Monday, September 9, 2013

An Actual Possible Alternative to Military Conflict in Syria

I have been asking for a real alternative to conflict with Syria over the use of chemical weapons for a while.  Seeing that none were appearing, I was afraid that military action was the only option to show the world that Syria's actions were wrong.  I don't want to see US forces attacking another country and causing civilian casualties and risking a regional war, but I don't want to see Syria's use of chemical weapons spreading and suggest that use of chemical weapons is now acceptable.  It seems that John Kerry may have inadvertently found one.

The New York Times and other newspapers have reported that Kerry have found a viable option to a military strike on Syria:
A seemingly offhand suggestion by Secretary of State John Kerry that Syria could avert an American attack by relinquishing its chemical weapons received an almost immediate welcome from Syria, Russia, the United Nations, a key American ally and even some Republicans on Monday as a possible way to avoid a major international military showdown in the Syria crisis. A White House official said the administration was taking a “hard look” at the idea.
This doesn't mean that congress is off the hook.  I agree with Mr. Rogers (the Republican representative and not the friendly neighbor) that congress should still pass a resolution that would authorize force if immediate steps are not taken to turn over and account for all chemical weapons to the international community and those weapons would then be destroyed.

In Washington, Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, expressed cautious support for Mr. Lavrov’s response. “Just the fact the Russians have moved tells me having this debate on military action is a having a positive outcome,” Mr. Rogers said in a telephone interview. 
Mr. Rogers said Congress should still vote to support a resolution backing United States military action as a means of increasing American leverage on the Russians. 
“So far, the Russian rhetoric does not match their activity on the ground,” said Mr. Rogers, alluding to the Russian supply of arms to the Syrian Army. “They’re going to have to prove they mean it.”

This should also not let Assad off the hook if he stays in power after the civil war in Syria ends.  Pressure must continue, but military force should be a last alternative in any conflict.  

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