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Obama wants Congress to save him from himself on Syria

Obama wants Congress to save him from himself on Syria

The mishandling of Syria is so complete, it’s not clear there are any good options.

President Obama has decided to send the issue of authorizing force against Syria to Congress. What should Congress do? Should Congress give him the authority to act based on the guidelines he’s set out? Should Congress change the guidelines?

The mishandling of Syria is so complete that whether or not military intervention is warranted, it may now be the worst of the options:

Congress should not authorize the use of force in Syria, if at all, until there is a clear objective in mind.

This isn’t me simply mocking the President, which would be easy to do.

This is based on the President’s own words and actions; some since August 21 but many before.

In A Show of Farce, after noting the severity of Assad’s actions, James Taranto observes that the administration’s stated goals hardly fit the crime.

Indications are that the Obama administration’s response will be to drop a few bombs, break some stuff, and maybe kill a few bystanders. That comes nowhere near being a just punishment for the crimes alleged.

Nor does it seem likely to prove an effective deterrent. Other dictators will see that they can use chemical weapons without endangering their survival (in both senses of the word). Assad will have tested the resolve of “the world” and found it wanting: Even after using chemical weapons, he will remain in power, with no reason to expect any external response to any further atrocity that doesn’t involve chemical weapons.

One similarity between the Syria effort and the Iraq one is that the U.S. is having trouble enlisting the support of its allies. Notwithstanding Obama’s promises to “restore our moral standing,” he couldn’t even get the British on board: The House of Commons yesterday voted down Prime Minister David Cameron’s motion to support a Syria strike. On the other hand, the New York Times notes that France’s President Francois Hollande “offered strong support.” We hear today’s lunch special at the State Department cafeteria was poisson frites.

But remember that this is a President who considers the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan – out of harm’s way – to be among his foremost achievements. President Obama has no stomach for war. For him war the limit is targeting disparate Al Qaeda leaders in pinpoint drone strikes. He does not believe that war serves any national interest or even higher purpose.

Last week some people thought that he looked indecisive. I respectfully disagree. President Obama never wanted to go to war with Syria; what he was waiting for was an excuse not to do so.

I’d guess that the British vote Friday against authorizing force in Syria was cheered in the White House. The fewer partners available the easier it is to claim that there is insufficient international support. A Congressional vote against attacking would – along with no Security vote or one vetoed by China and Russia – would mean that there is little legal justification for a strike. President Obama has cultivated an image that he is more thoughtful than his rash predecessor. With limited popular support and legal justification would President Obama strike Syria?

If there was some point to attacking Syria as Eliot Cohen, the Wall Street Journal or Bret Stephens outlined; I’d tell Congress to authorize action.

But the President is looking for a pretext not to attack Syria. As bad as the Syria situation is, President Obama’s fecklessness endangers something else.

In an ironically titled column a year and a half ago, Israel’s Best Friend, Thomas Friedman argued:

“Preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon isn’t just in the interest of Israel, it is profoundly in the security interests of the United States,” the president told The Atlantic. “If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, this would run completely contrary to my policies of nonproliferation. The risks of an Iranian nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorist organizations are profound. … It would also provide Iran the additional capability to sponsor and protect its proxies in carrying out terrorist attacks, because they are less fearful of retaliation. … If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, I won’t name the countries, but there are probably four or five countries in the Middle East who say, ‘We are going to start a program, and we will have nuclear weapons.’ And at that point, the prospect for miscalculation in a region that has that many tensions and fissures is profound. You essentially then duplicate the challenges of India and Pakistan fivefold or tenfold.” In sum, the president added, “The dangers of an Iran getting nuclear weapons that then leads to a free-for-all in the Middle East is something that I think would be very dangerous for the world.”

Every Israeli and friend of Israel should be thankful to the president for framing the Iran issue this way. It is important strategically for Israel, because it makes clear that dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat was not Israel’s problem alone. And it is important politically, because this decision about whether to attack Iran is coinciding with the U.S. election. The last thing Israel or American friends of Israel — Jewish and Christian — want is to give their enemies a chance to claim that Israel is using its political clout to embroil America in a war that is not in its interest.

(I doubt that Friedman appreciated the irony.)

But using weapons of mass destruction was once a “red line” for the President:

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

Now the President’s apologists are parsing the red line comment to say that it doesn’t mean what others have thought it means.

Really the only people whose interpretation of the “red line” comment matter are Bashar Assad and Ali Khamenei.

If the use of a “bunch of chemical weapons … being utilized” has not changed President Obama’s equation on Syria, will Iran’s development of nuclear weapons change anything?


