“… First, there is no impartial intervention. Entering the conflict is to take sides. Ronald Reagan, 241 Marines, and 17 American embassy personnel learned that lesson in Lebanon in 1983. Washington had proclaimed its commitment to peace by aiding one force in a multi-sided civil war. By becoming a de facto combatant the administration turned Americans into targets. Aiding Syria’s opposition means becoming a participant in that conflict.
Paradoxically, aiding the resistance could drive some Syrians who desire a negotiated solution toward the government. The Financial Times recently reported: “As the civil war becomes ever dirtier, rebels’ actions are starting to mirror those of the regime.” In fact, opposition fighters increasingly kill regime soldiers and supporters, and have turned to crime, including kidnapping, to raise funds.
Second, there is no magic elixir that combines riskless intervention with speedy conquest. In Libya the allies provided the rebels with air support, but only enough to drag out the conflict for five months, during which time thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands, of Libyans died. By being prudent and cost-conscious the allies were not humanitarian, their professed objective….”