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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
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Mr. President, Please Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!

Drawing red lines is never a politically wise move.
A pair of U.S. Airforce F-16 Fighting Falcons, capable of destroying more than 400 types of targets. Will President Obama have the wisdom of not unleashing them on Syria?

A pair of U.S. Airforce F-16 Fighting Falcons, capable of destroying more than 400 types of targets. Will President Obama have the wisdom of not unleashing them on Syria?
Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz

Kol Israel on Monday morning quoted Israeli officials in Washington who say an American intervention in Syria—albeit limited—is a forgone conclusion, seeing as the White House has been under so much concentrated attacks from Europe and from inside the U.S. to employ its considerable resources to stop the civil war.

President Obama has been meeting with his national security team to discuss reports of the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons, a White House official said over the weekend, throwing strong hints that an American military strike was on the table.

The humanitarian group Doctors without Borders said reports it received from hospitals in Damascus indicated that 355 people had died from symptoms consistent with being exposed to a neurotoxic agent.

“We have a range of options available, and we are going to act very deliberately so that we’re making decisions consistent with our national interest as well as our assessment of what can advance our objectives in Syria,” the White House official, speaking on background, said.

Once again it has been proven that it is not a politically wise move to draw red lines. It never ends well. Like all pledges, the pledger ends up being forced to act on notion he or she had in the past, despite all the new information they possess today.

Never mind that this pledge by President Obama, to pin U.S. foreign policy on whether or not Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, is possibly the least astute of all the lines in the sand.

The man has been bombing civilian neighborhoods in his own cities and towns for two years, with supersonic attack planes diving down on homes and cars and schools and mosques, ripping all of it to shreds with air-to-surface rockets, and that didn’t trigger any red line. But the fact that he did it with an antiquated technology that gave Europe nightmares in World War I – that’s already intolerable. That’s unforgivable. This time he really crossed the line.

I feel like I’m channeling Jacky Mason here. The United States believes that it could actually achieve some good in the tortured Middle East by bombing a whole bunch of places in Syria? Seriously? The Syrians themselves can’t tell any more who is fighting against whom – the rebel forces are split into pro- and anti-Western armies, all of whom hate Israel, and all of whom hate the Shiite Hezbollah even worse than they do the Jews. And the U.S. will start shooting Tomahawks into these wretched battlefields, followed by limited bombing from the air, followed by more intense air raids – and that will help matters?

Let’s look at the record of U.S. interventions in the region over the past decade, shall we? At the cost of a trillion dollars, give or take, and thousands of American lives, we managed to topple the one serious enemy Iran had at its border, the horrible, terrifying, puppy killing Saddam Hussein, to replace him with a Shiite-ruled government and to extend Iran’s Hegemony all the way down the Persian Gulf.

But that was President GW Bush, and what did he know about global strategy, right? So our next commander in chief is spending another trillion dollars to make sure the Taliban will have a firm hold on Afghanistan for centuries, but with a few differences: whereas in the past the Taliban were merely an Afghani phenomenon, now they threaten their entire region, most notably Pakistan, a proud member of the nuclear club.

So now the brilliant boys and girls at the White House want us to intensify the rate of the killing of innocent civilians, weighing in on the side of the “good” rebels. Judging by their record so far, it is virtually certain that the result of our efforts will be a Sunni Al Qaeda state, where all the Allawites, Druze and Christians have been murdered, and Israel’s northern border with Syria—largely dormant since 1973—will come back to life.

And all of it because we think Assad mass murdered his people using chemical weapons instead of tanks and planes.

I yearn for the day when we’ll have a president who understands the value of not intervening in the Middle East. This region is not a Europe with darker complexions. This region is where tribes of all manner of color and dress have been doing war since the time the hunter-gatherers and shepherds ran into the first cultivated wheat fields and everybody got their bats and sticks and sharpened stones and went at each other. And each time European powers land here, they turn the occasional suffering into permanent pain, with ever larger numbers of dead and mutilated.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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13 Responses to “Mr. President, Please Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!”

  1. Schwartzi says:

    While I agree in principle – I think that once you make a threat you have to back it up or things rapidly spiral out of control. I for instance am of the belief that Netanyahu should have already bombed Iran.

  2. Geoffrey Woo says:

    Have you considered that the object here is chemical weapons? It's the same as for nuclear weapons. The point here is, it's ok to wipe each other out using any means you desire, as long as you don't employ any of the aforementioned weapons. Reason being such weapons have the ability to wipe out cities and countries instantly. Therefore, whoever uses such arsenal will need to be made an example of, in order to discourage the manufacture and usage. If not, there is high likelihood that your neighbourhood will be wiped out instantly one day, should your enemies wish to deploy such weapons against you. So thank your president and quit whingeing.

