Limited Strikes Won't Stop the Slaughter in Syria


Credit: DVIDSHUB / Foter / CC BY

It is looking increasingly likely that the U.S. and some of its allies will begin some sort of military intervention in Syria. Today, American officials said that an intervention in Syria could take place "as early as Thursday." Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has said that all of the military preparations are complete, and that all that remains is for Obama to give the order to strike for a military intervention to begin, which according to officials will almost certainly take the form of limited airstrikes.

The British Parliament is to be recalled on Thursday to discuss a response to last week's suspected chemical weapon attack, and the military has made plans for an intervention. French President Hollande said that France was ready "to punish" whoever is responsible for the attack.

Despite the increased chance of military intervention in Syria American officials have said that such an intervention will not seek to topple the Assad regime.

From UPI:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 (UPI)—President Obama is likely to order a limited airstrike on Syria to punish it for using nerve gas but won't seek to topple the Assad regime, U.S. officials said.

Carrying out a military intervention in Syria to punish Assad for using chemical weapons will not stop the slaughter and could help the rebels, many of whom are fighting for the establishment of an Islamic state. Such a move will only serve to pressure Assad not to use a particular sort of weapon, which is suspected of causing the deaths of a small fraction of the total number of people killed in the Syrian civil war.

Syrian forces have demonstrated since the civil war began that they are capable of mass murder without the use of chemical weapons. If airstrikes do dissuade Syrian forces from using chemical weapons there is no reason to think that conventional weapons won't continue to be used to commit atrocities.

Syrian forces have already reportedly engaged in systematic rape and torture, as well as numerous massacres, none of which prompted the president to mention a "red line." Without chemical weapons, which United Nations inspectors have yet to confirm were used, Assad's forces will still be able to inflict misery on the Syrian people.

In the unlikely event that limited airstrikes do help the rebels in a significant way there is a chance that the more unpleasant elements of Assad's opposition could benefit, potentially prolonging the conflict.  

The recent calls for intervention in Syria illustrate the strange special treatment given to chemical weapons in modern diplomacy and international law. The images of last week's suspected chemical attack are disturbing and tragic, but so are the photos and footage of the numerous other atrocities committed during the Syrian civil war which did not prompt the sort of reaction or condemnation we have seen in the last week.

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  1. The British Parliament is to be recalled on Thursday to discuss a response to last week’s suspected chemical weapon attack

    Those Limeys and their silly procedures.

    1. So…. are we gonna skip congress on this one again? I haven’t been following that closely, but I haven’t heard of any pending declarations of war.

  2. Let’s sprinkle some missiles around at selected targets and declare victory. It’s the best we can hope for at this point.

    1. Or Obama could make a case for war to the American people.

      American people will reject it and Obama can shrug and say: I made an honest case for intervention but the will of the people told me no. I will defer to the will of the people.

      It really is not hard to get out of this.

      1. Haha, silly Corning, thinking Obama cares about the will of the people.

      2. How could Obama face other world leaders if he allowed the people to tell him what to do?

        No, he must remember that a leader never looks back to see if anyone is following him, preferably while personally charging up a Syrian beach.

        1. I am all in favor of Congress authorizing the president to personally lead a charge up the Syrian beach, but only provided he go it alone.

  3. That’ll teach those selfish Syrians to keep their lovely little war all to themselves. You have to share your fun with everyone in the playground, including the fat, dumb bullies from Washington.

  4. Hey, they got rid of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein when Clinton was prez. It’s a tactic with a proven track record.

  5. Limited Strikes Won’t Stop the Slaughter in Syria

    But we can feel good about it because we ‘did something’.

    OTOH, if they drone a few Assad officials – or even Assad himself – I won’t shed any tears, so long as it is limited to just that.

  6. President Obama is likely to order a limited airstrike on Syria to punish it for using nerve gas but won’t seek to topple the Assad regime, U.S. officials said.

    So they are going to kill whoever and leave the people who give the orders in place. Human beings really are just fucking things to these people. Disgusting. Bonus points for doing your enemy a small injury.

