Micah Zenko insists that advocates of regime change rhetoric account for how that would translate into practice:

More important than what the United States says, however, is what it is willing to do to achieve the objectives it expresses. It is one thing to make aspirational statements that shape administration thinking, test allied support, and gauge public opinion. This is what President Obama did on March 3, when he stated flatly, “Muammar Qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead and he must leave.”

However, neither President Obama nor any members of the western-led intervention into Libya ever presented what military strategists call a “theory of victory” for how this could be achieved. This glaring disconnect between maximalist objectives (regime change) and minimalist tactics (selectively-enforced no-fly zones and arms embargoes, and close air support) should have been a clear indicator that the intervention would not proceed as quickly or easily as was believed.

Those now demanding that the U.S. government clearly articulate its support for regime change in Damascus should also seek a plausible explanation for how this happens. Then, we can decide if that plan is believable, what the likely costs and consequences are, and whether regime change in Syria is in the US’s national interest.

One of the more tiresome things about the constant demands for a harder line on Syria, such as this one from Max Boot, is that advocates of promoting regime change there take it as a given that it is obviously in the national interest. Apart from rattling off things about Syria that everyone already knows, they can’t be bothered with explaining why it is in our interest or how it would happen. It simply must happen, and as far as they’re concerned there are no good reasons why the administration isn’t bending over backwards to make it happen…somehow or other. It is one of the best recent examples of how hawks insist on expressing “moral clarity” for its own sake. It has no practical application whatever.