I urge you to view “Frontline’s” "Obama at War" here or at the link below as it dissects the Shakespearean-like Obama dilemma to invade Syria or not. The existential consequences of present day Syria and Iraq are profound. They affect us all as fragmentation in the Middle East means instability in nations there that possess chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons. This is not for the faint of heart since those weapons could be ultimately used on us and have the sanctions of religious leaders to employ them.
The future of the Middle East has since its discovery of black gold been inextricably bound to US coffers. The west inserted its nose into Middle Eastern affairs because of its insatiable lust for oil – the money and power it brings – even if it meant directing the course of Middle East history. It was carved up by the WWI west win in 1917 like a slice of pepperoni. From Mosadeq of 1953 Iran and the Shah that replaced the CIA overthrow to the insipid George W. Bush, Cheney and his neoCon attack on Iraq deposing the despotic glue of the Middle East, Saddam Hussein, the US has engaged in the utter folly of its proboscis insertion into the quagmires of Middle East war. Now with the rise of caliphate-bound ISIS, the US Empire there is at risk of crumbling. This nation cannot sustain the loss of blood and treasure that is permanent Middle East war no matter how much black gold is in them thar hills of the desert.
It is an absurdity to blame the president for not jumping the chemical weapons line he drew in the Syrian sands and attack. The avenue of diplomacy to rid Assad of his chemical weapons emerged as a near miracle carved out by another despot, Vladimir Putin, who coaxed Assad to remove them and avoid more war. This was fortuitous at the time because no one in this nation wanted another eternal Bush quicksand-like war in the Middle East. If the US had attacked Syria then how much blood and treasure would have been lost and to what avail? How long would the footprint of American boots remain on that ground?
Let truth prevail. The key to the US reactive mode in the Middle East is oil, money, empire and power. If there were only dust and sand in the Middle East desert not one US soldier would have been called upon to give his/her life. US attempts at empire must end or it will end us as post World War II US foreign policy has given birth to flaming hatred and resentment of the US around the world. Invading Syria to dethrone Assad would have created more enemies and would have been yet another nightmare. For each friend in the Middle East there is an equal and opposite enemy changing hands like a suit of clothes using American arms and money to kill Americans. The president did not want another war. He was elected to end wars not continue them and he was damned if he invaded Syria and damned by his opponents because he did not.
The real culprit, of course, in hindsight, is the ugly Bush neo-Con fantasy of a 2003 Iraq invasion which was supposed to change that neck of the woods into a flourishing Jeffersonian democracy without realizing the centuries long religious secular civil war divides. The Iraq war was sold and based on the best lies money could buy. Saddam Hussein kept the pressure cooker lid on because he knew the milieu in which he lived. The know-nothing Bush fractured the Middle East by unseating Hussein just what H.W. Bush the father said would happen if he traveled the road to Baghdad. He proved his father right. W. Bush, created Al Qaeda in Iraq morphing into ISIS where it never was before. The chaos he has inflicted in this part of the world is horrific in nature, gargantuan in scope and mega consequential in result.
Good for you , Mr. President. You held your ground. It may be the only ground the US holds there for a very long time!