Yesterday I gave my case against action is Syria, Longtime commenter Proud 2 Serve dissents Strongly and I’m promoting his comment from yesterday:
We are losing the big picture. This is not, and should not, be about getting involved in a Syrian civil war.
This is the defining moment of our time on whether or not the world will enforce international conventions on the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction. This is about a tyrant who, for the first time since Saddam Hussein and the Kurds, has opened Pandora’s Box and used chemical weapons in a large attack (twice). It is also about the fact that Iran is watching; the current course has undoubtedly emboldened them in their pursuit of nuclear weapons. It is about all other two bit tyrants who now will consider the pursuit and use of WMD who may not otherwise have done so; times ten as when a neighbor pursues this path, all other neighbors have a survival interest to do so, too.
The very moment the second Sarin attack killing 1500 (half children) occurred, the US should have launched an immediate nerve gas attack of its own against a Syrian military target — specifically one where some high ranking military officials were present.
Of course, this would have been easier if we still had a national security strategy, as we did for 50 years, that advertised a chemical retaliation option. Now the world has no idea what options we may or may not use in response to an employed WMD.
Deterrence – think twice, all tyrants who wish to pursue this path. We reserve the right to retaliate in kind and the cost will be higher than you are willing to pay.
Compellence – the next time Assad, or any other official, orders such an attack, the military will have an incentive to ignore or revolt against such an order; they would know they will personally pay the price for such an attack.
I know this sounds extreme, but I argue that is only because we have lost our way. Is there any doubt that two of the greatest defenders of freedom, Harry Truman and Winston Churchill, would not have responded in a similar way above? We need return to an understanding that when our survival interests are threatened, extremely violent action is necessary and justified. In the end, the world would be safer.
Of course, we didn’t and we won’t; in five years expect the number of nations pursuing chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons to increase exponentially. But at least we can tell the more volatile and deadly world how peaceful we are.
OK I agree with the principle and it is true a “tit for tat” nerve gas attack at the Syrian Military Leadership does alleviate the problem of a the Captain in the field having to choose between firing the gas shells or being shot since the commander giving the order now shares the risk. That’s a plus.
The problem remains such an attack that decimated the military leadership hands the country and the Gas supplies to Al Qaeda that has absolutely no compunction to using said gas on civilian targets not only in the middle east but in the US, not to mention that Gas attacks are by their nature subject to wind and atmospheric issues which could turn a targeted strike on the Syrian Military into a disaster full of civilian casualties.
It’s a lousy option the question is this: If we take it as read that Assad has in fact used Chemical weapons how do we create a deterrent that Assad would respect without Handing the country over to the rebels?
It’s a fair question, and there are answers some better than others but that’s a post for tomorrow.