  7. I’m so looking forward to the day when the news comes out that it was the “opposition” that orchestrated the gas attack just to goad the US into doing what they are about to do.

    1. They call that the “Oberlin Gambit”.

  8. 1. Lack of evidence.
    2. Overthrow regime anyway.
    3. ????
    4. Profit.

    1. 5. Mission Accomplished!

  9. Even if use of chemical weapons is a valid justification of lobbing a couple dozen missiles, it’s hardly a deterrent. At best it just tells whoever used them to massively up the dosage next time.

  10. Make no mistake, President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

    He said “make no mistake,” a phrase woefully underused by politicians these days, and a sure sign that this man means business.

    1. “””most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people”””


      1. Never was real clear on why killing with projectiles and explosives was okay, while poison = horribly bad.

        I understand why all parties involved decide to avoid the stuff in most major conflicts after WWI, but not the morality of it.

        1. Another puzzler, the Hague Convention prohibits the use of hollow point bullets in warfare (indeed NATO does not use them), but our domestic enforcement agencies use them almost exclusively against our own citizens. Is the USA therefore subject to cruise missile strikes or an invasion by a nation with superior morals?

          1. The Hague Convention prohibits explosive or expanding bullets against humans. The bullets used by military snipers are hollow-point but are not designed to expand. The design of pistol bullets is meaningless in the modern military.

            1. Thanks. I was worried for a minute that we’d be blown up by Finnish cruise missiles or invaded by the Belgians.

        2. And explosive weapons are chemical weapons, they use chemicals to create the explosion. And explosive weapons can suck the air out of a persons lungs or fill them will fire or chemically burn the skin, etc.

          1. White Phosphorous and .50 Cals were kind of grey areas. We could use it to mark targets and/or destroy equipment but not people. The old joke – try to destroy their canteens.

    2. “Make no mistake…”

      Now I’m really beginning to doubt whether Obama is serious about this.

  11. And all because Obama won’t take back his red line statement.

  12. Limited Strikes Won’t Stop the Slaughter in Syria

    So what are you proposing, unlimited strikes? All-out invasion?

    1. The best way to stop the slaughter is to slaughter everyone.

      1. Don’t we still have some neutron bombs somewhere?

        1. Don’t you just take the 2nd stage off a big fusion bomb?

          1. I had thought it was all 2nd stage, as it’s the high energy fusion neutrons that you want?

            The Nuclear Weapon Archive’s take on the subject. (Scroll down to 4.3.2)

            If that’s right, they’re very yield limited. 1 kt for the W70-3 the Lance carried, and 250t for the 8 inch artillery shell. Academic, as the W-70 was retired in the early 90s, and I think the atomic artillery shells were too. Doesn’t mean you can’t grab something off the shelf at Pantex, despite the wiki for neutron bomb saying the last ones were dismantled in 2003, but none of them remain in service. Publicly.

  13. “President Obama is likely to order a limited airstrike on Syria to punish it for using nerve gas but won’t seek to topple the Assad regime, U.S. officials said.”

    The Obama regime has been “seeking to topple the Assad regime” for quite some time.

    On March 28, 2012 President Obama conferred on Mr. Frederic C. Hof the rank of Ambassador in connection with his new duties as Special Advisor for Transition in Syria.

    Mr. Hof was previously the Special Coordinator for Regional Affairs in the US Department of State’s Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. Obviously he was promoted in recognition of his marvelous work as envoy for Middle East peace (as in “War is Peace”.)

    So, Mr. Hof is in charge of “transition” in Syria. Sounds like the plan clearly “seeks to topple the Assad regime”.

    So the second part of the “senior officials” statements was obviously a lie.

    What about the first part? I’m beginning to wonder whether “President Obama is likely to order a limited airstrike on Syria” since the Obama Regime so seldom tells the truth.

    1. So what is that, the murderous equivalent of a spanking?

  14. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn that Obama and Kerry are begging Putin to do something to give us cover so we have to stand down, and Putin is extracting concessions from them to save them from their own “red line” rhetoric.

  15. If the French are cheese eating surrender monkeys perhaps we Americans should be called Cheeseburger eating quagmire monkeys.

    1. That’s racist

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