We should be grateful that the Obama administration seems disinclined to intervene militarily in Syria. But let’s note that the administration has not kept hands off. In a variety of ways, it is already aiding the rebels. Moreover, White House spokesman Jay Carney says that all options — even military intervention — are on the table.
Americans should feel uneasy as long as that ominous table remains in the White House.
Naturally, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney never appears hesitant about going to war. He calls for “more assertive measures to end the Assad regime” in Syria. But he and his foreign-policy advisers, George W. Bush neoconservative retreads, have no idea what ending the al-Assad regime would mean. Let’s recall that Romney’s team includes some of the same people who thought Iraq would be a “cakewalk,” with the Iraqis throwing rose petals at the invading American forces. It didn’t quite work out that way. More Americans died in Iraq than died on 9/11, which, by the way, Iraq had nothing to do with. (Over a million Iraqis died, directly and indirectly, because of the war, and millions remain refugees.)
For now at least, the White House, through Carney, has it right:
The concern is that further militarization of the situation in Syria could lead to greater chaos, could make it harder to achieve the political transition that the Syrian people deserve. The nature and shape of and membership of the opposition are still something that we and our partners are assessing....
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Sheldon Richman (photo) is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation and editor of The Freeman magazine.