The Obama administration seems set to attack the Syrian regime with approximately two day’s worth of air and cruise missile strikes in response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels. In the immortal words of Demi Moore, “I strenuously object!”1 Here’s why:
- We have no strategic interest whatsoever in entering as military actors in the midst of the Syrian civil war, lest we want to prolong the conflict in order to bleed Iran (a Syrian ally) dry. (And yes, there are some very real moral qualms associated with such a move.) Two day’s worth of air and cruise missile strikes will not achieve that goal.
- We don’t seem to have any idea of what goal we wish to achieve, other than wanting to lash out at the Syrian regime for an admittedly appalling act. Speaking of which . . .
- Appalling acts go on all over the world. That doesn’t downplay or diminish the outrage that should greet such acts but are we going to respond to all of them with military force? What is special about the Syrian case?
- As I have written before, the Syrian opposition may not exactly be our best friends.
It is not hard to be angered by the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons. And I have no problem with an effort to organize some kind of international response designed to punish the regime for its barbarism. But the administration’s seeming willingness to employ military force appears to rely an awful lot on the use of the politician’s syllogism. And I won’t be caught dead backing that kind of argument.
1. A Few Good Men.