The Reverend

Remember how Bradley Manning helped our "enemies" by leaking, after the fact, the Iraq video of a U.S. helicopter gunship slaughtering unarmed Iraqi civilians indiscriminately....circling around to attack more civilians who came to help those wounded? Me either.

Yes, Manning's leaks embarrassed the Leaders of our "shining city on a hill".....but no evidence was ever presented explaining how those leaks placed anyone in jeopardy. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison last week.

How, then, should yesterday's authorized "leaks" of classified material concerning Syria be regarded?

Senior officials told NBC News that Defense Department planning had advanced to the point that three days of strikes were anticipated, after which strategists could run an assessment and target what was missed in further rounds.

Remember when setting a date to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan was "aiding the enemy?" telegraphing our intentions in advance? Why should yesterday's official leaks of detailed plans to attack Syria not also be deemed similarly?

A British and American attack to punish Syria for using chemical weapons will see the two allies launch a barrage of more than 100 missiles in a blitz lasting up to 48 hours, according to military insiders and diplomatic sources.

"military sources" and "diplomatic sources" leaked sensitive information, including precise details of the number of missiles to be launched and the length of time they would be launched...starting, perhaps, as soon as tomorrow. How do these "leaks" not "aid the enemy?" How do these leaks not telegraph to the enemy our military plans?

The attack would be strictly limited to punishing the Assad government for using chemical weapons, rather than designed to tip the balance in favour of the rebels and destroy his government.

The planned attack by western allies is for the sole purpose of "punishing" the Syrian government for using chemical weapons......when it is still not clear-cut that Assad or Assad's military were responsible for using chemicals.

To those who would suggest here that the U.S. has a responsibility to uphold international agreements on the use of WMD......the U.S. also has a responsibility to uphold international treaties and agreements which banned the use of torture. Did we rush to honor and defend international agreements banning torture during the Patriotic Days of the Bush administration?

"The fine-tuning in the military planning has been how punitive these strikes should be," a Pentagon advisor told The Daily Telegraph.

Pentagon air staff planners have also drawn up plans to deploy F22s and F15s in Saudi Arabia and Jordan to provide security reassurance America's most important Arab allies and as back-up for air war operations.

Again, it looks like everything about tomorrow's unilateral attack on Syria has already been leaked......timing, details, backup plans......which at a minimum, it could be argued, telegraphs to the enemy our exact plan for "punishment."

Which brings me to the "punishing" part. U.S. officials are telling us that they will attack Syrian targets with one hundred Tomahawk or Cruise missiles. The missiles meant as "punishment" for Assad and Co.'s alleged use of chemical weapons on his own people.

As tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians learned, when the U.S. "punishes" evil middle eastern leaders, it is civilians who actually absorb the punishment. Now I realize that "freedom" missiles are so precisely accurate that any thoughts of Syrian civilian collateral damage are simply the overwrought imaginings of pacifist-hippie types.

Still...anyone think that civilians won't be punished....killed and maimed in the upcoming attack on Syria?

Finally....despite what government officials tell U.S. media, you know, so that media members know what to tell us.....who used what chemical gas has still not been determined. Government media headlines in the last few days have shouted 1000 Syrians gassed...and similar. The truth is that, as of today, 355 deaths have been determined to have been caused by the attack.

Any deaths are tragic.....but over the last two years of the Syrian civil war 100,000+ Syrians have been reportedly killed. Aren't Syrian leaders responsible for quite a few of those 100,000 deaths? And, if they are responsible, why wouldn't 100,000 dead Syrians cross the "punishment" threshold? And the corollary....if 100,000 dead Syrians doesn't rise to the level of "punishable" offenses....why would 355?

The attack plan, telegraphed ahead of time to Assad and his lieutenants, amounts to blowing stuff up in Syria. Regime change is not the goal. The plan has been labeled a "punishment" intended for Assad and his lieutenants. It won't be. Assad will remain in power, perhaps with diminished military capabilities.

But make no mistake, many collateral-damage Syrian civilians will be punished.....the very people we claim need protected from Assad.