Saturday, August 24, 2013

Obama's "Red Line" in Syria

There is a civil war in Syria and it there has been going on for quite some time. Over 100,000 people have died as an array of semi-aligned forces has tried to topple the Assad regime. As all wars are, this one has been brutal.

To date, the President has not yet intervened. He has stated that this is a Syrian issue that must be resolved by the Syrian people. Under intense pressure from Hawks on the right, Obama said if the Syrian government uses Chemical weapons on its people then the United States would revaluate its position of direct participation in the conflict. Obama called this the "red line".  

In February, there were reports that Assad had used chemical weapons, yet these reports did not constitute a violation of the "red line." Last week, there were reports of an attack in the suburbs of Damascus. Yesterday, Defense Secretary Hagel said, "the United States is moving Naval forces closer Syria to give the President more options." The President noted that our national interests are now threatened because of the use of chemical weapons.

The threat level regarding our national interests has not changed nor has the ability of the US to project power into a civil war and ensure the outcome it would like. The situation is too unstable. This remains a Syrian problem to solve.

The United States can't solve every world crisis and the United States can't afford to pretend it can. Nurses are being furloughed from VA hospitals because the hospital has run out of money. If we can't afford to take care of our current wounded warriors- how can we afford to create more? Just because the President needs to project power to satisfy political demands? I don’t think so.

As we have seen, it's easy to get into conflicts and it's hard to get out. We need to let other people fight their fights and we need to take care of our problems at home before we continue to serve as the world's police force. The United States can't afford to do both.

by Mike Nally

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