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Response to nashville_brook (Original post)

Thu Aug 29, 2013, 09:11 AM

96. And what exactly is a "punishment bombing?"

Yesterday I heard a former ME advisor or some such supposed expert opine that if the U.S. was contemplating a strike on Syria, then it would be aimed at stopping Assad or turning the tide of the war, and that if the first strike failed to do so, of course the U.S. would escalate its attacks from there. EXACTLY the kind of Iraq quagmire scenario most likely to enrage the American public.

By the time I got home, all the talk was about this limited "punishment" strike, where we would "send a messsage" about chemical weapons, and then stop.

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama vowed on Wednesday that the Syrian government would face "international consequences" for last week's deadly chemical attack, but made clear any military response would be limited to avoid dragging the United States into another war in the Middle East.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/28/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE97K0EL20130828

There is a lot wrong with this whole idea. As noted, we still don't have confirmation as to the use of the weapons, and by whom, but for some reason, the push seems to be to go forward ahead of the U.N. inspection. Especially odd given the quickly disparaged U.N. reports on the last claimed chemical attack, which implicated rebel forces.

If this is all about lines in the sand and enforcing "norms" of military conduct why, as with Iraq, is the U.S. again insisting we don't need no stinkin' U.N. inspections? Hate to be cynical, but the simplest explanation would be that we don't CARE who used what weapons, but rather are looking, again, for an excuse to intervene militarily.

But moreover, military actions have military objectives. The speculation appears to be that bombs and cruise missiles would be used to take out C&C and air defenses. Those are, coincidentally, the first targets that would be required for an extended bombing campaign or an invasion.

So what exactly is the concept here? This is some kind of limited, high-stakes corporal punishment, meaning it's NOT a prelude to further action, but it's still going to lay the groundwork for engagement anyway? This seems like the kind of situation where sanctions, not military intervention, would apply -- unless military intervention is the goal.

It makes no sense. A campaign of guided missile attacks are not sanctions -- it's war. So trying to gain the American public's trust on the basis that it's NOT war is disingenuous. So is not waiting for U.N. analysis. So is not considering further sanctions.

"Punishment bombing" is not a thing that militaries do. Militaries fight wars. We can say all we want that we are "policing" or "supporting" or "advising," but once the warships and the bombers and the missiles are in play, we are engaging in war.

This proposal is not the thing it is represented as being. Not at all.

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LineReply And what exactly is a "punishment bombing?"
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