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What Happens After We Bomb Syria?

[ Posted Monday, August 26th, 2013 – 16:57 PDT ]

Once again, the question on everyone's minds as they turn on their evening news is: "Are we at war yet?" This time, against Syria. Have the bombs started dropping? Have the sorties started? Have the cruise missiles been unleashed?

The conventional-wisdom mavens of Washington have already arrived at a consensus -- yes, we are going to attack Syria soon, but we'll do it from afar, with missiles and other means which reduce the military risk to American soldiers to zero. Think Libya, not Iraq, in other words.

What's astonishing in all this war chatter is that so few are asking the fundamental question any sort of "shock and awe" operation truly demands: "What happens after the bombing raid is over?" I certainly don't have the answer, but I'm holding out hope that President Obama and his national security team are at least seriously considering the question.

If we do attack Syria, it will be solely for realpolitik reasons. President Obama drew a line in the sand, Syria crossed it, and so they will pay the price for defying American demands. Oh, we may put some sort of international veneer on the operation (allowing France and Britain to fire off a few missiles, or some other token actions), but the world will know the truth -- we'll be bombing Syria because they disobeyed the United States. I leave it (for now) to others to debate the ins and outs of how we got here and whether we should go ahead and (as John McCain puts it) "crater their runways" tomorrow, next week, or not at all.

The Syrian civil war has been going on for two years now. President Obama has been reluctant to get involved from the very beginning. The American public has been even more reluctant at the prospect of America getting involved in another military mission in the Middle East. We're war-weary, to put it bluntly. Obama has issued the usual calls to end all violence, to no effect. But about a year ago, he famously drew a "red line" on using chemical weapons. Doing so would draw an American response, he promised.

The first time chemical weapons were used, Obama (again, reluctantly) decided that American would provide very limited military aid to the rebels, in response. But the key word was "limited" -- no advanced weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles or even anti-tank weapons. But even this effort hasn't really gone forward noticeably, as most rebels have never received any of the promised weapons in any case. Obama had to be seen as doing something, and so he chose the lowest possible level of response in the hopes that it would satisfy the requirement that America "do something."

But then came last week's brazen chemical weapon attack. Brazen mostly because it occurred just as United Nations observers arrived in Syria. It was a clear slap in the face to the international community. This attack could not be ignored, especially since the videos of people horribly and painfully dying appeared instantaneously on the world's media.

So now America is going to "do something" again. The red line has been crossed, and it's not the first time it's happened. Obama is left with almost no feasible option other than a military strike to respond to such blatant disregard for human life.

Most of the expert analysis in the media (a more polite way of saying "rampant speculation") has centered around what the expected American raid will consist of. Cruise missiles, everyone agrees, will be the major factor. No American boots will touch Syria's ground -- everyone also agrees on this point. All other options, however, carry some degree of risk to American troops. Syria is not Ghaddafi's Libya -- they actually have an air-defense system, and an air force. So sending in fighters or bombers could result in the loss of American pilots. A no-fly zone would be prohibitively expensive in both dollars and lives, so it's also probably off the table of possible options.

Assuming the conventional wisdom is correct, for the sake of argument, at some point in the very near future (within a week's time, say) we will unleash a barrage of missiles in the dead of night which will target military installations within Syria. Perhaps airfields and hangars will be the main targets, or perhaps other military targets will be chosen.

Such a barrage will likely be short-lived, however. For one, two, or a few nights we will bomb, and then America will pull back. This will satisfy the realpolitik cry that America "do something" in response to the red line of chemical weapons having been crossed. Syria will be spanked, and sent to bed without dinner, for disobeying the United States.

But while most people are assuming that this will be a one-time operation which will have a beginning and an end, I'm not so sure about that. Far from sitting on the sidelines, America's lot will now be fully cast with the rebels. What this means, exactly, is anyone's guess right now.

