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Applying the 8 Questions of the Powell Doctrine to Syria

Wehrwolfen

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By Stephen M. Walt
September 3, 2013


Remember the Powell doctrine? Elaborated by Colin Powell back in 1990, during his tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it consisted of a series of questions identifying the conditions that should be met before committing U.S. military forces to battle. The questions were:

1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?

2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?

3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?

4. Have all other nonviolent policy means been fully exhausted?

5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?

6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?

7. Is the action supported by the American people?

8. Do we have genuine broad international support?​

For Powell, each question had to be answered in the affirmative before a decision to use military force was made. If these conditions were met, however, Powell (and other military officers of his generation) believed that the United States should then use sufficient force to achieve decisive victory.

Like the closely related "Weinberger doctrine" (named for Reagan-era Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger), these guidelines were designed to ensure that the United States did not stumble into pointless wars whose costs far outweighed the benefits. Powell understood that civilians often had idealistic or quixotic ideas about improving the world with U.S. military power and that they were often too quick to employ it without thinking through the broader strategic implications. One might think of the Powell doctrine as a checklist designed to curb the well-intentioned but naive desire for global do-gooding that has inspired American liberal interventionists for decades.


(Excerpt)

Read more:
What Would Colin Do? The Case Against War with Syria. | Stephen M. Walt

Hmm..., I wonder if Messrs. Obama, Kerry and Obama's advisors used that check list to decide in striking Syria?
 

Dittohead not!

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By Stephen M. Walt
September 3, 2013


Remember the Powell doctrine? Elaborated by Colin Powell back in 1990, during his tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it consisted of a series of questions identifying the conditions that should be met before committing U.S. military forces to battle. The questions were:

1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?

2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?

3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?

4. Have all other nonviolent policy means been fully exhausted?

5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?

6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?

7. Is the action supported by the American people?

8. Do we have genuine broad international support?​

For Powell, each question had to be answered in the affirmative before a decision to use military force was made. If these conditions were met, however, Powell (and other military officers of his generation) believed that the United States should then use sufficient force to achieve decisive victory.

Like the closely related "Weinberger doctrine" (named for Reagan-era Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger), these guidelines were designed to ensure that the United States did not stumble into pointless wars whose costs far outweighed the benefits. Powell understood that civilians often had idealistic or quixotic ideas about improving the world with U.S. military power and that they were often too quick to employ it without thinking through the broader strategic implications. One might think of the Powell doctrine as a checklist designed to curb the well-intentioned but naive desire for global do-gooding that has inspired American liberal interventionists for decades.


(Excerpt)

Read more:
What Would Colin Do? The Case Against War with Syria. | Stephen M. Walt

Hmm..., I wonder if Messrs. Obama, Kerry and Obama's advisors used that check list to decide in striking Syria?

It seems to me t hat the last time all of the 8 points could have been answered in the affirmative was in WWII.

Just what is our objective, should we attack Syria?

and what is our exit strategy?

I heard John Kerry being quoted saying that we aren't going to have "boots on the ground" in Syria...... unless, of course, we decide to have boots on the ground.

Holy (bleep!). Is that what passes for leadership in Washington?
 

Wehrwolfen

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It seems to me t hat the last time all of the 8 points could have been answered in the affirmative was in WWII.

Just what is our objective, should we attack Syria?

and what is our exit strategy?

I heard John Kerry being quoted saying that we aren't going to have "boots on the ground" in Syria...... unless, of course, we decide to have boots on the ground.

Holy (bleep!). Is that what passes for leadership in Washington?

While Kerry was facing the wrath of Congress, Obama was on the golf links laughing his head off and scoring his usual 110 strokes.
 

head of joaquin

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Hmm..., I wonder if Messrs. Obama, Kerry and Obama's advisors used that check list to decide in striking Syria?

Yeah, because it worked so well in Iraq.
 

head of joaquin

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While Kerry was facing the wrath of Congress, Obama was on the golf links laughing his head off and scoring his usual 110 strokes.

Yep, he knows how to delegate and golf. Bush just knew how to invade and spend $3T giving Iran hegemony over the middle east.
 

Vern

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Lets apply the Powell doctrine to the actual reason for a possible Syrian Strike. the issue is about countries using WMDs. Sadly, Assad is free to kill as many people as he wants in his country, he just cant use chemical or biological weapons (only friends of Reagan are allowed to do that).


1. Is a vital national security interest threatened? to deter the use of WMDs, a case could be made to answer that yes. What I don't understand is that cons were all for stopping imaginary WMDs but not actual WMDS and their actual use.

2. Do we have a clear attainable objective? Yes, to let Syria know we will respond if they use them again.

3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed? I'll say yes, we overestimated the concern of 'blowback' when we let OBL walk out of Tora Bora. We underestimated the costs in lives and money and blowback when we invaded Iraq. cons over estimated the effects of 'blowback' when we helped eliminate a despot dictator in Libya that was suddenly friends with Bush and Haliburton.


4. Have all other nonviolent policy means been fully exhausted? mmmm, probably a yes but I don't rule out a no.

5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement? yes, we aren't putting boots on the ground so no exit strategy is needed. It worked brilliantly in Libya.

6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered? mmmm, probably yes again. We don't have an oil puppet in the WH who was looking for any excuse and willing to tell any lie to attack Syria.

7. Is the action supported by the American people? this is probably a no. Cons will obediently do as their radio masters instruct them and be against it. And dems are pretty split on the action. I myself am pretty much undecided. But again, I don't understand how cons agree to the deaths of 4000 Americans, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and spending hundreds of billions in dollars because of imaginary WMDs but be against not only real WMDs but the actual use of them. Amazeballs!

8. Do we have genuine broad international support? Now with the Arab league I'll say yes.


(see how I was clear and specific. Being clear and specific, facts, honesty and intelligence are not the enemy of my beliefs)
 

Velvet Elvis

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EIGHT questions???

And you actually put them all in one thread, instead of eight separate threads??? Wow...
 

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1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?

No. Not even a non-vital national security interest is threatened.

2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?

No.

3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?

Seriously? This is government we are talking about, the answer to this question is ALWAYS no.

4. Have all other nonviolent policy means been fully exhausted?

Who cares. The 'no' on the first three invalidate all the other questions.

5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?

Hell no.

6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?

See response to #3.

7. Is the action supported by the American people?

Last poll shows about 9% support. Those would be the biggest sheep in the country.

8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

Not even close.


Even without the Powell Doctrine, it would take some real twisting of logic to even suggest that doing anything to or in Syria was right or called for.
 

Wehrwolfen

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Yeah, because it worked so well in Iraq.

Apparently Mr. Obama's allies have read the eight questions and decided to sit out Obama's naïve incompetent attempt at foreign policy. Obama's made a mockery of America before the world. It's not just me that has come to that conclusion. Ask some of you're Democrats in D.C., they're jumping the USS Obama ship.
 

Vern

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Apparently Mr. Obama's allies have read the eight questions and decided to sit out Obama's naïve incompetent attempt at foreign policy.

wow wehr, I see you're still struggling with the definition of "ignore". Previously you thought it meant "reply to me only when convenient" now you think it means you get to pretend I didn't respond.
 

Dittohead not!

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Apparently Mr. Obama's allies have read the eight questions and decided to sit out Obama's naïve incompetent attempt at foreign policy. Obama's made a mockery of America before the world. It's not just me that has come to that conclusion. Ask some of you're Democrats in D.C., they're jumping the USS Obama ship.

Agreed.

Obama is looking more and more like my avatar all the time.
 
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