A building on fire after a NATO bombing run in the former Yugoslavia

A building on fire after a NATO bombing run in the former Yugoslavia Tadija via Wikimedia Commons

Why a Precision Strike Won't Work in Syria

The Kosovo model for a precision strike against Syria ignores two important things - they're not always that precise and there's no guarantee that Assad will back down any time soon. By James Fallows

Please read this article by Chuck Spinney, out today in Counterpunch. (And before you ask: No, I don't agree with everything in Counterpunch, nor every view of Spinney's, nor even everything in the Atlantic. But I do agree with this.)

Spinney, whom I have known and respected for his national-security views since I wrote about him in National Defense, makes an important specific point and an even more important general one.

The specific point concerns the "Kosovo model," the idea that the Clinton-era bombing campaign on Kosovo illustrates how pinpoint, punitive strikes might succeed in Syria. Spinney begins his piece thus:

I found it truly scary to read that some high officials in the Obama Administration are so disconnected from reality that they consider the 1999 war in Kosovo to be a precedent for justifying limited cruise missile strikes in Syria. 

He goes on to explain how oversimplified he considers the current "Kosovo worked!" version of history to be.

Read more at The Atlantic.