Belmont Club

US Bombs Syria -- Can We Say That?

Is it “kinetic military action”? Is it an “extended counterterrorism operation”? Is it war? Nah.  Never war.

The United States launched its first wave of bombing attacks over Syria early Tuesday against an expected 20 to 25 Islamic State targets, U.S. officials said.

The operation, expected to last several hours, involved planes launched from U.S.destroyers in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. Planes from five Arab countries also participated in the strikes.

The first explosions from Tomahawk missiles were heard in northern Syria. Targets were expected to include command and control centers, training camps and weapons depots.

“War” would mean that America was actually out to win against ISIS/ISIL/ISI?. So far only ISIS has announced the intention of beating America.  America just wants to manage ISIS/ISIL/ISI?. A bombing doesn’t make a war any more than Pearl Harbor did. And like Bluto said, ‘was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?’ No way.  It ain’t over. It ain’t even war. The only ‘war’ the world today is the War Against Ebola and the world is losing that.

Still the question is, what next in Syria? Readers will notice that Yemen, after whom the campaign on ISIS is allegedly based, is on the verge of falling to a Shi’ite Militia.  The Saudis have dee-deed. Fortunately America can’t “lose” that, since legally there’s nothing happening there.

There’s plenty of action happening alright, but where’s it all going? What is the end state? Who’s on First?  Assad?

If Assad’s on first then Iran will be the big winner of the week. First Yemen then Assad. Give the mullah a cigar. But if the airstrikes are bringing about the Opthalmologist of Damascus down then the danger of a replay of Yemen and blowback on the Saudis has now gone up a notch.  Because if you “lose” other people have a tendency to actually “win”.

Newspapers recently reported  professional American military officers less than convinced the US could avoid having forces on the ground once it became fully engaged in Syria/Iraq. But the real worry is more subtle. Whose side will the ground forces be fighting on?  Is the question important? It used to be. But not any more.  We’re so beyond such simplistic thoughts. It’s nuance all the way.

And by the way about Afghanistan … remember Afghanistan? The War of Necessity, back when there were wars … and Ukraine … and Iran’s nukes ….

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