The President’s Decision
Published on: August 31, 2013
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  • Corlyss

    ViaMeadia will wait in vain for evidence of clarity from the consistently befuddled and misguided thinker that Dear Leader is. All his policies except destruction of the Republican party leave folks with the feeling of kissing their siblings.

    If Democrats were held to the same standards for hypocrisy, they’re would be a media-led howl such as hasn’t been heard since Bush was in office. But they aren’t. We just have to get used to that fact – hypocrisy is a freebee for Dems., a death sentence for Republicans.

    • bpuharic

      Non existent crediblity?

      Right wingers got us a war in Iraq that killed 4400 US troops while costing 2 trillion, that gained us


      To the right, that’s manly credibility. To normal people that’s failure

    • Andrew Allison

      Could it be that the strategy is to have Congress get the President off his red line hook by voting against taking action?

      • Corlyss

        Oh dear. You see the Emperor as nekkid. Not very gracious of you, Andrew. 😉

  • Andrew Allison

    The decision to request Congressional approval when our grossly over-paid, part-time reprehensitives come back to “work” on September 9 suggests that WRM is unduly optimistic. The, equally part-time, President has stated that the situation affects our national security, and should call a special session!

  • Corlyss

    “President has stated that the situation affects our national security, and should call a special session!”
    We shouldn’t be suckered by this rhetoric any more than we should have been suckered by the “if you like your insurance, you can keep it” rhetoric. The only thing at stake is Obama’s self-image. Nobody, not even Syrian thugs, should die for that.

    • Andrew Allison

      Corlyss my friend, I fear that you are in danger turning into the anti-burpharic ;<)}
      Did you really mean to suggest that my recommendation that our Dear Leader should call an emergency session is rhetoric by which we should not be suckered?
      Cordially, Andrew

      • Corlyss

        The suckering rhetoric is “the situation affects our national security” – not even. If that were at issue, we’d be doomed by this unserious individual that 2% of the nation’s voters decided to put back into office without any evidence that he should be there.

    • bpuharic

      The right complained when he did nothin

      The right complains when he does something

      The only constant here is that he’s black.

      Go figure.

      • Corlyss

        You’re a freakin’ bully, B. You pull that race canard out at every criticism. It doesn’t answer the policy deficiencies that even your own party now calls attention to. The real constant in Obama is he’s a big-spending, peacenik Democrat, pardon the tautology.

        • bpuharic

          Really? EVERY response?

          Proof? Oh None None at all

          The fact is the right considers Obama an ‘alien’…a foreigner. And the most foreign thing about him is he’s black.

          That’s a fact. I don’t care you can’t live with your apophatic racism, but racism it is. And I’ll call you on it every time you thugs use it

          • Valley Forge

            You don’t actually know anyone on “the right”, do you? You probably don’t even think you’re stereotyping.

            And I’m not sure why you think black is foreign.

          • bpuharic

            It’s almost as if you’ve never heard of the “Fox” network

          • Jeff Jones

            And when the left is reminded that the “right” voted for Tim Scott, loved Herman Cain, Cedra Crenshaw, etc…the left has nowhere to go but to the Tim Wise argument that those are “acceptable blacks” who act white.

            Face it, B…your side blew the racism wad four years ago and nobody is paying attention outside of Huffpost and DKos.

          • bpuharic

            I didn’t say ALL conservatives were racists. But the fact Ron Paul had racist articles in his newsletter is ignored by the right. No one’s paying attention?

            How’s President Romney doing, after having had 90% of his voters be


          • Jeff Jones

            Like I’ve told you before, I agree that Obama won fair and square in 2008, but I have to question his victory when the IRS was, and continues to, stifle conservative fundraising organizations. Obama only won by a couple million votes.

            And, again, his claim of 100% of the vote in certain districts is up there with Saddam making the same claim for 7 years. The odds against there to being a single dissenting vote in an entire district are far too long to ignore.

          • bpuharic

            The IRS didn’t ‘stifle’ anyone. They didn’t revoke anyone’s status. So adjust your tinfoil hat.

            And let’s go back to 2000 when George Bush lost by 500,000 votes…and was made President by Antonin Scalia

            Really want to go there?

