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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Syria: Magical Mystery Tour

Once upon a time . . . military planners were tasked to set up war plans that included asking questions that would make the mission about to be undertaken make sense. Sense, that is, from a military planning and action point of view. This form of planning gained some fame after the Vietnam flail.

Labeled the "Powell Doctrine" (see also here) the planners were to look at the following:

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
  7. Is the action supported by the American people?
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support?

At some point some of the vigor of this doctrine seemed to have slipped away.

As a result, we get the application of military force in the form of pin pricks (in the words of SecState Kerry and potential enemy often cushioned by leaks (see, e.g. "Loose Lips on Syria").

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