Tonawanda News

Opinion

September 1, 2013

DUVALL: No good options remain in Syrian civil war

Tonawanda News — In the intervening day between when this is written and when you read it, events could well render this moot. Without hyperbole, I can say by then we could be hurtling toward World War III.

The situation in Syria is exactly that serious.

After a preponderance of evidence suggests Syrian President Bashar Assad gassed his own people killing as many as 1,400 civilians — many among them defenseless women, the elderly and young children — the world expressed shock and outrage.

And that’s about all we’ve done, is talk.

Some of the best advice I was ever given came from a high school history teacher: The most difficult choices in life are rarely between something good and something bad. They’re almost always between something bad and something just as bad.

That’s precisely where the Obama administration finds itself, in part due to its own dithering and lack of a coherent policy toward the Middle East and also because of unforeseen events that no president could address without serious consequences resulting from all available options. 

President Obama rightly stated last year if Assad used chemical weapons on his own people it would change America’s calculus on their bloody civil war. 

He’s right, there’s a moral imperative for America, as the world’s greatest defender of freedom, to act when atrocities like this happen. Standing by and doing nothing is in itself doing something — it’s signaling to the world’s thugs that it’s permissible to used abhorrent weapons on innocent civilians without fear of reprisal. 

Of course, the alternative is military action that almost certainly will ratchet up what is already turning into a regional war and threatens to drag us back into a prolonged conflict in the Muslim world. 

And that’s actually not the worst-case scenario.

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