          • Jeff Jones

            > The IRS didn’t ‘stifle’ anyone.

            They held up giving conservative groups the IRS’ stamp of approval, which many potential donors want to see before they’ll contribute.

            There’s too much evidence to deny it, B. At this point, denial is tinfoil hat material.

            > And let’s go back to 2000 when George Bush lost by 500,000 votes…and was made President by Antonin Scalia. Really want to go there?

            Sure. Liberals love the electoral college (and democracy for that matter) until the vote doesn’t go their way. Then, we need to follow the “popular” vote.

          • bpuharic

            You’re the one complaining about the ‘foreigner’ Obama….I’m merely pointing out Bush lost. Conservatives love the electoral college until it doesn’t go their way. Then they threaten armed revolution on the basis of the ‘2nd amendment’ and other paranoid delusions.

            And the IRS process worked as it was supposed to. The head of the IRS office was a BUSH appointee. The rogue agents who decided to act on their own had specifically been ordered NOT to hold up approval but they decided, on their own, to do so. After higher level review, the process did, as it was supposed to, approved the application of these groups

            So, again, the tin foil hat brigade forgets about checks and balances. Good thing the founding fathers didn’t.

          • Jeff Jones

            > Conservatives love the electoral college until it doesn’t go their way.
            Then they threaten armed revolution on the basis of the ‘2nd amendment’
            and other paranoid delusions.

            Not a single shred of evidence that this ever happened

            And read the news about the IRS. The “rogue agents” meme has already been debunked even in the mainstream media:


            “For one, the original
            claim during IRS testimony — that the scandal was the result of a
            couple of “rogue IRS agents” in the agency’s Cincinnati field office — didn’t hold water.

            It turned out that, according to frontline IRS agents in Cincinnati interviewed by House Oversight committee investigators, the Washington IRS office had played a key role in the handling of the tea party applications.”

          • bpuharic

            Most militias are right wing. They’re fanatics about the 2nd and scream the govt is coming to take away our guns which they need to defend themselves against some mythical govt takeover.

            And, again, you ignore the fact the head of the IRS office in Cleveland was a Bush appointee

            The reference you cited?

            It’s an Op/Ed piece from a right winger, which even CNN admits at the end of the article.

          • Jeff Jones

            > And, again, you ignore the fact the head of the IRS office in Cleveland was a Bush appointee

            That’s because the Cleveland thing is BS. It was the first thing they came up with when they were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. If Lois Lerner has nothing to hide, why did she take the fifth (after making a statement)?

            UK DAILY MAIL: America’s tax collectors are STILL targeting tea party groups, IRS agent admits to congressional investigators


          • bpuharic

            Testifying before congressional investigators?

            That’s the DEFINITION of ‘checks and balances’. Thanks for proving what we already knew. The IRS is going nowhere.

          • Jeff Jones

            Who said anything about the IRS going anywhere? Only a stump would believe an incompetent agency like that will ever “go anywhere.”

            I don’t believe in abolishing agencies, just making them follow the same rules the US government forces on private companies and invididuals.

            I manage a SOX IT compliance program for a fortune 500 company. We have to bend over backwards to comply with SOX, including ridiculous stuff with zero risk like ensuring that all userids are removed within 24 hours of someone leaving. While I agree that is good practice, color me skeptical that a US government agency could comply with such a US government statute.

            They couldn’t dream of complying with 1/50th of the rules they create for others, which is why they fight moves to audit them tooth and nail. It’s hypocrisy, and what they do is far worse. If my company screws up, we only lose our own money and that of the shareholders. When a government agency like the GSA screws up, it’s OUR money.

        • Fred

          No, Corlyss, a bully is someone who uses superior strength to beat up on those weaker than he is. Intellectually, B. is more like the cartoon character who uselessly swings at the bigger person while the bigger person holds him at arm’s length by pushing on his forehead. B. is an intellectual pipsqueak.

