U.S. can’t win on Syria war outcome

opinions

August 26, 2013 - 12:00 AM

It’s a terrible foreign policy position: Please, keep fighting.
But that’s the position the United States is taking as Syrian rebels duke it out against President Bashar al-Assad’s military regime.
Today’s Syria has a president who poisons his people, fighting against terrorists with al-Qaida ties.
Either victor would be hostile to the United States once it solidified its power base.
On Wednesday, a chemical weapons attack in suburban Damascus left hundreds dead. Thousands remain injured from the toxic gases, strategically released in the pre-dawn hours before the day’s increasing heat would bring its dissipating winds.
Local hospitals were flooded with victims suffering the poisoning. Symptoms from exposure to the sarin gas included shortness of breath, suffocation, bronchial secretions, convulsions, nausea, vomiting and cardiac arrests.
Representatives from the United Nations are due this morning to investigate the attack that the Western world lays at the feet of Assad. It’s suspected to be the worst chemical weapons attack in 25 years.
The United States is still giving the rebels non-lethal aid. Night-vision goggles. Kevlar vests. Packaged meals. To date it has withheld guns, planes, armored tanks, munitions.
Some see this low-level aid as insufficient and downright damaging to the country’s reputation as a power broker.
No doubt.
And yet, our allies — equally disgusted with President Assad — are no more eager to retaliate with firepower, dragging their forces into war.
Yes, we may be losing our influence in the Mideast. That’s not surprising. None of our “victories” have stood the test of time or won us any friends. And as we ease our dependency on their oil, many Americans don’t see their internecine hostilities as our affair.
President Obama said  some time ago proof of chemical weapons would be the “red line” to draw the U.S. further into the war.
This is a time we’re willing to let him go back on his word.
— Susan Lynn

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