Friday, October 12, 2012

Syria Burning

Syrian War Victim

Do you care that more than 20,000 Syrians have been killed by their own government led by Bashar al Assad in the past 18 months (

Do you care that over 90,000 Syrian refugees have streamed into Turkey ( desperate for food, shelter and asylum?

Do you care that Putin's Russia has supplied Assad's brutal dictatorial regime with half a billion in arms (

Do you care that the Syrian Revolution began with an attack by the Assad on the most vulnerable members of society -- its own children? (

Do you care that last week a mortar fired from Syria landed and killed 5 women and children in Turkey (

Do you care that, according to the NATO charter, an attack on one NATO member (Turkey) is an attack on all NATO members including the United States?

If you are indifferent to all of the above, then it must be conceded that your attitude seems to mirror that of the Obama administration which continues to dither on the burning question of Syria.

Does Commander Kelly think that the USA should involve itself in a ground war now over Syria?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Ronald Reagan was the last successful President in American history.  I admire Reagan for his many accomplishments.  Reagan's deployment of US Marines to Beirut in 1983 and their abrupt withdrawal after the devastating attack on the Marine compound was, however, a tragic mistake with dreadful reverberations for perceptions of the US in the Middle East.

I would not advocate a new ground war commitment for US forces.

Clinton was able to intervene effectively with US and NATO air strikes in the former Yugoslavia and bring the brutal Serbian President Slobodan Milošević (šević) down.  The Obama administration deserves credit for helping to remove the brutal dictator Qaddafi from power in Libya without the use of NATO ground forces.

The USA needs to start to lead on Syria.  We have many options short of committing to a ground war in Syria that include declaration of a no-fly zone, the use of air power in support of the rebels, institution of a naval blockade.  At a bare minimum, we should be exerting ourselves to discuss and explore the formation of a coalition of nations interested in regime change in Syria.

During the recent UN week in New York there was no attempt by Obama to meet with the leaders of our NATO ally Turkey.  There has been no serious attempt to build a coalition of nations including regional players such as Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia that might oppose Assad in Syria.

On the campaign trail and in the media we hear lots of talk about the possibility of Iran getting a nuclear bomb.  We hear almost nothing about Syria.  Focus group testing has established that Americans do not want to hear about another potential war commitment.  This has inhibited many politicians of BOTH parties from speaking out forcefully on the issue of Syria.

One exception to this has been Senator John McCain.  Check out this recent interview with McCain in London...  McCain said, "One of the things he (Obama) would have to say is that we’re going to help the Syrians. … My experience in Syria still wakes me up at night. It’s just terrible."

The collapse of the Western democracies at Munich emboldened Hitler in his aggressive dreams of world domination.  The lesson of appeasement at Munich is that resolute action now may prevent catastrophic tragedy later.  While I freely acknowledge that there is always danger of the lessons of Munich being misapplied, it really does seem to hold in the case of Syria and the Middle East.

For those who seek a peaceful resolution to the standoff with Iran over their prospective acquisition of nuclear weapons the message is clear.  The best way to deter Iranian nuclear ambitions is to act with principle and resolution towards her ally Syria and to start build a coalition for change in Syria.

Instead of courting potential allies, President Obama prefers to go on The View and declare himself to be "eye candy".  Romney and Ryan could also be more forthcoming on the need for action in Syria.

Commander Kelly suggests that both Republicans and Democrats need heed the counsel of Senator McCain and to begin to act now on Syria.

Note that Syrian rebels shot down a Syrian MIG this weekend (  You don't shoot down jets with Swiss Army knives.  The rebels are now being supplied with weapons (23 mm anti aircraft guns according to this account) by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others.  This conflict is rapidly getting hotter.

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