U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut has shown courage and good sense in sponsoring, along with three other senators, legislation that would bar the Obama administration from providing military aid to the rebels trying to overthrow Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.
Mr. Murphy and Tom Udall of New Mexico, both Democrats, and Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky argue that President Obama has not laid out a sufficiently compelling case for joining the fray at this late date. They're right.
Even if U.S. arms might once have helped pull down the thuggish Assad regime and replace it with a government pledged to democratic values, the Obama administration's late-blooming and ill-defined offer of military aid to Mr. Assad's opponents most likely comes too late to make a difference.
It's hard to take on a president of one's own party on an issue of great importance, especially one with national security implications. But Mr. Murphy is on solid ground.
Unfortunately, Mr. Assad's army, air force and security forces have seized the momentum in the 2-year-old conflict. Where was the aid offer when it really would have counted? The opposition to Mr. Assad is now fragmented, with the strongest rebel militias seeming to be tied to al-Qaida and other violent Islamist groups.
Americans don't want to see their military aid siphoned off to terrorist groups, as happened in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s.
There also appears to be no clearly defined end game for the United States in Syria.
It is heartbreaking to contemplate the 90,000 Syrians already killed in the conflict and the hundreds of thousands of homeless refugees.
But the United States can't afford to be sucked into another land war in the Middle East. If Mr. Obama has a plan to avoid that, he hasn't shown it yet.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun