You may believe, as I think I do, that we have to do something in Syria. But I don’t believe it can end well for us, or that it will solve much of anything, and I don’t have a good answer for the logical next question, “Then why do it?”
I was going to write about this at greater length, but Andrew Sullivan is there already, picking apart the arguments for intervention, railing against them. And he is deadly realistic:
Our choice right now is between enabling Assad to stay in power and murder and gas more innocents or entering an unknowable conflict with no clear goals and no vital national interest at stake. If we do the latter, we will prove either that we bombed Assad and he survived or that we bombed Assad and we got al Nusra in charge of the chemical arsenal. If we are truly worried about the spread of Assad’s chemical weapons, we should ensure he keeps a tight lid on them and prevails in the civil war. That’s the goddawful truth we want to avoid and Obama thinks he can elide. He cannot. Get your Niebuhr back out, Mr President.
Sullivan is writing a lot on Syria now, and all of it is worth seeing. You should at least sign up for a month of The Dish, and support the fact that an important, maybe the important, argument is being made, even if you don’t agree. And if I haven’t said it clearly, let me say it now: the burden of proof remains entirely with Secretary Kerry, President Obama and anyone else who thinks the U.S. should act. The question for me is simple and damning: knowing that our actions are likely to make a bad situation worse, are we required to act anyway?