When this past summer began, it seemed only a matter of time before the repressive Syrian regime fell and was replaced by a diverse assortment of disorganized but enthusiastic Syrian rebels in a democracy. Since then, the situation has deteriorated. Syria’s rebels, with minimal aid from the international community, have instead accepted the arrival of extreme Islamists carrying the experience, weapons, and tactics of a decade of insurgency against America and allied nations. This will certainly bolster the fight against Bashar al-Assad, but it will not bring victory to the people.

There was a time when we would commit to a foreign intervention without a realistic understanding of the consequences, simply because it seemed right to do so and it could lead to a better future. That was Iraq. We don’t do that anymore. So let us look at what would happen if action were taken in Syria.

Who are the rebels?…

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