August 27, 2013  

Syria | Syria | Syria

Even as the drums of war seem to be leading President Obama toward airstrikes in Syria, a counterbeat of experts and observers say we’ve tried that before.  Brookings’ Daniel Byman argues that “A limited bombing campaign against Syria’s chemical weapons infrastructure is likely to produce the worst of all worlds.”

James Fallows limns Chuck Spinney’s piece in Counterpunch, and says bombing Syria would fit a 20-year-old pattern:

  1. Something terrible happens somewhere — and what is happening in Syria is not just terrible but atrocious in the literal meaning of that term.
  2. Americans naturally feel we must “do something.”
  3. The easiest something to do involves bombers, drones, and cruise missiles, all of which are promised to be precise and to keep our forces and people at a safe remove from the battle zone.
  4. In the absence of a draft, with no threat that taxes will go up to cover war costs, and with the reality that modern presidents are hamstrung in domestic policy but have enormous latitude in national security, the normal democratic checks on waging war don’t work.
  5. We “do something,” with bombs and drones, and then deal with blowback and consequences “no one could have foreseen.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times rounds up a sextet of voices, pro and con.

Warlord’s Quote of the Day

“It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.” — Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

Contributed by Col. Patrick Donohoe, the director of Training and Doctrine at the Army Maneuver Center of Excellence. From a list compiled by the Warlord Loop, a private email forum for national security experts.

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