JIM CREES: Too late for a ‘strong message’

OK. So now President Obama is going to give Congress the opportunity to weigh in on a potential strike at Syria.


Not too long ago, I wrote expressing my confusion over the U.S. policy with regard to Syria.

At the time, the president had first laid out his policy stating that decisive action against the government of Syrian president Bashar al Assad would be taken if and when the Syrians “crossed the Red Line.”

This “Red Line” for President Obama was the use of chemical weapons.

Well, Assad did use chemical weapons against his own people — or at least it would appear to be so.

Soooooooo ... the response?

The Obama administration will talk some more ... and some more ... and some more, giving the Syrians plenty of time to formulate their response to our response.


Again, I didn’t understand the chemical weapon “Red Line” thing in the first place.

I mean ... really. Over 100,000 people have been killed by Assay’s team using “conventional” weapons. I simply don’t understand why 1,000 or a couple thousand being killed with gas instead of a gun or an ax changes the situation.

I guess I’m being naive, but I’m thinking the families of the 100,000 killed previous to the use of sarin gas really don’t understand the “Red Line” policy any more than do I.

At the end of the day, ladies and gentlemen, dead is dead. And dead civilians are dead civilians.

But, away we go. The president will consult with Congress.


Problem is, despite their protestations to the contrary, none of them seem to even try and understand the Middle Eastern mind.

Here’s my suggested time line for events.

1) The U.S. team discuss, debate, consult, waffle, discuss some more, debate a few more days, waffle a bit more, and finally decide to launch a couple dozen cruise missiles — strategically aimed at specific Syrian targets.

2) The Syrians, (who have had weeks to prepare for the suggested attack), try to knock the missiles out of the sky before they reach the proposed targets, (it’s called defending themselves), which means more fireworks fall on Syrian civilians without their even being intentionally targeted in the first place.

There is international dismay and consternation at the unintended “collateral damage.”

The U.S. blames Syria for the civilian deaths. Syria blames the U.S.

The world place the U.S. smack level with Syria on the blame scale.

3) In response to the U.S. attacks on Syrian soil, Syria strikes back at America’s closest “ally” in the region — Israel.

4) After one missile, one single rocket is fired on Israel from Syrian soil, the Israelis respond like a junk-yard dog, with massive attacks on just about anything that moves in Syria. Keep in mind, this year is the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War during which Syria almost, almost took over portions of the northern Galilee region in Israel.

Israel will never, Never, NEVER let anything like that happen again.

5) Israel could also well take advantage of the opportunity to take a few shots at Iran in the offing. Hey! Why not? They’ve been anxious to do so for months now. If this happens, Iran could well start lobbing missiles at Israel — but also at various American military interests in the “neighborhood.”

And all of this because the U.S. feels need to “save face” after its unilaterally declared “Red Lines’ were crossed by the maniacal regime of a man whose family has been murdering Syrian civilians for generations — with zero world reaction.

President Obama talks about sending a strong message.

Mr. President, the time for a strong message was any time BEFORE 100,000 people were killed. The time for a strong message is long past.

It’s WAY too late to be sending messages — strong or otherwise.

There are over 100,000 fresh graves in Syria because the U.S. and the civilized world didn’t respond decisively years ago.

Now, we are in a desperate game of catch up to an already defined situation on the ground, and we are actually creating a situation and atmosphere that could become much more regionally volatile and much less locally effective.

Oh well.

The U.S. is once again joining in what historian Barbara Tuchman called “... the March of Folly.”