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Thursday, December 18, 2014

We must stay out of Syria
(Page 2 of 2)
Last August. President Obama warned Assad that the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” and a “game changer” when it came to the U.S.’s potential military intervention in Syrian. Recently, the White House released a letter stating, “Thus far, we believe that the Assad regime maintains custody of these weapons, and has demonstrated a willingness to escalate its horrific use of violence against the Syrian people.”

Up until now, for the most part, the United States has stayed out of this civil war. We have not provided arms to Syrian rebels or launched any air attacks against Assad’s troops. Kerry has been working with Russian President Vladimir Putin to form an international conference in order to solve the conflict, but Russia remains Assad’s most important backer.

Make no mistake about it: Syria is a real threat. However, I strongly believe this should be the extent of our involvement in the conflict. Some of my former colleagues are wrong to question the president’s decision not to immediately get involved. The rebel forces have proved that they can wage a war, but have they proved that they can successfully lead a country after the war is over?

U.S. Rep. Peter King also wisely pointed out that the U.S. must make sure that the arms we provide to Syria’s enemies don’t end up in the hands of Al Qaeda. There is no question that Assad is an evil dictator, but due to the instability throughout the region and the power vacuum the Syrian conflict has created, Al Qaeda has entered the mix. We cannot allow Al Qaeda to take over with the weapons we provided!

I urge Obama to stand his ground. Moreover, we must stand firm with Israel and support its right to defend itself without getting involved ourselves.

We are just beginning to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Here at home, we’re constantly fighting to reduce our budget deficit. By not getting involved in Syria, we will save billions of dollars and possibly American lives. Now is not the time to get involved in another conflict.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.

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