Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cohen: 'Do something, anything!' in Syria

"Don't just sit there, do something!  Anything!"

Do something... even if it means America's tripping on its own over-sized brass balls and landing face-first in another Mideastern civil war?

Richard Cohen cites the number of Syrians killed, displaced Syrians and refugees... but there were more deaths in Iraq, and just as many refugees flooded out -- and that was when thousands of U.S. boots were on the ground.  So U.S. troops are no guarantee of stopping any of that. And U.S. missiles? U.S. weapons transfers?  Even less likely. 

I give Cohen credit for not giving up, not changing his emotional tack.  But he's just plain wrong. Doing somethinganything without a clear plan and exit strategy is usually worse than doing nothing, especially where U.S. lives and vital interests are not at stake. 

Unfortunately, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator. However, it is not America's job to remove all the world's brutal dictators.  

Finally, it's a dishonest cheap shot to blame U.S. inaction entirely on Obama, because there is no support in Congress for another war, or more support for Sunni jihadi-linked groups. Cohen should blame the entire U.S. government -- and by extension, the American public, which opposes intervention -- for America's prudence.

Sorry, Rick. The U.S. answer remains the same: not this time; not our problem.

UPDATE (19.02.2014): Here's more support, from McClatchy, for what I've been saying: even if we wanted to help somebody in Syria, there's nobody the U.S. can in good conscience support: "State Dept still struggling to identify Syrian partner."

By Richard Cohen
February 18, 2014 | Washington Post

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