Retired General on Syria: Limited Strike Not 'Effective Deterrent' Historically

Retired General on Syria: Limited Strike Not 'Effective Deterrent' Historically

Former Vice Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright appeared on This Week With George Stenhanopoulos on Sept. 1 and said “historically trying to punish someone with a limited strike has not been an effective deterrent.”  

Cartwright also spoke of what the military will do now that Obama has decided to wait for Congressional approval on a Syria attack.

Stephanopoulos asked Cartwright to explain what happens now that the military has “ramped all this up” only to be put on hold. Cartwright responded:

[Starting at the tactical level] the first question is can the forces’ posture stay on station for a month or two months, until we go to Congress, until a decision is reached. And the answer to that is yes, they can do that. The second question is will the targets stay that they have…planned [to hit] to carry out this strategy–will they be there when we go? Again, most of the targets associated with this limited strike are fixed–they’re buildings, they’re facilities, they’re areas, so they’re going to be there.

Cartwright said the U.S. will not strike the chemical weapons themselves for fear of “dispersal of the gases.” He said under the idea of preventing further use of those weapons, we need to target “places where production is done” and “bridges” and other infrastructure necessary to the movement of such weapons.

Cartwright added that he does not have much faith in preventing future use of the weapons. 

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.