Because what happens after the raids is completely unknowable. How will Assad react? Will he stop using chemical weapons against his own populace, or will he feel that he's now got nothing to lose by doing so? The rebels themselves are not exactly friendly towards the United States, and in fact contain some groups who would actively attack America, if given the chance to do so. These are the people we'd be helping. While we could temporarily disrupt the Syrian military by our raids, and while it could give the rebels some momentum in their fight, the ultimate outcome is by no means assured. The rebels could eventually be crushed anyway.

This is why asking the "What comes next?" question is so important, and this is why President Obama has been so reluctant to get involved in this fight in the first place. There are no easy answers, and there may in fact be no good answers either. There may in fact be only bad options, struggling to define which is the worst outcome. Even looking at the situation with the hard cold realpolitik view, if America has to bomb Syria to remain relevant and feared on the world stage (because we follow through on our threats after making them), what would it mean if we intervened on the rebels' side only to later watch them lose? That wouldn't make a very strong statement to the world.

Wars are known to escalate, due to thinking like this. Call it the "in for a penny, in for a pound" theory. If Assad's atrocities mean an American military response, that means that future atrocities should also merit the same (or even more intense) American response. This civil war has been going on for two years now, and shows no signs of ending any time soon. Meaning we could be drawn in to it over and over again in the coming years.

As I stated at the beginning, I certainly have no answers to the "what happens next?" question. We could experience a best-case scenario, a worst-case scenario, or something in between. But while it's certainly fun for the chattering classes to obsess over what weapons and what targets will be chosen for a "shock and awe" style raid, I would feel better about the future possibilities if more people were actually paying attention to the future possibilities. What will happen after our raids are done? That's the question people should really be asking right now.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

23 Comments on “What Happens After We Bomb Syria?”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    assad has been pretty awful for a pretty long time. if we could hit hard and fast and knock out his bigger weapons capabilities, you're right that nothing would be assured, but at least the country would have a chance at something better. i think it's vital to build an international consensus to do so, but sooner would be better than later, and probably also better than nothing.

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    If we do attack Syria, it will be solely for realpolitik reasons. President Obama drew a line in the sand, Syria crossed it, and so they will pay the price for defying American demands

    They will??

    Assad crossed that line many months ago...

    Obama did precisely dick...

    What makes you think this time will be different???

    "This is line of death! You cross it, you die!.. OK, you cross THIS line, you die! Er.. You cross THIS line, you die. Fine, you knock on my door, I not come out. Nyaaa!"
    -Robin Williams, LIVE AT THE MET

    Let's face the facts here. Obama has absolutely ZERO credibility in the Middle East.

    Say what you want about Bush. But A> he would never have been stupid enough to CREATE the "red line" in the first place. And 2> if he HAD created a red line and it was crossed, you can be damn sure the US would have followed thru.

    Obama's mistake in all this was issuing the red line threat (solely for political/campaign reasons) without have ANY idea WHAT he would do if the red line was crossed...

    That's bad leadership.. Period..

    As far as boots on the group. You can bet that we have at least a hundred or more "boots" (or, 200 or more, if you count each boot. :D ) on the ground already. Combat Controllers, SF OPs are just a couple of types that we now have in country..

    As to "what happens after"??

    It's difficult to speculate, not knowing the type of attack we're talking..

    Let me mull this over, check some sources and I'll lay out a couple scenarios....

    Joshua,

    There will be no international consensus. There will be no UN backing. Russia and China are fully an unequivocally behind Syria in this...

    This puts Obama in a pretty dicey pickle.. He is on record as slamming Bush time and time again for unilateral actions w/o UN support...

    Now, Obama is left with two VERY unpalatable choices.

    1. Ignore the UN and go it "alone" as he slammed Bush for...

    2. Ignore Assad and the red line Obama himself imposed...

    Either way, he's damned...

    "If you go in there and kill all the terrorists, yer damned. If you go in there and some of the hostages are killed, the press will eat you alive and yer damned... Difficult to win."
    "...nature of the beast.."
    -THE FINAL OPTION

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    One other point to consider is the WWID factor..

    What Will Israel Do....

    You just HAVE to know that Israel has absolutely NO faith in the Obama Administration. As I stated, the US has absolutely no military/force credibility in the Middle East whatsoever..

