Syria is a "NO Win" for the US
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
know about you, but I haven't lost a cotton-picking thing in Syria! And
I am not eager to have the US become entangled in another Middle
Eastern civil war in which there are NO GOOD GUYS!
in the Syrian mess is a no win situation for the US. Any faction we
back has the potential to turn the arms we provide them on us -- now or
The first thing the White House ought to do, it
seems to me, is shut up! Obama should stop creating so-called "red
lines," "lines in the sand," and "game changer" scenarios.
is not afraid of Obama. Hardly anybody is, for that matter. He is seen
world wide as a motor-mouth with no spine to back up his threats.
pronouncements of future action in Syria are not taken seriously -- and
with good reason. His empty threats are now seen as more comical than
serious. Frankly, it makes America look bad internationally, and it
embarrasses many of us here at home.
Worst still, it
nullifies America's implied power abroad. Our allies look at us and
wonder if we can be trusted any longer. America's word is in question.
To this ole southern boy it is worst, even, than that. It means our
HONOR is in question.
When one looks objectively at the Syrian mess, there simply are no good options for America.
the well qualified "armchair general" that I am, I an say without
hesitation I see no way to "win" in Syria. It looks, for all the world,
like another Iraq and another Afghanistan. The scenario I see is that
we'd send in thousands of US troops (and materiel), and months, or
years, later we leave having spent gobs of our treasure and gallons of
our blood only to have Syria revert right back to the mess it is in
currently -- even before the dust of our last exiting deuce-and-a-half
Gone are the days when the American military
would land on the beaches of Syria and drive inwards all the way to he
borders of Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, cutting down all before it
like a scythe. That's not going to happen.
is military operations against Syria, it will probably be in the form
of cruise missiles lobed from ships standing well out in the
Mediterranean Sea so as not to come in contact with Russian warships
anchored or cruising just off Syria's shoreline.
is considerable talk of imposing a "no-fly" zone over a part or parts
of Syria. As I understand it, this would create humanitarian zones in
hopes that the Syria refugees now flooding surround countries could stay
in relative safety inside their own country without fear of being shot
or strafed from the air, bombarded by artillery, or fired upon by
missile and rocket firing combat helicopters.
no-fly zones is not easy. It entails dong extensive damage to the
target country's air defense system, likely its air force, most
certainly bombing air fields and landing strips and shooting down Syrian
aircraft in the air and on the ground, and even clearing and
maintaining an artillery free zone for more than a score of miles around
the designated humanitarian zone.
And the maintenance
of the no fly zone would be extraordinarily expensive for it requires
twenty-four hour a day air patrols to insure that, indeed, nothing flies
in than zone other than approved aircraft. It is NOT an easy task.
US is the world's premier breaking and entering military. In our own
form of blitzkrieg, or "lightening war," we have the ability along with
the equipment and the combat tested and hardened troops to smash our way
into a country swiftly and violently.
warriors in the US military will tell you that imposing a no fly zone
anywhere over Syria will, no doubt, be answered by Assad's military,
which will then have to be dealt with. That may, very well, entail US
boots on the ground and what every US commander hates -- "mission
creep." Next thing you know, we are in a full blown war in Syria with
no pre-planned end game in place.
Taking out, or
securing Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons wold be a nightmare. It
would require thousands of US troops on the ground searching for those
chemical weapons, which Intel informs has been moved to various
locations in the country.
And what about a coalition
of like minded countries joining America in Syria? Well, according to
our newly minted Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, there is no
appetite for any such coalition at present. His exact words reportedly
were: "no international or regional consensus on supporting armed
intervention now exists."
The British and the French
can usually be counted on to watch our backs and, I expect, they'd be
right in there with us. But there is a strong possibility they would be
it so far as a coalition is concerned.
It is clear
America is edging ever closer to a reluctant military involvement in
Syria and this commentator is not convinced the American people are with
the President if, that is, he actually does decide to commit militarily
to Syria. I know at least one commentator who is certainly not ready
for another Middle Eastern War unless, of course, it is with Iran.
Iran is a whole "nuther story" for another day.
© J. D. Longstreet