Shirley, You Can’t Be Syrias

Ok, now that I’ve gotten over the juvenile urge to tip my hat to the disaster movie spoof “Airplane”, let’s break down this Syria thing.

Humanitarian Intervention

Let’s get this one out of the way immediately. Please don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. The folks killed by chemical weapons are a drop in the bucket compared to the total number of folks killed in Syria in the past two years. Where was our humanitarian urge for the past two years?

Basically our policy has been “you can keep killing your people by the hundreds so long as you don’t do it in a way we deem too nasty.” If that is humanitarianism then it defies logic. But then the entire global sanction against chemical weapons makes no real sense. Either we condemn countries for senseless slaughter or we don’t.


A limited targeted strike against Bashar al-Assad will punish him for killing people in a really nasty way (as opposed to the nicer ways to kill people). Really? We are going to kill innocent people while punishing Assad. Why don’t we send in a mercenary to kill Assad? Isn’t that the real punishment we want to deliver? Assad is dealing with a civil war. He is managing daily chaos whether we like his methods or not. Do we really think a slap on the wrist will really keep him up at night? Please, we’ll be a minor distraction. Unless of course we sign up for …

Scope Creep

Obama said “Assad must go”. Assad’s natural response is “who’s gonna make me? You and what army?” And in steps John McCain and his merry band of war mongers who never saw a war they didn’t like. That combined with Obama’s secret delight at defying the wimpy liberal stereotype almost guarantees “boots on the ground” despite the President’s claims to the contrary.

This brings us to another totally baffling side of this story …

The Element of Surprise

As in, there is none. I find it profoundly embarrassing that we are having a public discussion about how big a badass we are going to be. I’m not alone in this. Retired Major General Robert Scales writes in the Washington Post

So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.

My only solace is we are not alone in our public hand wringing as Great Britain has already made a spectacle of itself with Parliament telling David Cameron “bloody hell no!”

How ’bout Minding Our Own Business?

Remember back in 1963 when we turned fire hoses and dogs on innocent Americans including minors? Remember how Khrushchev sent ships to our Southern shores and warned Kennedy that if we didn’t stop abusing our own people he would attack the US?

Me neither. In fact when Khrushchev had the balls to put missiles in Cuba we threw a hissy fit that brought us to the brink of nuclear war. So where do we get off putting our ships within striking distance of Syria when they have presented no direct threat to us? How might this story evolve if Assad said “Barack, you’ve got 48 hours to get your ships away from my country or I’ll blow them out of the water.”

He won’t do that because he and everyone else has gotten used to America patrolling the globe as the self-righteous guardian of all that is decent and good. It’s one reason why a handful of nations hate our guts.

To me with each passing day this Syria thing becomes a no-brainer. It’s way too late to play humanitarian; we can’t really punish Assad without overcommitting; we look incompetent and ham-fisted in our public debate about what should be confidential military strategy; and finally, a sovereign country’s civil war is none of our business no matter how nasty it gets.

A no from Congress will humiliate Obama. Tough. There is no reason for us to lose a single American life to protect the street cred of a President.



166 thoughts on “Shirley, You Can’t Be Syrias

  1. Whoa.

    You just found a parallel between civil rights protests and genocide?

    You just called our reaction to nuclear missiles in Cuba a “hissy fit?”

    Aye Chihuahua.

  2. p.s. a “no” from Congress is Obama’s “out” and, more importantly, it will be a way to blame republicans in the event MB or Assad gets back to it. 3 more fucking years of this ineptitude?

  3. First I believe it was the fervent wish of Southern racists to indeed wipe blacks off the map. The hatred knew no bounds.

    But I really wasn’t drawing an equivalency between the chem attacks and the civil rights slaughters as much as I was making the point that other countries stay out of our business and we would not tolerate it any other way.

    We would never allow Russia to have ships on our shores to keep us in check. Yet we reserve the right to play George Zimmerman all over the globe.

    Come to think of it, no wonder George got acquitted. We ARE George Zimmerman.

  4. I wonder if you could justify our WWII entry into the European Theatre under this construct. I really don’t get the imagery you rely on sometimes. Southern racists wanted to oppress not exterminate blacks.

  5. At the risk of getting off the real point, Southern racists lost no sleep over dead black people. Their goal might not have been extermination but it would not have upset them to see extermination proceed. It’s a distinction without a difference.

