McCain: Hey, let’s bomb Syria

posted at 6:09 pm on March 5, 2012 by Allahpundit

After a week of Afghans rampaging over burned Korans, a series of Islamist landslides in Egypt’s elections, and now grave desecration at a war cemetery for Allied heroes in Libya, anyone else eager to risk more American lives to help?

“Foreign capitals across the world are looking to the United States to lead, especially now that the situation in Syria has become an armed conflict,” he said. “But what they see is an administration still hedging its bets — on the one hand, insisting that Assad’s fall is inevitable, but on the other, unwilling even to threaten more assertive actions that could make it so.”…

“These people are our allies,” he said. “They want many of the same things we do. They have expanded the boundaries of what everyone thought was possible in Syria. They have earned our respect, and now they need our support to finish what they started. The Syrian people deserve to succeed, and shame on us if we fail to help them.”…

“The benefit for the United States in helping to lead this effort directly is that it would allow us to better empower those Syrian groups that share our interests — those groups that reject al Qaeda and the Iranian regime, and commit to the goal of an inclusive democratic transition, as called for by the Syrian National Council,” he said. “If we stand on the sidelines, others will try to pick winners, and this will not always be to our liking or in our interest.”

The last point is a good one — if Syria’s destined to become a free-for-all, we’d best maximize our influence to stop Bad Things from happening — but I can’t believe he’s still arguing circa 2012 that siding with Middle Easterners against their oppressors earns us “allies.” He does realize that the new boss in Syria after Assad falls is apt to look a lot like the new boss in Egypt now, yes? I sympathize with Maverick’s today-we-are-all-Georgians solidarity with bullied populations, but no one believes this anymore. If you want to intervene, do it to deal Iran a blow, to lock down Assad’s WMDs before they go loose, or to spare innocents from butchery. But don’t do it in the idiotic expectation that you’ll gain a new ally or anyone’s gratitude. Fearless prediction: Post-Assad, Syria will be even more hostile to Israel than it is now. There’s your “gratitude.”

Watch what he says about creating a safe haven in the north of the country for rebels to organize and arm. That possibility has been kicked around for months, but as of two weeks ago Turkey was still cool to the idea. The problem right now, I think, is that not only are people still uncertain about who’s involved with the opposition — the latest faction to call for Assad’s ouster is, er, Hamas — but no one’s really sure if there’s enough of it to sustain itself even if western intervention bought it some breathing room. (Even the Saudis and other Gulf states are hesitating on weapons shipments because of all the question marks.) You know how this story goes by now: Once the U.S. and Europe are in, the only way to avoid losing prestige is to keep at it until Assad is gone, whatever that may mean in terms of deepening our commitment. And as true as that was in Libya, it’ll be ten times as true in Syria, where the battle will quickly become a proxy war between the west and Saudi Arabia on one side and Iran, Hezbollah, and, to some extent, Russia on the other. Once we’re in, we’re in. How lucky do you feel?


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