Time reports that "at the Pentagon, they call it 'shaping the battlefield.' It’s shorthand for taking steps, military and otherwise, before launching an attack. In the long drumbeat of war prior to a possible attack on Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons last month, the Obama Administration — starting with the President himself — has fumbled this critical prewar phase."
"That’s led to a fair amount of private grumbling among active-duty military officers, and public criticism from those who have retired. They don’t like going to war with squishy objectives like preventing Bashar Assad’s government from using chemical weapons. They express concern — if the initial attack isn’t substantial enough — that Syria could use such agents again. So there is stepped-up military planning for a strike that could be double the size contemplated two weeks ago, spread over 72 hours and calling in B-2 or other warplanes to deliver bigger bombs than those atop Tomahawk cruise missiles."