I should note that I believe I wrote something similar at the start of our intervention in Libya. And even though I think the White House feels stung by that experience, on balance it seems to have been pretty successful. The US intervention was critical in turning the tide but at very little near term cost. So I think I may have gotten that one wrong.
But there are many, many differences between Libya and Syria, the most notable of which is Libya's relative geographical isolation. It's out there in North Africa. Let's look at Syria - Lebanon (to which Syria has an almost intestinal connection), Israel (good times), Iraq, Jordan, Turkey (Iran not contiguous but the connection is deep). This is a neighborhood we're trying to get out of, not get deeper into. For all the individual reasons to try to get involved, I think, given our experience over the last quarter century, we're at the 'just say no' stage of military interventions in the heart of the Middle East.
Then there's the additional element of who we're supporting. At the beginning, the Syrian rebellion was against Assad's autocracy. By this point it is not only deeply sectarian in character, the rebels seem to be increasingly radicalized in a Sunni jihadi direction. That's not good.
The only thing which gives me some pause are the advantages the US and US allies would gain by severing the Syrian-Iranian alliance. That's a big thing. But to put it in really surgical terms, I think we've learned, at great pain and loss, that the US doing surgery on the Middle East creates scar tissue and complications way out of proportion to the hoped for gains.
This just scratches the surface of the pros and cons and I'll write more about this. But with what seems to be a fateful move, I just wanted to go on the record. Let's not do this.