Obama’s Utterly Incoherent Syria Strategy

Obama pitched war to a war-weary America, and all he got back was a yawn.

Tonight’s speech was touted as the most important of his life. I doubt many will remember in 3 years.

“I have asked Congress to find something else to do for a couple of weeks,” seemed to be the theme. Or “there’s something wrong with you people for wanting to bomb a Middle East country. I mean, they’re Muslims for God’s sake.”

But having made my decision as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I'm also mindful that I'm the President of the world's oldest constitutional democracy.

So, only a madman could watch the YouTube videos from Syria and fail to throw bombs at Assad. While I’m no madman, I’m going to let Putin deal with this.

Seriously? This guy makes Jimmy Carter look like Tony Soprano.

And he made no attempt, really, to demonstrate that Syria’s civil war threatens American lives or interests.

I've told you what I believe, that our security and our values demand that we cannot turn away from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons.

Countless? I thought the number 1,451. Unless you ask anyone other than the US war machine. The UK, France, and the UN put the number closer to 500. (So maybe instead of “countless,” he meant “disputed.”)

But what about that justification? At least Bush made the argument that Saddam had violated numerous UN directives that Iraq had signed and threatened his neighbors. Obama’s only justification for war in Syria is value-perturbation.

Yes, Bashar al Assad is an evil bastard, as are many (most?) of the forces fighting to topple his government. Yes, we want to contain and eliminate chemical weapons. But war is a serious things, and once you lob a rocket—or shoot an Archduke—there’s no telling where things will go.

So . . .

This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground.

You really can’t say that.  As I wrote earlier, bombs influence behavior of the target, and not always the way you want. The Japanese expected the USA to fold after Pearl Harbor. That didn’t happen.

Where does that leave us? I’m not sure, and neither is Obama or his Secretary of State. Boehner seems happy to go back into a fetal position over the continuing resolution.

On his speech, though, we know the score. Unless his goal was to just get it over with, he failed.

White House Common Sense Test Is Bassackwards

The White House admits it has no hard evidence that the Syrian government launched the alleged chemical weapons attack.

Instead, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough told the Associated Press “a common sense test” implicates the Syrian government.

Well, no, it doesn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Chemical weapons attacks are signs of desperation. But Assad’s forces have recently gained the upper hand against rebels according to numerous sources.

In fact, the US was considering jumping into the Syrian civil war back in July when the tide began to turn. From July 18, 2013:

The U.S. is considering the use of military force in Syria, the country’s top general said Thursday.

Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he has provided President Barack Obama with options for military strikes in Syria, where the civil war has cost at least 93,000 lives.

Why would Assad risk US intervention by launching a chemical attack when he’s winning?

Answer: he wouldn’t. Or it doesn’t seem likely.

Common sense says he’d want to keep the US out of it.

On the other hand, a desperate rebel force might launch a chemical attack—even a false flag attack—in order push the US or the UN to action.

In Obama’s White House, common sense is as foreign as fiscal responsibility and Constitutional restraint.