Jackson Brown, Lives in the Balance.

So, here we are, Obama and the war hawks are joined at the hip in their earnestness to show the world how “muscular” they are. Pffft! The author of the study on which they’re basing the size of their metaphorical manhood, throws cold water on their plans

In the last 48 hours, US officials leaked plans to several media outlets to fire cruise missiles at Syrian military installations as a warning to the Syrian government not to use its chemical weapons stockpiles again. On Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker, who was briefed by administration officials twice over the weekend, said a US “response is imminent” in Syria. “I think we will respond in a surgical way,” he said. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared to set the groundwork for a US military incursion.

Now, a former US Navy planner responsible for outlining an influential and highly-detailed proposal [PDF link] for surgical strikes tells The Cable he has serious misgivings about the plan. He says too much faith is being put into the effectiveness of surgical strikes on Assad’s forces with little discussion of what wider goals such attacks are supposed to achieve.

Didn’t we already go through this in Iraq? Didn’t they tell us it’d be over in days or weeks, and would only cost us $1.7b and we’d be greeted as liberators? Didn’t the Bush admin promote military and intelligence analysts who promoted the march to war theme

So, have our hawkish pols learned anything? Evidently not

The study immediately struck a chord with hawkish lawmakers on the Hill who were frustrated with the options outlined by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey that required a major commitment by U.S. military forces with a pricetag in the billions.

“For a serious accounting of a realistic limited military option in Syria, I would strongly recommend a new study that is being released today by the Institute for the Study of War,” Sen. John McCain said in July, referring to Harmer’s study. “This new study confirms what I and many others have long argued: That it is militarily feasible for the United States and our friends and allies to significantly degrade Assad’s air power at relatively low cost, low risk to our personnel, and in very short order.”

Harmer, the author of the plan disputes McCain and the rest of the “my manhood is bigger than yours because I can vote for other people to die” gang of fools

“Punitive action is the dumbest of all actions,” he said. “The Assad regime has shown an incredible capacity to endure pain and I don’t think we have the stomach to deploy enough punitive action that would serve as a deterrent.”