Syria is a "NO Win" for the US
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Don't 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!
Involvement 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 later.
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.
Assad 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.
Obama's 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.
As 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 has settled.
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.
If there 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.
There 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.
Establishing 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.
The 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.
The real 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
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