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3 Reasons Not to Go to War with Syria


As the Obama administration beats the drum for yet another military engagement, here are three reasons we shouldn’t go to war with Syria.

1. It’s not our fight

U.S. foreign policy – especially military actions – should proceed from clear and compelling national interests. But neither the president nor anyone in his administration has clarified what America’s security stake is in Syria’s civil war.

Humanitarian interventions are notoriously ineffective in practice. If the president wants to reduce the violence that’s already claimed over 100,000 lives, lobbing cruise missiles or putting boots on the ground is no way to accomplish that.

2. Chemical weapons shouldn’t be a red line

President Obama has said that chemical weapons are a red line that no country should be allowed to cross. But even assuming such weapons were used by the murderous Assad regime, the case for treating poison gas as qualitatively different than far more deadly conventional weapons is hardly clear.

Why should weapons that have at most killed a tiny fraction of people in a war be a trigger for action?

3. What constitutes victory?

Obama hasn’t just failed to articulate a cause for action, he hasn’t even bothered to explain what might constitute victory in Syria. The inherent risks are compounded massively by regional and global politics involving Iran, Jordan, Russia, Israel, and European countries.

The U.S. doesn’t even have a clear sense of who the Syrian rebels are and what their agenda is.

For god’s sake, if the past dozen years have taught us anything about foreign policy, it’s that military interventions shouldn’t be done in a half-assed fashion, without clear and widely shared goals.

If the Obama administration can’t be bothered to articulate why we should fight, who we’re helping, and how we would know that we succeeded, it’s got no business getting involved in Syria.

About 2 minutes.

Produced by Meredith Bragg and written by Nick Gillespie.

Visit http://reason.com/reasontv/2013/08/30… for links and downloadable versions. Subscribe to Reason TV’s YouTube channel to receive automatic notifications when new material goes live.

Related: “8 Reasons Not to Go to War with Syria,” by Peter Suderman: http://reason.com/blog/2013/08/27/8-r…

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