In March 2003, during the invasion of Iraq, then–Maj. Gen. David Petraeus turned to embedded reporter Linda Robinson and famously asked: “Tell me how this ends.”
That question has never fully been answered in Iraq, despite the expenditure of huge sums of American blood and treasure. And yet, it’s the right question to ask of any military endeavor, because it links current operations to a desired future objective, lest all that blood and treasure be wasted for war’s own sake.
The same question ought to be asked now, the day after President Donald Trump ordered cruise missiles to strike a Syrian airfield in response to the brutal killing of Syrian civilians with chemical weapons two days earlier. What comes next, and how this ultimately ends, depends on what military steps come next—by the United States, as well as the Russians, Syrians, Iranians, and others active in the region. Moreover, Thursday’s strike complicates nearly everything we are now doing in Syria, potentially setting in motion a chain reaction of conflict whose end is difficult to foresee or control.
Read the full article at Slate.