War in Syria
There are generally two options when looking at the war in Syria and determining whether or not we should be involved. I would like to take a moment and examine what I consider to be the good arguments from both sides. The phrase “good” arguments as there are a LOT of really, REALLY bad arguments from both sides. So let’s begin.
Arguments for the war
Chemical Weapons Use.
Someone used a “WMD” which is apparently a bad thing. This is probably the single strongest point in the argument for the war; the definition of a moral war as defined by the post-world war 2 global society precludes the use of WMDs. Therefore we need to address the use of these tools against people in Syria.
The Bashar al-Assad is bad and does bad things in general.
This one is a little more sketch. We know Assad isn’t our friend, and probably an enemy of our ally Israel, but he isn’t the worst possible leader of Syria, an Al-Qaida run Syria would be a much worse thing for us and our allies in the region than an Assad Syria. This point comes down to basically that since we are the ultimate good guys we gotta go stomp on the bad guys and give them a savage kicking.
That’s kind of all I’ve got for good arguments for the war.
Arguments against the war
We won’t fight it to win it.
Since the 1950s America has been incapable of fighting a war to actually win said war. We want to make everyone love us and our way of life! Which isn’t why or how you fight a war, it isn’t even how you treat a conquered people for crying out loud! Americans simply don’t seem to want to watch us go beat the living daylights out of an enemy and then come home, or as an equal alternative, beat the living daylights out of an enemy and then rule their country. Unless you’re going to fight a war to dominate it, you shouldn’t fight it. And Obama has made it clear that this isn’t a fight to win its to show Assad how big we are.
We don’t know who we should be fighting for or against.
Having known enemies and allies is vital to a successful military operation. We have no idea what is going on in Syria, at least not that we’ve been able to articulate. The rebels seem to be just ate up with the Al-Qaida, and have been making a habit out of shooting, raping, burning and otherwise expressing general unpleasantry towards Christians in the country, people whom Assad had been protecting. On the other hand Assad may have used chemical weapons against his people, but that could have been the rebels too, Russia seems to think so anyway.
Everyone else thinks it’s a bad idea.
Now, I’m not one to care what exactly the rest of the world thinks about what the USA does. But when the entire premise of your attack is “what you’ve done violated international morality you must be pummeled” and the rest of the international group says a pretty collective “meh!” Maybe it’s time to re-think our plans.
All things considered, while I’m usually totally in favor of going somewhere and blowing America’s enemies to kingdom come, it looks like they are doing a pretty good job of beating themselves to me. I think we should let them continue unmolested.
I don’t want this to sound like I think we might lose, or that we should be worried because Russia and Iran are talking tough. We could easily win a war with either or both of those nations, our military budget cuts notwithstanding. The question is not CAN we fight and win a war in Syria, but SHOULD we. And I would say unless there is some rather outstanding information that is being withheld, I think the answer is no.