Retired Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales, in his Sept. 6 commentary, “A war the Pentagon doesn’t want” [Washington Forum], makes some valid points about the challenges the Obama administration has encountered — and, at times, created — in its approach to Syria. He may be right that this is a war that most officers in the military, like most Americans, don’t want. But greater scrutiny should be given to his suggestion of a widespread consensus within military ranks that the president’s handling of this crisis has been incompetent.
First, I do not share Scales’s impression of a prevalent view of Syria among military officers. In my own conversations with retired and serving Defense Department officers, I sense no overwhelming majority that believes President Obama is handling badly what all agree is a difficult situation.