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Syria Plan

Respecthelect

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Plenty of Syrian mistakes to debate and discuss, but what should Obama do now? No shortage of critics, but what is the best path forward? How can Obama dig his way out of this Syrian debacle? What specific actions should the president take to lead us to a successful end-state? What resources could Obama marshal to maximize our and the world's benefit?
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Respecthelect's plan: First we must agree on the goal. If it weren't for chemical weapons, America would have virtually no interest in Syria, so it should be obvious our sole goal is to eliminate the chemical weapons by whatever means maximizes our benefit. We could bomb the chemicals, ask the Russians to destroy them, arm the rebels to destroy them or ask the U.N., NATO, etc. to destroy them. By whatever means we choose, the chemical weapons must be destroyed. Not shipped-off to be used somewhere else in the future - eliminate them from the face of the earth.

Second, the playing field. Russia's interests are deep within Syria. Syria is their only warm water port and Russia has few friends around the world. We think Putin out-played Obama (and he did), but Russia is very vulnerable here. The last thing Russia wants is missiles and bombs releasing poison gas in their only southern port. Syria is their last outpost. Their oasis. Their base of influence with Iran and in the Muslim theater. Russia can not afford to have American's toppling dictators and blowing the place to smithereens.

John Kerry offered one-week for Syria to turn over weapons - unconditionally. Hold Russia, Iran and Syria to it. America holds all the cards. After all, Russia, Iran and Syria put the weapons in Syria. They employed the chemicals. It's not our fault if leakage occurs if and when we are left with no alternative than to bomb those chemical weapons.

Obama should 1) Make it clear the goal is to destroy chemical weapons. Not punishment to Assad, not retaliation, not "for the children," not taking sides, not changing momentum on the battlefield. Destroy chemical weapons - period. 2) Make the case against chemical weapons. All but a handful of countries already agreed by signing the Chemical Weapons Ban Treaty. Hammer it over and over. 3) Call out wimpy countries for not standing up to evil. Compare to 1930's Germany. Make it clear we're relentlessly against chemical weapons. Point out that it's in our national interest, that because of the treaty, we don't have chemical weapons to retaliate. Stop all other unrelated arguments. They are counterproductive. 4) Publicly order a cargo ship suitable for carrying chemical weapons to Syria. Start the one-week clock when the cargo ship reaches Syria's port. 5) Publicly thank Russia for agreeing to John Kerry's one-week time limit and welcome them and their chemicals aboard the cargo ship. Give Russian's one week to load the first chemical and one-month to load the last chemical. 6) Prepare the military to strike each and every known chemical storage, staging and launch facility. 7) Order the attack, should Russia fail to deliver all chemicals to the cargo ship within the one-month deadline. Focus solely on chemical sites and the C3-integrated air defenses defending those sites. Do not take sides. Destroy both Assad's chemicals and opposition chemicals (if there are any).

There it is. Concrete steps to solve the problem. No hand-wringing. Nothing outside the control or purview of the president. Work on worldwide support, but be prepared to call out cowardly countries (and congresspersons). Prepare arguments for why it was Russia and Syria that are to blame for collateral damage.

What's left is a far better world. A world where dictators know they can't use (and therefore needn't develop) WMD's. A world where threats to ourselves and our allies are lowered. Few American's at risk. A clear and effective use of diplomacy and power. A strategic plan that envisions the end from the beginning. A plan that is unlikely to get away from us in scope or mission-creep.

This plan depends on focussing solely on the chemical weapons and nothing else. Stepping one inch over the line toward same-sex senator's goals or taking sides destroys this plan's effectiveness. Follow this blueprint and prosper.

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Wraith8

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If he felt that it was best to launch an airstrike on Syria then he should've just done that. He didn't need congressional approval to launch an airstrike, he could've done that on his own authority.

If he felt that it was best to NOT launch an airstrike on Syria then he should've just publicly stated that that was his decision and that the US wouldn't intervene.

Instead he was indecisive and this has not been one of the better moments of his presidency.
 

Respecthelect

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Would'a, could'a, should'a. This thread is about where we go from here. Also, Obama was all over the map. He had instinct that something needed to be done, he still doesn't know what. He doesn't know the goal and therefore the nation doesn't know the goal. Without a goal, nothing gels. The goal is destroy chemical weapons and nothing else. Throwing every argument against the wall and seeing what sticks is dead wrong. Focus on chemicals and actively tamp-down every other potential goal. Do this and the solution presents itself.

The premise of conducting a random airstrike is likewise, dead wrong. Obama's proposed airstrike excluded chemical targets. Dead wrong again. Chemicals are the only valid target, yet Obama intended to exclude them for fear of collateral damage. The chemicals need to be destroyed, collateral damage or not. So, you see why simply performing a random airstrike doesn't accomplish the goal, because Obama to this day doesn't understand the only valid goal - destroy the chemicals.

Ready, fire, aim.
 
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