Letter: The Syrians Aren’t Helpless

To the Editor:

The government’s proposed actions in Syria promise a whole basketful of possible nasty unanticipated consequences. Let me mention one that I have not seen mentioned in public discussion.

Those who advocate military action in Syria seem to assume that the Syrian government will stand helplessly by while our planes and ships do what they wish and leave unscathed. We are not going to war, proponents say. Just a surgical strike, in and out; what could be simpler? But the Syrians are not helpless, and have promised to resist. What will be our response if the Syrians should shoot down one or more of our aircraft? Or what if they should sink or damage one of our ships? Will we say that is simply the cost of a surgical strike? Or will we strike back? That is, will we go to war?

James E. Sheridan