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View Diary: Is this really about 'punishing' Assad, or is it about feeling good about ourselves? (285 comments)

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  •  Answer: Both... and neither... and more. (4+ / 0-)

    If Damascus had started using CW last year - say at the siege of Homs, - the war would have been over in a matter of weeks, and the death toll could have been 200,000. So yes... we want to punish the Assad brothers for using CW and deter them from using it again.

    I will feel good if we accomplish that. I will feel bad if we don't try. If we try and fail, I will feel bad, but better than if we had not tried at all.

    The objective of "capturing" the CW is a strawman created by the opponents of intervention. No one in the administration has proposed this or thinks it remotely feasible.

    The best place for the CW is locked down in bunkers heavily defended by Syrian National Army units. The best way to deter and prevent their use is to hit the delivery systems: aircraft, armored vehicles and artillery.

    And rather than trying to hit every individual vehicle, we can just hit their fuel supplies. Without aviation fuel and diesel, the planes don't fly, the tanks don't roll, and artillery can't be towed.

    This will have the added benefit of halting offensive operations against the rebels. The rebels are already short on transport and ammunition, so both sides will hunker down in defensive positions.

    At this point the Alawite leaders will start asking themselves if they want to prop up the Assad brothers indefinitely, or take their chances with a cease-fire and peace talks. Russia will also have to decide it wants to stay shackled to a crippled isolated tyrant, or try to salvage its influence in Syria through the peace process.

    The CW attack by the Assads presents a one-time opportunity to intervene in a way that could bring about a cease-fired and shorten the war. The CW "punishment" cover story is sufficient to keep Russia and Iran from doing anything overt in retaliation - and it will allow President Obama to walk away if the gamble doesn't pay off.

    I have a vision for Syria quite different from "quagmire, chaos and ethnic cleansing". I can foresee a cease-fire, U.N. peacekeepers, negotiations, reconstruction, and return of the refugees. I believe that's what President Obama sees.

    We hold the rebels on a short leash by controlling their payroll, supplies and ammunition. Now we have one opportunity to slap the regime in Damascus hard and see if they'll come to their senses.

    The risks are great, the margins of error are small and there are no guarantees. But people will die if we act, and people will die if we don't act. It's just a question of how many and for what purpose.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:33:16 PM PDT

    •  What about ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, JVolvo

      ... if we try, with little conceivable chance of  succeeding, and fail?

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 07:21:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We say, "at least we tried", and push non-military (0+ / 0-)

        efforts as hard as we are now. As long as the air strikes are nominally about "punishing the CW attack of August 21", PBO is under no further obligation to escalate.

        I want Congress to pass judgement on the evidence of Assad's wrongdoing. Beyond that I need to hear some good reasons why I shouldn't trust the President's judgement on the response.

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 03:35:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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