There is no wonder why the vast majority of Americans are opposed to military action in Syria when the possible outcomes are so damaging:
1. The US military attacks with cruise missiles which does some damage, Assad stays in power, their civil war continues as it has. Why attack, no change? Except with no international support, the credibility of the US is severely damaged. Bad outcome. US forces are put in harm's way and we kill people with no strategic change in the situation in Syria.
2. The US attacks, Assad stays in power, Syria and/or Iran attacks Israel in retaliation to US attack, much larger regional conflict is ignited. Bad. We could be dragged into defending Israel from an attack which we instigated with no long-range plan of success. Or we could abandon Israel. Also very bad outcomes.
3. The US military attacks, destroys Syria's air force and air defenses, Assad falls. Rebels, including Al Qaida seize control including Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles. Bad. This scenario doesn't even guarantee the end of the conflict as Hezbollah, Al Quds, Iran, Alwites still support Al Assad and could easily continue fighting even after Assad is gone - Think Egypt, only worse. Very bad outcome. We give chemical weapons to Al Qaida.
To make matters worse, our allies have decided NOT to assist us in military intervention. The UN will not support military intervention. 81% of Americans are against intervention. Russia and China have warned us against intervention (which would make no difference to me if our national security was threatened, which it is not), Syria and Iran have promised to attack Israel if we attack Syria. Again, we have a totalitarian regime fighting against Islamic extremists groups, including Al Qaida. What's our role here?
We can, however, provide humanitarian aid to the victims and Syrian refugee civilians, support our true ally in the region, Israel and interdict Iran's supply routes into Syria in Iraq. All good outcomes.
Chemical weapons cannot be destroyed by an air attack. Delivery systems can be damaged and the chemicals themselves can be spread by the use of explosives, but not destroyed. Either Assad will retain the chemical weapons or the opposition will seize them.
How can this Administration convince us that they know everything that happened in Damascus with this chemical attack- what weapons were used, how they were delivered, who conducted the attack, and just as importantly, who did not conduct the attack, how many casualties there were, which chemical agents were used, etc with a "high confidence" ? But they still can't tell us anything about Benghazi where we apparently had dozens of CIA agents on the ground? So, we're supposed to trust their word now? How many times has this administration lied to us?