In an interview on CNN’s “OutFront,” Senator Bob Corker called on President Obama to call Congress back to Washington to seek approval for possible surgical, proportional military action in Syria.
Corker says we have been slow to support the moderate, vetted, resistance in Syria; he supports a limited proportional military response to Syrian use of chemical weapons; he opposes American "boots on the ground," he says the president has met the war powers act requirement to "consult" with Congress, but should go further and seek Congressional approval.
I normally think Senator Corker is a wise and reasonable person and of course I am not privy to the secret briefings and have not studied the situation like Senator Corker. However, I not persuaded we ought to get involved. I think we should not bomb Syria. I think we need to stay out of this conflict.
I understand that our President drew a line in the sand, and Syria has apparently crossed it. Despite my dislike of this President, in foreign affairs the President speaks for the country. I understand we will lose face if we do not respond. We will be shown to be a paper tiger. I think we should be concerned when international norms on the ban on chemical weapons are violated.
However, before I could be persuaded that a military response to Syrian use of chemical weapons was called for, I would have to be persuaded that it was in our national interest to respond. I am not sure it is.
Is there really a "vetted," " moderate" element in Syria? If we weaken the Syrian regime and the opposition takes power, will that opposition be the Muslim Brotherhood or an Al Qaeda-friendly government. We should not do anything that would bring a pro Al Qaeda government to power. Syria's Assad is no doubt an evil man and Syria is an enemy of Israel and the United States. They are a sponsor of terrorism. I am not opposed in principle to covert military action. If there was a viable, vetted, moderate opposition with a reasonable prospect for taking power, I would not oppose us training and aiding them. But, I do not want America to be fighting on the side of Al Qaeda and that looks to me like what we would be doing if we help overthrow Assad.
While ever since World War One the world has abhorred chemical weapons and they are considered a "weapon of mass destruction," but they are not on the same scale as nuclear weapons. In the genocidal mass slaughter of the Tutsis by the Hutus somewhere between 500,000 and million people were killed and we did nothing and I not sure we should have. The weapon of choice in that war was the machete. Secretary of State Kerry says 1429 people were killed in the chemical weapons attack. That is terrible but just because they were killed with chemical weapons, I am not so certain that we have an obligation to respond. If people are killed by chemical weapons, machetes, or a 500 pound conventional bomb, they are just as dead.
In my view, we need to stay out of this war.