Red Line, Schmed Line

Of course the Pentagon is planning for Syria — planning is what they do there. They probably have a plan in a filing cabinet somewhere for invading New Zealand. But now they’re talking about Syria outside the building:

The Pentagon is stepping up plans to deal with a dangerous regional spillover from Syria’s possible collapse—a scenario it had recently seen as remote—drawing up proposals including a Jordanian buffer zone for refugees secured by Arab troops, said U.S. officials familiar with the discussion.

The plans seek to minimize direct U.S. involvement, but they reflect a reassessment of the Pentagon’s hands-off approach. The shift comes after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s trip last month to the Middle East, during which Arab leaders appealed for the U.S. to focus on the danger of Syria’s disintegration into warring sectarian fiefdoms.

“The Syria message was loud and strong,” said a senior diplomat briefed on Mr. Hagel’s trip. “Everybody’s scared. And nobody knows what the hell we are going to do there.”

I’m pretty sure that last assessment includes the White House.