After campaigning against the “misguided” war in Iraq during his first run for the presidency in 2008, prematurely ending the war in Afghanistan, and involving itself in a muddled, inconclusive conflict in Libya, the Obama administration now seeks Congressional authorization to begin military operations on behalf of the Al Qaeda and Al-Nusra Front allied Syrian rebels against Bashar al-Assad. With no clear objective in sight, with no consensus on strategy or support, and with very little foresight on the possible consequences of involvement in yet another mideast conflict looming.
1. How much real impactful damage will the proposed airstrikes inflict? Is the intent merely a symbolic gesture, to back up the President’s threat, or are we intending to inflict a punishment commensurate with a response to a war crime of massacring civilians with chemical weapons?
2. If and when Bashar Assad retaliates against a strike, which appears increasingly likely to be his response, what contingency plans are in place, and what will the American response be to any retaliatory attacks?
3. Is it in America’s interest to remove the Assad regime or not? If the Islamists (like the Al-Nusra Front) in the rebel factions come to power, does this not produce a result equally against the national interest? In effect, would we not be providing them assistance?
4. Given the President’s desire to engage this challenge with a multi-national coalition and global support, why is America now in the position of attacking Syria alone? Why is only France joining us?
5. What evidence is there that Assad was incontrovertibly responsible for launching the chemical weapons attack, and not the rebels themselves?
Until all of these questions are answered honestly and completely by the President, there is no compelling reason to grant his request of authorization to attack Syria. Given that Russian President Vladimir Putin has seemingly out foxed Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, the point may ultimately be moot.