Pentagon adjusts plans for more intense attacks on Syria – says Los Angeles Times
U.S. war planners are preparing for a longer bombardment than was originally envisioned, but “best laid plans of mice and men do go awry” – NATO’s bombing of Serbia case in point
Once president Obama gives the order, the Pentagon is planning to attack Syria with cruise and other missiles for 72 hours according to a – Los Angeles Times story today. That’s longer than the US military had originally envisioned the bombings. But Obama still favors a limited attack that would not involve sending large numbers of warplanes over Syria to drop bombs, officials told the LA Times.
Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men Often Go Awry
Of course, the “best laid plans of mice and men go often awry,” as Robert Burns wrote in a 1785 poem. Bill Clinton and his war party also thought that the NATO bombing of Serbia would bring that country to its knees in a matter of days. Ten weeks and 38,000 combat missions later, the Clinton and his generals were running out of both munitions and patience. How do I know that? Because I was there in the thick of things. Literally.
While this writer was visiting bombed out Belgrade in April 1999 as a war correspondent, he got a call from a top Serb military official. The caller said that Clinton had just met with some American Serbs in Washington. The Serb general, of course, was most anxious to find out what happened. So I called my contacts in DC from my Belgrade hotel and within a few minutes got the full scoop. Clinton was practically begging the Serbian Americans to intervene as intermediaries and try to bring the war to an end.
Obviously, I was in the right place to do it. So my Washington contacts asked me to see what I can do to bring the warring parties to a common ground. I met with the top Serbian generals the next day. The record of that conversation is in my wartime diary. Suffice it to say that it took seven more weeks of war before the NATO madness ended.
Anyway, the point of that anecdote is to illustrate how misguided American presidents can be when they launch an attack. And how there are always surprises in military operations. Clinton’s NATO coalition that attacked Serbia was the most formidable military alliance ever assembled in the history of mankind.
A military alliance of 19 nations and 780 million people; with over half of the world’s GDP, wielding two-thirds of the global military firepower, ganged up on a tiny nation of 8 million. For 79 days, NATO terrorized the people of Serbia, dropping 23,000 bombs and missiles on them in 38,000 sorties. Yet the citizens and the army of that small country remained unbowed and unkowed! This is not hearsay. I saw their defiance with my own eyes during the six days I had spent under NATO bombardment.
So why should we believe the Pentagon that three days of bombing would bring Syria to submission? Unlike Serbia, which basically stood alone against a massive foreign air attack for 10 weeks, Syria has powerful friends. Russia, to name one. And the Russian president Putin has made it clear that Russia would stand by its friends there. So we could have a Syrian version of the “Cuban Missile Crisis” in the making, as I pointed out in that article. Only with reversed roles.
Obama’s Plan Running into Headwinds Abroad and at Home
This Syria attack has been planned long ago, according to Gen. Wesley Clark’s comments in 2007 – see “Syria Has Been in Washington’s Crosshairs for Years”). Yet Washington ran into a new diplomatic roadblock Saturday erected by the European Union. Foreign ministers of the 28 EU member nations met yesterday in Vilnius, Lithuania. And despite the presence of U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, they declined to back a military strike without approval of such intervention by the United Nations.
American officials say they see almost no chance of winning a resolution for use of force in the U.N. Security Council because Russia, a permanent member with veto power, is Syria’s strongest international backer. And not just Russia. China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Italy are some of the countries that are all “against military action,” according to Russian president Putin.
The EU ministers noted that U.N. chemical weapons inspectors were expected to report on their findings in Syria. And even the French President Francois Hollande, a vocal advocate of a military strike, decided to wait for the inspectors’ report before taking further action.
Meanwhile, Obama plans to blanket the nation’s airwaves in coming days to make his case to a skeptical public. Aides say he will tape interviews Monday with the anchors of CBS, NBC and ABC, the three major broadcast networks, as well as with PBS, CNN and Fox News. He also will address the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday, the night before the full Senate is expected to vote.
But all this congressional noise and voting could be merely a fig leaf for this warmongering president’s plan of attack. Obama has declined to say whether he would order an attack if Congress votes against it. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky took John Kerry to task over that question during the Senate Committee hearings earlier in the week. Kerry was similarly non-committal.
In other words, America now has an imperial head of state who can pick and choose the times he follows the will of the legislators. Take a look at this video clip of the Paul-Kerry duel of words on Sep 3: