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  1. #1
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    A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    Hi folks,

    Great to be back on ODN. Hope everyone is doing fine.

    The purpose of this thread is to spur a thoughtful debate on the imminent U.S. military strike planned against military assets of the Assad government in Syria. I would like for us to discuss the legitimate basis of any military strike, including the major U.S. national security interests involved, if any, the usefulness of said action and the potential repercussions.

    President Obama first suggested last August that any use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict would cross a red line, possibly promoting U.S. intervention (though a no-fly zone and boots on the ground were generally ruled out as viable military options). Now that the UN has confirmed that chemical agents were used in the August 21 attack in Ghouta, there is increased pressure for Obama to respond, as per his previous suggestion that the use of chemical weapons could prompt U.S. action.

    My understanding is that (1) once we accept that a chemical weapons attack took place in Ghouta, we cannot yet be entirely sure who the perpetrators were. While Assad had the means to perpetrate such an attack, the rebels also have the means (albeit on a much smaller scale) and motive (i.e. to evoke internaitonal military action). Even a leading member of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Carle Del Ponte, indicated the same. For the attack to be legitimate, Obama must lay out the case that the Assad government was, without doubt, responsible for the attack;

    (2) for the attack to be legal under international law, the Obama Administration has to state under which protocol, convention or provision (within the UN Charter) that the attack is based upon. While the Responsibility to Protect doctrine has been emerging as a norm of customary international law, it is usually preceded by a unified international coalition, which is currently not present with respect to Syria;

    (3) I have come to conclude that chemical weapons are not the Obama Administration's real red line. On May 19, 2013, several sources indicated that a chemical weapons attack took place; Assad blamed the rebels while the rebel opposition blamed Assad. For the most part, the Obama Administration kept quiet as it seemed disinterested in committing direct U.S. military assets in the conflict. The real fear in Washington is that the balance of power will be disrupted by the Assad government, whether through the use of chemical weapons or not. As in the Libyan conflict, when the U.S. (under NATO command) stepped in just as the rebels were suffering major strategic losses, the raison d'etre of any military strike against Syria will be to ensure that the Assad government does not break the stalemate. Shifting the 'red line' would make Washington appear weak and uncommitted. So there is increased pressure for a U.S. response, even if the Obama Administration lacks an appetite for direct military action, especially considering the British House of Commons voted against involvement in a U.S. military strike, meaning the U.S. could use military force unilaterally.

    I would be interested in hearing what others on ODN have to say about this matter.
    Last edited by KingOfTheEast; August 30th, 2013 at 11:04 AM.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by KingOfTheEast View Post
    On May 19, 2013, several sources indicated that a chemical weapons attack took place; Assad blamed the rebels while the rebel opposition blamed Assad.
    Nice to see you Back KOE and timely OP.

    I have some questions before forming an opinion.

    Do we know if the U.S. intelligence sources who told us about these attacks in Syria are from the same pool of U.S. intelligence that informed the Bush Administration of chemical weapons in Iraq that were later said to be sent to Syria by Saddam?

    If Syria did indeed use banned chemical weapons on its own people this year, where did they get it?
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    Thanks for the welcome, eye4magic.

    I am not aware of any U.S. intelligence report about any transfer of chemical weapons from Saddam's Iraq to Syria. There is apparently a more improved process for policymakers to make sense of intelligence estimates and intelligence analysts are able to gather more sourcing behind the information being evaluated, including its reliability and consistency. But it would seem the intelligence establishment as a whole has not changed much since the Iraq war. But I do not think the intelligence bureaucracy that collects foreign intelligence has changed all that drastically since the departure of the Bush Administration.

