The opponents to an American strike against Syria do have one strong argument. It is that if Congress decides to go along with President Obama in an attack, or attacks, against the Assad regime, the element of surprise is gone.
The long deliberation by the president before making the decision to attack Syria, and in deciding to ask for Congress’ support, has given the Assad government ample time to move troops and weapons of war, including chemical, to safer places. He would be a fool if he didn’t make preparations for an attack.
We assume our military did know where most of Assad’s weapons and personnel were located. We can find out again, but that will take time. The question is, without the element of surprise, how successful can the attacks be? If we can’t take Assad out, along with many of his war weapons and troops, our strikes would be ineffective.
We know this has not been an easy issue to comb through because there are so many real and potential ramifications. But it’s taken too long to come to a resolution of what to do about Syria.
As long as we don’t commit troops to Syria, the American people may be critical of taking military action but they won’t be too angry. If we would commit troops, a Vietnam type of anger would explode. President Obama would feel the full sting of that anger, and would be badly wounded for the rest of his time in the White House.
It has been reported that two million people have fled Syria into neighboring countries. Refugee camps with hundreds of thousands of people will be found in Jordan and Turkey. They will be safe from air strikes by the United States, but they have to be fed and need shelter. Most are living in tents. Few jobs are available. Refugee camps also will be found in Iraq, Lebanon and even in Egypt. It is estimated that 4.2 million people inside Syria have been displaced. They have joined refugees from other Middle East countries that are trying to escape warfare.
What is going to happen to all of these people who, right now, have no future?
There are critics who say strikes on Syria will make conditions there even worse. There are others who say America can’t sit on the sidelines and do nothing.