Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Syria good enough

I've long been surprised that administration critics did not jump on the decision to call its policy "Afghanistan good enough" rather than something like "victory secured."  Maybe everybody recognized that "victory" was unachievable given the corruption and ineffectiveness of the government in Kabul and the loss of support for the war among the American people.

Today, Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations reveals the dirty little secret about those who have been calling for U.S. intervention in Syria, either by providing lethal aid or establishing "no fly zones." Zenko reports that even the interventionists don't want to do enough to win -- to assure the overthrow of Assad and the creation of a U.S.-friendly successor government.

Even the most prominent and vocal advocate of intervention, Sen. John McCain, has proposed military options that would be wholly insufficient to defeat the Syrian Army, associated paramilitary forces, and foreign fighters....
 When it comes to enhancing the lethality of the Syrian rebels -- beyond deciding who receives the weapons, or wondering where they go after Assad falls -- intervention advocates are also unwilling to provide the advanced weapons that could tip the battlefield in their favor....
Syria intervention advocates rarely describe how modest military options or defensive weapons transfers would plausibly achieve some strategic objective -- which is almost never articulated. Rather, the goal of intervention is to "do something," while limiting America's exposure -- in troops, treasure, and reputation -- to the outcome. 
Meanwhile, the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC news poll finds little support for U.S. involvement: only 15% favoring U.S. military action and only 11% supporting giving arms to the rebels. Some 42% favored humanitarian aid only, and 24% wanted no action at all.

It's hard to justify a risky policy that has almost no hope of achieving the desired objectives. I wish the Syrian interventionists were more honest in explaining their goals and expectations.

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