    We let Jews die by the trainload without a peep and entered WWII only when attacked by Japan. Hardly noble.

  6. Oh, you just don’t like American sensibilities. I said European theatre for a reason. So you approve of the trainloads without a peep. Weird.

    I assume you’d agree that we have no business offering humanitarian aid when it runs against the will of the sovereign too.

    And the distinction is profoundly different.

    You’re way off track.

  7. Gads. You can’t make that point (#3) without drawing an equivalency. And it isn’t.

    “To me with each passing day this Syria thing becomes a no-brainer.”

    Sure, half-action verses no action IS a no-brainer. It’s also a false choice because both net the same result. Nada.

    The all-or-nothing Alfie spoke of at the end of the last thread is hardly a no-brainer except for, well, those with no brain. The chanters walking the line.

    The questions you ask are head-knodders and the topic apropos, R, but you go off the rails on the civil rights / right to live equation. It reminds me how annoyed I was at the insertion of the third choice in the last thread article.

    Plus, you underemphasize Obama’s hazardously soft mettle completely.

    If you all haven’t seen this yet it’s a good read.

  8. Well if so please don’t duplicate post me, k?

    Now then. You can’t make that point (#3) without drawing an equivalency. And it isn’t.

    “To me with each passing day this Syria thing becomes a no-brainer.”

    Sure, half-action verses no action IS a no-brainer. It’s also a false choice because both net the same result. Nada.

    The all-or-nothing Alfie spoke of at the end of the last thread is hardly a no-brainer except for, well, those with no brain. The chanters walking the line.

    The questions you ask are head-knodders and the topic apropos, R, but you go off the rails on the civil rights / right to live equation. It reminds me how annoyed I was at the insertion of the third choice in the last thread article.

    Plus, you underemphasize Obama’s hazardously soft mettle completely.

    If you haven’t seen this yet it’s a good read.

  9. Tigre I heard that.

    It doesn’t help I suppose that I’ve reached my satiation point with the one way street on the subject of racial aggression either.

  10. “And in steps John McCain and his merry band of war mongers who never saw a war they didn’t like.”

    Obama is using McCain, a man for whom he formerly had no use.

    You mischaracterizing McCain’s consistency (and character) as a merry war monger and “liker” of all wars is disgusting in light of his personal history. Especially juxtaposed with Obama. Obama has delivered more blood than McCain ever advocated.

    Yes I think McCain is wrong on this.

  11. “So you approve of the trainloads without a peep.”

    On the contrary I don’t approve of hypocrisy. The time to engage was before millions of Jews died. We claim to defend all that is good and decent but as Churchill said we only do the right thing after trying everything else.

    We need to make an abiding foreign policy decision. Are we the worlds policeman or aren’t we? With that decision made, we must then act accordingly.

  12. I mostly agree, Rutherford. However, Khrushev sent missiles to Cuba because he wrongly thought Kennedy was a weak man. A lesson is there for Obama.

    McCain and his allies are not a merry band of war mongers.

    One reason Whites discriminated against Blacks was that they feared their potential political power. Rock and roll helped strengthen the Civil Rights movement because black and white teenagers learned to like each others’ music and to meet each other at music concerts and dances.

    Many of them grew up to be sixties demonstrators.

    If he is smart, Obama will blame Congress and drop it if they disapprove of his war plan. He said he could over ride Congress and attack. If unexpected consequences threatened Obama would hang by himself. If Congress approved, Obama would blame Congress, namely Republicans as El Tigre noted.

    I agree with 11.

  13. last Gasp of a Dying Empire mlgoodal diary Red State Sept. 6 2013

    “This is not how Great Powers act. This is not how Great Leaders act. When they miss behavie this badly and nearly half of the country thinks they are doing a great job, then, truly our day is done.”

  14. Amen to that, James (@#13).

    “The behavior of people of different cultures is not something willy-nilly. There exist clear trends, sequences and traditions. Reactions of Americans, Europeans, and Asians alike can be forecasted, usually justified and in the majority of cases managed. Even in countries where political and economic change is currently rapid or sweeping (Russia, China, Hungary, Poland, Korea, Malaysia, etc.) deeply rooted attitudes and beliefs will resist a sudden transformation of values when pressured by reformists, governments or multinational conglomerates.”

