2C: the FCNL Staff Blog

Syria: Rush to War is a Huge Mistake

By Matt Southworth on 08/28/2013 @ 12:32 AM

Tags: Syria, War Is Not the Answer

Matt Southworth

Stop. Take a breath. Think a minute.

Military strikes in Syria, whether undertaken by the U.S. or anyone else, would be a mistake.

I’m not an expert on Syria. I am, however, well versed in wars that should have never happened. My military service in Iraq in 2004 guides this perspective. As former Marine and State Department official Matt Hoh said last night on Twitter, how many of the pundits advocating a military intervention in Syria right now realize we’re still at war—and losing—in Afghanistan?

I empathize with the suffering happening in Syria right now. I've seen firsthand the same kind of suffering. Yet there is a universal truth to war—civil, preemptive, intervention or otherwise. War does not and will never protect civilian populations. Women and children will always be most inadvertently effected. To engage militarily will only serve to exacerbate, not remedy, the crisis in Syria.

The Obama administration should have to answer a few questions before any U.S. military action is taken: how will intervention actually protect civilians? How long would the U.S. have to stay in Syria to ensure a de-escalation of the civil war? What’s the U.S. endgame in Syria? Who are the rebels that will presumably form the new Syrian government? Retired Col. Andrew Bacevich also has some very important questions for President Obama.

We have some ideas on what should be done instead of military action. We veterans also know what not to do. Libya, Mali, Somalia, Uganda, Iraq, Afghanistan and many more recent conflicts serve as shining examples of U.S. military hubris. A military intervention will only worsen the situation in Syria, prolong the conflict, put U.S. lives at risk and ultimately do more harm than good. Sure, do something. But to rush to war would simply be a huge mistake.

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