          • Corlyss

            As long as we politely look the other way in embarrassment at their poor manners while the leftist trolls like B spew their venomous hatred assassinating conservatives’ characters with vile dismissals like “bigot” and “racism,” we will always lose the debates. Theirs is an emotional argument we try to counter with reason and facts. They must be called on it, no matter how much we would like to think we take the high road and stick to formal debate principles. People like B may be as Jeff says poor slobs but they need to be called what they are: bullies and race baiters who strive to shut up by any means available people who disagree with them on policy grounds. In B’s case, I’d say it’s most likely because he has no principled arguments and has learned (because we have taught him and his ilk so well) that he need not know anything about facts or policy as long as he can shout the golden words, racist and bigot and make us out to be morally inferior beings because those two words are toxic. Nobody wants to associate with someone who has been denounced as a racist or bigot. And shallow thinkers that many Americans are, or left-indoctrinated as many are, and that’s all that’s necessary. B should be attacked for what he is whenever he engages in that behavior, which, since it is all the time, is a very trying proposition.

          • bpuharic

            The right pretends there is no racism on the right

            Item: National Review fires John Derbyshire for racism last year

            Item: Ron Paul published racist screed in his newsletter, later disavowing them

            Item: Rand Paul hires a segregationist to work on his campaign THIS YEAR, firing him after the guy’s history becomes known

            Item: 46% of GOP Mississippians think interracial marriage should be banned


            And yet the right screams that the ‘left’ uses racism in every discussion

            There is racism on the right. You can bleat all you want that it doesn’t exist

            I just gave you 4 examples that it does

            But you go ahead. Keep denying the facts

            It’s what the right does. It’s what MAKES the right wing right wing

          • Jeff Jones

            If most people took Ron Paul and John Derbyshire seriously, you might have a point.

            Few of the people here care about Ron Paul, myself included, and I’d bet my life savings that none here have read nor seen anything by Derbyshire.

            Your example are less than compelling as usual.

          • bpuharic

            Ah, the special pleading crowd charges in.

            Ron Paul…presidential candidate…leader of the GOP…US congressman. Yeah, no one takes him seriously.

            John Derbyshire…writer for the leading right wing rag in the US…well, perhaps you’re right on this one, so to speak

            National Review is the “National Enquirer” of intellectual thought.

            And I notice you glossed over the 46% of right wingers…well…that’s what the right does

            Ignore facts

          • Jeff Jones

            46% of the GOP in Mississippit believes in banning interracial marriage?


            Setting aside the fact that you once again failed to provide a neutral source, 46% doesn’t constitute a majority, unless of course a clod like you wants to pretend that it is.

            In summary, you are unable to demonstrate that a majority of Republicans want to ban interracial marriage even in a deep south state like Mississippi. Yet, you extrapolate that to the people on this forum (and elsewhere in your previous comments)?

            Not buying it. You are never able to produce compelling evidence.

          • bpuharic

            Yes I’m sure in your view only Fox is a ‘neutral’ source. And I never said 46% WAS a majority. You have enough of a problem with your own argument without making up words for mine.

            What I said was that there are many racists in the conservative movement. I provided proof of that.

            You want to make up an argument you can have with yourself? Go. Engage in self pleasure.

            Don’t get me involved.

          • Jeff Jones

            > Yes I’m sure in your view only Fox is a ‘neutral’ source.

            No, that’s how YOU operate. You try to pass off HuffPost and other leftist articles as sources. I won’t consider anything from Fox.

            Stop projecting.

          • Jeff Jones

            > What I said was that there are many racists in the conservative movement. I provided proof of that.

            The thing about Mississipians was not proof of racism. I personally don’t have a problem with interracial marriage if people are aware that marriage is already complicated without introducing potential cultural differences. If someone is ok with the extra challenge, more power to them.

            But, I haven’t seen the questions. If the survey was conducted by a partisan organization, I would bet my life the questions were leading, meaning people were probably asked, “Would you marry someone of a different racial background.” Then, if the person says no because they’re not attracted or some other innocuous reason, they’re labelled as someone who is against it across the board.

            And, yes, Fox does that too, which is why I never use them as a source.

          • bpuharic

            What part of “ILLEGAL” don’t you get?

          • Jeff Jones

            Illegal what? Are you switching to conservatives wanting to close the borders as evidence of racism? If so, good luck. It’s a reach.

            You’re jumping all over the place to avoid having to offer a decent argument.

