Developments around a possible US military strike against Syria are making my head hurt. The Obama Administration, after first saying it was willing to take action with few allies and no consultation with Congress, decided to seek congressional approval. President Obama trotted out the heavyweights in his cabinet to make the case for punishing the government of Bashar Al-Assad. With the British sitting on the sidelines, and American public opinion skeptical, the administration presses ahead.
The president risks much.
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have made it plain they have the goods on Assad's use of chemical weapons against his own people. Others aren't so sure. The UN inspectors seem largely ignored as the results of their work aren't yet known. Regardless, the relevant question ought to be what a strike or series of strikes will actually accomplish. Is the endgame to drive Assad from power? Barack Obama says no. Again, some aren't so sure.
What if something goes wrong?
The public is assured nothing will. Yet a caller to my program makes an interesting point. How come we always seem to have dollars for bombing, yet the same Congress this president asks for authorization to use them is willing to entertain the notion of gutting the food stamp program? Don't we have some business to attend to at home?
That's not to say this country should ignore the Syrian conflict. Yet there's some evidence the war in that country is much more complex than red lines and congressional approval. Patrick Cockburn's brilliant piece in the Independent asks the question whether we're ready to stand with the Al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front to teach Assad a lesson.
Haven't we been down this road before, in Iraq?
There are other ways to convince Assad not only to get rid of his chemical weapons, but to detain and prosecute those responsible for the chemical atrocity of August 21.
Too bad nobody wants to explore them.