    You can bet that Israel is thinking they are going to have to go it alone..

    That will definitely throw a wrench at the monkee. Israel's involvement is the wild card that simply cannot be discounted or ignored

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Conventional wisdom suggests that a cruise missile strike is the best way to go in a Syria TOP.. This will likely be augmented by stealth B2 Spirits out of Holloman AFB...

    More likely than not, sorties will run out of land based assets on Cypress and sea-based assets in the Med.

    However, I have a sneaky suspicion that we are going to utilize assets that were moved into place a while ago..

    To elaborate....

    If one looks at a map of the TOP, the easiest egress would be attacks from the west and southwest. IE the afore mentioned land-based and sea-based assets. Which is why we see the bulk of Assad's vaunted Air Defense capabilities. These capabilities are not to be taken lightly as reports indicate that Russia and China are supplying Assad with their top-o-the-line AD hardware. You have to admire the wisdom of the Russo-Chinese military hierarchy.. They get to field test their latest and greatest with no risk whatsoever to their interests..

    So ends conventional wisdom..

    Let's talk end runs...

    Intelligence reports over the past year have indicated that US forces are building hard assets in the deserts of northeast Jordan right along the border with Syria.. These assets have been moved into place over the last 6-10 months and are likely being prepped with Movement Orders as we speak...

    The advantage to this scenario is obvious. Once again, referring to the Syrian Air Defense Asset maps, the eastern frontier of Syria is barren with no appreciable assets to speak of...

    It is entirely likely that sea-based assets from the Med will take a circuitous route to these FEBA locations in northeastern Jordan. Once there, they will re-arm and re-fuel.

    The attack will begin with cruise missile launches out of the Med. This will focus attention westward.. Likely Wild Weasels off the Carrier Group will follow the cruise missiles to give a major mind f*ck to the Syrian positions..

    At that point the aircraft from the FEBA bases will launch and move westward un-opposed by AD forces. These tactical bombers will wreck havoc with Syrian military assets. Accompanying the bombers will likely be F-18A fighter escort that will deal with any Syrian fighters unlucky enough to actually make it off the ground.

    Once payloads are expended, these forces will simply continue westward. Bomber assets will likely head back to staging assets in Cyprus. Fighter assets will be recovered on the sea-based assets they originally launched from.

    Wham, bam, hasta lasagna, don't get any on ya...

    Of course, this is all speculation...

    But it would how I would run things if I were giving the orders...

    Now, the question is, what happens next...

    I am reminded of another time when US Forces were faced such a question...

    In 1991, US Forces had decimated the Iraqi Army and chased their sorry asses out of Kuwait. At the time, US Military Commanders urged the political leaders to allow their forces to take Baghdad and end the reign of Saddam Hussein.

    Our political leaders decided that such removal was not in the best interests of the United States and the region..

    I have a feeling that history is going to repeat itself. The US Administration is not prepared for the power vacuum that will be created if Assad falls..

    The old adage certainly applies..

    The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know..

  5. [5] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale,

    that's a very technical military analysis, and it sounds like you've thought it through pretty well. however, folks like myself with no military experience to speak of may not entirely understand the TOP's and AFB's and FEBA's and such. if it's not too much trouble, could you translate the gist of the tactical scenario into civilian speak?

    i absolutely hear you about the difficulty we've had negotiating with russia and china. when it comes down to it, sometimes politicians feel the need to balance political realities in ways that are downright repugnant. if i get a chance, i'll have to ask my girlfriend's brother who lives in the shtuchim (west bank settlements) what he thinks of the recent US policy on syria.

    JL

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Joshua,

    Apologies...

    TOP = Theater of OPerations

    Holloman AFB = Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico Home base for the Spirit Class B2 Stealth Bombers (49th Fighter Wing)

    FEBA = Forward Edge of the Battle Area

    I should also note that my scenario assumes no political issues whatsoever.

    For example, Jordan (like Saudi Arabia during the First Gulf War) is a reluctant ally. While King Abudullah is no fan of Assad, he is not too keen about having his country used as a staging area.. His (very real) concern is that Assad could target Jordanian population centers. Further, Jordan already has a significant refugee problem. Massive air bombardment by US forces out of Jordan and Cyprus will exacerbate the refugee problem ten fold...

    For that reason, I don't really expect the US to follow the plan as I outlined..

    Which is a shame because it has the potential to put a real dent in Assad's military might and give the rebels a real chance to win the day..

    The most likely attack will be, as CW pointed out, a cruise missile sortie launched from 4 different Bainbridge Class Destroyers. A fifth destroyer (the USS Stout) has cleared Gilbraltor and is heading towards the Eastern Med but will likely not arrive in time to be part of the sortie.

    Administration officials are saying 3 days of cruise missile strikes.

    But I expect that it's going to likely be a LOT closer to 3 HOURS than 3 days..

    It's going to be Clinton's aspirin factory all over again.

    It'll give Obama SOME political cover but will ultimately make little difference on the ground.

    And Assad will keep escalating because he knows Obama won't do anything because the American people are 91% AGAINST any military action that puts Americans in harm's way..

    That's the problem when you draw a line in the sand and then don't do anything when the line is crossed.

    You simply invite more escalation..

    If the US is seen as simply making a meager token response that doesn't change anything, the death toll in Syria will likely skyrocket.

    In other words, Obama said that use of chemical WMDs is a game-changer..

    Obama needs to retaliate with a similar game-changing response.

    If he doesn't then Assad will win this civil war.

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    "War is never imperative, Spock!"
    "It is for them, Doctor. Vulcan, like Earth, had it's warlike period. Brutal, even by human standards. And if the Romulans are an off-shoot of my Vulcan blood, as I think is likely, then weakness is something we dare not show."
    -STAR TREK, Balance Of Terror

  8. [8] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Michael in [4] essentially describes what the Pentagon likes to think of as a "No Fly Zone."

    I agree that 3 hrs of strikes is more likely than 3 days....but there is a lot of conflicting history that could repeat itself. I wouldn't completely rule out the start of something big. Especially if Assad doesn't take the hint and decides to escalate.

  9. [9] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Obama said that use of chemical WMDs is a game-changer..

    Obama needs to retaliate with a similar game-changing response.

    If he doesn't then Assad will win this civil war.

    from what you're telling me, other countries in the region see that as a good thing? my thing about the iraq war wasn't so much that we needed international permission, but that we went in on poor information. any shmoe not caught up in the fever of war could see the stuff the bush admin (and congress critters of both parties) were talking about was most likely bogus, or at the very least highly suspicious. here's bush's "don't wait for a mushroom cloud" speech:

    http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/10/07/bush.transcript/

    but yes, if there's high probability confirmation of actual wmd use, and what i've seen in the news so far suggests that is the case, there's no excuse for us not to act quickly and decisively to at least give syrians a chance at something better.

    JL

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michael in [4] essentially describes what the Pentagon likes to think of as a "No Fly Zone."

    Not really.

    Of course, air dominance is a secondary goal. Especially if Allied forces are looking at an ongoing operation.

    But the first strike will likely decimate ground targets that aren't AD (Air Defense) targets. Republican Guard Barracks, Military Intelligence facilities and (as a symbolic attack) the Presidential Palace.

    Remember, Obama's goal is to punish Assad, not bring him down..

    AD targets will likely be hit, but more as targets of opportunity rather than specific targeting.

    Ironically, Allied forces CAN'T target the very chemical munitions that prompted the attack in the first place...

    Basically, any attack that DOESN'T proceed as I outline above is nothing more than a political exercise and has little to nothing to do with actual military objectives..

    Obama wants to spank Assad. Hard enough to hurt but not too hard to be disabling..

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    JL,

    any shmoe not caught up in the fever of war could see the stuff the bush admin (and congress critters of both parties) were talking about was most likely bogus,

    Only in hindsight...