          • bpuharic

            Let me type this slowly so you can read it.

            The question asked was


            not ‘do you disapprove of it’.






            OK? Got it?

            and 46% of conservatives in MS said yes.

            Illegal. Outlawed. Criminal

            Illegal. Want me to give you an on line reference for the word


        • Jeff Jones

          Accusations of racism are the last resort of a poor slob who has long since lost an argument.

          • Corlyss

            Maybe so, but that’s not enough. See my reply to Fred for my full response.

    • lukelea

      “President has stated that the situation affects our national security . . .”

      Well, he’s certainly right about that: If we act our national security will be adversely affected.

      • Corlyss

        His whole administration has been a degradation of our national security, from draconian defense cuts to feckless policies produced by his massive narcissistic ego.

        • bpuharic

          To the right wing, unless the poor are starving so we can fund more aircraft carriers, we’re engaging in ‘draconian’ defense cuts.

          Defense spending was up 3 percent 2009-2010

          Tot he Rush (PBUH) right, that’s a draconian cut

          • Valley Forge

            Liberals don’t get to accuse others of abusing the term “draconian cut”. These days it means the baseline spending increase wasn’t raised even more than the president requested.

  • Boritz

    I remember how the American and British Left screamed about W. Bush not getting adequate, in their opinion, UN approval for Iraq. Can we call on Republicans to slap them to the floor the next time the so much as mention their favorite institution? Guess not. That’s the Tea Party’s job.

    • Andrew Allison

      I hope that you’re wrong, and the Republicans do slap them to the floor; if they don’t, it will make the case for their replacement by TP candidates!

  • Anthony

    “…have given him an opportunity for a dramatic win and a change in momentum….” WRM, are you promoting use of American hard power to achieve political end or to establish foreign policy presidential credibility going forward (perhaps both). Nevertheless at this stage, Syria decision resembles charybdis and scylla, horns of dilemma, rock and hard place, etc. (you choose it).

    • Andrew Allison

      How ’bout lose, lose?

  • Ooga Booga

    Who ever heard of seeking congressional approval for cosmetic, symbolic, “limited, narrow” action?

    Obama’s decision means one of two things:

    1) we’re actually going for regime change here

    2) Obama is plumbing new depths of pathetic indecisiveness

    • Corlyss

      Agree with all but your #1: if Dear Leader were thinking regime change,1) he would be doing a lot more very differently from how he has approached this problem and 2) he wouldn’t be Barack Obama.

      • bpuharic

        Ah, regime change, an idea loved by the right that worked SO well in Iraq. Last month 1000 were killed by Al Qaida there

        Mission Accomplished!

        • Jeff Jones

          If Iraq was a failure, why did your street agitator in the White House claim credit for the results?

          • bpuharic

            He didn’t. You right wingers killed 4400 US troops

            Our guy got them out of there.

            Mission accomplished indeed

          • Jeff Jones

            Wrong. He bragged about the results.

            Look, I never supported going to war over WMD, because I knew the wouldn’t find them. Even though It would take an imbecile to believe Saddam didn’t have any such weapons, the run-up to the invasion was so long he had time to carry them over Iraq’s borders on mules.

            I supported war with Iraq when Saddam was repeatedly violating UN no-fly zones in the late 90s. That was an early indication of the comedic nature of UN “resolutions.”

            I was in the US Army in the 90s. A lot of my friends were still in back in 2003. This “right winger”didn’t want to see his friends put in harm’s way to nation build for people who hate us.

    • bpuharic

      Nope. He’s putting you right wingers on the hook for beating the perpetual war drums

      You want war? You have to give your approval

      • Ooga Booga

        Dude, I voted for Obama. Never voted Republican in my life.

        You, on the other hand, are hard to tell apart from a tea-party isolationist

        • bpuharic

          Amazing that, in this case, the left and the right have similar views.

          Even a stopped clock.

          • Valley Forge

            Agreed. Obama is due to be right once more before his term expires.

  • Pete

    “A demonstration of American air power and political will would, at this juncture, serve a useful political purpose and help the President regain the high ground in the diplomacy ahead.”

    Come on, Mr. Mead. There is no political will in the U.S. — or elsewhere , it seems —-to get involved in Syria.

