I'll start off by saying Assad is a complete and utter bastard. Perhaps not on the same scale as Saddam Hussein, but still - decades in which journalists vanishing in the night was the norm, opening fire on a nonviolent demonstration, barrel bombs dropped on civilian neighborhoods, generally not a very nice guy.
That said, it seems to me we've gotten a good hard look at the alternative; at what's poised to take his place in the shape of the ISIS caliphate. Sex slaves, genocide, global sponsorship of terrorism and all the rest. A hardass Assad may be, but he's a secular one. Much of the "free Syrian army" consists of various loosely-aligned bands of Sunni radicals, and many of the weapons given to them have wound up in the hands of ISIS, along with fighters who defected to them. The US hesitates to help out the Kurds too much, even though they, too, are secular and have been the most reliable and effective fighters on the ground, due to a desire not to piss off Turkey (who have been supporting both the FSA and ISIS in their fight against Assad in numerous underhanded ways, only closing the border crossing at Tal Abyad after the Kurds captured it from ISIS).
This whole thing is quickly becoming a dick-measuring contest between the US and Russia, with Russia targeting US-backed rebels who are themselves Sunni extremists.
While the Kurds have done well governing their own pocket of the country (despite economic sanctions from Turkey), I have seen no signs of a serious plan for a post-Assad government. ISIS is all that's poised to take power.
TL;DR: Should the US drop the goal of ousting Assad and work with Russia to destroy ISIS?
- Stop trying to kick out Assad and focus on ISISVote A
- Both ISIS and Assad need to go, but I don't know what could replace themVote B
- Both ISIS and Assad need to go, and there *is* a viable alternative to both of them (explain)Vote C
- Nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sureVote D
- Back out, let the chips fall where they may (South Park, Cartoon Wars: "We bury our heads... in sand")Vote E
- OtherVote F