    You have to remember that Democrats were just as wrong as Bush was..

    The mushroom cloud speech IS ridiculous..

    But ONLY with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.. At the time, it was a REAL and distinct possibility, supported by the evidence at hand...

    Evidence, I re-iterate, that was accepted by the Right *AND* the Left...

    but yes, if there's high probability confirmation of actual wmd use, and what i've seen in the news so far suggests that is the case, there's no excuse for us not to act quickly and decisively to at least give syrians a chance at something better.

    Given our track record, the chances of "something better" is not all that great...

    But, since Obama has drawn the red line, we're committed..

    We MUST respond or American credibility will drop even lower than it already is...

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Yes, the US and international community must respond to the use of chemical weapons. But, President Obama has never said, when he drew his ridiculously public red line, that military action was the only way to respond, did he?

    There's more than one way to skin a cat, after all.

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Please pardon the atrocious grammar in the above comment, everyone.

    I thought we were going to get some sort of edit function around here ... :)

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The mushroom cloud speech IS ridiculous..

    But ONLY with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.. At the time, it was a REAL and distinct possibility, supported by the evidence at hand...

    it was just as much moose poop then as it is now, which is why i was marching down fifth avenue with the lefties. anyone with half a brain could have seen how ridiculous the alleged evidence was - congress just didn't have half a brain between them.

    JL

  15. [15] 
    TheStig wrote:

    "The US Administration is not prepared for the power vacuum that will be created if Assad falls.."

    Michael, I think you have that upside down and backwards. The problem in Syria is precisely that of a power vacuum caused by Assad being bad at his job. Daddy had the country pretty much under control. Sonny doesn't control much of his own nominal dictatorship. The military is cooped up and can't move safely on its own roads. A man in control doesn't have to shell and gas urban centers. I'd say Assad faces more existential threats than a mere cruise missile spanking.

    On the other hand, the many competing factions in outright rebellion don't really control much more than neighborhoods either.

    There you have it, political/military vacuum. Maybe one of the bigger opposition groups will rush in to fill the vacuum if the thin Assad vessel breaks, but maybe Syria will just balkanize into mini states leaving more internal vacuum to be filled by other interested parties in the region.

    Maybe the devil you know is better than the one one you don't, but it depends on the Devil's skill set and employment prospects. If the King Devil is on his way out, you might want to steer the timing of the succession, rather than simply leave the decision to some other devil.

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    when he drew his ridiculously public red line, that military action was the only way to respond, did he?

    You don't create an emphatic and specific red line simply to indicate the advent of more useless diplomacy..

    There's more than one way to skin a cat, after all.

    When you have a psychotic monster like Assad, said skinning techniques become quite limited..

    The civil war has been going on for 2 years now. Any non-military option has been tried and has failed.

    JL,

    it was just as much moose poop then as it is now, which is why i was marching down fifth avenue with the lefties.

    The Lefties were marching down Fifth Ave to oppose EVERYTHING that Bush did based on nothing more concrete than partisanship. This is evidenced by the LACK of Fifth Ave action against the current administration....

    It's simply sheer coincidence that, with regards to the Iraqi intel, the Left was right..

    Even a busted watch is right twice a day...

    TS,

    The problem in Syria is precisely that of a power vacuum caused by Assad being bad at his job.

    Using that reasoning, a "power vacuum" exists here in the United States :D

    Further, you can't really point to the midst of a civil war and all that it entails and declare a leadership vacuum exists.

    What we see in Syria today is very similar (allowing for the leaps in technology) to what we saw in the US during the US Civil War..

    Internal conflict does not a power vacuum make.. I doubt anyone can make the case that a power vacuum existed under the Lincoln Administration.

    If the King Devil is on his way out, you might want to steer the timing of the succession, rather than simply leave the decision to some other devil.

    Which is why the US is not prepared to see Assad fall yet.. Because we don't have a sure idea as to who will succeed him.

    Look at Egypt.. Obama's Bros were put in power after Obama forced out Mubarak.. The Bros lasted barely a year...