    And if U.S. military action does happen, what meager support it does have initially will quickly diminish as the unintended consequences start to pile up.

    And by the way, nothing in Syria directly affects U.S. security, certainly nothing that would warrant our involvement in that civil war.

    • Andrew Allison

      Speaking of civility, Professor is the proper mode of address!

  • lukelea

    WRM – “. . .unlikely to reverse the dramatic erosion of the President’s credibility . . .”

    Not to forget how we lost that credibility.

  • Matt B

    WRM is consistently gracious in this blog, as are most of the commenters, and that sets it apart from most political forums these days. I’m all for civility. But if our president’s strategy in the Middle East has eroded, can someone sum up what that strategy is? Here’s my take: “Denounce your predecessor and reap the ensuing good will”.

    It’s great that WRM sees an opportunity for bold and determined strategy, but there’s no precedent from this administration.

    • Corlyss

      “can someone sum up what that strategy is?”
      Making his father proud of him.
      WRM is a Southerner. They are preternaturally gracious, perhaps the last folks for whom it is an important trait. That natural instinct aside, he has to maintain credibility in the eyes of the circles in which he moves. Can’t dis our no-account Leader? and still be thought of as serious in academia.

      • lukelea

        So it’s all about credibility, America’s according to WRM and WRM’s accourding to you? I liked Connor Friedersdorf’s take on all this:

        The citizenry wants us to stay out of this conflict. And there is no legislative majority pushing for intervention. A declaration of war against Syria would almost certainly fail in Congress. Yet the consensus in the press is that President Obama faces tremendous pressure to intervene. . .
        Where is this pressure coming from? Strangely, that question doesn’t even occur to a lot of news organizations.

        Read the whole thing:

        • Corlyss

          I knew nothing good would come from Atlantic’s move do the DC area. I stopped reading them, except for Robert D. Kaplan and the sadly increasingly rare insightful articles they have published since the move. No surprise, they wouldn’t admit to watching FNC’s Special Report or daily Report, where the question often comes up, and is answered by interviews with pro Democrats and pro Republicans, and counter interviews with con Democrats and con Republicans. I’m not puzzled at where the pressure is coming from: it’s all from inside the Beltway, which is the special province of Special Report. It’s less institutional than it is from prominent voices in both parties. I would say they are as divided as the public is, but the public is 4-square against intervention. I’d like to think public opposition results from a tardy understanding of how incompetent Democrats are at the use of force. Alas, the public is usually against the use of force except when the US is directly attacked. They are lousy judges of when force should be used. The congressional pressure for action or inaction comes largely from two sectors: those who think American credibility is at stake and those who define American interests without reference to American credibility.

          • bpuharic

            Democratic incompetence at the use of force?

            The GOP killed 4400 US troops and blew a 2 trillion dollar hole in our budget

            Some success. I’ll take incompetence, thank you

          • Jeff Jones

            A liberal complaining about budget busting is like Michael Moore bitching about someone taking two pieces of bacon from a salad bar.

      • bpuharic

        Ah, the klan vote comes out; ‘his absent (read BLACK) father’.

        Southerners gracious? Yes, other than a history of slave owning and genocide, they’re AWFULLY sweet.

        • Jeff Jones

          Evidently you didn’t get the memo that racism charges are threadbare and yawn-worthy from overuse by liberals.

          …waiting for your response starting with “Evidently you didn’t get the memo…”

    • bpuharic

      How, exactly, DOES one manage a civil war fought by religious fanatics?

      If your’e right wing you bomb, bomb, bomb and send in unlimited troops with unlimited funds that you borrow.

      No wonder the right’s disappointed.Obama’s not wrecking the economy in pursuit of unwinnable wars.

  • Arkeygeezer

    OK, enough of this political digression. Obamam got his commupence and that is the way it is.

    The fact remains that our country has a decision to make through our elected representatives.

    Do we want to go to war, spend a lot of money, and kill a lot of people because Syria used poison gas?

    The middle East conflict is between religious and secular Moslems. It is a religious war between those who hold onto traditional religious beliefs, and those who want secular freedom.

