The Obama Administration is all set to start arming Syrian rebels, putting aside the ethical concerns and moving forward with that plan after a decision was made weeks ago to do so. There’s still no word on the no-fly zone out of the White House however.
And that’s got the hawks in Congress enraged, because having finally got the US sucked into at least directly arming combatants in the Syrian Civil War, they see a “no-fly zone” as the next logical step toward a full invasion and regime change.
Obama aide Denis McDonough’s comments on CBS earlier suggest this may be slow going for the hawks, as he insisted that the US would be more deliberate in its Syria policy and won’t “rush” into the war like they did in Iraq.
Which is at least a little relieving but doesn’t mean that the administration, which has been appointing hawks to key security positions in recent weeks, isn’t headed for a war in Syria. It just means that they are easing into it, like a tired man into a hot bath.
Administration officials who are less hawkish (like Chuck Hagel) have been arguing against the no-fly zone for months, noting it amounts to a full-scale declaration of war and would commit the US to an open-ended conflict with plenty of opportunity to escalate (as happened in Libya). Though it again doesn’t rule anything out, it will take a long time for the administration to wear down public opposition to the Syrian War enough that they can stumble into the nation with some pretense of “care.”
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