Bombing a few places in Syria will not endear us to the Syrian people. As President Obama said in November 2012, “There’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” He said this in defense of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles that were being fired into Israeli territories.
Here’s the context of President Obama’s comments while he was on a three-nation tour in Asia:
“Let’s understand what the precipitating event here that’s causing the current crisis and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles that were landing not just in Israeli territory but in areas that are populated, and there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.
“So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians.”
If the United States decides to rain down missiles on the sovereign nation of Syria, will Assad quote these words back at President Obama?
Why would Syria tolerate such a breach of sovereignty with no absolute determination of proof? And even if solid proof were forthcoming, this is a civil war – Syrians fighting Syrians. Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? We don’t know.
President Obama went on to say:
“Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory. If that can be accomplished without a ramping up of military activity in Gaza, that’s preferable. It’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza. It’s also preferable for Israelis, because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.”
Assad could say the same thing: “Syria has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory.”
Those firing missiles in Israel believe that Israel is guilty of something, even war crimes. We hear it all the time from Hezbollah and Hamas. And, of course, Israel accuses Hezbollah and Hamas of war crimes. All sides believe they are justified militarily to defend themselves.
Why do we think it’s going to be any different with Syria?