    I do not believe the reports of a transfer of chemical weapons from Saddam's Iraq to Syria is very accurate for several reasons:
    (1) Although both regimes were Ba'athists, they were actually rival factions that split into two competing parties in he 1960s, both purporting to be the leader of the Pan-Arab Socialist movement;
    (2) Syria supported the US-led coalition against Iraq in 1991. Moreover, Syria is aligned with Saddam's archenemy, Iran;
    (3) Based on traditional realist calculations, it is wholly irrational to transfer strategic weapons to a non-ally, especially if you are competing with them regionally ;
    (4) Saddam did not admit to any transfer of weapons during his interrogation by CIA officials. The likelihood is that Saddam was not fully open about his (lack of) WMD because he wanted his regional rivals to think he possessed them for security reasons;
    (5) Such a major transfer of non-conventional weapons in such a short amount of time would almost grab the attention of several foreign intelligence agencies

    Syria did not get its chemical weapons from anyone. It has produced its own chemical weapons through various facilities across the country. The major impetus for retaining such a weapons program was to counter Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal in order to deter any future nuclear strike.
    Last edited by KingOfTheEast; August 30th, 2013 at 03:03 PM.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by KingOfTheEast View Post
    But it would seem the intelligence establishment as a whole has not changed much since the Iraq war. But I do not think the intelligence bureaucracy that collects foreign intelligence has changed all that drastically since the departure of the Bush Administration.
    If that is the case, then I would question how accurate or factual the intel is that Obama is receiving about this issue. It could be true, but as you point out in your OP why react now and not before when chemical weapons were used? There seems to be too much immediacy about this matter that should raise some flags.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    To me, the whole thing stinks of rot and incompetence. Rot because at the core of this entire charade is an effort to obfuscate the real issues affecting America right now, almost all of which have been either directly caused by or exacerbated by Obama's failed administration of corruption and cronyism. Incompetence because, by several accounts, Mr. Obama was off-prompter when he made his now-infamous "red line" ultimatum, and now he's being called to task for something he never intended to go this far. He's basically been humiliated in front of the world when multiple world powers have put a finger directly in his eye and dared him to do anything about it... and now, even little old Syria, who we could wipe off the map with a button-push, is in on the game. Obama will likely strike, but not because it's in the best interest of the US; there is not a single benefit that can be accomplished in the interest of US security or our interests abroad by attacking Syria right now. What will be accomplished is a meaningless and ineffective gesture done in spite of what an overwhelming majority of the population has rejected as an option, and it will all be to salve Obama's ego because he got called out for being a weak, ineffectual nincompoop.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    I think Talthas hit the nail on the head. Obama committing to something he really didn't want and he appears weak on the issue. Now, his worst nightmare has come true.

    Several observers of the fringe kind claim the U.S. wants nothing more than a pretext to enter the conflict. Obama's hesitance and ambivalence, especially with respect to his previous 'red line' remarks, suggests otherwise. Obama really does not have an appetite for another direct military involvement in the Middle East. Another thing that seems baffling is the Obama Administration's openness about an impending attack. They have essentially eliminated any element of surprise, leaving Assad fully aware of both the likely targets and the approximate time of attack (Assad has been planning for a U.S. attack since the 2003 Iraq war). It is as if they want Assad to know when and where they will hit and that the military strike is merely a means to do anything in light of the Obama Administration's relative inaction and indetermination.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    I just hope we all remember you can't support the troops without supporting the mission...sarcasm intended.


    If Romney had been president the right dominated media would have been pounding the fact that the weapons might have come from Iraq and that Iran is an ally of Iran and a threat to Israel, blah blah blah.

    I like that Obama is taking his time and waiting to find out what happened other than being on a hair trigger and incorrectly taking his red line statement as some kind of declaration of war - which it wasn't - even as it hurts him politically...props.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    I think your missing the forest and looking at the squirrels.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemica...ons_Convention

    Chemical weapons are an international pariah that nearly every major nation agrees is a war zone no-no. There is a certain amount of thinking that if you use them you need to be punished such that there is no incentive to use them in conflict. The reason they all had an inkling this was coming is Syria is one of a very few nations not a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

    Those that are in favor of taking action based on this event are generally thinking along these lines. There may be other motivations at play, saving face among them, but the only reason any of this is possible is because there is such a strong sense that such weapons are beyond the pale of "acceptable warfare".

