Saturday, August 31, 2013

On Syria and humanitarian interventions

I know many of my fellow-progressive friends will disagree, and it's odd to find myself on the same side of foreign policy as John McCain. But, I support a limited strike on Syria, and I am glad the president will seek congressional authorization.

I do not support sending ground troops to Syria, nor do I support arming the rebels. But we can't say "Never again" after Darfur or Rwanda if we intend to let it happen again every single time. Assad has killed 100,000 of his own citizens for no other reason other than wanting to keep dictatorial power - I don't care what weapons he used; that's an atrocity no matter how you spin it. We have the power to curtail his strength at little cost to ourselves, and thus save an untold number of lives. No, we can't save everybody, but we should save the ones we can. With a limited strike, the parallel is Iraq in the '90s, not Iraq in the '00s, or Kosovo and Bosnia, not Afghanistan. There is a moral imperative to act.

I'm not sure if the president has the authority to initiate a limited strike without Congress or not, but he did blatantly violate the War Powers Resolution by continuing the strike on Libya longer than 60 days without Congressional approval. Though I supported the strike itself, fewer things have ticked me off politically more than its unconstitutional execution. I am glad he's going about it differently this time.