Krauthammer calls for ‘sustained campaign’ aimed at Syria, says to disregard Russia, Iran

Jeff Poor | Media Reporter

On Tuesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer recommended a “sustained campaign” aimed at depriving “[Syrian president Bashar al-Assad] of air power” should the U.S. decide to intervene in Syria.

Otherwise, Krauthammer cautioned, the U.S. should just “stay home.”

“I say it all depends on whether this is about Obama, whether it’s about the strategic interest of the United States,” Krauthammer said. “What I’m concerned about is that what we hear the leaks from the White House, deliberate leaks, are we are going to have a very limited two or three day campaign. We’ll drop a couple of bombs. We will make a point and when we will retire from the field because from the reports I have read and from what I have heard, they explicitly say this is not intended to alter the strategic balance or to alter the course of the war.”

“If that’s the case we should do nothing,” he continued. “If that’s the case it is a pinprick, a demonstration of un-seriousness, the same as when the Clinton administration — when our embassies were attacked in Africa in 1998 — launched a few cruise missiles into empty tents in Afghanistan, and the message that Bin Laden got was America is the weak horse, America is unserious. Three years later we got 9/11. If we’re going to do a campaign, it has to be a sustained campaign aimed at depriving Assad of air power. Otherwise, stay home.”



“I think what we should do right now is to have a sustained air campaign that tilts the balance, alters the course of the war,” Krauthammer said. “Right now, what Assad has over the rebels is the support of Iran, of Russia. He has the shock troops from Hezbollah, he has got air power and he has got a feckless west. We can remove air power without a huge campaign. It can be done without flying any airplanes over Syria. [Ret. Gen. Jack] Keane is outlying a plan where you take the six major air bases and with airplanes that are not flying in Syrian airspace, would stand off missiles and naval missiles, you make those six air assets unusable. You destroy the runways, you destroy the planes, you destroy the fuel, and you keep hitting these targets until you have eliminated the air advantage that the government [has].”

Host Bill O’Reilly asked about the potential for blowback from pro-Syria powers like Russia and Iran. Krauthammer said that worries about Syria’s allies are overblown.

O’REILLY: But then you have blowback from Iran, blowback from Russia, blowback from China and from many in the Arab world.
KRAUTHAMMER: What’s Russia going to do? Cancel another summit?
O’REILLY: I don’t know.
KRAUTHAMMER: What’s Iran going to do? Does Iran want to start a war in the gulf with the United States?
O’REILLY: I think Iran would like to start a war, myself. But you know what I’m talking about here. There are unintended consequences of military action led by the USA. And that’s what Hunt and Peters object to. They say, look, if you devalue Assad’s ability to fight he might get overthrown, and you’ll have al-Qaida running the country. Why don’t you let them all kill each other? How do you answer that?
KRAUTHAMMER: That’s what was said three years ago, when we had a chance to alter the bounds of the war on the cheap when the jihadists were not in the war.
KRAUTHAMMER: And everyone said, you know what, they said what we now hear from the naysayers. “Oh, if you start that, the government will fall, al-Qaida will come in.” Al-Qaida came in because we did nothing, because we waited.

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