Assad’s army, Hezbollah, Iran, and Russian interests versus al Qaeda-affiliated groups and other Islamic militants fighting side by side with Syrian rebels with the U.S. itching to join the fight. What could possibly go wrong?
The U.S.’s number one concern at this moment should be that if Assad’s regime falls that his cache of chemical weapons does not fall into the hands of Syrian rebels infiltrated by al Qaeda. This would lead to dire consequences and a situation that far exceeds current conditions. Assisting Syrian rebels (and therefore al Qaeda) by inflicting damage to Assad’s military through U.S. military force in not in line with our national interests nor is it morally sound to support rebels affiliated with a terrorist organization that is responsible for murdering over 3,000 American civilians.
As of right now, the U.S. has no clearly defined objective with a missile strike. There is no strategy or endgame strategy. Bombing runways and aircraft will be ineffective in preventing a future chemical attack nor will it effectively damage Assad’s military. So what might the purpose of this attack be?
President Obama has watched his creditability on a world stage sink to an embarrassing low. Russia, China, Iran, Egypt, and other nations have learned over the past five years that Obama may have a mean bark, but there’s not much of a bite. An attempt to prove to Iran and other nations that we are credible with an ambiguous military strike with no purpose, as Obama has proposed, will only result in the U.S. continuing to look weak. Iran has been dealing with possible repercussions from the U.S. over its nuclear program for decades and does not flinch easily. Obama’s attempt is too little too late for any form of redemption. Additionally, the constant infighting amongst Obama, General Dempsey, and members of Congress about Syria have created an awkward divide and contributed to a perception that the U.S. clearly has no idea how to handle this situation.
The U.S. needs to understand the ramifications of a spur-of-the-moment missile attack in an attempt to redeem Obama on a global scale for making such a bold declaration about crossing ‘redlines’ and appearing weak in the eyes of our adversaries. The Obama administration must thoroughly analyze the consequences he may be faced with following an attack on Syria and the decisions he may have to make. And again, a botched strike with no objective or strategy will make the Obama administration look sloppy and confused.
The decision to bomb Syria is more complex than a simple targeted attack on a few military compounds. It has long-term consequences for our national interests. Iran is threatening to attack Israel, Israel is preparing for war, al Qaeda has promised to rain down terror on Syrian civilians, to name a few, all in retaliation for a U.S. attack on Syria. While these threats would never deter U.S. policy, one has to wonder if Obama is capable of handling such a crisis if one arises.
Above all, Obama needs to consult with Congress before to attacking Syria. This should not be a unilateral decision and this should not be an event he should consider without the support of Congress. In the words of candidate Obama in 2007, the “president does not have the power, under the Constitution, to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” There is no actual or imminent threat to our nation at this time.
Next, he needs to wait for the facts and stop jumping to conclusions. After nine years at war in Iraq, I would hope that as a nation we have learned about rushing into any conflict without giving consideration to all aspects, including contingency operations. The White House needs to put aside their ego for awhile and start collaborating on decisions that will benefit our nation as a whole.
The bottom line is at this point, an attack on Syria a does not benefit our national security or strategic national interests. This isn’t a good versus bad conflict. Charging blindly with military force into a nation’s civil war is not beneficial to the U.S. or Syria.
Amber Barno is a writer and commentator and member of Concerned Veterans for America. She is a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. For more information visit www.amberbarno.com and follow her on Twitter: @AmberBarno