Our Opinion: Be cautious of mission creep in Syria


President Obama's decision to send 250 more military advisers to Syria to assist in the fight against ISIS may prove beneficial. Any escalation, however, should make Americans wary.

An increase in military advisers in Vietnam eventually led to full-scale war there. The disastrous Iraq War put an end to American interventionism for the foreseeable future, but mission creep is always a concern, even if it only involves going from 50 to 250 soldiers in this case.

Congress ostensibly has a role in foreign military operations, but Republican leadership in the House and Senate has made it clear that it will do nothing, including consider a formal declaration of war against ISIS, that will put it on the record. It is so much easier to second-guess the president and lecture from the sidelines than it is to take a stand and perhaps contribute.

Just as ISIS took advantage of chaos in Iraq to grow into a deadly force, it has taken advantage of the civil war in Syria between President al-Assad and rebel forces to expand its reach there. The US and its allies have reversed some ISIS gains in recent months, and the additional advisers may lead to more victories, but if the cease-fire in the civil war collapses, as seems imminent, it will be impossible to eradicate ISIS entirely.


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