I surely hope this is the biggest head fake in history. Because if it isn’t, we are so screwed:
President Obama on Wednesday advocated a “shot across the bow” for Syria in the interest of U.S. national security, despite growing concerns from congressional lawmakers over the possibility of an American military strike.
In an interview with PBS, Obama for the first time said publicly the U.S. has concluded the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack against civilians last week, saying the administration does not believe the country’s opposition has such weapons at their disposal.
Obama said he has not yet made a decision on how to respond, but said “international norms” state the use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated.
“We cannot see a breach of the nonproliferation norm that allows, potentially, chemical weapons to fall into the hands of all kinds of folks,” Obama said, saying U.S. national security could be at risk if that occurred.
“If we are saying in a clear and decisive but very limited way, we send a shot across the bow saying, ‘stop doing this,’ that can have a positive impact on our national security over the long term,” Obama said.
Shot across the bow? Seriously?
And what if the Syrian ship doesn’t heave to? What then, Sun Tzu? And why would you expect them to heave to? Assad is in a struggle for survival, after all.
International “nonproliferation” norms? Do you think dictators in existential struggles give a flying f*ck about “international norms”? And, um, this isn’t a proliferation issue. This isn’t a fall-into-the-hands-of-the-wrong-kind-of-folks issue. (“Folks”? Seriously.) This is a use issue. They already are in the wrong hands, for crissakes.
Why should a dictator fighting for his life capitulate to a “very limited” strike? Won’t the limited nature of the strike tell him that we are not serious?
Those questions are purely rhetorical.
I’m also rather mystified at the fetishization of chemical weapons. Yes, death by chemical weapons is horrific. But so is death by artillery, bombing, automatic weapons, and bayonets. 100,00 have perished by “conventional” means in Syria: the death of one percent as many people by “unconventional” means somehow justifies actions that the far more numerous deaths by HE and flying lead don’t?
And I have yet to see Obama or anyone in the administration articulate how any intervention-let alone “very limited” intervention that is guaranteed to be totally ineffectual-will advance US interests. Not one mention of the implications for the Middle East, specifically the standoff with Iran, stability in Lebanon, Hezbollah, Israel, anything. But I guess that’s because for the “progressive” left, advancing American interests is a bug, not a feature.
This interview is truly a distillation of strategic idiocy.