    The religious Moslems are willing to sacrifice their own lives to gain their ends. This gives credence to Syrian claims that the religious Moslems used the gas to gain their own ends.

    Should the United States start a war to protect insurrection?

    Should the United States start a war to protect a Dictatorship?

    I say No. We only have two interests in the Middle East. Israel and the Kurds.

    I’m glad that I live in the USA that has a Constitution that requires our leaders to get the approval of our Congress before going to war.

    Let the Constitution work!

  • michael saunders

    This is silly. The best thing that can happen is the Islamists are crushed. Assad was at least a secular dictator. Look at Libya for clues on what will happen if he falls. Staying out of it is the best course Obama can take. Five years of Obama has told the world all they need to know about our president. He is an empty suit and a few billion dollars of ordinance will not change that.

    • bpuharic

      Empty suit? Let’s see…GDP is growing. We’re no longer in depression caused by right wing fanaticism. Zero American soldiers have died in wars started by Obama

      Empty suit indeed!

      • Valley Forge

        Even administration flacks would be embarrassed to use your talking points. Don’t be too proud of an economy that has fewer people employed as a percent of the population than in the “depression” of 2008. And there weren’t 100,000 troops in Afghanistan when Obama took office. Over 2/3rds of US casualties in Afghanistan have occurred in the 4 1/2 years Obama has led that 12-year war.

        • bpuharic

          It’s a good thing liberals are around. One of our jobs is to educate conservatives….a hopeless task but it has to be done.

          As the recent Reinhart and Rogoff book “This Time is Different” demonstrated, financial sector recoveries are slower than others.

          And the damage you right wingers did to our economy was extensive with your supply side mythology. Tremendous damage. Millions out of work, trillions in equity transferred to the rich along with a bailout.

          Obama is fighting a war he should never have had to fight. You conservatives detoured into a useless war in Iraq and killed 4400 US troops, more than have been killed in Afghanistan. YOU blew a 2 trillion dollar hole in the budget

          All of our current financial problems are due to right wing economic theology. The war we’re fighting is one that conservatives lost.

          Your total outlook is a failure

          • Jeff Jones

            > It’s a good thing liberals are around. One of our jobs is to educate conservatives.

            I’m smiling as I type. Even you don’t believe that.

            I’m almost going to miss your antics when an artery in your neck bulges and ruptures from all your rage.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Don’t waste your time with this one…he is our resident loon…I suppose every website has one

    • f1b0nacc1

      One of my favorite quotes, “Describing Obama as an empty suit is an insult to the American garment industry!”

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “vital United States interests are directly threatened by the chaos there.”
    Vital? Peripheral at best. How is this different than the Lebanese civil war? Or the civil war in Yemen? Or the civil wars in Sudan or other African countries? Why does the Syrian civil war merit American intervention when all those others, and more, didn’t?
    America can’t help in this situation, there are too many sides, none of whom we would care to have as allies, and anything we do will just make things worse.
    The problem is the same, as that Alexander the Great faced with the Gordian Knot, his solution was to hack the Knot apart with his sword. For America to solve the Syrian civil war would require a similar solution, we would have to invade and crush all the sides, and then impose our will on the country.
    Sending a bunch of cruise missiles into Syria is really the worst thing Obama could do. It makes him look weaker than doing nothing at all, as everyone knows he is doing it just to save face, and doesn’t expect it to accomplish anything, and the weakness could trigger threatened retaliation and escalation. Is there any worse motivation for war than to sooth a President’s wounded ego?
    I see the major source of the problem as being the Terrorist supporting, Nuclear Bomb making, Theocracy in Iran. If the President wants to bomb someone, he should bomb the source of the problem, that could actually accomplish something.
    I wouldn’t go after the nuclear facilities, at least not until long after, rather I would bomb Iran’s fragile energy industry. Put the entire nation on foot and in the dark, and inform them that they will be denied the benefits of civilization, until they get rid of the mullahs and give us their nuclear program. The energy industry is a soft target, heavily centralized, that mostly just needs to be lit on fire (incendiaries) to destroy itself. Turbines and Generators spinning at high RPM’s, don’t even have to be hit directly, for them to rip themselves apart. Both oil and electrical industry equipment is expensive and time consuming to replace.
    It’s the money Iran gets from the sale of its oil that the mullahs use to support Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc… as well as their nuclear program and supporters within Iran. By ending Iran’s ability to transport oil, by burning pipelines, storage tanks, refinery’s, and tankers, they will have no money. Without Iran’s funding, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc… would all be significantly weaker. Without the oil money or electricity to run centrifuges, Iran’s nuclear program would shut down. Without the oil money, the mullahs supporters would abandon them like rats leaving a sinking ship.
    With Iran crippled, tensions would drop across the middle east, and American prestige and influence would rise.

