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Obama Caves to the Syria Hawks

The Wall Street Journalreports that Obama has opted for pointless half-measures in Syria:

President Barack Obama authorized his administration to provide arms to moderate rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to officials briefed on the decision.

This move will almost certainly prolong and intensify the conflict, which will mean that even more Syrians on both sides of the war will suffer and die. It’s a serious mistake, and one that will probably lead to even bigger ones in the future. Because it will prove to be ineffective in changing the course of the war, as opponents of this measure have said for years, it will serve as an invitation to further escalation in the coming months and years. The Syria hawks agitating for increased involvement have managed to pressure the administration into this because of Obama’s own unforced errors and because there has been practically no one to stop this from happening. Let this be a lesson that there is no policy measure so ill-conceived or unwise that the constant, repetitive demand for it in public won’t eventually succeed. Of course, because Obama has agreed to this measure years after it was first proposed, it will completely fail to satisfy most Syria hawks, who will quickly declare it to be inadequate. The same people that have been demanding that the U.S. arm the rebels will waste no time in calling for more aggressive measures. If this decision is any indication, they will eventually get what they want.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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