Skip to comments.NYT: Obama may have ad-libbed us into a war
Posted on 05/05/2013 3:12:48 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
There are only two words to describe the New York Times explanation of Barack Obamas red-line dance smart power. According to anonymous senior officials at the White House, Obamas advisors now claim that they had a precise calculation of what to say about Bashar al-Assad and the potential use of chemical weapons in Syria. As soon as Obama went off the TelePrompter, though, thats when he crossed them up and drew a red line the White House had not even contemplated.
Or so they claim now:
The origins of this dilemma can be traced in large part to a weekend last August, when alarming intelligence reports suggested the besieged Syrian government might be preparing to use chemical weapons. After months of keeping a distance from the conflict, Mr. Obama felt he had to become more directly engaged.
In a frenetic series of meetings, the White House devised a 48-hour plan to deter President Bashar al-Assad of Syria by using intermediaries like Russia and Iran to send a message that one official summarized as, Are you crazy? But when Mr. Obama emerged to issue the public version of the warning, he went further than many aides realized he would.
Moving or using large quantities of chemical weapons would cross a red line and change my calculus, the president declared in response to a question at a news conference, to the surprise of some of the advisers who had attended the weekend meetings and wondered where the red line came from. With such an evocative phrase, the president had defined his policy in a way some advisers wish they could take back.
The idea was to put a chill into the Assad regime without actually trapping the president into any predetermined action, said one senior official, who, like others, discussed the internal debate on the condition of anonymity. But what the president said in August was unscripted, another official said. Mr. Obama was thinking of a chemical attack that would cause mass fatalities, not relatively small-scale episodes like those now being investigated, except the nuance got completely dropped.
As a result, the president seems to be moving closer to providing lethal assistance to the Syrian rebels, even though he rejected such a policy just months ago. American officials have even discussed with European allies the prospect of airstrikes to take out Syrian air defenses, airplanes and missile delivery systems, if government use of chemical weapons is confirmed.
In case youre wondering, this is the same Constitutional-scholar, brightest-guy-in-the-room, Im-my-own-best-advisor President that assured Americans that he would bring smart power into American diplomacy. How smart? For a while, none of these people bothered to run to the New York Times to backpedal immediately because they thought it had worked. Assad didnt use chemical weapons for months, and they congratulated themselves for their tough stand.
Now that the red line has blown up in their face, however, senior advisors cant wait to run anonymously to the Gray Lady to explain that it was all a big mistake. Daniel Halper notices this, too:
But if the tough rhetoric succeeded for a time, it appears to have backfired in the long-run. Because Syria has now apparently used chemical weapons, and President Obama is not willing to do anything about it.
Obama, though, seems inclined to at least explore intervention as a means to shore up his damaged credibility, rather than just admit that the red line rhetoric was empty from the beginning. It might be the first time that a President has ad-libbed us into a war, although lets hope it doesnt happen at all.
Just to refresh everyones memory, here are my five rebuttals to the arguments for intervention. Note well that I dont bother to include salvaging Obamas credibility among the positive arguments for intervention, either.
Letting he and his wrecked credibility twist in the wind all by their lonesome is fine with me.
OMG!! O “went off TOTUS!?!?” He’s not allowed to do that! (Its waterproof for that famous ChiTown bathhouse, isn’t it? Doesn’t it go everywhere?)
The world is preparing for war to break out soon. We do not need to be the ones lighting the fuse.
No shi'ite, Sherlock!?!
So he didn’t “lie”, he merely “ad libbed”.
John McLame looks ready to go to war!
That may have happened already except the fuse we (he) lit may have belonged to N. Korea or Iran :(
Assad prevailing and having to rebuild over a decade or more, with sabotage and insurgent attacks in perpetuity. => This is the best outcome for the world at large, but not acceptable to the Muslim Brotherhood, Huma and Obama himself.
How is that not preferable to Syria governed the Muslim Brotherhood or Al Quada? They wont give a damn about rebuilding, even the appearance of such, theyll set about funding and supplying the fall of the next government -furthering the caliphate.
McLame is always wanting to go to war. No telling where we’d be today if he had won in 2008. I can’t believe I said it, but I did.
Not sure what the big deal is here, the guy has never meant a damn thing he said anyway, never has. The players in the middle east certainly know that.
That’s how World War I got started.
Loose lips sink Empires.
William Butler Yeats—”The Second Coming”
All of the policy makers kept taking it out, knowing the statement would then become American policy. Reagan had thought it all out - much better than his cabinet, etc. Obama probably not so much. Just wants to be viewed as somehow relevant in world affairs and spouts off if he doesn't think he is getting enough attention.
No no no, he’s bringing peace to the world. Can’t you tell?
"You didn't do that! Somebody else did that!" - Barack Hussein Obama Jr.
That is a blanket admission that he is not really president.
He is reading what his handlers give him to read.
I wonder if we will ever find out who his handlers are.
Hussein needs help to change his underwear.