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Saturday, October 25, 2014

We must have the support of our allies in Syria

The bloody civil war in Syria took a turn for the worse last week. Despite repeated threats by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad about the consequences of using chemical weapons against his people, the evidence continued to mount that Assad did in fact use those weapons.

During a televised interview on Aug. 28, Obama said he was still considering his options in Syria, and added that the goal of limited U.S. action would be to deter the future use of chemical weapons.

That same day, the Obama administration also stated that it would take military action against Assad’s regime even without authorization by the United Nations or Russia, which has been an ally of Syria since the Soviet era. As I write this, no order for air strikes has been given, but such an order sounds increasingly likely.

It is truly an outrage that Assad and his allies poisoned their own people. However, the U.S. shouldn’t take military action without the support of our allies, such as England, France and Germany — and as of last week we’d lost Britain, whose Parliament rejected any military involvement in Syria.

By launching a military strike, the U.S. could potentially set the stage for an even larger-scale war that could make Israel vulnerable to an attack. Is this what we want?

There’s no denying that the recent events in Syria are truly horrific, but we can’t get involved in every single conflict around the world. Last August, Obama warned the Assad regime that the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” and a “game changer” in terms of American military intervention in the Syrian civil war. The president never should have made any such public comments. I fear that the only reason we’re now being forced to show our hand is to keep him from being embarrassed.

Long Island’s own congressman, Peter King, said, “We cannot make an empty threat. The president should not have set a red line unless he knew what he was going to do, but having drawn that red line, we have no choice, I feel now, to take firm, strong action.”

This cannot be about ego. It was foolish for Obama to make those statements, but it would be even more foolish for the U.S. to wage an attack alone.

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