Thursday, April 6, 2017

War In Syria? Why Not!

The Federalist, which is working hard to become a parody of itself, asks 14 questions YOU should answer before going to war in Syria! Let's do this.

1) What national security interest, rather than pure humanitarian interest, is served by the use of American military power to depose Assad’s regime?

First, humanitarian interest is legitimate. Sorry guys--but the second is that it is within the United State's security interest to come down like a fucking hammer on people who deploy WMD. We'll see this later--but The Federalist breaks out the stupid on question one.

2) How will deposing Assad make America safer?

The writer doesn't realize that any answer to question 1 answers question two. This is because he can't imagine an answer to question one.

3) What does final political victory in Syria look like (be specific), and how long will it take for that political victory to be achieved? Do you consider victory to be destabilization of Assad, the removal of Assad, the creation of a stable government that can protect itself and its people without additional assistance from the United States, etc.?

Ahh--the "Be Specific" question. This is handy to ensure no answer is every good enough. The end-game is (a) the slaughter of civilians stopped (b) Russian power decreased in the area and (c) the rule of an entity that is not as abominable as Assad. Basically anyone better than ISIS in charge.

4) What military resources (e.g., ground troops), diplomatic resources, and financial resources will be required to achieve this political victory?

30k Ground Troops, full-court diplomatic press (meaning our anemic State Department isn't up to it--but that's Davis' fault--he backed the current leader. Yes, yes he did.) and it'll cost about 100bn. Show The Omnivore's work? Prove The Omnivore wrong, dick-head.

5) How long will it take to achieve political victory?

"Political Victory"? Military victory. 18 months. Prove The Omnivore wrong, dickhead. NOTE: For those playing the home-game, these are questions that have almost no basis for answering so Davis thinks that if you can't answer, you shouldn't play. This isn't how the world works. The questions are around strategic directions.

6) What costs, in terms of lives (both military and civilian), dollars, and forgone options elsewhere as a result of resource deployment in Syria, will be required to achieve political victory?

The opportunity cost of invading Syria will make a military assault on North Korea less likely. It will weaken us in potential war with China for this year and part of next year. Both of these are wars we can choose not to fight at the current time.

7) What other countries will join the United States in deposing Assad, in terms of military, monetary, or diplomatic resources?

We could get NATO to help out if our CIC wasn't actively dissing them. The Federalist backs Trump so that's on them, of course.

8) Should explicit congressional authorization for the use of military force in Syria be required, or should the president take action without congressional approval?

Either way is good, tbh. No matter which way is chosen, someone will be upset (See Obama who did both and made no one happy).

9) What is the risk of wider conflict with Russia, given that nation’s presence and stake in Syria, if the United States chooses to invade and depose Assad, a key Russian ally in the Middle East?

The risk is real. Remember how Romney said Russia was our #1 Geo-Political Foe, Obama said "Nope" and now the Right mocks Obama for it? Yeah--well, part of having a geo-political foe is that you get to--have to--"foe" with them. Sorry Davis. You know better than this stupid shit--you just hope we don't. Yes, it's real. No that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.

10) If U.S. intervention in Syria does spark a larger war with Russia, what does political victory in that scenario look like, and what costs will it entail?

One of the more frightening scenarios is an accidental clash where individual forces (such as fighter planes) exchange fire without it being a planned meeting engagement. This is the kind of risk that could be de-escalated if both sides plan for it (i.e. whoever fires first has to back down substantially--so be careful with that shit). In the event of actual, you know, war? It looks like Russia losing more material than we do--but it looks like a nightmare.

Oh--you don't want a geo-political foe? Right. That's why you didn't vote for Romney. Got it.

11) Given that Assad has already demonstrated a willingness to use chemical weapons, how should the United States respond if the Assad regime deploys chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons against the United States?

The Omnivore told you he'd get back to it. You respond to WMD with WMD--the same as anyone else. This is why you take the action--so that people know that using WMD is a bad fucking idea. 

12) Assuming the Assad regime is successfully removed from power, what type of government structure will be used to replace Assad, who will select that government, and how will that government establish and maintain stability going forward?

A repressive theocratic regime will likely be installed. Same as everywhere there. But most of those regimes--in fact, almost fucking all of them--are way, way, WAY better than Assad.

13) Given that a change in political power in the United States radically altered the American position in Iraq in 2009, how will you mitigate or address the risk of a similar political dynamic upending your preferred strategy in Syria, either in 2018, 2020, or beyond?

Good lord. The same way The Omnivore always does it: by sticking to principles and rolling with the punches.

14) What lessons did you learn from America’s failure to achieve and maintain political victory following the removal of governments in Iraq and Libya, and how will you apply those lessons to a potential war in Syria?

That people will blame you no matter what you do. That's the key one. The US had full regional cooperation in going after Kaddafi. Kaddafi was a monster. Reagan tried to kill him back in the day. But when we actually do it? Boo-hoo-hoo. What The Omnivore learned from Iraq is that if you say there are WMD there had better fucking be WMD. If there's not, you eat it hard. If we'd gone in and found a massive chemical weapon assembly line, we wouldn't have these stupid 14 questions.


  1. As much as it pains me to even slightly defend Davis, the answers you've given are way more persuasive than anything that's come out of the White House. It seems like members of the Administration--competent ones, like McMaster and Haley--still don't even have a single story on whether the ultimate goal in Syria is regime change or not.

  2. A lot of your argument is that Assad is worse than any alternative, but would he be worse than any alternative not in the middle of fighting a civil war?

    1. Given the role Assad played in instigating that civil war, I think there's a strong argument that he would be. I disagree with a lot of what the Omnivore says here, but Assad's extremely terrible, even by the standards of corrupt dictators.