Small Wars Journal


Loose Talk on Intervention in Syria

Tue, 03/13/2012 - 2:13pm

Ryan Evans blogs at the Center for National Policy about the talk of intervention in Syria and the rigor yet to be applied, citing Col John Collins' (Ret) checklist for considering military intervention.  Evans argues that these points have yet to be fully explored and that any serious advocacy of intervention must answer these questions before we expend any blood and treasure on an ill-defined impulse.  Read more here.


There is a lot of loose talk on intervention in Syria. Various commentators, government officials – former and current, and analysts are calling for some sort of US military involvement in the blooming civil war between the Alawite Assad regime and the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Recommendations range from arming the opposition to providing special operations and air support. Many of their arguments make a compelling moral case for intervention. Some even provide an operational framework for what military support for the FSA might look like. The trouble is, very few advocates of intervention have taken the time to: 

(a) Provide a strategic rationale for intervention based on US interests, 
(b) Identify what circumstances would merit a commitment that would place American military lives at risk, 
(c) Explain the criteria for disengagement if the conflict endures beyond our expectations, 
(d) Explain how the likely alternatives to Assad will be better for the United States.
(e) Explain what success looks like and what comes next .