Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pentagon warns against military action in Syria

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Well, it can do any number of things, but there are, as expected, few if any good options if the goal is actually to make a difference in the ongoing civil war:

The Pentagon has provided Congress with its first detailed list of military options to stem the bloody civil war in Syria, suggesting that a campaign to tilt the balance from President Bashar al-Assad to the opposition would be a vast undertaking, costing billions of dollars, and could backfire on the United States. 

Of course, this isn't Rumsfeld's, or Cheney's, Pentagon anymore, and so one must expect it to be a tad more conservative, and realistic, in its outlook and approach to possible military action.

The counter-argument, from neocons as well as from liberal hawks, is that any such risk is worth it, because humanitarianism, or history, or geopolitics, or American hegemony, or whatever. And often I'm sympathetic to the liberal interventionist cause.

But the fact that the Pentagon's assessment of military action is so troubling should give us all pause. As much as we may not like it, there's just no easy way to topple Assad's horrendous regime, and of course no guarantee that its successor would be at all desirable in its own right.

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