Syrian strongman Bashar Assad will "still be able to eat Cheerios" after a U.S. strike, but he'll have to use a fork and not a spoon. At least that's the metaphor one Obama administration official used to describe the nature of a U.S. strike to USA Today.

The strike, as envisioned, would be limited in the number of targets and done within a day or two. It could be completed in one fell swoop with missiles, said one senior official familiar with the weapons involved. A smaller, follow-on strike could be launched if targets aren't sufficiently damaged.

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.

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