Consequences of Syria attack aren't easily defined
August 28th, 2013
04:42 PM ET

Consequences of Syria attack aren't easily defined

By Larry Shaughnessy

As official Washington, as well as its allies and the United Nations, debates the merits of an attack on Syria, one conclusion could easily be drawn: Little good and a whole lot of bad can come from such an attack.

A week ago, a chemical weapons attack killed nearly 1,300 people, including women and children, according to rebel leaders.

Since then, there have been calls for President Barack Obama to make good on his word that Syria's use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and require a direct response.
Obama is still weighing what to do.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday that, “The options that we are considering are not about regime change. They are about responding to a clear violation of an international standard that prohibits the use of chemical weapons."

Many officials think the most likely option is a series of cruise missile attacks launched from four Navy destroyers now deployed in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Rep. Peter King, R-New York, told CNN on Tuesday that, “We lose our credibility if we don't act in view of how strongly Obama has warned Syria in the past not the use chemical weapons.”

But there is significant opposition to the cruise missile plan. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said such a strike would work against the U.S.'s interests.

“If it's just some strikes with cruise missiles, then it will not only not do any good, it may be counterproductive and help Bashar Assad with his propaganda,” McCain told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room." “So, I greatly am concerned about what kind of strikes these will be and what they will entail.”

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee also has his doubts.

“I am still highly skeptical of how effective it’s going to be to do a one-time strike on Syria. It’s not going to be that effective, he said on "CNN Newsroom" on Wednesday.
CNN Security Analyst Peter Bergen said later on Wednesday that the situation is a delicate balancing act.

"The United States cannot let stand the large scale use of chemical weapons. I think that's just a fact," he said. "They are sort of in a quandary because they don't want to actually overthrow Assad. The post-Assad Syria would look potentially even worse. The most effective groups on the ground are aligned with al Qaeda and the others are aligned with Iran, Hezbollah."
Iran has made clear it won’t stand by idly if the U.S. attacks.

"Starting this fire will be like a spark in a large store of gunpowder, with unclear and unspecified outcomes and consequences," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranian Cabinet members in Tehran on Wednesday.

Ken Pollack, a senior fellow at Brooking’s Saban Center for Middle East policy said not responding to the chemical weapons could have long-lasting implications.

“If the United States laid down a red line on Syria and if it doesn’t enforce that red line do other actors beyond Syria conclude that the United States is a paper tiger that is never going to live up to its word, never back its threats with force and obviously they can do whatever they want.”

Pollack also points out that we don’t have a real good picture of what’s happening in Syria. He says it possible that some rogue general, opposed to Assad, launched the chemical weapons and any U.S. response that hurts Assad could lead to more chemical weapons strikes as the rogue general tries to get Assad out of power so he can take over.

Call it a deadly example of the law of unintended consequences.

soundoff (19 Responses)
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  4. Weary

    Australia's opposition leader summed this situation brilliantly. (General elections this coming Saturday).
    Something like, "This isn't goodies versus badies. It's badies versus badies" It's a scab. Don't pick it, otherwise it will never go away.

    September 1, 2013 at 5:51 am | Reply
    • Ashley

      Would not picking at the scab make it go away in all reality, or would it just be allowing it to fester? I believe that this would not go away if left unattended to, because the use of chemical weapons is violating national law.

      September 8, 2013 at 10:23 am | Reply
  5. Moo

    Consequences definitely defined if terrorist supporting goes ahead with this insanity. Just check out Iraq, terrorism will take root, al qaeda will set up training camp, sunni will kill alewites, alewites will kill durzies, durzies will kill kurds and vice verca. And the U.S. thinks it will live in peace.....some of the above killers will join their brothers in the U.S. who came after the other one invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Then we'll hire some of them in our Homeland Security department because we are so intelligent.

    August 31, 2013 at 12:24 am | Reply
  6. Tom1940

    If Pres. Obama proceeds with this "surgical strike" on Syria, there will indeed be "unintended consequences". Half-hearted measures always result in blow-back that is not desirable. Unless there is an attack that would decapitate the entire Iran Regime, including the Mullahs, Grand Puppah, and the government/military, etc., allowing the moderates to move forward and take over the reins of government – that would be a "good thing!". Nothing about such a strike against Syria from minimal to maximum presents the opportunity for a good outcome. We should stay the hell out.

    August 30, 2013 at 10:25 am | Reply
  7. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    August 30, 2013 at 3:07 am | Reply
  8. Fthkhjk Bfhtui

    you ever notice how putin and assads mug shots show they look like blood relitives albiet one could goose hunt with a rake and the other does goose hunt with a rake.

    August 28, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Reply
  9. saeed

    someone should nuke ireland dublin and then ghana accra let those usa friendly pro usa countrys pay the price for usa.

    August 28, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Reply
    • Towel Head Detector

      Warning!!!!..........Warning!!!..........Warning!!!!..........Towel Head Detected!!!!!!!!

      August 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Reply
    • Fearless Freep

      You haven't blown yourself up yet ?
      Too Bad.

      August 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  10. Quinton

    The only foreseeable consequence of any Western attack on Syria will be the needless bloodshed of thousands, if not tens of thousands of people in that country. The ignominy here is that those megalomaniacs in both London and Washington haven't produced inasmuch as one shred of evidence the the Assad regime gassed it's own people! The bottom line here is that those megalomaniacs want to add Syria to their Middle Eastern conquest, no matter how many people have to die in the process!!!!!!!!!!

    August 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • spero spyratos

      Very astute observation. They are beating the drums of war, as they did with Iraq, based on alarmist "revelations" and sadly, no other sound proof. They still haven't established who used chemical weapons, a different question then IF they were used. We are all certain they were used, but Assad seems to be the scapegoat, painted, as was Hussein, into a brutal dictator. Where is the evidence? And to pre-emptively strike is foolish and dangerous. It will light up the Middle East like a cinderblock.

      August 28, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Reply
      • StanCalif

        Excellent! Just because we (the USA) have the biggest military in the world doesn't mean we have any responsibility to "fix Syria"! None of the fighters in Syria are our friends. Why should we get involved? We have already participated in the disposing of too many dictators. Is anyone better off with these dictators gone? NO! Time after time, we dispose of dictators just to see much worse replace them. Wasn't Syria a functioning country? What will Syria be after two more years? Nothing! A bombed out country with millions of their citizens hiding in neighboring countries.

        August 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  11. World Chaos News

    Reblogged this on World Chaos News.

    August 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Fearless Freep

      So what do you want ?
      A medal ?

      August 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Reply

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