The head of the CIA, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of State were all in favor of a plan to arm the Syrian opposition which was rejected by the White House. To have all of these institutions and people (Clinton, Petraeus, Panetta) supporting this policy that he obviously never adopted, he must have felt strongly about the risks involved.
Clearly, the fact that it was an election year influenced Obama’s decision. Regardless of whether or not supporting the rebels is wise move, it is unfortunate that decisions as weighty as this are influenced by the president’s desire to win re-election.
With the UN estimating a death toll of 60,000 or more since the start of this nearly two-year conflict, one would hope that the decision to intervene in such a humanitarian disaster could be made free of domestic political considerations. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
While the complexity of the conflict makes it difficult to know exactly how it must be resolved, the one thing the US certainly can do is increase its aid to the innocent refugees fleeing the violence. That’s something we all can agree on.