    Note: Personally the idea of acceptable warfare is a but of a joke to me but whatever....

    So its partly a question of... If we are truly standing utterly opposed to this practice, what are we going to do about it when its used? Just wag our finger at them or do something substantial?

    The US has no real interest in this fight where we can clearly get an outcome to our advantage. None of the dogs in this fight are really our allies. Its not clear any side there is really aiming for democracy. One is populist but among the populists are folks we call terrorists. And Assad is pretty much a dictator / oligarch and not an ally.

    Certainly we'd all have an interest in there being peace, and some kind of representative and peaceful government being put in place for the people there, but WTF could we do to bring that about? Nothing I can think of.

    So we may blow some **** up over there. I've got little confidence it will do us any good, nor really that it will stop the use of chemical weapons in any serious way. So I'm against, but all this attempt to make this a political issue about Obama just smacks of the usual ******** punditry. A cat could fart on the Canadian border and someone will try to show how its a scandal for Obama.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    What’s the clear objective of a U.S. limited cruise missile strike on Syria? Destroy a few Syrian military bases and some palaces? Obama doesn’t want to put boots on the ground or do a sustained attack, nor is it his aim to topple the regime or help the rebels. So it sounds like his main objective is somewhat abstract. Is that militarily sound? From what I can understand he wants to enforce accountability and send a message of deterrence. He also wants to enforce international law, which is all well a good. However, he has received very little support from many of members of those organizations that are charged with enforcing international law. This is probably so because he hasn't presented a strong sound case for his intended actions.

    He may also want to change the headlines at home which he seems to be in. So, I guess if you don’t like the story and you have the power, change the story.

    The risk of an air strike on Syria at this time, of course, is that Assad can absorb a limited attack and continue his agenda and retaliate. Israel is preparing. Also, the limited strike is not aiming to destroy Syria’s chemical arsenal. It can't without having the fallout kill thousands of civilians. If this is all about punishing a country's leader for using chemical weapons on civilians and making him accountable, how is a limited cruise missile strike (a shot across the bow) going to accomplish that? How do you make Syria's president accountable for using chemical weapons without removing the leader's access to the chemical weapons or capturing him and put him on trial, which is not part the U.S. objective? Something is not adding up here.

    Also, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said “once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid.”
    Last edited by eye4magic; August 30th, 2013 at 10:52 PM.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Do we know if the U.S. intelligence sources who told us about these attacks in Syria are from the same pool of U.S. intelligence that informed the Bush Administration of chemical weapons in Iraq that were later said to be sent to Syria by Saddam?
    No... It is from an entirely different pool of U.S. intelligence officers. They are called the "We Don't Make Mistakes" branch of the State Department. What kind of dumb-ass question is this? Intelligence rarely comes back with facts as black and white as the law of gravity. There is always a chance with intelligence that it may.... gasp... wrong... or, more often, partially correct. How about this, I'll give you several thousand folks to sort through several million pieces of information from email, personal contacts, satellite images, and telephone calls. You're on it, right. Great! You've got 24 hours to give the President the important stuff. You, know, the facts. Just the facts. No misleading stuff. No, kinda, sorta, probably. Good luck with that!

    With that off my chest... Obama blundered. He effed up. He wrote a check that he never wanted cashed. This is bad politically and diplomatically. Americans hate Presidents who draw lines, make boxes, and then don't make good on their promises. H.W. Bush said, "Read my lips," and lost an election. The other Bush stated, "Mission Accomplished," stayed in Iraq and lost popularity from that moment onward. Ok, so a flailing Obama now has this red line thing and the American people don't want him to fulfill his promise, but that doesn't mean they'll respect him if he doesn't. Yet, he's already a lame-duck President, so the political effects aren't really a huge problem for him, other than his ego and a legacy that seems to be even further eroding.

