Monday, August 26, 2013

Words Have Consequences

The Obama administration has concluded that the Syrian regime has in fact used chemical weapons against its people.
The question now is…how will the president respond?
Reports out of Washington are that the president is considering his options.
The president has said”  ‘Assad must go.”
The president has said that the regime’s use of chemical would be: “crossing a red line.”
Assad has ignored these warnings.  Assad believes that Americans are war weary and far more concerned about their own economic difficulties to be interested in another Middle East conflict.  Emboldened by support from Russia, China and Iran, Assad has thumbed his nose at the president.   
The president has boxed himself into a corner.  He has drawn the proverbial line in the sand.  To do nothing would show weakness and would bring an avalanche of criticism both here and abroad.
The president does have options other than engaging the country in another “Vietnamesque” conflict.  The US Navy has warships in the vicinity that are capable of reaching Syrian soil with cruise missiles.   The president could use these assets to take out Assad’s chemical weapons facilities, command and control facilities or communications network.  He could authorize a measured response that would send a very clear message.
The problem here is…what happens if THAT message is ignored.  What’s next?
Take out Assad?  Certainly the US has the capability of finding and killing the Syrian dictator.
Then what?  Once Assad is gone, who or what fills that vacuum?  Al Qaeda?  Hezbollah?  Iran?
The fact is there are no good options.
The president decided to weigh in on the Syrian conflict with his tough rhetoric.
Words have consequences.

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