  3. Cody Flecker says:

    As Americans, we need to understand that the War in Syria is THEIR WAR, not ours. We will gain nothing regardless of who or whom wins. Nothing. We could lose thousands of troops, and spend another Trillion Dollars on this futile effort. The same goes for Israel. The Israelis are the people responsible for peace and war with the Palestinians and other nations in the Middle East. It is NONE OF OUR BUSINESS TO INTERVENE in their internal situations with the Palestinians and others. We need to spend out time and money in the USA and not worry about everyone else.

  4. The Guardian says:

    The genius, Nobel Prize winner sitting in the White House (Hey they just don’t give Nobel Prizes to someone who hasn’t done something brilliant, do they) is going to attack Syria, so that must be the smart move. We’re just to dumb to see the brilliant, overarching strategy being employed by Obama in the Middle East. Me? I would have opted to bomb Iran, a rogue state that supports terrorism around the world and is run by messianic Mullahs who are hunched over their work benches putting the final touches on their nuclear bombs that they’ve nicknamed “Big Satan” and “Little Satan.”

  5. The Guardian says:

    You are right. Netanyahu has no credibility either. Unfortunately for both Obama and Netanyahu the window of opportunity has long passed. At this point, anything short of a massive and overwhelming display of force will be viewed as further impotence and weakness. Too little, too late could be worse than doing nothing – if that’s possible.

  6. To late Mr. President, youhave to send home the all US troops, your a bad strategist, you could start a WWIII, so GET OUT FROM MIDLE EAST including Israel.

  7. KeithGilbert says:

    POTUS Obama has time and time again shown himself to be at the very least a ‘secret’ moslem with loyalties to islam before all else.  The least thing he does in this matter will be the best…nothing would be wonderful.  The man is a fraud and proven liar so no matter what he tells US or Israel…we can’t depend upon it to be the truth.  islam has declared it’s universal hate for Israel and the United States and stated that its war is against Jews and Christians…and now our declared enemy is at war with itself!  Why would we, any of us, want to interfere because an outside attack will have the consequences of unifying all islamics against US and Israel.  Please Mr. President, just sit down and shut up and leave this matter for others.

  8. Cody, I agree with you in part. Muslim killing Muslims is a win for the civilized world. As for Israel, they are on the front line battling back the rising tide of Islam which now seeks to envelop the non-Muslim world. Palestinians are just Arabs by another name – NOT a "people" fighting for their just, civil rights. No, they are the tip of the spear in Islam's war against the West. Their goal is NOT two states for two people. Their goal is to wipe Israel off the map. Israel is fighting our war for us. It's high time the West backed her up.

  9. Will we ever learn? It's déjà vu all over again.
    The Brits and the French drew the Red Line in Poland.
    But once Hitler had his way with the Anschluss of Austria and then.
    Czechoslovakia, it was too late. World War II was inevitable.
    We could have supported the Syrian rebellion at the outset.
    Time has passed and now it's too complicated to figure out.
    who is fighting whom, and whom to support.
    Maybe the governing class can figure out something.
    before WWIII is upon us?

  10. Move with caution and stealth, wait till the investigations are in, in the meantime be prepared. Ake Sellstrom (a Swede investingating) is pretty thorough, bearing in mind Russia & China are overseeing crisis in Syria, indeed who both recognize the problem is more likely to be rebels, Iran and Saudi have been mentioned in reports supplying differing rebel aggressors. Saudi & Iran are not bosom pals, Israel must keep a cool head and act with accuracy when the need arises and not before, too much is at stake.

  11. vivgolda says:

    Move with caution and stealth, wait till the investigations are in, in the meantime be prepared. Ake Sellstrom (a Swede investingating) is pretty thorough, bearing in mind Russia & China are overseeing crisis in Syria, indeed who both recognize the problem is more likely to be rebels, Iran and Saudi have been mentioned in reports supplying differing rebel aggressors. Saudi & Iran are not bosom pals, Israel must keep a cool head and act with accuracy when the need arises and not before, too much is at stake.

  12. Please Obama-Kerry do not intervene in Syria. Let them kill one another, Sunni and Shiite, just the way they have been doing since the Middle Ages. The more they kill each other…the less enemies for Israel. Just like in Egypt…leave them alone and they will keep on killing each other. Better for Israel!

  13. Yechiel Baum says:

    Any reason Obama cannot go to his co-religionist animals and work it out?
    He is a coward and knows them for what they are.

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