Huffington Post: The Case for Intervening in Syria
Truman Security Fellow Lionel Beehner on the reasons for intervention in Syria in the Huffington Post:
The chorus out of Washington is singing a familiar hymn: Don’t get involved in Syria. Civil war is upon us. “Syria is Iraq,” proclaims Thomas Friedman, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning portrayal of the horrific 1982 massacre in Hama is what inspired my generation of journalists to travel to places like Syria and Lebanon.
This kind of analysis is strange and counter-cyclical. Syria is not Iraq, it is Iraq in reverse. It is Iraq in slow-motion, done without U.S. firepower or Dick Cheney. First, the obvious: We are not countering insurgents but rather we are abetting insurgents (albeit indirectly through the CIA and third-party channels). We literally wrote the book on counterinsurgency as a result of our efforts in Iraq. Now it is the Assad regime that is trying to clear, hold and build urban areas, not us. We haven’t been in the business of aiding insurgents since Kosovo and Libya, and before that we trained anti-Marxist guerrillas in Latin America and the mujahadeen in Afghanistan. In short, our track record is bad but getting better. Second, we are silently applauding suicide bombings, like the one that killed Assad’s brother-in-law and defense minister (no civilians were killed and the two men were military actors and thus legitimate targets). Finally we are aiming to take out a Baathist regime but not through shock and awe and overwhelming airpower but rather through an indigenous grassroots rebellion that is slow, methodical, and messy — imagine what may have occurred in Saddam’s Iraq had the Shia rebellion after the first Gulf War unfolded.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Truman National Security Project or Educational Institute.