America's Syria Folly

August 29, 2013 Topic: WMD Region: Syria

America's Syria Folly

The Syrian civil war is clearly a tragedy. Yet, America should draw only one red line: against involvement.

Nor is it in the president’s political interest to drag the country into war. George W. Bush’s presidency will forever be defined by the Iraq War, which sucked the life out of his domestic policy agenda. So, too, it will be for President Obama if he embarks upon another unnecessary war against a Muslim country in the Middle East.

Syria has become a hellish testament to the horrors people are willing to inflict on one another. Unfortunately, Washington is not capable of delivering heaven instead. Edward Luttwak of the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote that “stalemate is the only viable policy option left,” but the administration can’t guarantee that either. All it can do is stay out.

The possession, and apparent use, of chemical weapons by Damascus reinforces the case against American intervention. The administration should draw only one red line: against involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author and editor of several books, including Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire (Xulon).