A 'Goldilocks' air strike on Syria
As the war drums were being beaten for an attack on Syria in response to its apparent use of chlorine gas, I shared some of the fears of such critics as Tucker Carlson and Michael Savage – that we were being led into a possible war that could end up a quagmire. My greatest reservation was the possibility of toppling Assad and reaping another Libya or Iraq, with even worse enemies taking control. And for all the brutality of the Assad regime, it has prevented wholesale religious massacres in a multi-religion state.
But so far, the strike on three targets in Syria appears to have been not too much, not too little, but just right to deliver the necessary message.
Here is the official Pentagon map of the targets:
And just what is that message, you may reasonably wonder? Actually, it includes, but far exceeds, what the Pentagon is saying in a news conference as I write and what other official spokesmen will admit to.
The first message is that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. The huge "red line" blunder of Obama has been corrected again. This is more than a do-gooder concern for humanity, even though that is what is being said, for the most part. If these weapons are used and not punished, they will used again and again. Not only can terrorists gain access by capturing them in Syria, but chlorine is not that hard to fabricate. A poison gas attack on Israel or the United States is not out of the question.
But there are other messages being delivered. The second one is to Russia.
It is obvious that the timing of the attack enabled Russia to pull its naval fleet from the Syrian port of Tartus, where Russia has its sole overseas naval base. The message was that the U.S. does not want war and will not knowingly attack Russia unless we are attacked by it. But Russian allies and puppets get no such protection. According to the news conference underway now, Russia was given no special warning of last night's attack. But Russia could read the tea leaves. And now we know how quickly Russia can evacuate its naval (and other) facilities, and no doubt have learned a lot of other precious data from our electronic and satellite monitoring of the Russians' responses to a pending attack.
The third message is to Kim Jong-un and the mullahs of Tehran: that vaunted Russian air defense capability you have purchased for precious hard currency isn't going to do you any good. The B-1 bombers that carried out part of the mission were not even detected, or if they were, the attacks on them were ineffective.
The pending summit between the POTUS and Kim Jong-un probably is of even greater importance than Assad's chemical weapons folly. And Kim now knows that President Trump can and will use American weaponry to destroy what he wishes to destroy, and Russia is powerless to prevent it.
Of course, in war, the enemy has a say, so matters still could turn south. But so far, the needle has been threaded, and the worst fears of critics are unrealized.