The familiar drumbeats have begun to sound once again.
Although the situation with Syria is quite fluid, changing by the minute, the fact remains that tensions are high after disclosures that President Assad’s government used chemical weapons on its own people. According to a preliminary U.S. government assessment, 1,429 Syrians were killed in the Aug. 21 attack. And, as President Obama said last year, such an action represents a "red line" that cannot be crossed with impunity.
Yet, what punishment is sufficient for an autocratic regime that systematically gases its citizens? Is a surgical missile strike enough, or does this require a more prolonged military presence? And exactly who will mete out this justice?
These and many other questions will be debated in the days and weeks ahead. However, as long as Assad remains in power, something needs to be done.
No one wants an armed conflict. There really is no such thing as a "good" war. But sometimes it is necessary. Let’s hope and pray that it doesn’t come to that; but if it does, let us go into it with our eyes open, with our allies firmly alongside us, well aware of the possible repercussions and with a reasoned exit plan already in place.
The drumbeats are faint, but distinct. Before we, as a people, answer its call, let us think long and hard of the men and women who will be putting themselves in harm’s way to accomplish that mission.