Still not convinced on Syria

September 12, 2013 

I listened to President Obama's talk Tuesday. I remain unconvinced that the United States should attempt to militarily impose its will on the Syrian government.

Key points were missing from the speech. The first is independent verification of the intelligence reports blaming the Assad regime for the use of chemical weapons. Certainly chemical weapons were used. Far less certain is the source of those weapons.

Following the debacle caused, in part, by faulty intelligence about the Hussein government and WMDs (including poison gas) in Iraq, I must follow former President Reagan's wisdom and "trust but verify" single-source intelligence.

Also not mentioned were the recent unsuccessful efforts by the Obama administration to favorably impact Arab Spring uprisings. These did not result in governments that look favorably on the United States. The same result seems almost certain in Syria.

The rebels in Syria include members of al-Qaida and other extremists. Any change in the Syrian government is almost certain to result in leadership that ignores and obstructs American efforts for peace and actively persecutes Christian groups with centuries of residence in Syria. In other words, there will be a Syrian version of Egypt's post-Mubarak Muslim Brotherhood government.

Unfortunately, it seems the best way out of this mess has been proposed by Russia's President Putin. Sadly, not only has Obama led the U.S. into an untenable position, the solution may result in a significant increase in Russian influence in the volatile Middle East.

David Griffith


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