update & bump: there is no win possible in syria:
....and read these two follow-ups.I think only a tiny number of Americans have actually thoughtfully considered the chain of events unleashed when engaging in a tactical attack on civilian infrastructure in foreign countries . . . .To put this in perspective, consider this great pretend Obama quote devised by The New Yorker's Andy Borowitz:
Let me be clear. Our goal will not be to effect régime change, or alter the balance of power in Syria, or bring the civil war there to an end. We will simply do something random there for one or two days and then leave.H/t: James Taranto. The responsibility to protect "doctrine" of very, very recent vintage, let it be said, did not extend to our own people in Benghazi but it now applies to strangers caught up, innocently or otherwise, in a civil war between parties who despise us with equal passion. Apparently, the United States haven't learned their lesson about involving themselves in the Muslim world whose politics and religious savagery defy comprehension. Even when the national budget is succinctly defined by the word "hemorrhage," the insane desire for mindless foreign military involvement is as ever-present in the White House as Reggie Love.
The supposed responsibility to protect raises the question, "Protect against whom?" "President Assad!" is the immediate Obama/Kerry answer with the U.S. intelligence community said to be four-square behind them. However, apart from the facts that:
there are reports that the chemical agents were supplied by the the Saudi intelligence chief and/or some "Saudi militant" and mishandled by the "rebels" and that it was the "rebels" who initially denied United Nations inspectors access to the supposed attack site (H/t: New Zeal Blog) not Assad.
- chemical weapons are indiscriminate weapons that depend on favorable (and accurately perceived) meteorological conditions,
- there was no tactical or strategic advantage to Assad to have used them given that he appears far from defeated, and
- it's probably unwise, on balance, to taunt even an unstable, inexperienced American president (even if protected by a lap-dog national press establishment),