Syria War Council: Is intervention wise?

**Reader’s Note: These are Major Matt Cavanaugh’s remarks from the 6 September 2013 War Council event on intervention in Syria.  The full event remarks are available at Small Wars Journal.  His prompt was to answer whether intervention in Syria was “wise.”**

My task: What is the utility of American force in Syria – is any sort of intervention wise?  To start, I don’t like the word “wise” – the battlefield punishes intellectual vanity.  You will not hear me reach definitive conclusions.  I don’t specifically know what to do.  But I think we can advance the ball forward a bit; that’s success for me today.

I’ll begin with Clausewitz, who wrote, “the first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesmen and commander have to make is to establish the kind of war on which they are embarking…”

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