"What worries me, of course, is that careless use of language will convince people that the war is rising rapidly up some sort of “escalation ladder” and strengthen the chorus of voices demanding that the United States get more heavily involved. Reasonable people can disagree about that point, but the mere fact that Assad has now used Scuds is largely irrelevant. This decision may be a sign of growing desperation on his part; if so, I hope that some creative diplomacy can convince him to blow town before the entire country is destroyed. But unless he puts chemical warheads on top of them or starts attacking a new category of targets, the fact that Scuds are involved is not in fact very significant." Walt in FP
Walt is correct. Is the Syrian government actually firing these enormously expensive and not very accurate weapons systems at small groups of guerrillas? If they are, then the decision to do so is incredibly stupid, but it is not an "escalation" of the war. Air weapons already in use in the civil war are more effective as are the vehicle bombs used by the rebels. SCUDs are nuclear weapons delivery systems. That is why they don't need to be extremely accurate. Syria has no nuclear weapons and never did have any or any real propects of having any.
Michael Gordon's by-line should tell us what this is all about. Maybe he can find a WMD factory somewhere in Syria as he and Judy Miller did in Iraq. "All the news that's fit to print." pl