Obama’s War on Syria Fails the Reagan Test

Ronald Reagan’s Rules for War

President Ronald Reagan
Reagan’s Strategy: “We Win; They Lose”

1. The United States should not commit its forces to military action overseas unless the cause is vital to our national interest.

2. If the decision is made to commit our forces to combat abroad, it must be done with the clear intent and support needed to win. It should not be a halfway or tentative commitment, and there must be clearly defined and realistic objectives.

3. Before we commit our troops to combat, there must be reasonable assurance that the cause we are fighting for and the actions we take will have the support of the American people and Congress. (We all felt that the Vietnam War had turned into such a tragedy because military action had been undertaken without sufficient assurances that the American people were behind it.)

4. Even after all these other combat tests are met, our troops should be committed to combat abroad only as a last resort, when no other choice is available. (Ronald Reagan: An American Life, 466)

Will Barack Obama ignite WW3?
Will Barack Obama ignite WW3?

Does Obama’s war on Syria qualify, using any one of the above 4 rules of war?

1. No – The U.S. has no national interest at stake. If anything, going to war with Syria will imperil national interests.

2. Is there “clear intent”? No. Does Obama have the “support needed to win”? No.

3. Does Obama have the support of the American people? No.

4. Are our troops ready for combat abroad? According to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, no. Our troops are neither trained nor equipped for conventional or hybrid warfare, as it would be in Syria. At the outset of his spoken desire to “surgically” bomb Syria, Obama saidno boots on the ground. But, his Democrat Senate, at the request of the president, appears to include combat troops – boots on the ground – as an option for Obama.

Cannot swords be turned to plowshares? Can we and all nations not live in peace? In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and the threat of war? — RONALD REAGAN, address to United Nations general assembly, Sept. 21, 1987

Haunting words: “… is not an alien force already among us?”


Let’s not let up. Continue to call and email your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators. Tell them to OPPOSE the resolution authorizing war on Syria.


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