Anthony Cordesman: ‘Let’s Be Heroes in Error on Syria!’

by | Jul 23, 2013

Syria Destruction
phhoto: Rami Alhames

It is probably not completely fair to label establishmentarian “serious thinker” Anthony Cordesman a neocon, though his entire career has been more or less spent in their service, including as John McCain’s national security aide. But here at Neocon Watch we have to judge the man (or woman) by the words they utter. And Cordesman unleashed a whopper this morning in the Washington Post.

Urging more US involvement in Syria, Cordesman makes the same neocon arguments made over and over by the likes of Krautmamer, Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, and others: It is not US action thus far in favor of rebels in Syria that has destabilized the situation, but rather our relative inaction in not going in full force that has done so.

In other words, the “moderates” are losing to the radicals in Syria not because the US supported the insurgency in the first place, looking the other way as those great regional democracies Saudi Arabia and Qatar so generously attempted to export their own human rights-respecting system to Syria, but rather because the US did not jump to intervention from the start and thus establish ownership over the entire disaster.

Cordesman’s arguments are classic neocon arguments as well. To him, it’s not about the United States. It’s all about Iran, Israel, and oil:

If Assad succeeds in crushing the opposition or otherwise maintains control over most of Syria, Iran will have a massive new degree of influence over Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in a polarized Middle East divided between Sunni and Shiite. Minorities will be steadily driven into exile. This would present serious risks for Israel, weaken Jordan and Turkey and, most important, give Iran far more influence in the Persian Gulf, an area home to 48 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves.

Cordesman fails to mention that the reason Iraq has become such an important ally of Iran has something to do with a little neocon project launched in 2003. It was yet another of their brainy ideas that resulted in disaster for the United States.

Cordesman rightly cites the large loss of life already in Syria, but his prescription to end the loss of life is…more war! And in this incredibly callous and cynical statement he makes it clear that more slaughter is justified even if the end result is the defeat of his insurgents:

If Washington arms the rebels and they still lose, the United States will at least have shown its willingness to make decisions and honor its commitments. It will have shown it will make good on its words and support its allies.

To the “serious thinkers” like the Cordesmans and the Madeleine Albrights of the world, death and destruction overseas do not matter. It’s always “worth it” as long as the United States has “shown its willingness to make decisions and honor its commitments.”

But resentment is growing toward a United States whose foreign policy is guided by such breath-taking arrogance and cynicism. Neoconservative influence is toxic and it must be opposed at every turn. Cordesman should no longer be thought of as a serious thinker and his institution’s military industrial complex-funded recommendations should be ignored.

That day cannot come soon enough.

Copyright © 2013, The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted provided full credit is given and a live link provided.


  • Daniel McAdams

    Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and co-Producer/co-Host, Ron Paul Liberty Report. Daniel served as the foreign affairs, civil liberties, and defense/intel policy advisor to U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, MD (R-Texas) from 2001 until Dr. Paul’s retirement at the end of 2012. From 1993-1999 he worked as a journalist based in Budapest, Hungary, and traveled through the former communist bloc as a human rights monitor and election observer.

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