Will the “empire” strike back

Former Bush administration official Michael Gerson makes the case for tougher action against Syria. Although Syria is not the primary outside player causing trouble in Iraq, it’s in the top two. As Gerson notes:

Syria’s Baathist regime provides a base of operations for its Iraqi Baathist comrades involved in the Sunni insurgency. Suicide bombers from Saudi Arabia and North Africa arrive by plane in Damascus, and, with the help of facilitators, some 50 to 80 cross into Iraq each month.

Moreover, Syria represents “low-hanging fruit” in this conflict. That is, Syria is more vulnerable than Iran to effective U.S. action, and has fewer good options for retaliation. Thus Gerson suggests that we increase pressure on Syria at all levels and that we strongly consider disrupting the flow of terrorists from Syria into Iraq and pursuing the enemy into Syria. As he explains, the Syrian’s claim that they are powerless to stop the flow of murderers killing innocent Iraqis provides us with a justification for doing so.
Max Boot has been advocating this sort of approach for some time. Over at Commentary’s Contentions blog, he notes that if “hot pursuit” doesn’t work, there are stronger steps that could be taken. One example is this:

Hold Damascus International Airport

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