    • Valley Forge

      You went from a common-sense non-interventionist to advocating pre-emptive destruction of Iran’s infrastructure in thirty seconds. As long as you think you know who the bad guys are you are fine with unprovoked military attacks. Iraq and Afghanistan had clear bad guys. So did Vietnam. And many would argue, so does Syria. What makes Iran any different? If you say nuclear weapons, explain your positions on North Korea and Pakistan.

  • bpuharic

    Unless we’re going for regime change and nation buiiding as conservative want us to do, fresh from their failure in Iraq, the attack will do little

    This will express our disappointment with Assad in a way he understands.He’ll ignore it which is fine.

    Right wingers have to learn there are some things we can’t control. While WRM says the world thinks of Obama as ‘weak’; that’s an emotional response which belies his typical analytical style. The right thinks that we must be engaged in perpetual war to show our manhood

    Most Americans prefer live American soldiers to dead ones. We prefer moderate defense budgets to war budgets. Obama’s achieved both.

    To WRM that’s weakness. To those of use who pay taxes and live in the real world, that’s success

    • Jeff Jones

      What conservative has said anything about wanting to get involved in Syria?

      Do tell.

      • bpuharic

        A guy named Walter Russell Mead has called for intervention in Syria

        Perhaps you’ve heard of him

        • Jeff Jones

          And he qualified it with a laundry list of prerequisites that it is unlikely Obama can satisfy. Not a war monger.

          I’d call strike two, but you have long since been removed from the lineup.

          • bpuharic

            Well, no. He said Obama had ALREADY failed because he hadn’t intervened earlier. And you’re the blind ump.

          • Jeff Jones

            > He said Obama had ALREADY failed because he hadn’t intervened earlier.

            Hadn’t intervened earlier if he was going to lay down red lines, yes. Mead never said Obama should have spoke of a red line in the first place.

            That does not constitute a war monger. Rather, it suggests Mead was skeptical of intervention in Syria to begin with. Most of the country is skeptical of it, so it stands to reason Mead’s points would comport with most Americans.

            Strike three.

          • bpuharic

            How can he be skeptical of intervention when he called for intervention?

            You need new glasses, ump.

  • UMO74

    An entire region is in chaos–divided into tribal camps of convenience complete with mendacity, violence and depraved indifference to suffering. What is the difference between an Egyptian military’s snipers blowing heads off in Tahir Square and Assad’s gassing of innocents? If our goal is to simply punish heinous acts, why not bestow violence on all perpertrators of evil? A “one and done” attack will further enrage some of those who hate us–and there are many of all persuasions that cast animosity our way. Perhaps, just perhaps, we need to sit this out, offering aid to refugees and the innocent. The unintended consequences of military action should not be discounted. The region is in flames, deep caution is advised.

  • toumanbeg

    A leader NEVER has all the data. Good ones make good decisions based on a limited data set. Been that way since humans climbed down out of the trees.
    Congress will approve military force.

    Syria and Assad are just smoke and mirrors, the issue here is the theory of forward deployment and the USA acting as the world’s cop under the auspices of the UN. I’m a boomer and my generation bought the theory of the global commons and the need to protect it. That led to the MIC (Military Industrial Complex) and an approximately 450 Billion (with a B ) per year defence budget. 1/1000 of that budget can defend America. The rest is for protecting the global commons. We boomers are fading fast. Our children and grandchildren do not see the need to keep pouring money down a rathole. Since it is the grandchildren that will be doing the fighting and dying while their parents pay for it, they do have the final say over the USA as the world’s cop.
    Congress will vote to bomb Syria because if they don’t, the gravy train stops. No more billions handed to the MIC. No more $ skimmed of the top as campaign contributions. Politicians will lose millions. You know that ain’t gonna happen.
    2014 is gonna be a hoot.

