First, it should be mostly obvious to the casual reader that I am largely indifferent in regards to Obama as president, neither being supporter by and large nor a rabid anti-Obama-ist that seeks at every turn for his failure. That being said though, I will have to say that I am severely disappointed in his current bent toward what seems to be a no other option excepting a military strike against in Syria. A strike that has as its sole purpose, at least as has been stated, to punish Syria for the use of chemical weapons against its own people.
Just in case you have missed it, Syria is embroiled in a civil war between a regime that has been in power for sometime and various factions of the people who have risen up, largely as a result of ideas coming out of the same uprisings that lead to the overthrow in Egypt and such, known in the west as the Arab Spring. The various factions fighting against the regime do include groups that in some ways represent the people, but it also includes militia groups that include terrorist groups, maybe even those that have ties or are directly involved with the Taliban.
A while back, Obama drew a red line in the sand and indicated that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be the thing that would call the United States to become involved in the theater in some way or another. Surprise, there has been a usage of chemical weapons. At this point that is nearly confirmed by the United Nations, though the UN has not announced one way or the other which faction actually used the chemical weapons. That is the first cause of concern about the demand that a military strike be used. After all, the various factions fighting the regime would stand to gain a lot if the US involved itself to take out any part of the Syrian forces.
Another thing to consider is the general instability that the middle east already has and how much more instability between all the players such an attack would add. You have Iran and other factions as a major ally of the Syrian regime who are all strong opposed to Israel and any further intervention from western powers, especially the US. It could lead to an inflammation in the area that would take the prospects for any kind of cooling down in the area right off the table.
From our own perspective, have we not learned a little bit from our recent involvements in other places? How much more can we hope to accomplish short of alienating the entire world-wide Muslim population? And especially what hope can come out of it if America goes it alone, since the UN is handcuffed and even our regular ally of the Brits have already said no.
Keep in mind, Obama and his staff have said repeatedly the goal of this proposed strike is to not impact the ongoing civil war in any way. Given there is no intent to impact things, why do anything? Or, if you are going to do something, and you are Nobel Peace Prize winner, should you not exhaust all diplomatic and other potential channels first?
** – Image from San Diego Veterans for Peace website.