Thursday, August 29, 2013

So the U.S. Launches a Military Strike. Then What?

By Robin Wright

As the Obama administration and the U.S. military plot military action against Syria, they should be spending just as much time — and arguably more — considering what happens next. Once Washington crosses the threshold of action, there's no retreating from blame for anything that follows, whether through action or inaction. And in the weeks and months to come, dangers will only deepen.

First, quick hits rarely achieve enduring political goals — and often produce more costs or unintended consequences than benefits. I've seen it so often before.

I lived in Lebanon in the fall of 1983 when the Reagan administration ordered the Marine peacekeepers deployed in Beirut to open fire on a Muslim militia. The commander bluntly warned Washington that a strike would have dire consequences for U.S. policy and his troops. "We'll get slaughtered down here," he predicted. Nonetheless, the cruiser Virginia stationed offshore fired 70 deafening rounds on the Lebanese fighters.

It was supposed to be a quick hit. It was supposed to send a warning.

But 34 days later, on Oct. 23, a yellow Mercedes truck carrying the equivalent of 6 tons of explosives drove into the Marine barracks as the peacekeepers slept. In my head, I can still hear the thundering bomb blast. It was the single largest nonnuclear explosion anywhere since World War II. It produced the largest loss of American military life in a single incident since Iwo Jima.

Four months later, the world's mightiest military was ordered to leave Lebanon, its mission incomplete. The embryo of what became Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, had forced the retreat of American, French, Italian and British troops.

This time in Syria, Washington may again consider its action limited and specifically targeted. But Syria and its allies, notably Hezbollah, surely won't. And they can respond in many ways.

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

  1. The United States military is apparently bored. Just have the military make gay porn to occupy their time. At least they will get off and get a blowjob.