and wisdom and one that leads to death and destruction – and chose the path of life and wisdom, not death and destruction.