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Here’s a pop quiz for you. Which of the following two statements about Obama’s planned attack against Syria is a joke:
A. “One U.S. official who has been briefed on the options on Syria said he believed the White House would seek a level of intensity ‘just muscular enough not to get mocked’ but not so devastating that it would prompt a response from Syrian allies Iran and Russia.
B. “Attempting to quell criticism of his proposal for a limited military mission in Syria, President Obama floated a more modest strategy today, saying that any U.S. action in Syria would have ‘no objective whatsoever.’
If you’re still mulling it over, the answer is B. Andy Borowitz, resident wit at The New Yorker penned that one to describe Obama’s approach to Syria, one that involves announcing the strike in advance (when, where, and how) and failing utterly to explain to the American people what’s in it for them.
As quotation A, that’s from a real Los Angeles Times article trying to explain the “serious test” that Obama faces in dealing with Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people. (Incidentally, many people are concerned that this is all an al Qaeda head fake, using real corpses killed by other means.)
The confusion about Obama’s purpose in getting America involved in Syria comes right from the top. Speaking to Eastern European leaders on Friday, the President, who is rapidly transforming himself into a big-mouthed Hamlet (“To be or not to be? To bomb or not to bomb? To do it on Thursday or next week?”) assured everyone that he’s just planning on a pretend military engagement, except with a real military. ”We’re not considering any open-ended commitment,” the president said, according to a White House pool report. “We’re not considering any boots on the ground approach.”
Obama made sure to emphasize that “I have not made any decisions.” He promises the “We have consulted with allies. We have consulted with Congress.”
Really? According to a report from Voice of America, the U.S. government’s news site, the official White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said Obama’s not really going to consult with Congress: “Pressed about calls for congressional authorization, White House spokesman Jay Carney Tuesday indicated the president believes consulting with congressional leaders is enough.”
John Fund, writing at National Review Online dug up a quotation from Mary Anne Marsh, a high level Democrat consultant, explaining on Lou Dobbs Tonight that Obama just isn’t going to bother wasting his time with the people’s representatives:
There is a special Congress that we’re dealing with right now that has the lowest popularity rating in history and Republicans who overwhelmingly would oppose taking any action. The president of the United States cannot be handcuffed by the same Republicans that are holding the rest of the country hostage on every other issue. That is wrong.
Apparently we all missed the part in the Constitution that says that, “Should Congress be opposed to the President’s policies, the President may ignore it entirely and do whatever the heck he wants.”
Obama, however, assured the leaders of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia that he knows exactly what he’s doing. Having sat on his hands for two years as more than 100,000 people died in Syria, suddenly he’s concerned about America’s “national security” and, moreover, these additional 1,500 deaths are just plain wrong:
“There is a certain weariness, given Afghanistan. There is a certain suspicion of any military action post-Iraq, and I very much appreciate that,” Obama said. “It’s important for us to recognize that when over a thousand people are killed, including hundreds of innocent children, through the use of a weapon that 98 or 99 percent of humanity says should not be used even in war, and there is no action, then we’re sending a signal.”
In a narrow way, Obama is correct: The world does hold chemical weapons in abhorrence. We also know, though, that when Muslim nations in the Middle East go to war, they have a history of resorting to the utmost barbarity. In the context of their warfare, it’s very hard to say that a gas attack is any worse than cannibalism, random beheadings, and the use of children to commit their bloody acts. In other words, in the Middle East, the people themselves are the weapons of mass destruction.