On the Fence About Syria? Read This!

On the Fence About Syria? Read This!

A quick reader on why military intervention in Syria is a big mistake–and what we should be advocating instead.
Since Syria has not attacked the United States and the UN Security Council hasn’t authorized any international military action, a U.S. strike on Syria would be unambiguously illegal under international law. But that’s not the only good reason not to attack Syria. There are many. (Photo: Adolfo Lujan / Flickr)
Some progressives remain conflicted about how the United States should respond to Syria’s increasingly violent civil war. This internal division has only deepened as the Obama administration considers launching a military strike on Bashar al-Assad for an alleged chemical attack by regime forces on civilians last month.

Many progressives are rightly skeptical about involving the United States in yet another war in the Middle East, but others are increasingly convinced that only a U.S.-led military strike can check Assad’s well-documented brutality. In recent weeks, many leading progressive commentators, members of Congress, and ordinary citizens have reluctantly come to this conclusion.

But it’s a mistaken one. However well intentioned this effort may be, there’s no evidence to suggest that the “quick and surgical” strikes proposed by the Obama administration will meaningfully change Assad’s behavior. But there’s ample reason to conclude that they could make things much worse.

For progressives who are on the fence about this issue, here’s a quick reader on why military intervention is a mistake and what we should be advocating instead.

We can’t escalate this war.

Let’s start with something I hope we can agree on: we really, really don’t want to escalate this war.
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