Having leaked to the world, and thus to Syrian president Bashar Assad, a detailed briefing of the coming U.S. air attack on Syria — (1) the source (offshore warships and perhaps a bomber or two), (2) the weapon (cruise missiles), (3) the duration (two or three days), (4) the purpose (punishment, not “regime change”) — perhaps we should be publishing the exact time the bombs will fall, lest we disrupt dinner in Damascus.
So much for the element of surprise. Into his third year of dithering, two years after declaring Assad had to go, one year after drawing — then erasing — his own red line on chemical weapons, Barack Obama has been stirred to action.
Or more accurately, shamed into action. Which is the worst possible reason. A president doesn’t commit soldiers to a war for which he has zero enthusiasm. Nor does one go to war for demonstration purposes...What's the biggie, Chuck? So he'll lob a few Tomahawks and maybe topple some infrasctructure. Hey, it's worth it if it helps boost his self-esteem, right? ('Cause, you know, if there's one thing he's lacking, it's that.)
Update: It seems like only yesterday that then-SOTUS Mrs. Clinton called Assad "a reformer."
Update: Melanie Phillips opines:
What kind of Commander-in-Chief publicly announces in advance details and targets of his proposed strike? A Commander-in-Chief who is going to war not to defeat an enemy but, cynically and opportunistically, to win plaudits at home.Update: Meet al Nusra, the most effective "rebel" force in Syria, al Qaeda's Syrian branch that's backed by the Saudis and other oily Gulf fundamentalists (making this a proxy war between Wahhabis and Khomeinists).
Update: It's all about him:
Today, The Hill is reporting the latest leak, one that completely gives away the game, quoting a “U.S. official” that “the White House is seeking a strike on Syria ‘just muscular enough not to get mocked.’” Whether the strike does any good (or does ill, for that matter) doesn’t matter. The risk that Obama might be mocked is all that counts.