No matter how many times we've seen it before, the frenzy for launching a military attack on another country is -- to the extent we're not numb -- profoundly upsetting. But new variables have opened up possibilities for disrupting the repetitive plunge to war.
Anyone who believes limited strikes will not escalate into larger scale commitment is underestimating the complexity of the conflict. And besides, the United States isn't even committed to a regime change.
If we start bombing Syria, we are potentially committing ourselves to a deeper level of involvement than the administration is now acknowledging.
The clock is ticking, with President Obama and Secretary Kerry frantically selling a war that the American people don't want to buy. If Congress goes ahead and approves military action, they -- unlike their British counterparts -- will fail to represent the people who elected them.
A punishment raid is one thing, but using armed force to attempt to prevent proliferation from Syria is very different sort of activity. In the event of a chaotic collapse of the Assad regime, U.S. air-strikes alone will not be able to stop proliferation of the chemical weapons.
When U.S. politicians like "Mr. bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" himself, Senator John McCain, promise the American people, "No boots on the ground" in ...
Military intervention should not be for punishment of Assad for the use of chemical weapons or the atrocities of the past two years. Its main purpose ought not be for sending a message to any other country planning to use weapons of mass destruction.
How will the United States respond when Middle East actors retaliate with terrorist acts? It is unreasonable to expect that military intervention will be met with silence. It is very likely that the United States will become mired in a war in the Middle East.
Returning to the debate on military intervention in Syria, I resolutely reject the notion of "self-interest" as THE red line, THE bottom line, the line in the sand, as the sole, or as the primary consideration as many political leaders and pundits seem to argue.
Today, we are warned by John Kerry and others that if we don't act with lethal force, the Syrian government will kill thousands more people. Let's not be deluded: When we do intervene militarily, the Syrian government (and we) will kill thousands more. And anti-Assad forces will also kill more. We've been reminded often in the past few weeks that chemical weapons are awful -- and carefully not reminded that conventional weapons are too. It's tragic when civilians are killed by their own countrymen or when foreign civilians are killed by our countrymen. It's tragic when our soldiers are killed or when their soldiers are killed. But none of those tragedies will be influenced by the political posturing this week. Rather, the result of congressional hearings is that responsibility for the attack(s) on Syria will be distributed more comfortably for all concerned, and there will be a more comfortable consensus about which of these tragedies are necessary evils.
Missile strikes, as limited and justified as they may be, are an act of war against the Assad regime. Yet, I get no sense that the United States has any clear idea of our strategic or operational end state.
It is highly unlikely that LGBT rights, much less the 2014 Winter Olympics, will be at the forefront of talks in St. Petersburg. Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons against hundreds of innocent civilians, including children, is more urgent.
I, for one, don't want to look back at Syria, the way I'm now looking back at Rwanda and the start of World War II. I know military strikes aren't simple. I understand the consequences. I know the heavy price soldiers pay. My mother was one.
One would have thought that Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki's government had enough on its hands, what with a calamitous escalation of sectarian strife harkening back to the worst days of Iraq's bloody and traumatic post-Saddam days. I was wrong.
The desire for a "low-impact" affair, with minimal western casualties but some kind of "show" of what is "right" versus "wrong" is utterly juvenile. It represents the hole at the heart of western thinking.
"We're not considering any open ended commitment. We're not considering any boots on the ground approach," Obama said, according to White House pool reports. Yes sir. But they are.