By Tom Quiner
This was the recent comment of a faithful, if contrarian, Quiner’s Diner reader. I thank him for sharing it.
Honorable people can disagree on the proper course of action regarding Syria. For example, a conservative commentator I respect, Dennis Prager, pointed out 5 reasons the U.S. should consider military action on Syria:
1. Doing nothing gives Iran, America’s greatest enemy — indeed the most dangerous regime in the world at the present time — a huge victory. We will have lost our best chance to weaken Iran’s most important ally, the regime that gives Iran clout in the Arab Middle East and which supports Hezbollah.
2. Doing nothing gives Putin an equally great victory. He — along with China, though he is the more outspoken — is what prevents the United Nations from authorizing military action against Syria.
3. Doing nothing elevates the status of that amoral body, the United Nations Security Council. The more the United States seeks Security Council or other U.N. approval, the less a force for good America will be in the world. If you seek a better world, it can only be done despite, not in obedience to, the United Nations.
4. Doing nothing sends the message to both friends and foes of the United States that America’s word is now largely worthless. We don’t even honor our own “red lines.” The Israeli government, for example, is officially silent, but Israelis from left to right are concluding that as long as Barack Obama is president of the United States, they are alone in their existential battle with Iran. And one suspects the Taiwanese must feel similarly.
5. Doing nothing means that the international taboo on chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction has ended de facto, if not de jure. That lesson, it should be noted, will not be lost on the Islamist elements of the anti-Assad forces as well as on Assad and his regime.
Despite five solid reasons to support military action, Mr. Prager opposes the Obama approach as being insufficient and symbolically meaningless.
The Quiner Diner’s reader uses a common tactic of the Left, namely, to accuse Obama dissenters as being “haters.” He tries to change the narrative by making it personal. What I or anyone feels about Obama as a human being is irrelevant when discussing his policy decisions, which consistently seem ineffective and counter-productive.
Regarding the Iraq War, there were significant differences with that conflict and the Syrian one, as Joel Pollak listed at Breitbart:
1.Bush in Iraq: Attacked an evil regime isolated for over a decade by both Democrats and Republicans.
Obama in Syria: Wants to attack an evil regime coddled for six years by Democrats and the White House.
2.Bush in Iraq: Attacked after UN inspectors turned away, in violation of Security Council resolutions.
Obama in Syria: Announced plans to attack before any inspections, and in fact opposed UN inspections.
3.Bush in Iraq: Attacked after UN Security Council deadlocked on authorization for use of force.
Obama in Syria: Has not attempted to obtain UN Security Council authorization for use of force.
4.Bush in Iraq: Attacked after building multinational “coalition of the willing” with Britain.
Obama in Syria: Plans to attack without multinational coalition and after British rejection of war.
5.Bush in Iraq: Sought authorization from Congress first, before going to UN or planning any attack.
Obama in Syria: Opposed authorization from Congress until “red line” & attack were already announced.
6.Bush in Iraq: Attacked Iraq as part of War on Terror against Al Qaeda and affiliated groups.
Obama in Syria: Says “War on Terror” is over, is arming Islamist groups allied with Al Qaeda.
7.Bush in Iraq: Clear objectives, including regime change to replace dictatorship with democracy.
Obama in Syria: No clear objectives, formal opposition to any direct effort at regime change.
8.Bush in Iraq: Acted before Saddam Hussein could threaten neighbors or his own people.
Obama in Syria: Acting after Bashar al-Assad has slaughtered 100,000 Syrians, threatened neighbors.
9.Bush in Iraq: Attacked after moving strategic U.S. military assets to the region to protect U.S. allies.
Obama in Syria: Acting after “pivot to Asia,” after military sequester, and despite risks to allies.
10.Bush in Iraq: Gave up golf for the rest of his presidency while U.S. troops still in combat.
Obama in Syria: Went golfing (again) after announcing new Syria policy.
In response to the Quiner’s Diner reader question “So Obama is wrong for wanting to help stop the slaughter of women and children via chemical weapons?” … no, he’s not wrong. It is a noble goal.
They way he wishes to go about seems unlikely to accomplish this goal.