There is no smoking gun in Syria

The White House has determined that that the Syrian government carried out a chemical attack against its own citizens. President Barack Obama made the comments during an interview on PBS NewsHour on Wednesday evening.

“We have looked at all the evidence, and we do not believe the opposition possessed nuclear weapons on – or chemical weapons of that sort. We do not believe that, given the delivery systems, using rockets, that the opposition could have carried out these attacks, President Obama told host Judy Woodruff.

“We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out. And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences,” he said.

But it seems that it’s anything but clear that this is actually the case. Much like the Bush Administration presented a case for war in Iraq based on a faulty premise, President Obama seems to be ready to go to war based on information that hasn’t actually been confirmed. Moreover, the Obama Administration hasn’t had substantive conversation about Syria with chairman of congressional intelligence committees as they continue to decide what action they will take in the Middle Eastern country.

The New York Times and the Associated Press have both reported that there has been no evidence presented by the Obama Administration that concludes that Bashar al-Assad’s regime ordered or carried out the attack. Foreign Policy also noted that though the State Department insists that the chemical attack came from the Syrian government, they don’t know who ordered it.

But even with these doubts, President Obama and his administration seem determined to hit Syria — and hit them hard. But the civil war in Syria doesn’t represent a clear national security risk to the United States. While the violence and death from this conflict is certainly a tragedy, there has to be some real interest to justify military action.

The argument for military action in Syria, at this point, seems to be that the United States, thanks to President Obama’s “red line” comment, faces the possibility of embarrassment on the world stage.

That’s far from reasonable logic and a poor approach to foreign policy. Not only that, but getting involved in Syria carries significant risks that could further draw the United States into the conflict.

Americans are war weary after costly, bloody military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. Getting involved in another conflict — especially one that is shaping up to be illegitimate due to the lack of congressional authorization and no clear national security interest — is the last thing the United States needs.

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