USA Today had this nugget this morning:
A second senior official, who has seen the most recent planning, offered this metaphor to describe such a strike: If Assad is eating Cheerios, we're going to take away his spoon and give him a fork. Will that degrade his ability to eat Cheerios? Yes. Will it deter him? Maybe. But he'll still be able to eat Cheerios.
The two officers with current and recent service in the Middle East say the term "degrade" is so vague that it could be used to describe the effect of a single cruise missile strike.
Between this and Kerry's comment that the strike will be "unbelievably small" the only thing to conclude is that these people are really just not serious. I just don't see how this is going to deter anyone. "Don't do that or you will face unbelievably small consequences"! Oh yeah that works in a tough neighborhood like the Middle East. It seems that all those pro-strike folks who claim that a No vote from Congress would degrade American prestige, I have to argue that an "unbelievably small" strike would degrade our prestige even more. You never want to look like a paper tiger.