The basic problems are the following:
- Token intervention, which is what lobbing some cruise missile be, will not change anything of consequence. Assad will not fall, the rebels will not gain heaps of advantages, and the punishment for using chemical weapons will be modest at best. Indeed, cruise missiles, like economic sanctions, sends a signal: we don't care that much.
- What happens then? Not clear what the next steps would be.
- If this is all about protecting American credibility, the social science indicates that reputation really does not matter too much. Countries will focus on today's pattern of interests and not yesterday's weakness.
- Oh, and intervening on side rebels apparently does not help that much in the short term.