Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dianne Feinstein: Syria has crossed a Red Line. Me: So?

The war drums are sounding, this time for an intervention in Syria:

"This is highly classified and we have been advised to be careful with what we say," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CNN.


"I'm told that the White House has been briefed…and the White House has to make some decisions in this. I think the days are becoming more desperate and the regime is more desperate and we know where the chemical weapons are. It's not a secret that they're there and I think the probabilities are very high that we're going into some very dark times. I think the White House needs to be prepared now that both committees have been fully briefed," she said.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) concurred.

"I have a high probability to believe chemical weapons were used," he told CNN. "We need that final verification but given everything we know over the last year and a half, I…would come to the conclusion that they are either positioned for use or in fact have been used, and in both of those scenarios I think we need to step up in the world community to prevent a humanitarian disaster."


"Do I believe that they may have configured weapons and used them? Yes. However, we don't know for sure and for certain, I think that will happen within hours if not days, that we'll get some sort of confirmation about chemical weapon use to prove that point," he said. "I think that we are morally obligated to take some action to make sure that they cannot use – that they lose their capability to use their chemical weapons, I think that's incredibly important. "

Rogers said the likeliest action would be a "limited military strike" targeted at the regime's chemical weapons depository.

"If in fact we prove beyond a shadow of doubt that they have used these chemical weapons, I think we are morally obligated to do something I think we're morally obligated to do something about their ability to deliver these weapons," he said. "If that was a limited military strike to do that, I think we're obligated to do that if in fact they've crossed the president's red line of chemical weapons use."

I love the part about a "limited military strike".  Are they going to just hit the big pile of chemical weapons that is under the sign that says "Syrian Chemical Weapons Depot".  My guess is that since the war started, the weapons moved around some so anyone who thinks that all this will take is a one time military strike is daydreaming.  Remember when are Libyan intervention was about stopping the Libyan army advance into Benghazi and not about regime change?  These interventions have a mind of their own and will likely lead to places we don't want them leading.  How, for instance, is a Muslim Brotherhood government in Syria superior to one headed by Assad from our point of view?  Instead of having a regime that has essentially kept the peace (unofficially) with Israel for the last 40 years, we would have one that is calling for Israel's blood on a regular basis.  I'm no fan of him or his father but how exactly is it in our interests to lift a finger to depose him?  And if you think there will be peace in the country, guess again.  Besides reprisals against the Alawite minority and Assad supporters, we will see plenty of infighting between the different rebel groups themselves.  Our intervention isn't even likely to stop the killing.

Also, just going past the argument of whether we should go into Syria or not, I think this "red line" of chemical weapons use is just laughable as a casus belli.  The latest estimates point to 70,000 killed in the Syrian civil war, so why are we getting ready to intervene after 31 people are killed?  Plus, chemical weapons are horrible but let's keep things in perspective.  They were associated with 90,000 deaths and another 1.2 million casualties during World War I.  Whatever was done here was small scale and for all we know was released by the rebels to provoke an international response, there is no evidence of mass use or an intent to kill the entire civilian population or anything.  Plus, from a logical perspective, what difference does it make if you set 31 people on fire or if you kill them with chemical weapons?  It seems that one is okay according to the international community and the other is verboten yet the people are still dead.

An intervention in Syria would serve no purpose for America's interests and really makes no sense.

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