Obama's Syria Call
Barack Obama made the right call on not arming the rebels.
During testimony last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs indicated that they had agreed with a State Department and CIA proposal to arm factions of the Syrian rebellion. This advice was rejected by the Obama White House after a CIA analysis showed that the light weapons under consideration would not have shifted the balance. The idea of providing heavier weapons, like shoulder-fired missiles, was apparently not considered.
Naturally, this is being seized on by proponents of arming the rebels, such as Sen. John McCain, as proof of the president's shortsightedness. Instead, it seems like a prudent call.
All the arguments for providing Syria's rebels with heavy, "game changing" weapons hinge on the outcome of a post-war Syria, and that is an area where Senator McCain and others have been awfully vague. Merely toppling the Assad regime does nothing for America. The resulting chaos could be worse for U.S. interests if al-Qaeda cells flourish and begin attacking regional and international targets, or if another anti-American regime takes hold. If the U.S. can't make the situation better, it's wise not to make it worse.