By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – The international community is outraged by reports the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own people. Again.

We’ve been watching this unfold for over two years now. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in a civil war and many more have fled the country to live in sprawling refugee camps.

It’s a desperate situation. So far we’ve essentially stayed out of it, save for some tough talk.

But now that chemical weapons appear to be involved, the United States is again being called to intervene. As we speak, the White House is considering military options.

We’re told they include everything from a cruise missile attack to creating a no-fly zone.

Things can move very quickly at this stage. And based on history, this is when we need to start asking the hard questions – beginning with, how far are we prepared to go?

We know there is little, if any, support for sending troops. We’ve never had a formal troop presence in Syria and we understand the White House is not even considering that.

But how about an even more obvious question – who are our friends and who are our enemies? It may sound simple but may also be the most difficult to answer.

And doesn’t that sound familiar?

We have a long history of toppling regimes and helping get rid of dictators. Just think Saddam Hussein and the Taliban. Remember Egypt and Libya. These didn’t all work out the way we wanted.

So before we’re left with a devil we don’t know, we must make every effort to learn who might fill the vacuum if we topple yet another dictator.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz


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