Congressman Bill Owens (D-NY) clearly demonstrated his total incompetence in foreign affairs yesterday. When asked his position on US intervention in Syria, while attending a town hall in Watertown, NY sponsored by AARP.
Mr. Owens said, he favors a strategy similar to the one the U.S. adopted in Libya more than two years ago, when dictator Moammar Gadhafi was ousted from power.
Mr. Owens said that by acting in concert with the United Nations, the U.S. was able to institute a no-fly zone and use targeted airstrikes to bring down Gaddafi forces. (Watertown Daily Times)
So, Libya was a success?
We armed the "rebels" in Libya many of whom turned out to be Al Qaida terrorists. After the Libyan army was driven out of the city of Benghazi, the black flag of Al Qaida flew over the city. American forces handed the city of Benghazi over to Al Qaida.
Then we all know the events in Benghazi on 9/11/2012 when the Al Qaida group Ansar al Sharia stormed our consulate and killed our ambassador and 3 other Americans.
Libya is still rife with violence with at least two car bombs killing scores of people in Al Qaida attacks recently. That's success?
In Syria, we have the totalitarian regime of Assad fighting Sunni terrorists, including many Al Qaida terrorists groups like Ansar al Sharia.
There have been over 100,000 killed in Syria since the war started almost 2 years ago. The current outcry is due to a chemical weapons attack that killed 100 people, including civilians. This is a deplorable, horrible and cowardly attack. But there are reports that it could have been perpetrated by the opposition. Or, maybe Assad's regime did carry out the attack. i don't think we know for sure.
But what is the desired outcome for American attacks? To, as Bill Owens wants, to create an outcome like we achieved in Libya? Is it Bill Owens' plan to create another failed state in the Middle East ruled by an Islamic extremist government and Al Qaida?
I think instead America should do three things:
- Support Israel. Syria and Iran have both said that if we attack Syria, they will in turn attack Israel. We need to openly support Israel, our strongest ally in the region.
- Work with and pressure Iraq to close their ground routes and air space to Iran. Iran is funneling troops and arms to Syria through and over Iraq. We still have influence and inroads into Iraq, we should use our leverage there (after so much blood and treasure we've spent there) to close those routes to Iran. That would simultaneously weaken both Iran and Syria.
- Provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees in friendly countries like Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. Despite the fact that we have an oppressive dictator fighting against Al Qaida terrorists in Syria, there are normal people who just want to live their lives, and raise their children who are caught in the middle. We should do what we can to alleviate the human suffering of those just caught in the middle.
But we should not take sides. So far this Administration was wrong in Egypt in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood which is spiraling into chaos and in Libya where Al Qaida attacked our consulate and the violence continues.
The day after the attacks in Benghazi it was apparent that these attacks were perpetrated by Al Qaida terrorists. Though we didn't know the extent of the scandal, a quick analysis still demonstrated that it was an Al Qaida attack. Is this the "success" Bill Owens is using as a model for US action in Syria?