    No, the worst part of Obama's blunder is that the U.S. now either does the right thing, stays out of Syria, and deals with the consequences of a superpower that now looks entirely weak to both foes and allies. Or, we smack Syria in the mouth and risk getting pulled into yet another war in the Middle East. A war nearly all Americans agree is a war we don't want or need. Finally something that brings liberals and conservatives together. Russia, China, N. Korea, and Iran are all watching us. If we do nothing how far can we be pushed? Al Queda is watching. Is this a good time to strike the U.S.? Will it result in the weak response that hearkens back to the Clinton days? This is a really sticky pickle that Obama put us and himself in due to his own naivete. I suspect he believed a threat would be enough to deter Syria. His bluff was called. Assad and Russia are now daring Obama to do something about it.

    I believe Obama will send some cruise missiles into Syria. He will claim that he kept his promise. Russia and Iran will yell and scream with a wink and a nod as long as Obama does not escalate our presence further. Really, though, the whole world is taking note and whatever they thought about us for Iraq and Afghanistan, they'll consider us nothing more than a paper tiger for a long time to come. This, my friends, is dangerous ground.
    Last edited by Ibelsd; August 30th, 2013 at 11:21 PM.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    With the initial 'red line' blunder and the impending military strike as a alleged means to enforce some kind of "accountability" or "international law", we see Obama's idealist side. This is dangerous considering the entire Syrian conflict is based on realpolitik calculations from Russian and Hezbollah involvement on the side of Assad to Saudi and Turkish support for the rebels. Committing to an unpopular military strike without any real strategic benefit on the ground, along with the risk of entanglement seems baffling from a realist perspective.

    The military strike will only strengthen the support of Syria's staunch allies and will set a dangerous precedent for direct U.S. military involvement in the conflict. In fact, even senior rebel opposition members are suggesting that the strike will negatively impact them more than the Syrian regime. The next time around, the U.S. will be expected to respond with nothing less than more sustained strikes.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    *UPDATE

    Obama insists that although he has the authority to order a unilateral military strike on Syrian military targets, he will first seek Congressional approval.

    A few thoughts:

    • Obama does not seem confident enough to order unilateral military action in light of the lack of public and international support over a military strike against Syria
    • The decision was likely influenced to a certain extent by David Cameron's inability to secure approval from the U.K. Parliament to use military force in Syria. The British have traditionally stood by their U.S. ally in nearly every military conflict since Vietnam
    • It has been stated many times throughout this thread, by myself and others that Obama does not seem committed to military action in spite of his previous 'red line' remarks. He is hesitant to take responsibility for any repercussions and entanglement arising out of military action (and for good reason)
    • It's interesting that unlike in Libya, where Obama refrained from seeking any Congressional approval for military operations (largely due to the UN-mandate), the lack of a UN mandate means greater pressure to seek some sort of legitimacy, at least domestically
    • Obama is following the guidelines of the War Powers Resolution, although this is likely incidental since past presidents have largely questioned the legitimacy of the Resolution and have often deemed it an unconstitutional encroachment of presidential powers
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    I have a couple of thoughts related to this Syria question:

    • I do not believe that the President has, Constitutionally speaking, the authority to unilaterally declare war against another nation. Congress is the only body that is permitted to do so. Launching missiles and engaging in war like behavior is the same as declaring war. The distinction between war and military engagements that Liberals and Conservatives like to use, if their guy is in office, boils down to semantics and should be discarded. Precedent does not override the Constitution.
    • Regardless of who starts the war on our side, we should not be getting involved in foreign affairs that do not concern us. Syrian internal problems is the Syrians problem. That country poses no danger to America and we have no authority, obligation, or need to get involved in foreign affairs that do not pose a direct threat to our security.
    • Even if we did have a reason, we are 16 TRILLION dollars in debt and have nearly a trillion dollars a year deficit. We have no business starting another war that would cost us billions.
    • We are not the world's police force. We are not responsible for the people of Syria. If they dont like their government, they need to do something about it. Not our problem.
    • We should really stop doing everything in our power to drum up hatred for our country. No matter the intentions, no one is going to say "Thank you" when you drop a bomb on their house and kill their family. We need to be changing the world with our examples and ideas, not bombs and international policing.
    I will no longer be replying to any post from a Liberal going forward. I will continue, as normal, to discuss topics and engage in intellectual exchanges with non-leftist

