I was as shocked as anyone that President Obama did an about face on firing his phallic symbol-like missiles in Assad’s general direction. Although I had previously called the administration amateurish, they managed to redefine the word amateur down.
First we’re going to attack, then we’re going to get Congressional approval, but don’t worry, that doesn’t matter, since Obama states he still has the authority to attack anyway, and will, regardless of the vote.
Although there are conspiracy theories that the rebels, not the Assad government, actually used chemical weapons as a false flag to trick the US into intervening, I prefer to consider such theories ridiculous until proven otherwise. As far as figuring out a position on what to do in Syria, I’m just taking the administration’s word that the intelligence is good, and that Assad is the culprit.
However that doesn’t give guidance on how the US should react.
I would really like to support the President in this. Politics stops at the water’s edge and all that’ however Obama has managed to make it as difficult as possible to support a policy in which the publically stated goals are to accomplish nothing. They’re not to destroy Assad’s chemical weapons, cripple the regime, or do anything of any military significance. It’s a military mission with no military objectives, and frankly, not even political ones.
Syria isn’t a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, so in a technical sense, they didn’t actually violate “International law.” The administration is well aware of that since they use terminology “International Norms,” which means things that the international community, such as it is, doesn’t like. Although no one in the international community feels their norms were violated enough to actually do something about it.
Obama should have just fired his missiles last week without all of the foreplay and advanced warning. We would have already been on to another issue by now with the feeling that we had sort of accomplished something. Instead, there was the desperate pleading for international support, an embarrassing House of Commons vote, and now an upcoming Congressional vote that’s likely to be even more embarrassing.
And how will Congress vote? Very unconventionally apparently. Noted warmonger Rep. Nancy Pelosi, after wresting with the issue with her 5 year old grandson, is on board to attack Syria. And John McCain, between Smartphone games of poker, is always up for another bombing. How will the rest of the Congress vote? It’s not as easy to predict. Although I can guess how a certain young Illinois lawmaker would have voted:
Now let me be clear–I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied U.N. resolutions, thwarted U.N. inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.
He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.
But the 2002 edition of Barrack Obama was quite a bit different from the current model.