Editorial: No more violence

Published 9:25 am Wednesday, June 6, 2012


There is little doubt that Syria’s ruling regime has acted horribly by allowing — or perhaps encouraging — armed militants to kill thousands of civilians. But that is no reason for the United States (or any other nation) to mount military attacks against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. It’s not even a reason to arm anti-government insurgent groups.

As dissatisfying as it is to mostly sit on the sidelines, circumstances argue that this is not a time when the United States needs to don its policeman-of-the-world identity. For starters, air strikes or arming insurgents both contribute to an already-too-high death toll; it is very far from clear that violence would be a solution to violence. For evidence, look no farther than our country’s very muddy involvement not too long ago in Libya.

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Indeed, it seems that almost every time the United States takes it on itself to topple a dictator, the decision is regrettable. Remember Iraq, where the fiction of nuclear weapons and 9/11 involvement led us into a decade of war that did our country absolutely no good?

Most notably, it is far from clear that diplomatic and economic sanctions won’t serve as effective agents of change in Syria.

Much of the talk about military action against Syria’s regime is, we suspect, a political red herring — the kind of comments that are easy to make when one doesn’t have to ultimately make decisions. We hope that policy-makers in the United States keep clear what the United States’ interests are — and what they are not. Being the world’s policeman falls into the “not” category.