The Slacker War
The bombing of Syria will become known to history as the Slacker War, a fracas America sauntered into because Obama shot his mouth off about "red lines" and France really wanted America to do something. This is already the most comically half-hearted military effort since Bill Clinton used Tomahawk missiles to blow up some tents. (Say, how did that work out for everyone? Were the "signals" from that "message" bombing received?)
Today we're hearing leaks from the Administration that the scheduled bombing campaign will be very brief, a matter of "hours, not days." They've already let it be known that Assad himself is in no danger, and nothing that would tip the balance of the war against him will be contemplated. We're barely even going to give him a wedgie.
Unless, of course, all that talk of a lazy, limited "message bombing" campaign is just misdirection to lull the Syrians into a false sense of security, and one of those Tomahawks will be programmed to give Bashar Assad a colonoscopy. I've never seen any evidence that anyone in the Obama Administration thinks that way.
I agree that Iran is the real target audience for this targeted sideshow, but I can't imagine they're going to draw any chilling conclusions from what they're about to see. We're going to blow up some targets of dubious value with hideously expensive standoff weapons, which isn't going to make them worry that we can snuff out their nuclear bomb factories whenever we feel like it. And as I've said before, we'll burn off a ton of expensive weapons that Obamanomics, coupled with Obama's sequester, make it difficult for us to replace. The Great Satan isn't exactly brimming with cybernetic super-weapons these days.
If I were running this whole mess as a global strategy wargame, playing the role of Iran, I'd consider the minimal investment necessary to turn Syria into a distraction for the West, and a sinkhole for its expensive weapons, as money well spent. It's just the kind of low-cost diversionary tactic that strategy gamers love.