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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    As has been noted, Obama will seek approval from Congress to take action against Syria. I don't think Congress gives him approval though unless he can cut some backroom deals and that has not been his strong suit. This has really got to be a Presidential decision, but he cannot get a single country to follow him (either from the front or the behind). So, he's groping in the dark for some sort of legitimacy in order to save face both domestically and abroad. It is kinda funny. Obama campaigned on the idea that he would restore America's reputation in the world community after Bush had supposedly ruined it. Well, I gotta tell ya. I'm not seeing the transformation Obama promised. How's that reset button working for you now, President Barry? This guy is an unmitigated disaster. Here's the thing. Had Obama simply launched some tomohawks at chemical factories/installations as soon as the reports came in (within 48 hours), this whole thing would be over. We wouldn't even be talking about it. We'd have sent a signal to the world that chemical weapons aren't acceptable. We'd have signaled to the world we have no plans to get ourselves into this war as anything other than a overseer. We'd have cut off the opportunity for Syria to hide their weapons (as reports are claiming is occurring right now). We'd have silenced the Russians who wouldn't get another shot at tweaking us for several weeks as President Barry waffled. Quite simply the Harvard professor turned president can't decided whether to tie his left or right shoe first without deliberation, consultation, and someone else leading the way. Reminds me of an old President who used to farm peanuts.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by Someguy View Post
    I have a couple of thoughts related to this Syria question:
    Thanks for contributing to the thread. It's always great to hear the diversity of opinions on this matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Someguy View Post
    [list][*] I do not believe that the President has, Constitutionally speaking, the authority to unilaterally declare war against another nation. Congress is the only body that is permitted to do so. Launching missiles and engaging in war like behavior is the same as declaring war. The distinction between war and military engagements that Liberals and Conservatives like to use, if their guy is in office, boils down to semantics and should be discarded. Precedent does not override the Constitution.
    Few countries have declared war since World War II (thanks largely to the UN Charter, which has made formal declarations archaic). While I can sympathize with your position, the waters are murky when it comes to the war-making powers of the two branches. To make matters worse, the Supreme Court does not believe it is a legal issue but rather one of policy so it has excused itself of hearing the matter.

    The framers of the U.S. Constitution clearly wanted to balance war-making functions in order to ensure neither branch was too powerful (of course, presidents have largely usurped much of the war-making powers; Congress has been both incapable and unwilling to stop it). Where you really start to get into trouble constitutionally is when there is no authorization or declaration (as in the 1999 Yugoslav war and the 2011 Libyan mission). But congressional authorizations (without formal declarations) seem sufficient to meet the constitutional standard because the U.S. Constitution does not indicate how a declaration must be made. Customary practice of congressional authorization has made formal declarations (which were used mainly for legal distinctions for consistency with international law) obsolete.

    Quote Originally Posted by Someguy View Post
    [*] Regardless of who starts the war on our side, we should not be getting involved in foreign affairs that do not concern us. Syrian internal problems is the Syrians problem. That country poses no danger to America and we have no authority, obligation, or need to get involved in foreign affairs that do not pose a direct threat to our security.
    I agree mainly with your last point. But that the Syrian crisis is no longer an internal problem. It has become a proxy war for various forces. In no other 'Arab Spring' country have we seen this much spillover (we saw something similar in Libya with the flow of Tuareg rebels to Northern Mali). The crisis is destabilizing America's allies in the region (creating a refugee crisis for Turkey, threatening the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan, strengthening Hezbollah in Lebanon, bringing Iraq and Iran closer together etc). I don't think it poses a direct threat to U.S. national security, but it is definitely a great cause for concern. The U.S. has an obligation to get involved, but military strikes are definitely not the way to go. It would be truly in the interests of the United States to work with Russia to find a lasting political settlement, at the very least a power-sharing arrangement. But Washington has not taken that option very seriously (as with the Geneva conference). Both factions in the conflict are trying to break the stalemate and gain the upper-hand in order to strengthen their bargaining position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Someguy View Post
    [*] We are not the world's police force. We are not responsible for the people of Syria. If they dont like their government, they need to do something about it. Not our problem.
    The Responsibility to Protect doctrine has already emerged as a norm of customary international law. But outside a UN mandate, there is very little basis upon which the U.S. could (unilaterally) enforce such a doctrine. So in that sense, you're right that it's not necessarily the responsibility of the U.S.

