Is the goal to bomb the Assad regime’s stockpiles of chemical weapons so that he can never again use them on his own people? According to Mark Thompson at Time, taking out Syria’s chemical weapons caches “is fraught with perils,” because not only is the U.S. unsure of where they are located, but bombing them could create “plumes of deadly vapors that could kill civilians downwind of such attacks.” If Obama takes this route, he’ll kill more civilians with chemical weapons than would have died without a U.S. military response.
Instead, Obama may target “military, and command and control, targets — including artillery and missile units that could be used to launch chemical weapons — instead of the bunkers believed to contain them.” Ok, and what appreciable effect will this have? On the one hand, such strikes wouldn’t amount to leveling Assad’s entire military infrastructure since Obama is intent to “maintain the functions of the state” in order to avoid a power vacuum that would boost the al-Qaeda-linked rebels and possibly allow them to get their hands on Assad’s chemical weapons (which they have said they would use). As Phil Giraldi, former CIA intelligence officer, told me back in March, “Obama has come around to the view that regime change is more fraught with dangers than letting Assad remain.”
President Obama’s foreign policy has descended from feckless to vapid. No other word will do.