    The problem here is that the Obama Administration are forgetting who the US's friends are...

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Lefties were marching down Fifth Ave to oppose EVERYTHING that Bush did based on nothing more concrete than partisanship.

    Present company excepted, of course.. :D

  18. [18] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    It's simply sheer coincidence that, with regards to the Iraqi intel, the Left was right..

    it may indeed be a coincidence that the correct judgment in that case happened to be made by the far Left. however, i submit that anyone who was relatively bright and paying close attention would have reached the same conclusion. based on the available evidence at the time, there were only two possible conclusions one could reach: either there was some other EXTREMELY solid evidence that needed to remain classified for the public safety, or the run-up to war in iraq was based on nothing more than ambition and panic. that it turned out to be the latter is hardly a coincidence, and fit with the behavior of the congress critters.

    so yes, there are partisans who will support one and oppose the other regardless of the facts. but there ARE facts, and the facts in the present case are very different than they were in iraq. in syria there IS solid evidence, publicly available.

    as obama has shown by following the lion's share of bush foreign policy, it wasn't bush's foreign policy itself that was faulty in the past, it was the bush administration's ridiculously incompetent execution of that policy.

    JL

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    as obama has shown by following the lion's share of bush foreign policy, it wasn't bush's foreign policy itself that was faulty in the past, it was the bush administration's ridiculously incompetent execution of that policy.

    I disagree..

    The reason that Obama is successful using Bush's CT policies is because Obama has the complete support and backing of the Democratic Party.

    Bush would have been as successful, if not MORE successful, if he had enjoyed the same support from Democrats that Obama has.

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    If we do attack Syria, it will be solely for realpolitik reasons. President Obama drew a line in the sand, Syria crossed it, and so they will pay the price for defying American demands. Oh, we may put some sort of international veneer on the operation ... but the world will know the truth -- we'll be bombing Syria because they disobeyed the United States.

    Chris,

    I must apologize for initially responding to your statement above over at the Huffington Post without carefully reading it. I mistook "attack" for 'taking appropriate action' and I will rectify that at HP in another comment.

    The appropriate action, I have concluded, is not US military action, limited or otherwise. So, I agree with your statement that the only reason the US would choose to engage in such a stupid military action against Syria such as is being discussed by the Obama administration is for spurious realpolitik concerns, as you outlined.

    I misread the implication of your statement as not taking the use of chemical weapons seriously and worthy of an appropriate and effective international response.

    The US and international community should respond with all due seriousness and deliberation to the use of chemical weapons by Syria. What President Obama and other world leaders seem to be saying, however, is that there are only two options here - do nothing or act militarily. That is sheer nonsense!

    The cockeyed optimist in me is thinking that if Russia can be persuaded that the Assad regime has gone too far, then we may have the basis for a more peaceful political transition in Syria through a muscular diplomatic offensive which would necessarily include peacekeeping forces on the ground and still have accountability for those responsible for deploying chemical weapons.

  21. [21] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [2] -

    Are you seriously suggesting that George W. Bush didn't draw red lines with Iraq?

    Really? Seriously?

    Because that is nothing short of ridiculous. Bush drew red lines for months before invading, and even when Iraq hadn't actually crossed the lines (UN inspectors were allowed in, but Bush just ignored them), we still just assumed they had.

    I'm not defending Obama's red line, understand, but I am calling "moose poop" on your statement about Bush.

    Michale [4] -

    A military question: can our bombers fly high enough that the Syrian air defenses won't matter? Just curious. This isn't stealth bombers I'm talking about, but more conventional B-52 types. But I haven't heard anyone address the issue, so I'm wondering if you know.

    Also, do you think the air defense system will be targeted if we do raid? Or what other targets? Hangars? Runways? Command-n-control? Assad's house, maybe?

    TheStig [8] -

    I'm thinking 3 hours, but maybe 3 hours each night for 2 or 3 nights. They'll want daylight to assess damages from satellites and news reports, then they'll hit undamaged sites a second (or even third) time.

    That's just a guess, though.

