Syria: Turning al-Assad into Hitler
SYRIA: The process to turn Assad into Hitler is well underway.
Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal:
Then again, the views of Messrs. Paul, Lee and Amash would have sat well with Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio (1889-1953), son of a president, a man of unimpeachable integrity, high principles, probing intelligence—and unfailing bad judgment.
A history lesson: In April 1939, the man known as Mr. Republican charged that “every member of the government . . . is ballyhooing the foreign situation, trying to stir up prejudice against this country or that, and at all costs take the minds of the people off their trouble at home.” By “this country or that,” Taft meant Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The invasion of Poland was four months away.
US Secretary of State John Kerry:
“Bashar al-Assad now joins a list that has Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein as those who have used these weapons in time of war…”
Kerry went on to say that this is a”Munich moment”.
Kevin Williamson responds:
Bashar Assad is not Adolf Hitler, and his Syria is not Nazi Germany. Bashar Assad is not Nikita Khrushchev, and his Syria is not the Soviet Union. Comparisons between Assad and the great dictators of the 20th century are not very instructive. If we look at what Assad actually is and at what is in fact at stake in this conflict, then our conclusions are bound to be rather different. Analogy goes only so far.
But strangely, Mr. Stephens is vexed at the prospect that we might ask the question of what exactly is at stake in this conflict. He sneers at Senator Rand Paul for saying the following: “The war in Syria has no clear national-security connection to the United States and victory by either side will not necessarily bring into power people friendly to the United States.”
“What’s in it for us?” is the first question that should be asked about any military conflict — not because it is always the most important question, but because the failure to give a convincing answer to it constitutes a bright flashing neon sign reading “Caution.” Senator Paul argues that the conflict in Syria has “no clear national-security connection to the United States.” If he is incorrect, then that connection should be made obvious. If he is correct, then proponents of action in Syria have before them the difficult but not impossible task of explaining precisely why we should proceed regardless.
None of that implies a resurrection of Senator Taft.
Such are the facts….