From a CNN Op-Ed:
Now we see the same enthusiasm for another U.S. intervention, this time in Syria. The Syria Transition Support Act approved last week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which I am a member, has the potential to create more problems for the United States than it would solve. It is unclear what national security interests we have in the civil war in Syria. It is very clear that any attempt to aid the Syrian rebels would be complicated and dangerous, precisely because we don't know who these people are.
The situation in Syria is certainly dire. At least 70,000 people have died, and al Qaeda is making confirmed inroads into the country. No one wants to see Syria become a bastion of extremism. But like other American interventions in the past, U.S. involvement could actually help the extremists.
There is also the quandary of nearly 2 million Christians who are uncertain of what to do. The Christian community in Syria has traditionally sided with, and been protected by, Bashar al-Assad's regime. It is troubling to think that American arms may be given to Islamic fighters who may in turn be firing them at Christians.
This month, it was reported that the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in Syria executed 11 men who were part of al-Assad's forces. Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is no friend to the U.S. -- but neither is al Qaeda. To aid members of al Qaeda in any way, directly or indirectly, is an insult to our brave men and women who've been fighting these terrorists since 9/11.
Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of this "transition support act" is that it would commit the United States to a leadership position in the restoration of Syria, and is very vague about what that looks like.
The language of "capacity building" contained in this act is an open-ended term that if logically followed, could eventually mean U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.
We "capacity built" in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Those who insist this language could never mean U.S. boots on the ground in Syria belong to the same Washington clique eager to support Hussein, Ghadafi and later, the Libyan rebels. Washington is not exempt from the law of unintended consequences.
Empowering Islamic extremists to achieve questionable short-term goals does not serve America's long-term security or interests. Nor does it serve the interests of nearly 2 million Christians in Syria who fear they could suffer the same fate as Iraqi Christians who were abused and expelled from that country as radical Islamic forces gained influence and power.
These Christians are natural allies of the United States, and if we're going to seriously discuss any American interests in Syria, the welfare of these Christians is more important than arming Islamic extremists.
History's primary lesson is that we must learn from the past. Although there are some well-intentioned reasons for wanting to intervene in Syria, there are far more well-documented reasons not to.