Bombing Syria, a short-sighted proposition bound to go off-course

by Rob Brune

The White House is touting a so-called humanitarian bombing campaign while pushing the line that Syria will not be the next Iraq. “Iraq and Syria are in no way analogous,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

Al Qa'Qaa bunker in Iraq
Al Qa’Qaa bunker in Iraq

How can we forget that within the first couple months of bombing and “boots on the ground” in Iraq, Baathist insurgents moved in to grab 380 tons of high explosives from the Al Qa’Qaa bunker? It wasn’t like we didn’t know the risk. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned that terrorists might “help themselves to the greatest explosives bonanza in history.”

If the U.S. bombs the holy hell out of Syria’s chemical weapons supply, who will be there to secure the remains of those chemical weapons? It’s a realistic expectation that they will fall into the hands of radical factions of the Free Syrian Army affiliated with Al Qaeda.

Bashar al-Assad is a bona fide madman. Rather than deter him, a bombing campaign will likely provoke him to use more chemical weapons. The whole discussion of a military intervention is short-sighted. Bombing Syria is a proposition that will go sideways faster than Obama and his supporters in Congress think.

UPDATE:

The good news is that someone has thought through this scenario. The bad news is that to secure Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles–estimated at 1,000 tons–the U.S. would have to deploy 75,000 troops:

The potential of strategic US strikes in Syria has sparked fears Damascus’ chemical weapons could fall into the wrong hands if the government is toppled. A recent congressional report says 75,000 troops would be needed to safeguard the WMD caches.

The Congressional Research Center (CRS) report, issued just one day before the alleged August 21 chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb, was compiled with the aim of “responding to possible scenarios involving the use, change of hands, or loss of control of Syrian chemical weapons.”

That’s 150,000 “boots on the ground.”

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Micah Turner arrested; supporters seek leniency for anti-war protestor

Sgt. Micah Turner

Military police were informed of the Army deserter’s whereabouts all along. What motivated their choice of time and location of arrest?

Micah Turner, Army Sargeant turned anti-war protestor, was arrested in early January* at his parents’ home after spending three months in legal limbo. He deserted his unit in September and later went public with his AWOL status and opposition to the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

His arrest follows two attempts to turn himself in at Fort Hamilton in October. He reportedly was turned away because no one was available to process an arrest on a federal holiday.

Military police, however, appear to have kept an eye on his movements since then and waited until he returned to his parents’ home for Christmas. He’s currently being held at Fort Irwin and will soon be transferred to Fort Bragg, where his Army unit is based.

According to his Twitter feed (@Unoccupier), which is being maintained by a friend, “Micah’s unit at Fort Bragg has authority to decide whether to retain, reprimand, prosecute, and/or discharge him.” It may also decide whether to hold him in pre-trial confinement. Supporters are organizing a campaign to advocate discharge rather than prosecution.

Turner was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan five times.

* [An earlier version of this post stated that Turner had been arrested on January 10, but his arrest occurred no later than January 3.]