  • Valley Forge

    Oh, yes, Obama does need a strategy and he needs to explain it. Bush thought he had an exit strategy in Iraq but nobody outside his administration had the chance to examine it.

    That aside, why is this about Obama at all? This is simply a question of whether US interests are better served intervening or not. The vast majority of Americans think they are not, and their representatives will soon be heard. After they speak, our constitutional republic doesn’t care a nickel what Obama personally thinks or how he will look.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Bravo! Extremely well said….

  • f1b0nacc1

    As is typical with this administration, the crude electoral calculus is obvious. They recognize that they don’t have political support to move ahead, so they will kick this one to Congress. If Congress goes along, they (the WH) is off the hook, they have gotten approval. If Congress doesn’t go along, the administration will proceed to blame Congressional Republicans (no mention will be made of pacifist Democrats or simply those Democrats that don’t agree with Barry O’s limited strategic thinking) for every dog that dies in Syria from now on. No lose scenario…
    As it happens, I approve of Obama’s choice here. On principle, it is the right choice and one which the founders would approve of. If Congress is foolish enough to go along with this ridiculous attack (and I devoutly hope that they do not), they deserve their fair share of the blame when it goes badly. I have made sure that my congressman (who would support Obama if he decided to eat a child on live television) and my Senators are aware of my position on this matter, and though I have little hope that this will have any significant impact, it is a good place to start.
    Intervention in Syria would be a terrible idea, the sort of liberal-inspired nonsense (doing it for credibility?…what rot!) that created so many problems for us in the 1960s, where another group of egomaniacal technocrats decided that they would prove their brilliance to the rest of the world using other people’s blood. We should permit these idiots (both sides in Syria) to kill each other, perhaps finding some way to arm them sufficiently to increase their lethality against each other. Every dead Syrian/Iranian/Jihadi/etc. is a step towards a better world, and if they are willing to kill one another, we should hardly quibble about the means which they use against each other.
    With all of that said, and as someone who has VERY little good to say about the President, let me say that this time he has done well. Of course his reasons are the wrong ones, but really, does this matter? He is doing the right thing, and while I would prefer that it be for the right reasons, I will be satisfied for him doing the right thing for the wrong reason this time.

  • cloud_buster

    Pfft. It’s embarrassing to watch Meade try to pretend that Obama is anything but a hapless blunderer without a prayer in the world of doing anything right.

    • bpuharic

      How about them thar right wingers getting us into the longest war in US history?

      Mission Accomplished!

  • jagiela

    What American interest is involved? What do we hope to gain? And salvaging the President’s face isn’t one.

    Syria is not a party to any treaty regarding chemical weapons. She has a right to own them and to use them. One shouldn’t go to war just over some bizarre notion that chemical weapons are somehow more horrible than machine guns.

    What really is the difference between gassing people and machine gunning like the Egyptians did? They are still dead

    As for the Assad regime- it is a complex society with complex politics. Despite our rhetoric, the Assad regime has retained, through over two years of war, the backing of large segments of the Syrian population (the Alawites for sure, but also the Christians and the secularists among others).

    What do these groups know about Syria that you do not? Plenty since they live there. For all the warts of the Assad regime these people find it preferable to the alternative. And since the alternative is financed by the Saudis its not too hard to imagine the reasons.

  • jimb82

    There is an endstate, at least in the near term, that may make sense and could be attainable. It would be a ceasefire in place, with some of Syria being de facto rebel-controlled (and possibly with multiple groups having control over multiple territories). It has worked in West Africa, in former Yugoslavia, in Colombia, in Cyprus, in Sudan, etc. The focus of diplomacy should be to bring down the tensions, not to increase the number of belligerents. Is it perfect? No. But it is the best near-term solution for the mess that we have got ourselves into.

  • Where is the legitimacy for US to commit military intervention in Syria? Moreover, the latest poll suggests more than 60% of Americans oppose the move to bomb or send combat troops to Syria. Is there no better way to resolve the conflict?

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