Doubting that doing anything with Syria is as big of a deal as the press has been attempting to make it, I decided to play along; just for now to have something to write about.
From my standpoint, I don’t understand the strategic value of helping to topple Bashir Al-Assad, which I think is sorely missing from the debate regarding whether to intervene militarily. I’ve read reports over the years that can be summed up by saying that Assad has been an Iranian lapdog, the link between Iran and the rest of their sphere of influence. If true, it makes sense for the Obama Administration to have the desire to help deliver the finishing blow. The problem is, however, that creating a power vacuum in a now near complete disaster of a war-torn country and have it transform into an Iranian-free zone is a far larger undertaking than just dropping a few bombs then packing up and leaving.
I hate to disappoint my libertarian friends, but I am still quite the hawk, having felt that if we had done something about Iran back in the early 1980’s while it was weak, with the reasoning that it has been a major source of instability in that part of the world ever since its revolution, the world would likely be a much different place than it currently is. I didn’t agree with the invasion of Iraq out of sentiment that Iran should have been the second target instead; and we were simply going after the lower hanging fruit instead of the root of the problem.
Syria is simply lower hanging… something. I don’t want to call it fruit because the players are so jumbled and the place is already such a mess that it will take at least a decade to tell if it was worth the effort; effort, I might add, that will be much larger than the intentions stated by the Administration – no boots on the ground translates to dropping a few bombs.
So the plan is to just bomb Syria into a politically pacific and independent state? It won’t work. The best case scenario is it turns into Afghanistan. The worst, and most likely, is Iran promises to rebuild and turns it into even more of a puppet state like Lebanon while not delivering on its promises.
The military is a tool for a means to an end, not an end in itself; and military action in Syria needs to fit a stated end that is clear and concise. Simply saying that we’re intervening because Assad used chemical weapons doesn’t cut it. At least I am not sold on the idea, nor would I be until I know what comes afterward. If the afterward is just containment strategies, I oppose the idea. We should go, do the job we need to do and come home – no open-ended bombing campaigns, leaving the mess to be dealt with later.
PS: The government spends billions on needy broadcasters every year, ensuring they have have a de facto content delivery cartel. I’m sick of government-sponsored blackouts and want a C-SPAN-like iPad app so I can watch the debates over this topic and others as they happen.