Just posted on the homepage, the editors on the paucity of options in Syria, where fighting has killed seventy thousand people over two years and driven three million from their homes:
Only the most unrepentant advocates for the invasion of Iraq think the United States has the tools and the knowledge to fundamentally change the course of events in Syria. U.S. intervention might be warranted if there were a reasonable prospect that it would bring the killing to a quick end, but almost no one thinks that would happen under the current conditions.
Still, there are many eloquent, morally serious advocates calling for intervention, and their views should not be dismissed lightly. Most of them urge the United States to supply the rebels (but somehow not the jihadists) with advanced weapons, establish a no-fly zone, and create “humanitarian corridors” where refugees can be protected from Assad’s murderous militias. Even the administration’s most vocal critics, however, do not advocate sending in ground troops. Yet what if these partial measures were to fail, as they are likely to? At that point, the pressure to commit ground forces will be nearly impossible to resist, especially if U.S. military personnel are at risk. Containing Assad’s large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons presents an even more daunting problem. Bombing those facilities is not an option, and the best-case scenario for securing the weapons would require at least seventy-five thousand U.S. troops and would most likely result in significant civilian and U.S. military casualties.