Richard Sisk of Military.com reported in a must-read article yesterday that Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said that the Pentagon “ruled out hitting Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles…”
So if the goal is not to rid the Syrian regime of chemical weapons or to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power, what exactly is the point?
According to the Pentagon, the goal is to “degrade and deter.” What makes anyone think that a limited strike would accomplish any such thing?
I would like to see the exploitation of women, gays and Christians in the Middle East “degrade.” I would like to “deter” the North Koreans from testing chemical weapons on their disabled population and their political prisoners. I would like to “degrade and deter” the ability of radical Islamists from blowing themselves up and murdering innocent people in places like Iraq, where “almost daily, 20, 30, 50 or more people die in terrorist attacks that generally involve Sunnis killing Shiites or vice versa” and the terrorism in places like Somalia. I would like to “deter” Boko Haram from killing Christian villagers. I would like to “degrade and deter” the silent slaughter of black Americans by gang members. Or how about “deterring” Iran from getting nuclear weapons?
Why Syria? Why now?
Kerry, Obama and friends keep evoking the emotional argument, but there are injustices everywhere. If there was a clear strategy, perhaps Congress would be more likely to vote for it. As it stands, any meaningful act will require, as eloquently phrased by Dominic Tierney of the Atlantic, a “mission creep.”