For the last week or so our country’s leadership has been resolutely dithering over whether to shoot some missiles into a country that is riven by a Civil War. As far as I can see we have no dog in this fight.

It can be, and has been, argued that there is a moral imperative for action. On this I may agree. But there is no American imperative, no threat to American security, no systemic threat to our country that justifies committing American blood and resources in unilateral action.

If if our leaders really want to end things in Syria decisively, then send in troops and let them defeat the Syrian Army. However they also need to be made to understand that Syria is not Iraq, Libya, or Serbia. I think that Perhaps the United States has become too used to fighting third-rate armies.

40 years ago the Israelis, a first-rate army both then and now, learned that the Syrians were tough and mean-spirited killers with nothing to lose. Little has changed and the Syrian Army is still a force to be taken very seriously.

Civilian control of the armed services doesn’t mean that civilians shouldn’t listen to those who have seen war. Our most respected soldier president, Dwight Eisenhower, possessed the gravitas and courage to say no to war eight times during his presidency. He ended the Korean War and refused to aid the French in Indochina; he said no to his former wartime friends Britain and France when they demanded U.S. participation in the capture of the Suez Canal after Egypt nationalized it. And he resisted liberal democrats who wanted to aid the newly formed nation of South Vietnam.

What may happen, what I suspect will happen, unless Congress shows more collective backbone than has been their wont, is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about “red lines.” These acts would be for retribution and to restore the reputation of a president. As the Honorable John Kerry, our current Secretary of State and a man who is working feverishly to scrounge support for the President’s Syrian misadventure, so famously asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 while giving testimony regarding U.S. actions in the war in Vietnam, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

Our military members understand and take seriously their oath to defend the constitutional authority of their civilian masters. So I suspect it is quite likely that soon our military will salute respectfully and loose the hell of tens of cruise missiles in an effort that will, inevitably, kill a few of those we wish to protect. They will do it with all the professionalism and skill we expect and have come to admire from the world’s most proficient military.