Syrians are preparing for the worst in the expectation that it is no longer if but when US airstrikes come.
That includes regime loyalists joining hands around potential military and political targets; human shields ready to sacrifice themselves for their leader and country.
On Wednesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee put its seal of approval on military action, but John Kerry spoke with a backdrop of protesters holding up red-stained hands for the cameras to see.
“After all has been said and done, if we don’t now, knowing that he’s already done this at least 11 times that our intelligence community can prove, and here in this grotesque, larger event, larger than anything that’s happened before, if we back down, if the world backs down, we have sent an unmistakable message of permissiveness,” said Kerry.
America’s objectives remain unclear. Punishing Assad for allegedly attacking civilians with chemical weapons and degrading his ability to do it again appears to be compromised. As several people said in Wednesday’s debate, military objectives are hard to attain when you give the enemy weeks to hide.