Tuesday, September 03, 2013

US vs. Syria: What to Expect and Why

Guest cartoonist and close friend Juan Caruso offers his appraisal of developments now captivating the media:

US vs. Syria: What to Expect and Why by Juan Caruso

Russia last week sent an anti-submarine ship and a cruiser to the zone. 

“CBS News correspondent David Martin reports two submarines — one American, one British — are in the eastern Mediterranean along with four American destroyers and a fifth on the way — all armed with cruise missiles. That’s more than enough firepower for a strike Pentagon officials say would be limited to fewer than 50 targets.”

Frightening news? No, but the U.S. mainstream media presentation of political posturing is calculated to be as alarming as possible without appearing irresponsible.  Attracting more attention to the Middle East simply snares more readers, viewers, and listeners, which sells more advertising.

Drastic military action has neither been in the cards nor has it ever been the objective of the "red-line" warning President Obama believed he would never have to enforce.  Now, Obama needs a minimalist action, convincing symbolism, if you please, as a last-resort follow through on a U.S. promise.

Putin has both publicly warned Obama and advance positioned ASW ships in the zone in which our missile launchers would operate. He would leave egg on Russsia’s face if he failed to interfere with a U.S. cruise missile attack.

Putin does not suffer embarrassment any more lightly than Obama. For that fact alone, we may also conclude that the two leaders have already agreed on a token strike on a token target that would count more toward usual mainstream propaganda in the U.S., and less for factual substance for Russian allies.

Obama may accomplish his limited objective with a drone strike or two on a Syrian military officer with an impressive rank and little fame, and another strike on an empty Syrian military facility. Putin, may have obtained and sent Obama the name and location of an unfortunate Syrian officer with Assad’s blessing. Putin would gladly allow the US to proceed with a few hated drones as indications of how weak and powerless the U.S. is --- a paper tiger.

Over the last 5 years President Obama has sent innumerable drones attacks targets (primarily terrorist assassinations) on two continents without declarations of war against against the host countries (think Pakistan and Somalia). Why are U.S. cruise missle ships pre-positioned,off Syria then?  There are three C.Y.A. reasons:
  • Military Symbolism
  • Political Decoys
  • Plausible Deterrence
Still don't believe me? Wait and see for yourself; time will tell.


 Submarines are always silent and strange.

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