EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 6, 2013

Column: Plenty of missteps in pursuing military action against Syria


Something has to be done. Because the usually reliable Brits have opted out, the task has fallen to the United States plus whatever help the French can provide.

President Barack Obama, departing from type, suddenly decided to ask Congress for permission for a punitive military strike against Syria. Congress is working on approval of “a limited and tailored” mission not to exceed 60 days. Obama could ask for an extra 30 if he felt the need, but our role effectively would be capped at three months.

The attacks, as any Syrian intelligence official with access to a decent newspaper knows, will come from cruise missiles and possibly manned aircraft, launched from a safe distance offshore and aimed at targets designed to minimize civilian casualties.

We’ll fight this constrained little military operation without “boots on the ground,” the current cliche for the U.S. soldiers and Marines trained to do this sort of thing.

Even if we don’t plan on using ground troops, why on earth would we tell the Syrian government in advance? Keep it guessing.

The old saying among the military was that you knew you had won when you were sitting with your feet up on the furniture of the other side’s officers club, drinking whiskey. To find out how this military venture turns out, we’ll have to wait for the press release.

Dale McFeatters writes for the Scripps Howard News Service.

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