Loose lips sink ships was a favorite expression of my dad, a proud Navy veteran of the invasion of Okinawa.
Loose lips also may result in another foreign intervention quagmire for the U.S. That's a lesson learned the hard way by President Obama—and now all of us.
It's unfortunate that an off-the-cuff statement uttered by Obama to staffers over a year ago about Syria crossing a "red line," if it either moves around or uses a "bunch of chemical weapons," now has America standing on the brink of another Middle Eastern adventure.
Obama finds himself in a no-win situation. Because of his impromptu words, the country's credibility with Russia, Iran, China and North Korea is at stake.
There are only no-win scenarios for the U.S. The Navy and Air Force can launch all the missile attacks that it wants on suspected chemical weapons launchers and Syrian military facilities. There's no guarantee that all the sites will be taken out.
The gift of time compounds Obama's woes. Undoubtedly, Syrian leadership is using the time leading up to a potential U.S. strike to hide its poisonous gas stocks. What happens a week following U.S. missile attacks when Syria launches a more devastating chemical weapons attack on civilians and rebels. Do we go in again and again and again? The President is blowing smoke when he tells Americans that any missile strike is a message or a shot across Syria’s bow.
Scenario two features a successful U.S. attack on every Syrian target and the capture of all chemical storage depots. Then what? After Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans have little stomach for a prolonged occupation of Syria. Who's going to run the place after strongman Assad is gone? Don't expect a moderate and secular Syria to emerge under the leadership of the fractured and rag-tag rebel groups? Didn't we learn a lesson from the ouster of Saddam Hussein in Iraq?
The current leadership void in Iraq has triggered the greatest wave of violence there in years. Similarly, Syria will explode into chaos.
The Middle East has become America's version of Black Flag's Roach Motel. As the tagline from Roach Motel’s classic 1981 TV commercial says, "Roaches check in, but they don't check out."
Like it or not, America will be stuck in Syria.