    Read more:

    Lewis plots countries in relation to three categories:

    Linear-actives — those who plan, schedule, organize, pursue action chains, do one thing at a time. Germans and Swiss are in this group.

    Multi-actives — those lively, loquacious peoples who do many things at once, planning their priorities not according to a time schedule, but according to the relative thrill or importance that each appointment brings with it. Italians, Latin Americans and Arabs are members of this group.

    Reactives — those cultures that prioritize courtesy and respect, listening quietly and calmly to their interlocutors and reacting carefully to the other side’s proposals. Chinese, Japanese and Finns are in this group.

  15. I like this post Rutherford and I appreciate you coming out of the shadows where all the other lefties are hiding on this one.

    First on a non post but related matter anyone see the/read the Alan Grayson Ezra Klein interview. The guy is a (D) from FLA who if I remember right had some celebrated criticisms of W,well he has been proven to be consistent. He trashes Obama,calls him out. Ezra tries to earn an ObamaPail ™ but no matter.

    Now to the meat.
    Rutherford I get you disagree with what US foreign policy has as its foundation or perhaps you see it differently than I do. Let me share and see if it serves as a beacon. US foreign policy specifically regards the worlds policeman schtick. Our actions as world cop are always tied to one of two things. These things are not always related. #1 US interests. This is the big one and the only thing US policy SHOULD BE BASED ON. #2 Pax Americana. We have an arrogance,elitist attitude towards the globe as to how important we actually are. On one hand we truly have done some great things for humanity. Let’s be dramatic and say we have a lot of blood on our other hand. The lines can be blurry and either school manipulated. And yeah let me play the Mead card and say that the two big schools cater to the four schools from Special Providence
    I actually find the Civil Rights charge credible. In fact historically our attitudes towards blacks was a potential sticking point in international relations. Some concessions and the greed of trade kept it from coming to fruition. I would also point out that the rightest wing of right wing media tried to really play up UN inspections of our elections as a blasphemous slap at our sovereignty. The outrage was funny and is only more so when the same folks think we should bomb Syrians.
    As for the bit about Jews in the same context all I’ll say is SS St. Louis.
    As for the European Theatre question. I found this interesting but alas we all are dished a disservice via the thread comment form of communication. We didn’t go to war with the Nazis because of Jewish,or gypsy or gay oppressions. We went because our national interests were compromised past the point of restraint. There is a parallel to be pulled away though equal to the Rutherford Cuba example and for Muffy’s assertion of Obama’s Libya and Syria deal.

    1940 Europe,Cuba (Turkey) and Syria have a common core of suck to them. US actions up to the point of no return. Lend Lease and such essentially assured the USA would be viewed as a protagonist.
    Threats of a US attack on Castro and placing short range missiles in Turkey had everything to do with the Soviet decision to place missiles in Cuba.
    As for Syria Obama clearly set up dominoes that has no ones fingerprints on them but USA

  16. Rutherford,

    You’re going to sorely disappoint Graychin again. 😈

    You keep this kind of criticism up, and you won’t get the yearly invite to the useful idiot party on Grand Lake, given by Fat Man and Yeller Dawg.

    Nice job, my man! I’m not sure I quite grasp the Civil Rights analogy, but I’m willing to forgo to give you a big thumbs up.

  17. “On the contrary I don’t approve of hypocrisy.”

    Then you are in favor of interventionism? Which is it?

    Perhaps military action to end apartheid would’ve been appropriate?

    Sorry Alfie. The comparisons are non-existent.

  18. I so hope we don’t go to war with Syria, even though we really are and have been doing so by proxy. I just don’t think it has gone as well as they anticipated and now we need something drastic to motivate our citizens’ will for more war. Many reports claimed we were wiping out the mercenary armies and had them on the run. Those who invested so much, tptb, needed them for other fronts, so the situation turned to drastic and required drastic measures.

    Assad has a 70 percent approval rating and has kept it so all religions lived in peace with each other. Now, the Christians are being slaughtered while the rest have become refugees.

    But the end goal is and has been Iran, and we have determined Syria has to be neutralized before that battle can occur. Syria has been on a list for regime change for a long, long, time.

    I’m not a big fan of Obama, but do credit him for us NOT being there in a declared war right now.

    As to the humanitarian issue… it’s a farce. We like to beat our chest and claim we are the world’s greatest humanitarians, it just doesn’t stack up that way.

