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A follow-on meeting to http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2013/08/on-syria.html.

“Thank you for coming. And everyone thank Robert for requesting snacks as well as coffee and emptying out the Q2 entertainment budget. Remember, if we don’t use that line item, we lose it!”

“So… wow. Quite the turnout. Are all of you employees? It looks like ‘Bring-Your-Rich-Uncle-and-His-First-Wife-to-Work-Day’ out there.

AUDIENCE: laughter

“To begin with let me just say that Syria is the hypothetical Iraq that we didn’t invade. We left it in the hands of Saddam Hussein and in the last few years most of his generals have expired from sodomizing meth and smoking whores and the Baath Party is finally coming apart. Civil war is raging and the coke fiends are sniffing the sarin stockpile. Since we’ve avoided making the exact mistake in Syria that we made in Iraq we are in the happy situation of running this counter-factual experiment for real and figuring out how to topple The Brutal Dictator without actually sending in tens of thousands of troops and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians.”

“Perhaps we should back up a bit, though, and figure out what it would mean to roll back that goal. What if toppling the dictator wasn’t our precise goal? What if we were coming to it fresh, without all the justifications for the Iraq War still rattling around in our heads. What should our goal be for military action in Syria? … Put your hands up to be recognized, folks, that wasn’t a rhetorical question. Yes, of course, Captain America, front row.”

CAPTAIN AMERICA: “Protect the innocent!”

“Okay, Cap. Sounds good. I think we can all agree on that. Right? Anyone? Anyone rather I put down ‘fuck the innocent’?” Squeak of marker on whiteboard. “Protect… the… inno… sent. What else?”

MICHELE BACHMANN rises, blinking rapidly, “Keep Al Queda from winning!”

“From winning what sweetie? Yes, you in the back, clutching your beads.”

BEADS: “To keep the Muslin extremists from taking over Syria like they did Egypt and Tunisia!”

“Okay, let me jot this down here in red because I want to talk about it. This is the default position of everyone in the D.C. press corps, right?” Squeak, squeak, squeak, thump. “Period. Okay, so. Since a big part of the revolutionary force fighting Assad are Islamic radicals, this goal makes any intervention much more complicated. We would be defending civilians per Rule One and extending into Rule Two we would be defending and supporting fourteen different factions of secular revolutionaries. Further, this implies that we would be actively attacking Islamic revolutionaries as well as fighting Assad’s forces directly through surgical strategic and tactical strikes. So. Two, three, four fronts of military action in hundreds of random locations throughout Syria. Let me jot that down.” Squeak, squeak. “Four. Fronts. Times. One hundred.”

“Yes. And since from our perspective—looking down like gods from stealth bombers and drones and satellites in space—the battles will be fought on the ground between Assad’s forces and small groups in the rubble who have poor communications, mismatched gear, no proper badging, etc. And those small groups may be friend or foe, to be defended or contained or attacked. Right?”

“Okay, folks. How exactly is that supposed to work?”


“So again, let’s go back and look at our goals.”