“Because intervening in Syria’s civil war is a horrible idea, and we don’t have the money even if it was a good idea” really aren’t excuses. They’re reasons.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ari.) on Thursday accused the Obama administration of being overly cautious in analyzing intelligence about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, saying he feared the White House was looking for excuses not to get involved.
“I’m worried that the president and the administration will use the caveats as an excuse to not act right away or to not act at all,” he told Fox News. “The president clearly stated that it was a red line and that it couldn’t be crossed without the United States taking vigorous action.”
Obama shouldn’t have said it was a “red line.” It was obvious that he didn’t mean it at the time. His own record strongly suggested that it was an empty threat, and American presidents shouldn’t issue empty threats. It undermines our credibility. Everyone from Moscow to Tehran to Pyongyang is paying much more attention than the average US low-information voter.
That said, intervening in Syria is a very bad idea. So bad, it appears to be attracting bipartisan support.
As the facts stand how, the best case scenario should we intervene is that we win and replace a secular tyranny with an Islamist tyranny. Something like Libya on one end, or Iran on the other. That’s if we win, and none of Syria’s allies — Russia and Iran, mainly — intervene and Hizballah doesn’t start a war against Israel. Worst case, we intervene, Syria’s allies get involved, Hizballah draws Israel into the war, and it spreads to the Palestinian territories, then Jordan, Egypt and across the Middle East. Anyone who has read Revelation might find such a scenario more than passingly familiar. Let’s throw in another fun fact: Hizballah is known to be lurking and working across the border in Mexico. The only thing the Syrian civil war currently has going for it is that it’s contained. US intervention runs a strong risk of changing that.
Besides all of that, we have the worst foreign policy team in living memory in charge. I don’t know why McCain appears to be in a rush to war that will be led by Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel and John Kerry. The latter two don’t seem to understand the Islamist threat, and while Obama occasionally hints that he does, he also hints that he’s on the wrong side. He ascribes nefarious motives to the NRA that he would never dare tag onto the Boston bombers. He assaults law-abiding Americans’ rights after Newtown, but still calls the terrorist massacre at Ft. Hood “workplace violence.” And so forth, the same stuff we bring up every day because it’s his record and tells us more than his words what he really thinks. So far his actions have empowered the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and helped give them space to operate in Libya. His administration covered up a terrorist attack in the latter, blaming US free speech rather than Islamist hatred. His one unambiguous victory over al Qaeda, the killing of Osama bin Laden, has helped the terrorist group’s Egyptian successor to bin Laden warm up to Egypt’s new Islamist government.
The team we have in place just is not the team we ought to go into another Middle East war with.
More: So, the Muslim Brotherhood is reopening its offices in Syria after 30 years of exile. Sort of like what happened in Egypt during the “Arab Spring.”
Correction: I had Libya in the title originally. Which was totally wrong.