I generally don’t comment much on foreign affairs, but I will weigh in on this Syria thing.
I’ve read a lot of pros and cons by some very serious people, unfortunately, none of them work in the White House. Good lord, but those people, particularly our fearful leader, are embarrassing.
Something to remember about Pres. Obama is that he is always late to the party… Way too late. We saw it when the people of Iran were protesting the election a few years ago. They were ready, hell, they were begging, for Obama to step up and lead, to help them, at least with some moral leadership. Instead, they got nothing. A few years ago, progress could have been made in Syria, leadership could have been shown. Instead, the rebels (who I’m told were actually good guys at the time, unlike the mess there is now where terrorist groups are heavily in the mix, seeing possible weakness and pouncing, like they tend to do) were on their own and people in the administration, such as Hillary Clinton* were saying things like: “Assad is a reformer.” Did she really believe that?
So, Obama is always late if he shows up at all, and his tardiness tends to result in the bad guys having already pounced–seeing opportunities to gain control in entire countries–and lame responses when things have already gone south. I refer you to Libya and Egypt.
Now, the man Vodka Pundit (Steven Green) refers to as Professor Ditherington Wiggleroom, has really put his foot in his mouth. He said there was a red line in the use of chemical weapons. I know, he recently tried to tell the world that is wasn’t his red line, it was everybody else’s red line and he just spoke the words of everyone else (despite the fact that the quote utilized a personal pronoun, coming out as something like: “for me, that would be a red line”). As I recall, there was an accusation of chemical weapons a while back. We heard people ask if that was crossing the red line, but we didn’t hear much from the White House about it. Then it happened again. Suddenly, Obama was confronted with his words (which, in his usual style, he tried to shirk responsibility for).
To save face, he had to do something. What would the Nobel committee say? Was he unworthy of his Nobel Peace Prize if he didn’t punish the use of chemical weapons, particularly after drawing a verbal red line, or would the Nobel committee look down on him more if he started bombing? Damn… What a conundrum! What would the rest of the world think… of HIM (you know, it’s ego based, because we’re talking about Obama).
Should we do it? Part of me says, “Hell yes! Bomb Syria and then swing around and drop some big ordinance on Iran while you’ve got the planes in the air.” The other part of me asks, “Why? What’s the end game? Are we just delivering a high tech, extremely expensive spanking? Are we going to eliminate Assad, and if we do, do we have any influence over, or knowledge of, who will take over?”
I can’t support an expensive spanking. We can do far less costly things that don’t risk American lives if we want to spank him. I’m not saying they’ll be effective. Most would amount to a strongly worded letter from the UN. But we’re talking about a spanking here, not a war. Plus, we’ve talked about it long enough that he’s moved, hidden, or evacuated anything and anywhere that would’ve made bombing effective had it been done quickly. He’ll end up just like Saddam, letting the world know that he survived a US attack and giving us the middle finger. He’ll do the same thing with a UN resolution, or sanctions, but at least those don’t cost us anything.
There doesn’t seem to be an end-game in mind. Secretary of State John Kerry is now talking about an extremely limited strike. He says that in the long run, they want regime change, but that the strike would be limited at this time, completely separate from the goal of regime change, though it might impact that long term goal to some extent. Um… So it’s a spanking. Does it all come down to saving face for Obama? Is there any way he can still do that? This whole thing has been pretty damned humiliating for the guy. The Brits won’t participate. His attempt to make the “red line” someone else’s declaration was pathetic in its transparency as an attempt to shirk responsibility and leadership. His attempt to suddenly go to Congress after declaring that he didn’t need to go to Congress seemed really weird, and like another attempt at CYA. And, he’s going to lose there (probably). All this with a background for those of us with a memory of what he said about Bush and Iraq back in the day (great column by Victor Davis Hanson at: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/obama-indicts-obama/ ).
Given the circumstances, and the cost, and the risk to American lives, I can’t support a strike on Syria just to spank Assad. I’d rather see us bomb Iran and spank them for supporting Assad, if we want to bomb someone. I don’t believe an extremely limited strike at Assad will harm him greatly, nor will it serve as much of a warning to the mullahs that they shouldn’t keep those centrifuges spinning, and once again (contrary to McCain) I don’t think we have any clue who we should actually be supporting in Syria if we do happen to weaken Assad. I’m a “no”.
*An aside regarding Hillary Clinton… Why is she referred to as one of the most accomplished women ever? Exactly what has she accomplished? She was First Lady, for which she is mostly remembered for forgiving her husband for cuckolding her with a not particularly attractive intern. She also concocted (or helped concoct) a health care plan (Hillary Care) that was roundly rejected and is now forgotten. She got elected Senator in New York, where she’d have had to cover herself in feces and run naked through Time Square shouting her love for George Bush and Ronald Reagan in order to lose. She did nothing memorable as a Senator, other than support the invasion of Iraq and then, like all good Democrats, turn against the war later. As Secretary of State she did absolutely nothing that I can recall. She seemed to disappear after the humiliating picture of the stupid gimmick in Russia with the “reset button”. The relationship with Russia was not, by the way, reset or improved in any discernible way. She proclaimed Assad a reformer. That was ultimately pretty damned inaccurate (and seemed pretty far fetched at the time). She was SecState during the Arab Spring, which didn’t exactly turn out the way anyone hoped (and she was SecState when we didn’t back the uprising in Iran). And then there was Benghazi. Seriously… What the hell has she ever done that someone can point to as an important accomplishment for the United States of America other than garner a reputation on the left that she doesn’t deserve?
P.S. Remember in the run-up to the Iraq war, when people were saying that trucks were moving Saddam’s chemical weapon stockpiles to Syria? I don’t know if it was true, but wouldn’t it be interesting if, sometime down the road, we discovered that the chemical weapons Assad used were Saddam’s? Or, even if those particular weapons were not Saddam’s, that his are actually there? Wow! Would that make some people on the left’s heads explode!