Could it be a “wink, wink”?

I hate that we might do anything military at all in Syria. I hate that if we do, it could be because President Barry was a little careless with his language last year with “a red line”, and the year before with “Assad has to go”. (Hey, maybe he should go to Congress and let them say ‘no’ and then either he can have it both ways or if they say ‘yes’ he’s got cover and isn’t in this alone.)

But I’m also cynical. More cynical than a sweet woman like myself ought to be. So I will wonder: is this waffling and the promises of ‘limited strikes’ a ruse? Is it a delay so Assad can act now to mitigate the damage to come?

Do we perhaps want Assad to survive after all because we believe anything that follows would be more unstable? Have we made a quiet deal to buy some time to transition to another government without those Islamists rattling the palace gates?

UPDATE: He is going to Congress – just saw it at The New York Times; it must have been a few hours ago, so I’m guessing it’s not because of my post.

31 responses to “Could it be a “wink, wink”?

  1. This is a clear out for Obama.

    The president’s in a bad spot. He looks bad for not avenging the use of chemical weapons on children, but quietly realizes that if the US intervenes, it will likely only make things worse (and help al Qaeda).

    Going through and getting a rejection from Congress is a fairly smart move in my opinion because it will give Obama an excuse to back out of military action without looking indecisive.

    He can still pound his chest for sticking up for his principles and then chide Congress for not doing what is “right”, while simultaneously avoiding a colossally bad foreign policy error with dignity.

    It is sheer genius. Obama may be a terrible leader, but he is a brilliant politician.


    • Sean – I can’t believe this . . . just saw a headline on NYTimes: Obama said he’s going to ask Congress. I wrote that post this am but never got it finished before I had stuff to do and just sat down to tweak it and publish it and wham, there’s the NYTimes saying it already happened. (I’ve been way behind with reading/responding to comments etc for the last few days – had I been more attentive I would have taken a moment earlier to say how nice to see you here. Aslo I have your Syria post open right now, though maybe won’t read till a.m.. since it’s late, I’m tired . . .. )


      • Moe,

        I skimmed your post and completely missed the reference to Congress. I actually thought it was a meta post about what was “really” behind him going through Congress.

        If you didn’t say anything, I wouldn’t have noticed! 😉


  2. The ball is now in Congress’s court. The choices are three:

    1. Be heroic, man up and accept the role as the world’s policeman.
    2. Be cowardly and decide not to decide.
    3. Be anti-Obama, deny permission and suffer the eventual condemnation of history.

    Far as I can tell, number 2. is most likely.


    • Number 1 is just another version of shouldering the White Man’s Burden. There’s nothing heroic about it and it’s not anti-Obama for Congress to disallow him another foreign adventure that serves no American purpose.

      But you prove point of Obama’s personal political acumen by framing the choices in the manner that you have, Jim. Funny how ANY refusal of Obama is anti-Obama and likely racist, whereas any refusal of an American POTUS was considered patriotism by you on the Left.


      • @ jonolan,

        Since the 113th Congress convened in January this year, lawmakers passed a mere 15 bills that were then signed by the president. That’s eight fewer than in the first six months of the last Congress and 19 fewer than in the same stretch of the 111th Congress. And that in turn was the least number of measures signed into the law since modern record keeping began in the 1940s. Why do we have this?

        Indeed, part of the reason is unarticulated racism, but another is, I think, growing right-wing extremism powered by gerrymandering since the GOP successes in the 2010 elections. That’s anti-leftist and therefore tacitly anti-Obama as well. If there’s another explanation for this sorry legislative record, I’d be interested to hear it.


  3. Remember how sure Colin Powell was about the last fiasco? I’m still not convinced. It’s a sticky situation. Be interesting to see just how the do-nothings in Congress will react.


    • Woodstock, even now, 10 days later, I’m still ready to open my window and scream “I”m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” if I hear another single person use the expression “targeted strikes”. And even today, there is still NO PROOF that it was the Assad gov’t the shot those chemical missiles. And THAT is a Powell reprise.


  4. Well, I do think that what would follow Assad would be more unstable, and riskier for us. I’m not so sure I want the role of the world’s policeman. We’ve already been involved in a couple messes in that region, couldn’t we just stay out of this one?


