Readers are undoubtedly familiar with the various “doctrines” named after American presidents. Those named after James Monroe, Harry Truman and George W. Bush are among the best known.
Well, we have a new one, announced this week by Secretary of State John Kerry.
It is a new doctrine of war — so new, in fact, that it is not only new to America; it is new in the annals of military history.
Kerry announced that an American attack on the Assad regime for using chemical weapons would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” This novel mode of fighting should be known by its acronym, USLKOE (pronounced US-il-ko).
How novel is it? It is inconceivable that any country in history has ever announced to its adversary that its forthcoming attack would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”
But what matters most is not USLKOE’s novelty. It is that it has rendered it impossible to argue the case for attacking Syria. If the American attack — presuming there will be one — is indeed an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort,” such an attack would be worse than doing nothing.
If the president is serious about punishing the Assad regime for crossing the “red line” that he himself set, then it is a punishment that Assad needs to feel. A “symbolic” attack is not an attack. The attack must injure, not symbolize
Why should we injure the Assad regime? Here are five reasons:
1. Doing nothing gives Iran, America’s greatest enemy — indeed the most dangerous regime in the world at the present time — a huge victory. We will have lost our best chance to weaken Iran’s most important ally, the regime that gives Iran clout in the Arab Middle East and which supports Hezbollah.