President Obama may soon authorize military intervention in Syria. The decision apparently rests on whether the Syrian government’s slaughter of 1,000+ of its own citizens was aided by chemical weaponry. Besides the fact that this is an odd and arbitrary basis upon which to violate another country’s sovereignty, intervention into Syria is as ill-advised as it is well-intended.
The Assad regime has denied responsibility for the attacks, and authorized a U.N. convoy to inspect the sites of the attacks to determine whether chemical weapons were used. Yesterday the convoy had to turn back after it was met with sniper fire, for which the Assad regime has also denied responsibility.
There is good reason to believe the Assad regime is committing human rights violations and failing to fully cooperate with international law. However, this is true of most nations across the world at any given time, including the United States. The U.S. simply does not have the resources to intervene in every case. In addition, nothing in actuality makes the Syrian case more pressing than any other.
Most importantly, military strikes against the Assad regime would necessarily assist the rebel forces. There is no indication that a takeover by these forces would create a better situation for the Syrian people or the international community. There is, however, strong evidence that the rebellion is strongly tied with Al-Qaeda.
Military intervention into Syria would mean that the U.S. is declaring war on a terrible but democratically elected regime, only to have it replaced by a resistance which is made up of an organization with whom the United States is already at war.
In other words, there is no winning in Syria. Perhaps that’s why only 9% of Americans support military intervention. No matter what, the outcome of the fighting will be undemocratic and problematic. The only question is, what responsibility will the U.S. government bear for that outcome?