The neocon Robert Kagan has a plan for Syria.
It will only require 50,000 American troops and billions of dollars.
The Wall Street Journal—what many of us called the “War Street Journal” during the invasion of Iraq—let Kagan spell it out for those of us who, as Karl Rove put it, are left to study history’s actors.
“First, it would require establishing a safe zone” that will need, at first, 30,000 troops to keep the jihadists safe from the Syrian military and Russian air strikes, followed by “a further 10,000 to 20,000 U.S. troops… to uproot Islamic State from the haven it has created in Syria and to help local forces uproot it in Iraq.”
Kagan suggests “an internationally negotiated and blessed process of transition in Syria should take place” to remove Bashar al-Assad who, incidentally, has indicated he is not going anywhere and rejects the idea that Kagan or anybody else not Syrian has the right to force him from office and decide who will run the country, least of all “moderate” sharia loving Salafists.
No problem, says Kagan. He writes the “immovable Mr. Assad would face an entirely new set of military facts on the ground, with the Syrian opposition now backed by U.S. forces and air power, the Syrian air force grounded and Russian bombing halted.”
In other words, the jihadists—the only force in Syria fighting against the Syrian government, as even The New York Times admits—would be backed by US air strikes and troops on the ground who would, of course, be coming home in flag-draped coffins.
Kagan writes 50,000 troops sent to Syria is not a big deal considering the “now revered as a judicious and prudent leader,” President George H.W. Bush, sent half a million soldiers to Iraq to reduce that country to a rubble heap, setting the stage for 560,000 children to die under sanctions and preparing it for a second invasion by his less than revered son and his coterie of neocons, a roster that includes Kagan. More than a million Iraqis died in that illegal war but it was, for neocons and neolibs alike, a price worth paying, to paraphrase former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Kagan laments “Americans remain paralyzed by Iraq, Republicans almost as much as Democrats,” but this is something we have to get over if we are going to defeat the Islamic State and, as the Pentagon desires—and Mr. Kagan does not care to mention—establish a Salafist principality in Syria and turn it into another Libya.
It is doubtful 50,000 troops will be sent to Syria, even with the tide of propaganda following the murders in France, murders it must be stated are not definitively pinned on the Islamic State, boisterous social media bravado aside.
Separating the Islamic State and the other jihadist groups in Syria will, to say the least, prove to be problematic. Al-Nusra, the most effective fighting group, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and thousands of fighters have defected from the Free Syrian Army and other groups to join them.
Finally, Americans are not paralyzed—neocons invariably portray the reluctance of the American people to pay for and die in such manufactured conflicts as paralysis—they are simply sick and tired of endless war, murder and misery.