Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tap dancing in the minefield of unintended consequences. 4GW for thee but not for me? Wall Street Journal columnist embraces 4th Generation Warfare as applied to Syria.

"Be careful what you wish for. You may get it." -- An ancient Chinese proverb.
As CNBC calculates the costs of Syrian intervention and Foreign Policy assures us that "Intercepted Calls Prove Syrian Army Used Nerve Gas, U.S. Spies Say," Politico has 5 questions for Barack Obama on Syria, among them, "What’s with all these leaks?"
Iran is threatening to rain down destruction on Israel and Israel is dusting off the civilian gas masks once again. This has all the makings of a regional, if not global, war.
But Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal has stumbled into the minefield of unintended consequences and embraced 4th Generation Warfare targeting in an article entitled, "Target Assad. A strike directed straight at the Syrian dictator and his family is the only military option that could hasten the end of the civil war."
Should President Obama decide to order a military strike against Syria, his main order of business must be to kill Bashar Assad. Also, Bashar's brother and principal henchman, Maher. Also, everyone else in the Assad family with a claim on political power. Also, all of the political symbols of the Assad family's power, including all of their official or unofficial residences. The use of chemical weapons against one's own citizens plumbs depths of barbarity matched in recent history only by Saddam Hussein. A civilized world cannot tolerate it. It must demonstrate that the penalty for it will be acutely personal and inescapably fatal.
Maybe this strikes some readers as bloody-minded. But I don't see how a president who ran for his second term boasting about how he "got" Osama bin Laden—one bullet to the head and another to the heart—has any grounds to quarrel with the concept.
I like that last line about Obama not having any grounds to quarrel with the concept. But Stephens, Lord love him, has not thought this through. For what is good for goose is surely good for the gander. Obama, by embracing the targeting of enemy war-makers and decision-takers as exemplified by Fourth Generation Warfare, is aiming a precision guided weapon at his own head. This fact cannot be lost upon the Syrians or the Iranians or any of their sleeper cell familiars currently in this country. Indeed, in the modern era politicians have been reluctant to kill their counterparts for fear that, in the words of Malcolm Reynolds, "Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back!" This is a relatively unexplored country for American presidents, save for Bill Clinton's unheralded changing of the rules of engagement in 1999 vis-a-vis the recalcitrant Serbs. And of course Milosevic did not try to return the favor for powerful political constraints of his own.
That will not be the case for the Assad regime or, I dare say, the Iranians. Not to put too fine a point on it, but those rules are equally applicable to any would-be tyrant anywhere and it doesn't require cruise missiles, satellites and drones to carry them out. ANY would-be tyrant. ANYWHERE. At ANY time. Including this country in the 21st Century.
Obama, by embracing and extending Clinton's rules of engagement with the Serbians to the war-making and decision-taking elites of his enemies whoever he perceives them to be, will be pointing a gun at his own head, and at those of all the collectivist myrmidons in his administration. If not now, then in the future.
In the context of American liberty -- and conjecturing hypothetically -- I am on record as opposing the assassination of an American president no matter how tyrannical, preferring to save such a person for the war crimes trials that will follow. The same does not extend to the upper echelons of war-makers and decision-takers of such a hypothetical oppressive regime. The Iranians and Syrians, however, being collectivists themselves of their own ilk, will not have my moral or political scruples about killing an American president.


Anonymous said...

The blowback also takes in Mr. Bret Stephens. Let's see if he is willing to take one for the team.

Anonymous said...

So, essentially, until the American people elect someone who realizes this is ineffective window dressing and has the stones to reverse it, there will be no "Korea Return" M1 Garands or M1 Carbines.

FedUp said...

"Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back!"

That's how it worked with the Bushes and Saddam Hussein.

Anonymous said...

Assad ain't likely to leave power...IMO, he very well may be the Anti-Christ (based on my reading of the biblical text).

Whatever may end up happening in Syria, remember: He's just the tool in God's hand.

This fight in Syria may well mean WWIII and Armageddon.

Gunny G said...

The Talmud even confirms this mode of thinking:

"If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill them first."

Obama and his ilk will reap what they sow and rightly.

Rhodes said...

Still trying to wrap my head around the difference between being burning to death after being blown up by a drone and poison gas.

At least the gas you can dress for...OHHHH so thats it.

Anonymous said...

You religious bible nuts are amusing. You think everything can be explained by the bible. The Old Testament is nothing more than a very biased history of the Jewish people. The New Testament is a claim and is proof of nothing.

Get your heads out of the sand and out of the Bible. Deal with the realities of the world today. So-called prophecy is just so much bullshit.

"If you could reason with religious people there would be no religious people."
- Dr. Gregory House

Paul X said...

"You religious bible nuts are amusing."

I have to laugh at those who promote reason over religion - while doing the most unreasonable thing imaginable, trying to change peoples' minds through ridicule. Maybe they ought to take some of their own advice, and try reason instead.

Tom said...

First off, Assad got 72 of probably the best anti-shipping missiles on the planet in May. Remember that? Mach 2.5 ramjets that Jane's says are "formidable ship killers". And we send missile boats to be within their range? Soviets were lacking and are lacking in carriers and viable subs, but their new missiles are formidable.

Part II regarding somebody being stupid on Penn Avenue:

Mr Obama's national security aides are studying the NATO air war in Kosovo as a possible blueprint for acting without a mandate from the United Nations.

Kosovo is an obvious precedent for Mr Obama because, as in Syria, civilians were killed and Russia had longstanding ties to the government authorities accused of the abuses.

In 1999, president Bill Clinton used the endorsement of NATO and the rationale of protecting a vulnerable population to justify 78 days of air strikes.

A senior administration official said the Kosovo precedent was one of many subjects discussed in continuing White House meetings on the crisis in Syria.

''It's a step too far to say we're drawing up legal justifications for an action, given that the President hasn't made a decision,'' said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ''But Kosovo, of course, is a precedent of something that is perhaps similar.''

So you were entirely correct they'd use the same Balkan model. But Balkans didn't have people pre-positioned all over the planet to raise hell if attacked...

Regards in Liberty,

72 of these...Google "Yahont". Jane's Defence says they are serious ship killers and we send surface ships with tomahawks? I remember when the Royal Navy was outfitted with Exocets, the same as the Argies, but the Argies effectively used theirs. RIP HMS SHeffield, etc...

Anonymous said...

"You religious bible nuts are amusing."

Then laugh and move on. Don't say you weren't warned though....should it actually come to pass.

Best of luck to you regardless.