Assad has been the only real option for some time now, and Obama arming so-called moderate rebels against him was a huge mistake, instigated by constant pressure from Republicans in congress and Hillary herself. I was disappointed with him for that then, and obviously now. I decline to believe it was part of any grand master scheme, but rather pure hubris and a fundamental ignorance of what is actually going on.
Then, another "mistake" was the whole red line nonsense, but at the end of the day he made the right choice and changed tack, going all in with the Iraqi government instead of bombarding Assad. It was categorically the right thing to do, and seeing an American leader shy away from direct violence in that region changed the game, opening the door for the rest of the world to participate and giving more responsibility to local governments.
The best we can hope for his Hillary continues in this vein, letting Russia reveal their own latent imperialist goals for the region. The notion of not being involved is ridiculous, as the US is the continuation of British imperialism in the region and as such cannot simply abandon the place. We need to keep reaching out to those who the Kremlin sees as allies against the US, like Iran and, indeed, Assad.
Really, if it were up to me, I would put all my eggs in the Iran basket. Apologize, bring them 'round, get them involved in the global economy, and hope to all hell that instead of appointing a new Supreme Leader, they instead go for an appointed-for-life Supreme Court-style council instead, spreading power a bit more through their branches of government and watch their people pull the whole nation to the left. The ramifications across the Middle East would be significant.
You're right, jones. I am biased in favor of Obama, because I'm looking at human history and I'm seeing that we've got it pretty fucking good right now, relatively speaking, in terms of the guy at the top. I'm terrified to lose what he's brought to our country both domestically and in the world at large. I want to continue the thaw of our relations with Iran, and I want to slowly freeze up our commitments to our so-called allies in the Israelis and the Saudis. I don't think I could've hoped for much more from a single presidency, considering the political climate.
One note on the white phosphorous is that it is used extensively for tactical reasons. The US loves attacking at night because we've got such superior strategies for lighting enemy positions and concealing our own, white phosphorous being one of them. I say it should be taken off the battlefield altogether, along with DU, but that's the way it is right now.
And in terms of radioactive weapons, it's a travesty to use them at all, no doubt. Tanks or not, armored caravans or not, it's not only bad for the place getting hit, but for the entire world. For perspective, though, we set off over 800 nuclear weapons in Nevada alone. I mean bombs. Big ones. We've fucked ourselves right good as well, with entire populations poisoned for generations. It's bad to use DU ammo, it's bad to use radioactive weapons, it should be banned, it should be a war crime, but it's not exactly indicative of a major conspiracy.