I’m basically in agreement with Scott Johnson: I’m fairly ambivalent on action here, but tending mildly against. The rest of the Power Line folks weighed in a few days ago, with some in favor and some against. Without a compelling American interest involved, I can’t see the value of committing American forces. The argument that the US government’s reputation would be tarnished by inaction is belied by the fact that it has already been tarnished, and a few cruise missile strikes won’t help that. If the Obama administration is looking for an action “just muscular enough not to get mocked,” well, they’ll need to get into the Charles Atlas program immediately.
My fundamental form of ambivalence here is that there isn’t a pro-Western side (contra John McCain’s statements). The government is stepping into a match between al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood versus Hezbollah, Iran, and the Baathist elements in Syria. There are no good winners here, at least among the parties with a reasonable expectation of winning. Maybe that could have been different a couple of years ago, before al-Qaeda became the prime supplier of rebel forces, but now it’s too late.