The Post argued that U.S. security interests require a “more robust . . . intervention” in the Syrian civil war [“No time for half-measures,” editorial, June 15]. A better case can be made for avoiding the fray altogether.
Sending medium-size and heavy weapons into Syria, with or without the establishment of a no-fly zone, could prolong the violence and destabilize the country for years even if the Assad regime collapses. There is no way to guarantee that sophisticated armaments will not fall into the hands of the most radical elements in the rebel camp. The United States’ experience in Afghanistan suggests caution: The CIA helped give birth to al-Qaeda by supplying weaponry to the mujahideen to fight the Soviet Union. Plus, to control the airspace over Syria, the United States would have to become a belligerent by bombing anti-aircraft batteries, radar sites and other installations. Employing such force in the absence of a U.N. Security Council resolution would violate international law and further strain relations with Russia and China.
Iraq, Afghanistan and even Libya demonstrated that U.S. military engagement in the Middle East can produce unexpected and undesirable outcomes. What confidence can Americans have that entanglement in the sectarian fratricide in Syria would be different?
Michael J. Keller, Silver Spring
The writer is president of the Peace Action Education Fund.
Based on recent editorials, it would appear The Post’s editorial board believes that the solution to violence in the United States is fewer guns [“The Senate misfires on gun control,” editorial, April 17, and others]. But apparently the solution to violence in Syria is more and bigger guns [“No time for half-measures,” editorial, June 15]? Is this line of thinking supposed to be coherent?
Andy Walko, Springfield
The June 15 front-page article “Hidden bases to convey arms” reported that “[t]he CIA is preparing to deliver arms to rebel groups in Syria through clandestine bases in Turkey and Jordan.” Why is the CIA delivering arms? Isn’t its mission intelligence, rather than defense? Doesn’t the Defense Department handle our military defense activities, including international arms transfers (in consultation with the State Department)? The transfers to Syrian rebels are now the announced policy of the U.S. government. Why is one of our clandestine services engaged in this national defense activity? The only clandestine aspect to this is where the American people are being led with respect to Syria’s civil war.
Bill Hoffman, Washington