Robert Taft Isolationists?

Michael Ledeen:

It’s Middle East Groundhog Day all over again. The discussion of What To Do About Syria is a replay of What To Do About Saddam: it’s all about the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong way….

Nothing would have so devastated the jihadis as the fall of the Iranian regime, which–then as now–funded, trained, armed and gave sanctuary to terrorist groups from al-Qaeda and Hezbollah to Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Unless we defeated Iran, it would not be possible for Iraq to have decent security, no matter how total the defeat of Saddam and the Baathists, and how well-intentioned the successor government. As you can plainly see….

So, as in Iraq, if you want to win this battle in the terror war, you must defeat the Iranian regime. And, as in the early years of this bloody century, you can do it without dropping bombs or sending Americans to fight on the ground, because the overwhelming majority of Iranians want to rid themselves of Khamenei and Rouhani and all the rest of their tyrannical oppressors. They can do it, with a bit of political, technological and economic support….

How can so many policy makers, pundits, scribblers and babblers overlook Iran’s centrality? And how can so many of them fail to recognize the enormous power of the ongoing revolt against the theological fascists who hold power in Tehran and who have just lost power in Cairo? The uprising that defenestrated the Muslim Brothers in Egypt was the biggest mass demonstration in the history of the world, but the self-proclaimed deep thinkers debate whether it qualifies for “coup,” and suggest that the fascists should be given a share of power.

Victor Davis Hanson:

If our attitude is that Obama screwed up, but that now the least-screwed-up remedy is to attack Syria, then we are indeed in bad shape.

Of the bad and worse alternatives, the worse is attacking without specifying our aims, means, and desired results. Yet to do so would convince Obama to drop the idea.

If the objective is to weaken Assad without empowering al-Qaeda-like Islamists, then non-intervention serves that goal far better.

If the objective is to destroy WMD depots, and send a global lesson that they are taboo, where are they and how are we to take them out? And what of the irony that Assad is probably no worse a custodian of WMD than is the opposition that we would de facto aiding?

If the point is to save face after the empty rhetorical redlines, then at this late date a few hours of cruise missiles will be interpreted by those who count — Russia, Iran, China, North Korea — as a half-serious and pathetic attempt to restore credibility.

Mark Steyn:

The administration’s ingenious plan is to lose this war in far less time than we usually take. In the unimprovable formulation of an unnamed official speaking to the Los Angeles Times, the White House is carefully calibrating a military action “just muscular enough not to get mocked”….

For a quarter-century, from Kuwait to Kosovo to Kandahar, the civilized world has gone to war only in order to save or liberate Muslims. The Pentagon is little more than central dispatch for the U.S. military’s Muslim Fast Squad. And what do we have to show for it? Liberating Syria isn’t like liberating the Netherlands: In the Middle East, the enemy of our enemy is also our enemy. Yes, those BBC images of schoolchildren with burning flesh are heart-rending. So we’ll get rid of Assad and install the local branch of al-Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood or whatever plucky neophyte democrat makes it to the presidential palace first — and then, instead of napalmed schoolyards, there will be, as in Egypt, burning Christian churches and women raped for going uncovered….

Meanwhile, the hyperpower is going to war because Obama wandered off prompter and accidentally made a threat. So he has to make good on it, or America will lose its credibility. But he only wants to make good on it in a perfunctory and ineffectual way. So America will lose its credibility anyway.

Andrew C. McCarthy

There are not enough secularists in the opposition to cause Assad to lose a night’s sleep, much less threaten his grip on power. To oust him, the opposition needs legions of Islamic supremacists — armed by the United States. Zarate and Moore try to navigate around this inconvenience by omitting any mention of the Muslim Brotherhood and suggesting that there are only two camps: “moderates” and al-Qaeda. This distortion may be marginally less risible than the Obama administration’s laugh-out-loud tactic of conceding the Brothers’ significance but misrepresenting them as “largely secular.” Still, it is unavailing all the same.

Contrary to the authors’ claim, foreign fighters are not flocking to Syria because they are affiliated with al-Qaeda. They are reacting to a fatwa issued in May by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the world’s most influential Sunni sharia authority and the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief jurist. Qaradawi declared that the jihad in Syria against Assad and his Shiite backers — primarily, Iran-backed Hezbollah — is a duty for every able-bodied Muslim who is trained to fight.

Qaradawi, who also serves as the backbone of international support for Hamas — the terrorist organization that is the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch — is notoriously anti-American and anti-Israeli. His prior fatwas, in addition to fomenting murderous rioting over such trivial slights as the publication of unflattering cartoon images of the prophet Mohammed, have called for the killing of American military and support personnel in Iraq, as well as suicide bombings against Israel. Crucially for current purposes, Qaradawi has been the powerhouse behind the Brotherhood’s Syrian enterprise — drumming up international political and financial support for the “rebels.” It is no coincidence that shortly after Qaradawi’s fatwa, Egypt’s Islamic-supremacist government — then led by the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi — cut off diplomatic ties with Assad, called for a no-fly zone over Syria, and declaimed that “Hezbollah must leave Syria.”

Qaradawi, it is worth emphasizing, is not al-Qaeda.

So much for dismissing those who oppose intervention in Syria as mouth-breathing moral midgets.

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