As far as I can tell from the remarks being made, our strategy in Syria will be to give President Bashar Al-Assad an “unbelievably small” fork.

breakfast cereal “Those aren’t actually cheerios–” “Just play along! It was the first picture I found!” (BIGSTOCK)

“See how you eat your Cheerios now!” we will bellow. “That’s right! With DIFFICULTY, and WITHOUT MILK!”

I am not making this up. I am quoting this verbatim from USA Today:

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.

Anyone who has ever been a really, really incompetent bully feels for the man who coined this analogy.

Among the rejected metaphors, I am guessing:

-If Assad is walking to school with his lunch, we’re going to take his lunch money away and give him back the same amount, but IN PENNIES! Imagine what a jerk he’ll feel like, paying for lunch in PENNIES!

-If Assad is riding a bike, we are going to STEAL HIS TIRES and DEFLATE THEM A LITTLE and then make him watch as we PUT THEM BACK ON THE BIKE!

-If Assad is sitting in front of us in class, we’re going to STEAL HIS NOTES and then GIVE THEM BACK TO HIM LATER WITH EVERYTHING ERASED and then rewritten, accurately, BUT IN SLIGHTLY MORE ILLEGIBLE HANDWRITING!

-If Assad is a pitcher, we are going to threaten to break his non-dominant hand. So, he’ll still be in a little pain, right, and it might throw his game off, but he’ll still be able to pitch depending on his mind-set.

No, Jim, the senior official thought to himself. Get your head together.

-If Assad is going to a costume party, we’re going to TAKE AWAY HIS COSTUME but leave him time to assemble something from household items he’s got lying around, because, hey, the party’s not for a while.

-If Assad is trying to eat an apple, we’re going to PUT THOSE ANNOYING STICKERS ALL OVER THE APPLE SO HE HAS TO WORK REALLY HARD TO GET THEM OFF, AND MAYBE HE’LL GO EAT SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD BECAUSE THOSE STICKERS ARE A REAL PAIN.

-If Assad is typing, we’re going to SPILL SOMETHING ON HIS KEYBOARD, not breaking it, but making TWO FREQUENTLY USED KEYS STICK TOGETHER, SO MAYBE HE’LL GET DISCOURAGED BY THE EFFORT REQUIRED TO DIFFERENTIATE THEM WHEN TYPING AND GIVE UP TYPING!

-If Assad is a tree, we’re going to move a beaver into the area, not unleash the beaver or anything, just have it sit there.

-If Assad is a rabbit. <—Assad’s not a rabbit, Jim.

-If — (Jim gets up and walks around and drinks some coffee.)

-If Assad is driving a shiny new car around town, we’re going to find his car in the parking lot and IN THE SIGHT OF EVERYONE, put a REALLY DUMB BUMPER STICKER ON IT SO HE WON’T WANT TO DRIVE IT ANY MORE! Oh, and turned the radio to a STATION ASSAD REALLY DOESN’T LIKE! No, better than that, we’ll give him a WHOLE IPOD FULL OF MUSIC HE IS PRETTY SURE TO DISLIKE DRIVING TO, and we’ll make sure it’s STUCK THERE!

-If Assad is at home watching television, we’re going to SHOW UP AT HIS HOUSE LATE AT NIGHT WHEN HE THINKS HE’S SAFE and USE THE REMOTE TO TURN THE TV OFF! I bet he won’t want to turn it on after that!

Actually, I can see why the Cheerio fork won out.

As Yogi Berra said, when you come to a fork in the road, GIVE IT TO ASSAD IN THE MOST THREATENING WAY POSSIBLE.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".