A man inspects a site hit by what activists said were missiles fired by Syrian Air Force fighter jets loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, in Raqqa province, eastern Syria August 21, 2013. (Reuters/Nour Fourat)
The reports of poison gas use in Syria—with casualty estimates varying from a few dozen to more than a thousand dead—signal a new phase in Syria’s civil war, one in which President Obama will come under intense pressure to use military force.
Despite Obama’s countless mistakes and a series of bad judgments in Syria, which have had the effect of escalating the war, triggering the insurgency and creating a no-win situation for the United States, the president has resisted calls from hawks to get the United States directly involved. Now, however, with the usual suspects on the right calling for blood, expect the White House to come under heavy pressure from liberal imperialists and others—including Secretary of State Kerry, UN Ambassador Samantha Power, and National Security Adviser Susan Rice—to take aggressive action.
The president may also face pressure from his political team, despite the fact that polls show that Americans are strongly opposed to war in Syria.
In Europe, France—which seems not to have abandoned its fake-historic claim to Syria codified a century ago in the World War I–era Sykes-Picot Agreement—is calling for military action if the reports of gas use prove true. “There would have to be reaction with force in Syria from the international community,” said France’s foreign minister. Turkey, too, which once “owned” Syria in the days of the bygone Ottoman Empire, is thumping for war. Said its foreign ministry: “If these allegations are found to be true, it will be inevitable for the international community to take the necessary stance and give the necessary response to this savagery and crime against humanity.”
The Washington Post, which long ago became a bastion of neoconservative thought, is editorializing for war:
The United States should be using its own resources to determine, as quickly as possible, whether the opposition’s reports of large-scale use of gas against civilians are accurate. If they are, Mr. Obama should deliver on his vow not to tolerate such crimes—by ordering direct U.S. retaliation against the Syrian military forces responsible and by adopting a plan to protect civilians in southern Syria with a no-fly zone.