British readers will be aware that Frederick Forsythe, author of best-sellers like "The Day Of The Jackal" "The Odessa File" "The Dogs Of War"( all made into movies) has a weekly column in the Daily Express every Friday.
I read it myself(if only to chuckle over his absurdities- full disclosure : I own at least three of his novels) and today;s edition( April 13, 2018, www.dailyexpress.co.uk) was a doozy!
In the conclusion Forsythe advocates(possibly tongue-in-cheek) "slotting" Syrian President Bashir al- Assad( "slotting" being British army/Royal Marine slang for "killing"), presumably using a cruise missile or Predator drone.
Oh great, presumably NO ONE in the UK or US government seriously considered this option!!! There is an old joke: to every problem there is a quick, final and usually dead WRONG solution!!!
Firstly how certain can we be of killing the "RIGHT" Bashar al- Assad( like his fellow tyrants Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Un, he is likely to move around fairly often and to employ the use of "lookalikes" , men with either a natural resemblance to him or enhanced by plastic surgery, the US Secret Service is rumoured to do the same for the sitting US President)???
Secondly wiping out Assad and his coterie would leave a gaping power vacuum into which the more extreme jihadist rebels would be quick to move into.
Thirdly as reprehensible as we find Bashir al-Assad's government we are NOT at war with it in the formal sense. The legality of such a move strikes me as dubious to put it mildly- it would amount to if not a war crime then at least a crime against humanity, amounting to indictment and prosecution at the International Criminal Court at The Hague for all concerned
Fourthly assassination is a pretty questionable way of achieving change in governmental policy. The killing of SS Lieutenant General Reinhard Heydrich by Czech partisans in May 1942,( popularized in films like "Hitler's Hangman", "Operation Daybreak" "Operation Anthropoid" and "The Man With The Iron Heart"), although it shook the Nazi leadership from Hitler downwards to the core, did NOTHING to reverse say the infamous "Final Solution"( genocide of Europe's Jews) and led to ferocious reprisals against the Czech people, culminating in the notorious Massacre and destruction of the village of Lidice. Just as the assassinations of US Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F.Kennedy did not reverse official policy on any substantive matter( in Kennedy's case it put LBJ in succession and reduced Attorney General Bobby Kennedy to being "another lawyer" as his longtime foe Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa gleefully observed)
Fifthly: why stop at Bashar al-Assad? Why not take out his patron in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin while we're at it? Or Kim Jong Un as well? It's no coincidence that successive US Presidents such as Gerald Ford (1976) and Ronald Reagan (1981) expressly banned assassination by any agency of the US government( the CIA reportedly planned to kill with Mafia help such leaders as the late Fidel Castro, Moishe Tshombe and others)- assassination as JFK himelf rightly observed is "repugnant to our conscience as a civilized people" and Kennedy noted that few non-Communist intelligence services engage in assassination, French SDECE, Britain's MI6/SIS( with their "licensed to kill" James Bond Israel's Mossad and of the "termination with extreme prejudice" CIA, the most notorious was the late unlamented (at least nowadays) KGB, its allies such as the East German Stasi, Romanian Securitate, Bulgatian DS, Hungarian AVH, Polish UB and Cuban DGI.( perhaps mindful of the horrors of Nazism, I don't think the West German Secret Service goes in for assassination)
True in May 3, 2011, Al-Qaeda leader and founder Osama Bin laden was "taken out" by a "hit team" of US Navy SEALS, but Bin laden is NOT a head of state!
Anybody think as I do