The news comes today — about five years late, I’d say — that U.S. forces raided a facility inside Syria involved in transferring foreign fighters into Iraq to kill Americans. The strike will likely have the desired effect, whether Bashar is in control of the border region or not (many suspect that even if interested, his regime is not strong enough to stop the cross-border traffic).
If Bashar can exert himself on the border problem, then he has now been given a firm reason to do so — to avoid future humiliations of his sovereignty. And if the situation is beyond his control, then those involved in jihadi smuggling will now understand that they no longer enjoy a safe haven in Syria. It boggles the mind to wonder why such raids weren’t conducted upon the first instance of hard evidence that Assad was aiding the insurgency, but never mind that.
What’s important right now is that both candidates go on record about the raid. Should there be repeat performances — as many as needed to impress Bashar that his days of meddling with impunity are over? Should Iran be targeted for similar strikes? Do you, Mr. Obama, view this news as an unacceptable expansion of the war that will never be countenanced in your administration, or do you believe it a vital component of a winning strategy in Iraq?
I think most people intuitively know how McCain would answer these questions.