    Moreover, it would make very little sense to claim R2P when 100,000 Syrians have already been killed. If we're judging by casualties, then conventional weapons have killed far more people than chemical weapons have or ever will.

    But like everything else in the Middle East, this has become America's problem for various reasons. The most strategically important, of course, is Iran. Once you cut off Iran's connection to Hezbollah via Syria, the game starts to change. If the Islamists in the rebel opposition were not so worrisome, I have no doubt that the U.S. would throw its weight behind the Syrian opposition more forcefully. But if the option is between a secular tyrant (who we know) and an uncertain Islamist, reigning over an anarchic Syria, the lesser of the two evils is clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd
    As has been noted, Obama will seek approval from Congress to take action against Syria. I don't think Congress gives him approval though unless he can cut some backroom deals and that has not been his strong suit. This has really got to be a Presidential decision, but he cannot get a single country to follow him (either from the front or the behind).
    I would be really interested to see how Obama reacts to a "no" vote from Congress. I think based on the way that the administration has been selling this military operation (limited, precision strikes), Congress will more than likely sign on (that is, if they aren't too wary of the worse-case scenarios). The admin. has to justify how Washington will not get caught up further in the conflict in the case of retaliation.

    In terms of international support, there is little doubt that France and Turkey will sign on, and I believe they will provide military assets. We could see the same for some of the Gulf countries (mainly Saudi Arabia and Qatar) as we saw in the Libyan operation. The UK was a big loss, but since the start of the Obama Administration, France seems to be taking its spot with respect to its close relationship with Washington.
    Last edited by KingOfTheEast; September 1st, 2013 at 09:48 AM.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    Had Obama simply launched some tomohawks at chemical factories/installations as soon as the reports came in (within 48 hours), this whole thing would be over. We wouldn't even be talking about it.
    That sounds like one of the options presented to Obama by General Dempsey:

    A second option, limited stand-off strikes, would target “high-value regime air defense, air, ground, missile, and naval forces as well as the supporting military facilities and command nodes,” with strikes launched from beyond Syrian borders. “Depending on duration, the costs would be in the billions,”
    http://www.internationalnews.fr/arti...119264809.html[/quote]

    However, air strikes would involve a whole new level of commitment:

    Dempsey (Chairman of Joints Chiefs of staff) informed Kerry that the Air Force could not simply drop a few bombs, or fire a few missiles, at targets inside Syria: To be safe, the U.S. would have to neutralize Syria’s integrated air-defense system, an operation that would require 700 or more sorties. At a time when the U.S. military is exhausted, and when sequestration is ripping into the Pentagon budget, Dempsey is said to have argued that a demand by the State Department for precipitous military action in a murky civil war wasn’t welcome.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...rike-plan.html
    Last edited by eye4magic; September 1st, 2013 at 01:45 PM.
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    Ok, you brilliant ODN military strategists – you know who you are. Please explain this to me because I don’t understand the strategy.

    If a “shot across the bow” of Syria is to show some mussel and say: “You naughty Syrian boys, take this and this and this and this for your decision to gas your people which is a big No No in the international community” while we destroy some Syrian targets, how does a mild and limited strike on Syria with no planned strategy for boots on the ground, regime change, or sustained action, not serve as an inconvenient nuisance and price Syria (backed by Russia and Iran) is willing to pay for ‘business as usual.” In other words, “we’ll pay the penalty and keep doing what we’re doing and give Russia some more business for new planes."