  5. I’m from the school that thinks thatr my President found himself out on a limb with no support….Then seeing what David cameron did (A Mistake actually) found a way to back up….Good Politics?…. Sure….Brilliant ? No…..

    ..from the PDog….
    Of Course Obama can go even with a ‘No Confidence’ vote from Congress….

    American Military action in Syria…Two Different views…..


  6. Set aside for the moment the question of the gas attacks and the identities of the perpetrators. I’m categorically not advocating military intervention, yet it needs to be pointed out that there are now over 110,000 dead and more than two million displaced persons as a result of the past two years of civil war. Most of the blood is on the hands of Assad regime. This is a humanitarian crisis approaching the enormity of the Rwandan genocide–and no solution presents itself. This is about a great deal more than Obama, Republicans vs. Democrats, or US politics.


  7. my point exactly ojmo……

    while the President found himself too far out on a limb and has moved back dropping the issue into Congresses lap….

    the face remains that for humanity SOMETHING should be done to stop the senseless actions against the people of Syria…

    And that the solution in the end will be messy but political….


  8. and you cannot set aside the gas attacks……

    they ARE real….


    • No argument there, james. I just mean that even without them, the Assad regime has been particularly brutal to its people; the attacks brought that into focus.


  9. We’re offended by gas attacks and accept murders with guns sop.


  10. These days Woodstock what makes the TV channels IS news….

    But things aren’t fair and right…..


  11. We are in a cold war with Iran. Obama wants to play with Iran while limiting his risks. He bluffed with his redlines and Iran and their surrogates have called his hand. Will he fold? Pardon us right wingers if we do not enjoy his damned if he does and damned if he does not, predicament.

    Senator Obama enjoyed using the Iraq War and every incident and every casualty to seize power in a war weary Nation. I guess now that you are in power, you can’t retreat forever in the middle east, or maybe you can.

    In 2009 President Obama could have supported the Iranian opposition when there was a chance of toppling the Ayatolas. Much of what has gone wrong in the whole middle east since, is a result of missing golden opportunities like that.


  12. Rejection by the British Parliament was probably what made him step back. All kinds of people in Washington really, really want to bomb Syria, but Obama knows he has no international cover except the Gulf states.

    Meanwhile, Kerry gives the Colin Powell speech, which will live in infamy.


  13. Don’t underestimate your influence Mo.


  14. Kerry is doing his job…..

    He has wanted the Sec of State job since 2008 when Hillary passed him over….

    And remember he ran for Prersident….
    He is on another campaign….


    • Yes. Kerry finally learned to do his job. It’s ironic though that he did so in the course of advocating involvement in a foreign civil war now when he once lobbied so strongly to NOT be involved in previous one.


      • You mean the one half a century ago jonolan? The one he was a veteran of and knew intimately? The one that had already been going on for a decade? I don’t think you can equate the two situations but I sure don’t like the direction he’s advocated about ‘gassed his own people’. I seem to have heard that somewhere before.


        • Kerry got up and said that America had no business in Vietnam’s civil war…now he says exactly the opposite about Syria.

          Why would that be? Could it be that he won’t be fighting in this one and that his whole problem with the past one was based upon fear? Or has he just had a change of heart about us being the world’s cop? Or does he just want to keep his job and knows that job is to be Obama’s mouthpiece on foreign affairs?


          • It sure is a dark place you inhabit sometimes jonolan. Are there NO honest people or sincere motives in your world? So Kerry – who was already out Vietnam and no longer in any danger – was afraid. Got it.

            I am NOT defending his position right now nor do I doubt his sincerity then. From my own observations, people in their 70’s did not surrender thinking in their 20’s or freeze their opinions at that time.


            • A 180 degree reversal of position that coincides with a 180 degree reversal in what personally benefits Kerry is very suspect, Moe.

              And, no! There are very few honest people or sincere motives in the world when personal gain or power becomes involved, which is not a wholly bad thing since such things, when combined with power, can lead a nation to ruin.


  15. But remember…
    The buck stops at Obama’s Desk…
    Not Kerry’s…..

    And you can see THAT in the President’s face these days….


    • Boy james, I just can’t remember a president who backed himself into such a corner where he finds himself having to act because of his own misstep. But maybe the current ‘time out’ can make somethiing more sensible happen. Sure hope so.


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