Congress should say ‘No’ to intervention in Syria

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Today’s Daily Sentinel editorial (“Congress should say ‘No’ to intervention in Syria”) may be both popular and correct – but for all the wrong reasons.

First, reliance on the “Weinberger Doctrine” is inherently suspect.  While Secretary of Defense, Weinberger oversaw the transfer to Iraq of the materials from which Saddam manufactured the illegal chemical weapons used in the Iran-Iraq War and against the Kurds.  Weinberger also supervised the illegal transfer of weapons to Iran, was later indicted for perjury in the Iran-Contra affair, but was then pardoned by “Papa” Bush.

Second, precisely because our “vital national security interests must be involved”, the Sentinel’s references to Rwanda and Korea are asinine.  “We didn’t invade Rwanda” to stop genocide because doing so was militarily infeasible.  We did “invade” North Korea, but – due to McArthur’s military incompetence—were repelled by the Red Chinese. 

More apropos is NATO’s/President Clinton’s air campaign against Serbia after the Bosnian/Kosovo genocides in 1995, which was initiated with only Senate approval, before the House registered a tie vote a month later, and was indisputably successful.

Third, because a retaliatory “act of war” is not the same as “war”, the nebulous concept of “winning” is irrelevant.  However, because a Congressional authorization for the use of force suspends the legal prohibition against assassinating enemy leaders, our cruise missile targets could include Assad and his cronies (“command and control elements”).

Fourth, enforcing international norms prohibiting the use of chemical weapons is a “clear definition of the military and political objectives”, but – revealingly – the “Weinberger Doctrine” makes no reference to America’s leadership role in the broader international community, because his ilk routinely disparages the U.N. as a surrender of sovereignty.

Obviously, some Americans are “against it” because President Obama is “for it”, but President McCain and/or Romney would presumably have already “done it”.

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