  19. “You mischaracterizing McCain’s consistency (and character) as a merry war monger and “liker” of all wars is disgusting in light of his personal history.”

    Muffy you must have seen that town hall where McCain’s own constituents asked him not to vote for this military action and he pulled out that old chestnut “don’t talk to ME about our veterans”.

    Being a former POW who had the decency not to take advantage of Daddy’s connections does not make you a foreign policy expert. McCain has proven he is a naive lightweight by supporting the “moderate” opposition and ignoring that they are in bed with al Qaeda.

    Assad’s opposition is so detestable in their own right that it is not far fetched to wonder if they committed this atrocity to garner world sympathy.

    We now know for a fact the chem weapons are there. Are we really ready to install an unproven opposition to be in charge of them?

  20. I waiver back and forth between the isolation and world cop shit myself. I always end up back in reality. Some of you guys want your cake and eat it too. Our dollar, which serves as the pillar to the global economy is nothing but green dyed scrap paper. Yet, the Fed grows it on trees, at least temporarily saving us from the inevitable. How is it that money grows on trees? Pax America.

    Rutherford, those 9 crinkled dollars in your wallet that you worked an hour say something important to the world 9 times. That business minded, level headed people rule the roost. You want to pretend our street cred doesn’t matter? Then be prepared to deal with consequences.

    Chemical weapons are, in fact, different then conventional weapons. You can’t ban the use of conventional weapons until the world starts giving peace a chance. But you can ban vile weapons that the world agrees serve no purpose in the grand scheme of military tactics other then being vile in of itself.

    Obama drew a line. He can run from it all he wants. He can pretend its not his line. The world knows better. It bust be defended or you can take the Pax out of Americana…..and like James mentioned earlier….we ain’t tough enough to deal with what that means because free lunch will evaporate with our new pointless dollar.

    There is no such thing as a vacuum.

    Attack Assad. Attack the rebels.

  21. “The partisan dynamics of contention…less anti-war, more anti-Republican. ”

    Again Muffy I didn’t read the accompanying link but I do find the quote funny in that it can be said that some of the GOP opposition is less anti-war and more anti-Obama.

    The biggest shame about war is the role politics plays in it. Young men and women are just pawns in a political game instead of actors in a truly righteous cause.

  22. With all due respect and I mean that sincerely the comparisons are definitely in line. The USA is afforded the benefit of being the biggest kid on the block so nobody comes around and holds our feet to the fire.
    Slavery and the various vestiges of how poorly the best democracy on the planet has been with regards its collective arrogant hypocrisy is something we all should cast the brightest of lights upon.
    People don’t have to be dying by the 100 thousands to warrant intervention once you accept intervention is sound policy,you just need to have the biggest stick.

    As for apartheid in South Africa the world put forth significant economic pressures,the only problem was South Africa was fine with that and worked around it.
    Perhaps I am misreading Rutherfords Syria position,I’m getting he is against doing anything.

  23. Chemical weapons serve a great purpose and if more people had them perhaps we’d be less likely to go to war,or combat action,international peacekeeeping intervention or whatever other euphemism you like.
    Complaints about chemical weapons is a dishonest intellectual exercise in a world that has MOAB,depleted uranium rounds,cluster munitions and of course nuclear weapons.

  24. “As for Syria Obama clearly set up dominoes that has no ones fingerprints on them but USA.”

    May I go on record to say that Obama’s claim that this is the world’s red line and not his makes him look like a world class punk.

    There are two ways to look at this. The glass half full says Obama is trying to remove his polarizing presence from the decision making process. The glass half empty says he is just playing dodgeball. When you are the leader of the free world you can’t afford that kind of ambiguity.

  25. Is supplying weapons and trained mercenaries to infiltrate a region considered intervention? I think so. That’s what we did/do. We’ve already intervened. I guess we should first define ‘we’ as anything that originates from USA inc.

    Bottom line, Syria needs to play in petrodollars or we nuke their sandbox.

  26. Chemical weapons serve only one role. To kill humans. Cluster bombs stop armies. Blow up factories and railways…..and kill people. 🙂 there is a difference in my eyes.

  27. “Perhaps military action to end apartheid would’ve been appropriate? ”

    Tigre can you not agree there is a continuum of behavior totally internal to a country where we must decide is it our business to intervene?

    When it came to apartheid we were in no position to say squat given our record.