    If Assad has fought all this time to stay in power and killed many of his people to do so, what makes us think they will not continue to fight to the bitter end knowing that we’re not serious about sinking their ship?
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  22. #18
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Ok, you brilliant ODN military strategists – you know who you are. Please explain this to me because I don’t understand the strategy.

    If a “shot across the bow” of Syria is to show some mussel and say: “You naughty Syrian boys, take this and this and this and this for your decision to gas your people which is a big No No in the international community” while we destroy some Syrian targets, how does a mild and limited strike on Syria with no planned strategy for boots on the ground, regime change, or sustained action, not serve as an inconvenient nuisance and price Syria (backed by Russia and Iran) is willing to pay for ‘business as usual.” In other words, “we’ll pay the penalty and keep doing what we’re doing and give Russia some more business for new planes."

    If Assad has fought all this time to stay in power and killed many of his people to do so, what makes us think they will not continue to fight to the bitter end knowing that we’re not serious about sinking their ship?
    These turn of events are based largely off of Obama's red line statement in August 2012. If he had never made that statement, there would be little pressure to act. The administration has found itself in a precarious position: how do you fulfill a previous commitment ("no use of CW") in light of no UN mandate, little public support for a unilateral military operation, and the lack of your British ally, all against a defiant foe who is backed by a major power and will continue to fight unabated? From the position of the Obama Administration, the alternative ("do nothing") is less appealing. If you've already stated that Washington draws the line at the use or transfer of chemical weapons, then you have tied your own hands. Ironically, Obama's subsequent reactions (mincing words, deferring to Congress etc.) have entailed weakness, which is what a future military strike is trying to deflect. Washington does not think any missile strikes will significantly alter the balance of power on the ground. The point will be to show some response, any response, in order not to appear weak in the face of a defiant Syrian leader who may use the chemical attack (and the lack of a response) as a precedent for future attacks. I don't find it all that complex, it's just a reaction to one's own blunder and lack of determination in light of the circumstances on the ground.
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  24. #19
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    Is it just me, or did President Obama also say that he still had a legal right to attack Syria even if Congress says no. Did I hear that right?




    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    If a “shot across the bow” of Syria is to show some mussel and say: “You naughty Syrian boys, take this and this and this and this for your decision to gas your people which is a big No No in the international community” while we destroy some Syrian targets, how does a mild and limited strike on Syria with no planned strategy for boots on the ground, regime change, or sustained action, not serve as an inconvenient nuisance and price Syria (backed by Russia and Iran) is willing to pay for ‘business as usual.” In other words, “we’ll pay the penalty and keep doing what we’re doing and give Russia some more business for new planes."
    Well presumably, and I don't think the Administration really has a plan it seems to be amateur hour as usual, the civil war is so close that a limited strike could serve to offset the benefit Assad thinks he is getting from Chemical weapons.

    IE, he now would have to weigh the benefit from use of the weapons against the loss of materiel from a US strike.

    Of course, he could use that limited retaliation as an ambush.

    I would also say that, politically, it is a terrible idea, we look to be trying to enforce a stalemate, which only plays into the stereotype that we want more dead Muslims.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
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    Re: A U.S. Militiary Strike on Syria

    Quote Originally Posted by SQUATCH
    Is it just me, or did President Obama also say that he still had a legal right to attack Syria even if Congress says no. Did I hear that right?
    Yes.. yes you did hear that correct. It is an example of Obama hedging his bets and being non-committal to a specific path, which in turn weakens the U.S. influence.
    I apologize to anyone waiting on a response from me. I am experiencing a time warp, suddenly their are not enough hours in a day. As soon as I find a replacement part to my flux capacitor regulator, time should resume it's normal flow.

 

 
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