I like our president's "go slow" approach in his persistent saber rattling against Syria's Assad regime. I like it because it tells me that not only does President Obama not want to embroil this country in another Middle East conflict, he also doesn't want to help the rebels overthrow their government - something that didn't work out so well in Iran in the 1970's.
It's not to influence the civil war's outcome. It IS, however, to punish Assad for stepping across a line that we all follow when he used chemical weapons on civilian populations.
That, in the end, is why Obama is calling on Congress to approve any military strike. That is why he is mentioning the sorts of targets that will be attacked. That is why he is giving Assad's army plenty of time to get out of the way.
Syria is on its own. If they want to have a civil war, that's their business. Not ours. But both parties need to know that the world has only one rule when it comes to warfare - which is unfortunately inevitable: don't use chemical weapons on civilians. It is a lose-lose proposition.
A few cruise missiles should be sufficient to remind Assad that in war, you can do a lot, but you can't do that.