Carroll County Times

Culleton: Play to win in Syria

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If we have learned nothing else in our misadventures in Syria we should know that the president thereof, Bashar al-Assad, is a bloodthirsty villain, not to be trusted under any circumstances. Therefore the dispatch of a column of trucks carrying food, water and medical supplies under the UN flag and with no armed escort into the long-suffering city of Aleppo was the height of folly.

If it has not already been done by the time you read this, the relief of that city should be done via parachutes dropping from American cargo planes who in turn should be escorted by U.S. fighter aircraft. If the Assad regime attempts to interfere with aircraft they should be shot down and simultaneously their airfields bombed into in unusable state. Those that escape the air battle over Aleppo will then be left to run out of fuel and finally parachute from their craft, to be handled by whomever captures them on the ground. What if the Russians interfere? We can remind them that we have 19 aircraft carriers and they have one barely serviceable ship of that type. They don't really want to mess with Uncle Sam in Syria.


We have roughly 300 aircraft called A-10 Warthogs. These 1970s-era attack planes are more cost-effective in our battles against ISIS and similar Jihadist factions than our newer and more expensive aircraft and are already in use in Iraq. In Syria, we can use them to attack both Jihadists and Assad's troops. Eliminating these two factions will eventually bring the war there to a conclusion. The only fighting faction left will be the rebels against Assad.

Who will bring order out of the remaining chaos? Not us, I aver. Earlier, the French expressed interest to take on the job of pacifying Syria. We discouraged that effort then. Perhaps they could be tempted into filling that role after Assad is deposed and the terrorist groups have been put away. This would lessen the refugee flow into Europe. It is worth a try.


We either play to win or withdraw altogether.

This should not be a partisan issue. President Obama presided over our involvement in Syria and he can preside over the eventual conclusion of our involvement there by picking a side and making it win. I know that there are those here in Carroll County who call him the worst president ever. But the majority of the American people disagree. His poll numbers beat those of both candidates striving to replace him. For a few more months he will be our president. We need to help him clean up the Syrian mess instead of leaving it for a new president to deal with.

Wiping out the remnants of the shrinking "ISIS Caliphate" in Iraq and Syria will not eliminate this thorn in our side, but like Al Qaeda, the elimination of their known bases in these two countries will diminish their stature worldwide.

Current attacks on the USA and Europe are mostly carried out by what we call "lone wolf" individuals. An ISIS that has been humiliated by running them out of both Iraq and Syria will be less attractive to these crazies. So let's finish the job in those two jurisdictions. We will all sleep better at night.

It should be a bipartisan mission and not a subject for partisan squabble.

John Culleton writes from Eldersburg. His column appears every second Tuesday. Email him at