The civil war to oust Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is now in its fourth year. No end is in sight.
American planes have bombed selected targets in Syria and nothing changed. President Obama has seven times insisted that he would not order U.S. ground forces into the fray. “No boots on the ground,” he repeatedly stated. But that just changed when he decided to send 50 of our nation’s Special Forces into the war-torn country. Will they be outfitted with sneakers instead of boots? We are told they are not supposed to participate in any battles, just play an advisory role. What happens when any of the 50 Special Forces get killed or wounded? The likely outcome of such a development would be sending in more U.S. troops.
At least three factions are seeking to replace Assad. One is backed by Russia, another is allied with ISIS (already controlling a sizable portion of the country), and still another consists of Syrians fed up with Assad. American planes have already made at least a thousand bombing runs against factions not approved by our leaders. There could easily be an air war over the country if Russian planes and U.S. planes bomb the other’s favored group. Will the mess escalate into a conflict between the United States and Russia?
Meanwhile, the Obama promise to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan has been cancelled and 10,000 will remain. Elsewhere, our intervention in Libya has been a disaster. Also, U.S. drones have wreaked havoc in Yemen with nothing to show for the effort except death and destruction for Yemenis. And Iraq remains in turmoil after all the lies about weapons of mass destruction spurred President G.W. Bush to invade.
The American people ought to be asking why previous failed policies in several countries are being repeated in others. We can only hope that the Obama policies will become a serious debate topic during the current presidential race.
All of the actions noted above constitute war. But the U.S. Constitution clearly places sole power to have the United States at war in the hands of Congress, not the president. Yet UN authorization here and NATO (a UN subsidiary) direction elsewhere have been employed to have our forces go to war. Questions have to be asked: Is our nation’s military effort being dictated by the world body? Is Obama quietly seeking or receiving orders from the UN to dispatch U.S. forces in limited roles all over the Middle East?
One or more of the GOP candidates should be asking these questions. Let’s hope they do so.