Excellent letter to the editor on Syria by Peace Action Education Fund board president Mike Keller in 6/20 Washington Post
The Post argued that U.S. security interests require a “more robust . . . intervention” in the Syrian civil war [“No time
for half-measures,” editorial, June 15]. A better case can be made for avoiding the fray altogether.
Sending medium-size and heavy weapons into Syria, with or without the establishment of a no-fly zone, could prolong the violence
and destabilize the country for years even if the Assad regime collapses. There is no way to guarantee that sophisticated
armaments will not fall into the hands of the most radical elements in the rebel camp. The United States’ experience in Afghanistan
suggests caution: The CIA helped give birth to al-Qaeda by supplying weaponry to the mujahideen to fight the Soviet Union.
Plus, in order to control the airspace over Syria, the United States would have to become a belligerent by bombing anti-aircraft
batteries, radar sites and other installations. Employing such force in the absence of a U.N. Security Council resolution
would violate international law and further strain relations with Russia and China.
Iraq, Afghanistan and even Libya demonstrated that U.S. military engagement in the Middle East can produce unexpected and
undesirable outcomes. What confidence can Americans have that that entanglement in the sectarian fratricide in Syria would
Michael J. Keller, Silver Spring
The writer is president of the Peace Action Education Fund.