If we send cruise missiles, like you, I hope we have thought it through and we are doing it for the right reasons and have a plan and an exit strategy all in place. I recognize things could change as we confront surprises but we should at least have the foregoing all squared away to start with. We can change as we confront new things but we need a plan now and an exit strategy now — and of course, must think it through and decide whether a military strike is the smart thing to do.
I don’t pretend to be an expert in military operations – I didn’t even serve in our military – but I do have basic questions about using cruise missiles even if a military strike is the right thing to do. Cruise missiles are lousy weapons for moving targets (eg launchers for chemical weapons) or underground bunkers (where President Assad and his team can hide.) It sounds like to me that what Syria is going to get is akin to a giant earthquake – a bunch of destroyed buildings and random death of people. The big difference? with an earthquake there is no notice. We have given notice.
The President has specifically said that regime change is not the goal so when the dust clears from the crushed buildings, he and is army will just re emerge and kill more. Iran will be emboldened as well and blame the Americans for civilian deaths. I even assume they will parade around bodies of killed children — children they themselves may have killed but blame us. You know that the pictures will be a recruitment campaign for those who already hate us and want to harm us.
Russia has taken side in this dispute and this will further deteriorate our already poison relationship. Yes, so much for restart.
I also hope that the rebels are who we think they are. Are we certain? And what happens to the chemical weapons after we strike?
Saving face for the President is not a reason to lob cruise missiles – we need a better reason than that. Also, while it is regrettable that our nation’s credibility could take a hit due to unfulfilled threats, that still is not a reason to lob missiles IF it is unwise from the start minus the threats.
I realize that USA does not want to look weak and cowardly by making threats that we do not carry out — that is a concern since the world still does look to us and this will harm how we are perceived — but we also don’t want to make giant mistakes that could end up to be more harmful to our role in the world than if we did not do something.
I don’t want innocent people to die from chemical weapons or anything else…but whatever we do, we must be smart about it as the consequences can be big.
What do you think?
PS – I do not pretend to know the answers. I do not. I am merely trying to think this through…