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Syria war drumbeat builds, but where is it leading?

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Perhaps the world should. But far less explored are the practicalities of military intervention, the risks that horrors as great or greater await by widening Syria's civil war into an international conflict. For now, a simple narrative is being spun of a depraved Assad and his helpless victims. Serving that cause yesterday were claims from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Russia was rushing deliveries of attack helicopters to Assad's army "which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."

Russia is denying that claim, saying it's only repairing MI-24 (Hind) gunships which were sold to Bashar al-Assad's father, Hafez, more than a decade ago. Either way, such helicopters would be more useful for fighting the Free Syrian Army or other armed rebel groups than targeting civilians. Syria has thousands of tanks, mortars, and artillery pieces and 600,000 soldiers who are the main threat to civilian population centers.

So if you were for, or against, going to war with Syria before the claims were made about the helicopters, your thinking shouldn't be shifted. And make no mistake, the longer Syria's war goes on, the greater the likelihood that President Assad will follow in his father's footsteps with a truly horrific massacre. In 1982, Assad the elder had at least 10,000 residents of the city of Hama killed in an atrocity that ended an Islamist uprising against his Baath regime.

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