The U.S. Army War College in Cumberland County convened a group of experts Wednesday to discuss options for handling the crisis in Syria and how U.S. leaders have been handling it.
Larry Goodson, an expert on the Middle East region, pointed to President Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday night in which he made the emotional case for intervention, pointing to the slaughter of innocent people. At the same time, Goodson said the moral reasons for getting involved may be in conflict with other national security interests.
Goodson said, “How do you balance values when they run counter to interests? Where do you come down on that?”
Andrew Terrill, who is an expert on the internal dynamics within Syria, said there are fears among various groups in Syria about who may take charge should the Assad regime be deposed and further violence that could unfold. Terrill also pointed to difficulties in finding out what’s happening on the ground in Syria.
“It’s like sharks fighting underwater. The only way you actually know what happens is when one floats to the top dead,” said Terrill.
Richard Winslow, another regional expert, pointed to the challenge of refugees. He said about two million people have fled Syria, many going to countries which can’t afford to provide basic services for them.
“It’s a challenge just to do basic support to humanity, to provide things as simple as drinking water,” said Winslow.