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The Bad/Good Idea of Removing Assad
Townhall.com ^ | May 24, 2012 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 05/24/2012 4:41:06 AM PDT by Kaslin

Who could not despise the tottering Bashar al-Assad dictatorship in Syria?

The Syrian strongman has killed some 10,000 protestors over the last year; thousands of Syrians are now refugees.

The autocracy arms and aids the terrorist organization Hezbollah. It targets democratic Israel with thousands of missiles, and still does its best to ruin neighboring Lebanon.

Theocratic and terrorist-sponsoring Iran has few allies -- but Syria remains its staunchest. Almost no country over the last half-century has proved more hostile to the United States than has Syria.

With sanctions not working, and with the Chinese, Iranians and Russians not eager to see Assad go, there is lots of talk that the United States and its allies must intervene to help the outmanned and outgunned Syrian opposition -- either with arms supplies, training for insurgent groups, or air cover.

At first glance, such a humanitarian intervention seems a good idea. A well-armed insurgency might fight its way to Damascus. Or we could bomb Assad out of power like we did Slobodan Milosevic from Serbia, or Muammar Gadhafi from Libya -- and without the use of ground troops or loss of American life.

Would not the spread of the Arab Spring to Damascus be wonderful -- especially given that it would weaken Iran and Shiite terrorist groups that have long killed Americans? Would not fewer die from collateral damage than from Assad's thugs?

But intervention, even if by air or through stealthy military assistance, requires some sort of strategy, and right now the United States does not seem to have any coherent one. We expected that post-Gadhafi Libya, and an Egypt without Hosni Mubarak, would be far better. They might be some day. But right now, emerging Islamic republics are hardly democratic. Some seem every bit as anti-American as were the dictatorships they replaced -- and could be even more intolerant of women, tribal minorities and Christians.

The point is not that we should only support idealists who promise an Arab version of Santa Monica, but that we do not oust one monster whom we are not responsible for only to empower one just as bad whom we would be responsible for.

Our three last interventions in the Middle East offer all sorts of different lessons, but one common theme predominates -- those whom we wished to help didn't seem to appreciate it. In Afghanistan, after a decade-long investment of blood and treasure, America is scheduled to withdraw in two years without any guarantee that Afghanistan won't be ruled by the Taliban, as it was in 2001. Our biggest problem seems to be our allied Afghan friends, who keep rioting and blowing up their American partners.

We successfully removed Saddam Hussein from Iraq. And by nobly staying on with thousands of troops, we defeated an insurgency and finally birthed a constitutional system in Iraq that is still viable -- but at a cost that the American public felt was not worth the eventual outcome.

In Libya, the model was to boast of United Nations approval, insert no ground troops, bomb Gadhafi, and support the insurgents. But because we far exceeded the very U.N. resolution we bragged about, we are not likely to get another such resolution for Syria. A bypassed Congress won't want to be snubbed again in favor of the U.N. And so far the Libyan air campaign has reminded us that if we do not send in ground troops and risk casualties, we have absolutely no influence on what follows.

Since we went into Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States has borrowed more than $9 trillion and is currently running serial $1 trillion deficits. We no longer pay for our wars, but instead borrow the money from the Chinese and others who calculate how to profit better than we from the ensuing chaos.

After lots of interventions, we have learned one thing about loud Arab reformers, especially those who were educated at Western universities: They damn us for supporting their dictators; they damn us for removing them; they damn us for interfering in their affairs when we help promote democracy; and they damn us as callous when we just let them be.

These cautionary tales do not necessarily mean that we should not help the Syrian dissidents, only that we must ask ourselves who exactly are these guys, how much will it cost to see them win, and when it is over will our new friends rule any more humanely and competently than the monsters that we remove?

And one final consideration: If intervening in Syria is to be a humanitarian venture, why would saving lives there be any more important than saving far more lives from far more dictators in Africa?


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Israel; Russia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; africa; arabspring; bosnia; china; croatia; egypt; hezbollah; hosnimubarak; iran; iraq; israel; kosovo; lebanon; libya; muammargadhafi; russia; saddamhussein; serbia; slobodanmilosevic; syria; victordavishanson; waronterror; yugoslavia

1 posted on 05/24/2012 4:41:07 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Well, that was worthless. SO, your suggestion is what, Mr Hansen?


2 posted on 05/24/2012 4:47:42 AM PDT by nuconvert ( Khomeini promised change too // Hail, Chairman O)
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To: Kaslin

Muzzies killing muzzies. I’ll have to think on that a while. Hmmm, I’ll have to think some more.


3 posted on 05/24/2012 4:59:34 AM PDT by Blado (THIS IS NOT AMERICA)
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To: nuconvert

Nuke the GD place!


4 posted on 05/24/2012 5:11:17 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: nuconvert

Nuke the GD place!


5 posted on 05/24/2012 5:11:37 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: nuconvert
Well, that was worthless. SO, your suggestion is what, Mr Hansen?

Actually, I found this lame article interesting as I could easily picture it being written from an entirely different point of view...

"Who could not despise the tottering 0bama regime in Washington?

The Kenyan upstart has killed countless innocent people, via the 'Fast and Furious' gun running scandal, and then there is the Kenyan's neverending support for unlimited abortion under all conditions, and 0bama has declared that his regime has the right to kill Americans overseas without due process and without need of a trial. It is not open for debate: 0bama is a killer.

The 0bama regime arms and aids terrorist organizations both in Mexico and in the United States, the best known perhaps being the New Black Panther Party which is immune from prosecution under 0bama's Minister of Injustice, Eric Holder. They target freedom loving American patriots with illegal investigations and harassment and work night and day to nullify and make meaningless the Constitution of the United States.

No occupant of the Oval Office has proved more hostile to the citizens of the United States than has 0bama..."



Get the picture?
6 posted on 05/24/2012 5:17:04 AM PDT by mkjessup (Eternal Vigilance (aka FReeper Tom Hoefling) has my vote for President in 2012.)
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To: Kaslin
What is Hansen smoking? Almost no country over the last half-century has proved more hostile to the United States than has Syria. -- duuuh, what about SAudi Arabia, Pakistan, North Korea etc. etc.?

and Would not the spread of the Arab Spring to Damascus be wonderful -- NO, no Muslim Brotherhood led 'spring'

7 posted on 05/24/2012 5:57:05 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Kaslin

I’d support the oppostion with all the guns they need just to piss off the Iranian mullahs.


8 posted on 05/24/2012 6:32:49 AM PDT by bkepley
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Obama bows down to Saudi King | American Thinker | April 02, 2009 | Clarice Feldman | Posted on 04/02/2009 8:19:47 AM PDT by rdb3
Obama bows down to Saudi King | American Thinker | April 02, 2009 | Clarice Feldman | Posted on 04/02/2009 8:19:47 AM PDT by rdb3

9 posted on 05/24/2012 8:04:32 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Kaslin.


10 posted on 05/24/2012 8:04:32 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Kaslin

Christians in Syria are safer with Assad than they will be with his replacement.


11 posted on 05/24/2012 8:07:22 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Kaslin
VDH spot on again. I thought this was the 'money' paragraph ....

After lots of interventions, we have learned one thing about loud Arab reformers, especially those who were educated at Western universities: They damn us for supporting their dictators; they damn us for removing them; they damn us for interfering in their affairs when we help promote democracy; and they damn us as callous when we just let them be.

12 posted on 05/24/2012 10:02:26 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Tea Party movement: more obstinate, unyielding and hostile to Democrats …)
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