Bombing Syria: Little Gain but Much Cost and Risk

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Many articles about bombing Syria do not consider the potential negative effects of bombing Syria. There are many possible effects that are negative for the Syrian people and for the world and America.

There is skepticism among U.S. military persons. There are concerns over escalation, being drawn into further military steps, attacks by Iran through proxies, Israel entering the war if attacked, worsening the situation of refugees, and lack of a coherent strategy with clear objectives and exit points. There is concern that politicians over-estimate the benefits of bombing and under-estimate the risks in the form of future negative responses.

Bombing strengthens the rebel side. This raises the chances of widespread terrorism, sectarian cleansing, and anti-Christian cleansing. It increases the numbers of refugees. Bombing weakens the government side, making it more desperate. The odds of its using chemical weapons rises. Whether or not the U.S. targets chemical supplies is unknown; there are certain bombs that supposedly incinerate the chemicals and stop dispersion. This whole matter is uncertain.

There are unknown spillover effects in all the neighboring countries (Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Israel and Iran).

In all the administration’s talk about punishing Assad, who did not order this chemical attack, there is very little talk about strategy or the negative effects of bombing. Bombing is being viewed naively as much gain at little cost and risk when the opposite is more the case, little gain at much cost and risk.

Has the administration and Congress seriously considered how it is poisoning relations with Russia and China? Has it considered the risk of a direct confrontation with Russia, which arms Assad? Has it considered the sensitivity of the Suez Canal and the Straits of Hormuz to interruption of shipping? Has it considered what it will do if, after bombing, the Syrian situation worsens?

11:22 am on September 9, 2013