I say this reluctantly because I know that every day innocent people are dying in Syria, and I would love the see America step in and stop the killing. However, the fact remains that we are not able to step in and stop the killing and that it would not be wise for us to attempt to do so.
Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review on Saturday about the war in Syria. He points out that the people who are asking us to intervene in Syria are saying that if we don’t there will be a vacuum of leadership there. No, there won’t. Al Qaeda has already filled that vacuum. We need to remember that Bashar al-Assad. is an Alawite, a minority Shiite group in Syria. The rebels in Syria are Sunnis, led by the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.. Why in the world would we want to get in the middle of that fight? Neither side represents either democracy or stability in the Middle East.
Andrew McCarthy sums up the problem of intervention in Syria:
…the narrative continues, untold legions of Muslim moderates, secular democrats, and religious minorities who would otherwise be charting Syria’s democratic destiny are being elbowed aside. Even worse, by failing to intervene forcefully — meaning, to fuel the jihad with high-tech combat weapons and an aerial campaign to soften up Assad’s remaining defenses — the administration is frittering away the opportunity to strike up pragmatic alliances with the Vaccum-filling Islamists. Sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought — eager to help the Brotherhood, but too concerned about arms falling into terrorist hands — Obama is forfeiting our chance to influence the outcome.
Right. I mean, look at how ably our decade of heavy investment has steered Iraq and Afghanistan in a pro-American direction. And behold how they love us in Benghazi!
The article concludes:
It is no longer 1996 — the year Iran bombed the Khobar Towers and killed 19 American airmen. The Syria hawks are quite right to argue that Iran remains a major threat to American interests. They are wrong, however, to treat Iran as the only such threat. The Sunni supremacist crescent that the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, and their allies would run from Anatolia through the Persian Gulf and across North Africa would be no less hostile to the West than the Shiite competitor Iran is trying to forge. If Assad falls and the Brothers take over, that defeat for Tehran will not be a boon for the United States.
It is not isolationism to insist that American interventions be limited to situations in which a vital American interest must be vindicated. There is no such interest in Syria.
The only American intervention in Syria that would be acceptable to me would be to get the civilians out and let the extremists slug it out among themselves. The best thing we can do is provide aid to the refugee camps that have been set up in neighboring countries.