    Michale [10] -

    Oh, OK. Ignore those previous questions that you answered in this comment...

    LizM -

    I see maybe one misplaced comma, but no real grammar errors. As for editing functions... sigh... maybe sometime....

    :-)

    nypoet22 -

    Aha! Someone else is also calling "moose poop" on Michale!

    Michale [16] -

    Wait, Obama "forced out Mubarak"? In what universe? I'm going to have to don hip waders, as the moose poop seems to be piling up. I mean, critize Obama's actions towards Egypt all you want, but please let's keep it within the bounds of reality.

    As for solid evidence and Iraq/Syria, let's see... UN inspectors go in... no evidence of the existence of WMDs in Iraq... evidence of actual usage of WMDs in Syria...

    I'd say that's a little different, wouldn't you?

    Michale [19] -

    Bush would have been as successful, if not MORE successful, if he had enjoyed the same support from Democrats that Obama has.

    What a larf! Switch "Bush" and "Obama" and "Democrats" and "Republicans"... do you still agree with the sentence?

    Heh.

    LizM -

    We'll see how it all turns out. I have a sneaking suspicion that there is a whole lot going on in the background as we all wait for the missiles to start flying. Whether any of it will do any good or not (or prevent our attack) is still an open question, but for now the fact that none of it is really happening publicly is probably a good sign.

    -CW

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Are you seriously suggesting that George W. Bush didn't draw red lines with Iraq?

    Of course Bush drew red lines in Iraq. Because he had a plan to follow thru when Iraq crossed the line.. And he did!

    Obama's ego thought that all he (Obama) had to do was draw the red line and Assad would cower in fear and not dare cross Obama's line...

    I'm not defending Obama's red line, understand, but I am calling "moose poop" on your statement about Bush.

    My statement was speculation. There is NO way that Bush would have drawn a red line on Syria unless he actually had plan and intent to follow thru..

    Unless you have evidence to the contrary, it's a moose poop-free statement.. :D

    A military question: can our bombers fly high enough that the Syrian air defenses won't matter?

    Yes, even the best Air Defense hardware (of which Syria DOES possess) has a ceiling. The problem is, once you get that high, the accuracy suffers..

    If there is going to be a sustained campaign against Syria, their AD assets will be eliminated first by cruise missile..

    Aha! Someone else is also calling "moose poop" on Michale!

    And he was just as wrong as you were. :D hehehehehe

    Wait, Obama "forced out Mubarak"?

    Uh yup....

    http://www.channel4.com/news/obama-in-talks-to-force-immediate-mubarak-resignation

    As for solid evidence and Iraq/Syria, let's see... UN inspectors go in... no evidence of the existence of WMDs in Iraq... evidence of actual usage of WMDs in Syria...

    Just as there was "actual use" of WMDs in Iraq...

    I'd say that's a little different, wouldn't you?

    Nope... No difference whatsoever..

    Hussein and Assad both used chemical WMDs against their own citizens..

    What a larf! Switch "Bush" and "Obama" and "Democrats" and "Republicans"... do you still agree with the sentence?

    I am not sure what you are asking..

    When it comes to Counter Terrorism, Bush had to fight Democrats harder than he fought Al Qaeda. This is fact.

    Further, there is no evidence that Obama is smarter than Bush. There is no evidence that Obama's people are smarter than Bush's people.

    When it comes to CT, the ONLY difference between the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration is that the Obama Administration has Republicans *AND* Democrats on board the CT policies... Hell, Pelosi *SAVED* the NSA activities nearly single-handedly!!

    One simple CANNOT deny that support of the Democrats is what is making Obama so successful when it comes to Counter Terrorism.

    No other explanation fits the facts..

    As far as Syria goes, all the blow hard talk is just that.. Blow hard talk..

    Obama isn't going to do squat, apparently...

    The US has not only lost all credibility with our adversaries, now even our allies aren't going to trust us...

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/97797d0a-1095-11e3-b291-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2dRkbtybV

    Obama is being played, pure and simple...

    Bush would never have put the US in such a position...

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