Some people just don't get it. Bill Kristol is now arguing that we need to off the Syrian regime as a way of stopping the Iraqi insurgency.
U.S. military intelligence officials agree: They have recently concluded, according to the Washington Post, "that the Iraqi insurgency is being directed to a greater degree than previously recognized from Syria, where they said former Saddam Hussein loyalists have found sanctuary and are channeling money and other support to those fighting the established government."Even if Syria is helping out the insurgency, invading another Middle Eastern country (not to mention with who's army?) isn't going to do anything constructive for our efforts in Iraq, or for that matter, the war on terrorism. This is such a classic case of neocon stupidity. Instead of dealing with the fact that the insurgency exists because we screwed up, they pass the buck to Syria and then argue we need to invade it. It would almost be funny if it weren't so scary. (via War and Piece)
What to do? We have tried sweet talk (on Secretary Powell's trip to Damascus in May 2003) and tough talk (on the visit three months ago by Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman and Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt). Talk has failed. Syria is a weak country with a weak regime. We now need to take action to punish and deter Assad's regime.
It would be good, of course, if Secretary Rumsfeld had increased the size and strength of our army so that we now had more options. He didn't, and we must use the assets we have. Still, real options exist. We could bomb Syrian military facilities; we could go across the border in force to stop infiltration; we could occupy the town of Abu Kamal in eastern Syria, a few miles from the border, which seems to be the planning and organizing center for Syrian activities in Iraq; we could covertly help or overtly support the Syrian opposition (pro-human rights demonstrators recently tried to take to the streets of Damascus to protest the regime's abuses). This hardly exhausts all the possible forms of pressure and coercion. But it's time to get serious about dealing with Syria as part of winning in Iraq, and in the broader Middle East.