Again we face military intervention in the Middle East, this time from a President who has come to Congress for authorization.
There is no doubt that action by the United States, absent the formation of a coalition or joint resolution with other nations, would be an act of war against the Syrian government. We face no imminent threat from Assad nor from the chemical weapons he has chosen to unleash against his own people – horrific as these events are.
An act of war, at this time in our nation’s history, is perhaps the last thing we need. Who amongst us is still advocating international intervention of this kind? Are we not able to honestly reflect on our current capabilities as a nation? We have borrowed money to spend it again on our policing powers. Our trade deficits show we are now importing security. So what should our leaders do?
Any proposed military action by the Obama Administration or by Congress should be outright rejected. Our economy, while having shown signs of slight recovery, still drags its feet with 7.4 percent unemployment. The government programs that are still functioning drastically underserve their stated objectives – despite many of their objectives being too broad, too deep, and too overlapping. Our infrastructure is wearing and outdated. John Kerry’s words heard around the world two days ago declared “This is not the time for armchair isolationism. This is not the time to be spectators to a slaughter.” Mr. Kerry: By an act of war against a non-aggressor, you will be slaughtering our Nation’s future.
If strikes against the Assad regime were intended to be limited, as Obama suggests, then striking their chemical weapons capabilities would not be a scenario where “the punishment fits the crime.” On the other hand, a strike that cripples the regime and tips the balance of power in favor of the rebels (as the United States did for Libya) means the United States would be ushering into the power vacuum a proxy regime likely made up of al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.
For now, as the G20 Summit wraps up, world leaders are tremendously divided. China and Russia remain opposed to action against the Assad regime, while only France and the United States have committed to using force. Even the Pope has weighed in, urging leaders to put aside prospects for military action.
To make a dire situation enormously worse, Yale law professor Stephen Carter points out the “limiting lanaguage” in the Senate’s Syria Resolution is deceptively broad.
Finally, authorizing a strike to oppose Assad’s use of chemical weapons to massacre his own people is not morally superior to opposing Assad’s use of conventional weapons against his own people. The propensity of chemical weapons to inflict greater indiscriminate harm on civilian populations than their conventional counterparts originally led to their condemnation in the international community. However, in his use of both chemical and conventional weapons, President Assad has proved indiscriminate towards the killing of civilians and rebel fighters.