Say We Had

The US-led coalition fighting the extremist group Islamic State denied Monday it carried out deadly airstrikes against a Syrian government military base.

The regime of President Bashar al-Assad said coalition warplanes carried out an air raid on Sunday in the eastern province of Deir Ezzour that killed three Syrian soldiers and wounded 13 others, and destroyed several combat vehicles and an arms depot.

Our special envoy to the coalition, Brett McGurk, was fast of the mark to deny the strike. He was desperate to insist that coalition strikes had occurred kilometers away, we couldn’t possibly have struck a Syrian military base.

Why? Hasn’t our President said the Syrian government must go? Haven’t he and our Secretary of State guy said al Assad must go? Given those demands, wouldn’t a strike on the Syrian government’s military bases—all of them, not just one—be an entirely appropriate activity by the coalition?

What, exactly, would have been the downside of such a strike, had it actually occurred?

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