After the attack on its embassy in Damascus, the U.S. clearly wants to do something about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But what? And how?
After regime thugs attacked the U.S. embassy in Syria, the Obama administration ramped up its language. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the first broadside, saying that "President Assad is not indispensable and we have absolutely nothing invested in him ... remaining in power." Then, President Obama informed the Syrians that "nobody can be messing with our embassy." This is the most frustrated and angry the administration has sounded since the unrest in Syria began four months ago. What more than 1500 Syrians killed and reports of mass rape and torture couldn't do, a not entirely surprising attack on the U.S. embassy could.
As angry as Clinton and Obama seem to be, they still haven't been able to utter the magic words -- "Bashar must go." Of course, they're not magic at all and are unlikely to do anything on their own. What matters is whether or not the U.S. is willing to commit to Assad's ouster. Call it if you will a policy of "non-military regime change." On this matter, the administration seems a bit schizophrenic. They know Assad is bad, but they're not quite sure they want him to go. Others have already noted how ludicrous it is to suggest someone like Assad could ever "lead a democratic transition."