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It’s not true that Obama’s Syrian strike would have no objective. The White House leaked the objective last week: to rattle sabers just loudly enough so that Obama “is not mocked.”

Surely such a noble purpose is worth risking our brave servicemens’ lives for, not to mention wasting a few billion dollars’ worth of arms?

    Obama is proving once again, he is his own worst enemy.

    He constantly cultivates his celebrity status and winds up proving he is a clueless embarrassment as an actual world leader.

    We may as well march Gaga into the White House and let her run the country.

    Our international friends and enemies alike are laughing their butts off at this incompetent celebrity and his clueless fan club.

    Surely, the most often used joke punchline in the Kremlin is “Obama.”

    Valerie in reply to Observer. | September 1, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Why don’t we just put up a $10 tent in the Nevada desert, along with a camel, fire a cruise missile from San Diego, hit the camel in the butt and just say we attacked?

      Observer in reply to Valerie. | September 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Makes about as much sense as what Obama has proposed, with the added benefit that it’s much cheaper.

      Seriously, what is gained by launching a “very limited” missile strike, when the C-in-C announces in advance that he is never sending in ground troops, not seeking regime change, and not going to do anything more than launch a few missiles to make an empty symbolic gesture of disapproval (and prevent himself from being “mocked”)?

      Kerry was on the news shows this morning, insisting that the mullahs in Iran will be emboldened if we do nothing. The truth is, they’ll be just as emboldened (maybe more so) if we make this toothless gesture. Obama has already exposed himself as a feckless fool; there is no putting that genie back in the bottle.

Obama is doing what he set out to do: diminish American power, prestige, and ideals on the global stage. However, on the way to doing that, he is dealing himself some incredible death blows. When he finally gets out of the WH and off the global stage, he will be the only American president with no allies anywhere.

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

Could it be that Obama realizes that a strike against Assad is giving aid and comfort to Al-Queda?

    Anchovy in reply to Vince. | September 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Al-Queda has figured out that it is much more efficient to either fake a chemical attack or actually use chemicals and then let Obama do their work for them.

    Again, people need to ask who benefits more from the use or alleged use of chemical weapons, the rebels or the Syrian government.

Obama: He made the world safe for chemical weapons.

I thought Obama was going to bring peace on Earth, and fix the weather too.

Well, he could just go golfing.

Oh. Wait.

BannedbytheGuardian | September 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

I thought about it but could not come up with any Pre analyses because I thought it would would not happen . There is no money in the world for the “peacekeeping ‘ that may be required .

AT has a good article breaking down the costs of the UN forces in this region & Africa & the lousy amounts the benefiting nations contribute.towards it. ( yes that includes Israel) .

Even missiles must be paid for & replaced as the Uk found out in Libya. Afghanistan & Iraq have severely depleted the coffers of all.

[…] or hinting, the start of the historic American retreat.” Exponential weakness from flaccid Weak Obama. Those that support Obama foolishness on Syria by applauding his forced going to congress (even […]

There won’t be any missile strikes. Kerry will offer up more empty rhetoric that will be met with even more laughter. The Obama Administration will claim that laughter as a diplomatic breakthrough and the American MSM will nominate the fool for another peace prize. Our allies ought to just let this guy’s calls roll over to voicemail. Not worth the breath it takes to say hello.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Believing that you’re better than others
Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
Exaggerating your achievements or talents
Expecting constant praise and admiration
Believing that you’re special and acting accordingly
Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings
Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
Taking advantage of others
Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
Being jealous of others
Believing that others are jealous of you
Trouble keeping healthy relationships
Setting unrealistic goals
Being easily hurt and rejected
Having a fragile self-esteem
Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional

Remind you of anyone?

Obama found his mop again.
And he mopped himself right into a corner.
What a buffoon. Him and Biden are just one stooge short of a full circus.

When I was a kid I had a cousin that used to come visit a lot and when the weather was rough, as it often was in wintertime Detroit, we’d play board games, usually Monopoly, with my sisters included. We’d keep an eye on my cousin because he was the sort of kid who’d go ballistic the minute he understood he was gonna lose. He’d just blow up, flip the board off the table, sending the pieces flying everywhere for us to clean up, then he’d stomp off to play elsewhere. Obama reminds me of my cousin.

Now, now. The President is prepared. Look:

Is this the result of the Peter Principle meeting Affirmative Action?

Who is running the government? It is time for adults to take over and save this country. Not partisan hack like Valerie Jarret, stooges in Hollywood and know nothing at all liberal academics.

A world-class a-hole, the likes of which has never been seen in modern times.

Anyone need any more proof of the catastrophe of affirmative action?