    To answer your question I think I am evolving to the point of saying a country’s internal affairs are their own no matter how horrific. To my mind its what separates Iraq I from Iraq II. The first one, Iraq invaded another country and deserved to be slapped back. The second one, not so much.

    You know who might have a valid reason to want action against Syria? Jordan and other countries that have Syrian refugees pouring into them. I think they have a very valid reason to want to intervene in Syria’s policies.

  28. I agree with Rabbit. Attack Assad and attack the rebels. Beat Syria into submission as we defeated our WW11 enemies. Then, take fifty or so years to rebuild them in our image. It will never happen because it can’t.

    Unless, Obama can show us how a few missiles will help, he should back away.

  29. Poolman act like the Petroleum Dollar is a bad thing. You do realize there will always be a petroleum dollar whether its American one hundies, Chink cash or gold…it don’t matter.

  30. “Tigre can you not agree there is a continuum of behavior totally internal to a country where we must decide is it our business to intervene?”

    Can you not agree that there is a certain types of atrocity that where we must decide whether we are going to intervene — MILITARILY?

    FWIW, I don’t think we should intervene here. I just don’t like your comparisons.

  31. “Perhaps I am misreading Rutherfords Syria position,I’m getting he is against doing anything.”

    You read me right Alfie. We need to stay out of this one.

    Maybe I’m in too conciliatory a mood today but I think the incompetent way Obama has handled this whole Syria thing sheds light on how difficult it is for civilians to direct military strategy.

    It makes me begin to wonder if we were too tough on Bush. The POTUS who kept us out of war knew intimately what war was about, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    As long as we live in an unstable world perhaps we should source our Presidents from the leaders of our military?

  32. “Complaints about chemical weapons is a dishonest intellectual exercise in a world that has MOAB,depleted uranium rounds,cluster munitions and of course nuclear weapons.”

    Thank you. Honestly are the thousands killed in Syria before this chem attack any less dead than the others? Have any of you seen the video of the opposition summarily executing POW’s?

    War is ugly nasty business and I find it absurd that there is discussion of rules of war like its some kind of sports event.

  33. “Attack Assad and attack the rebels”

    I make no claim to military sophistication. Hell I’ve never even played Stratego. But please explain to me who runs Syria after we kill both sides?

    By the way didn’t we put our boy in charge of Iraq and how has that played out?

  34. As we approach the anniversary of Benghazi may I remind you that it has been suggested that Ambassador Stevens was involved in diverting arms to Syria.

    Poolman is right. We have already intervened. But it’s time to stop.

    By the way I’m puzzled. If Syria and Iran are evil twins then why are the folks who criticized Obama for not helping the Iranian rebels now saying he should stay out if Syria? I don’t see consistency here.

  35. The petrodollar is our middleman. He’s our banker, our insurance agent, our lawyer, our priest.

    The system, however, is unsustainable and will collapse and the petrodollar along with it.

  36. Rules of war are sometimes organic. Sometimes they evolve on their own by the boots on the ground. For instance, I think I read somewhere that notched bayonets were taboo after awhile on the Western Front. Can’t back that up.

  37. There were no Iranian rebels. There were demonstrations. At the tine, I agreed with aloof Obama for staying out of it. I think that was a mistake.

  38. Attack Al Queda and try to decimate some of those Black Flag units. Leave the Free Syrian Army alone. If the secular rebels resist, give them a message too. The key here is that we put some fear into the Middle East. Both sides.

  39. ”Muffy you must have seen that town hall where McCain’s own constituents asked him not to vote for this military action and he pulled out that old chestnut “don’t talk to ME about our veterans”.”

    First, if you’re referring to the clip I saw – no one should lecture John McCain about the sacrifice our service men and women make. It’s ridiculous to presume that he doesn’t get that part.

    I never said he was a foreign policy expert and in fact I’ve been pretty consistent in saying otherwise. Nonetheless McCain has not changed his stripes – unlike the winner of Celebrity President.

    All because he opened his big dumb mouth without someone else’s words coming out. Talk about someone who needs a lecture on blood and treasure. He’s not going to do anything and he never was. This whole show is about covering for him. AGAIN.

    Your article made me laugh in that it was like Letterman trying to tell and Obama joke with Barry’s dick in his maw. Someone else besides Obama invariably becomes the brunt.

    America’s past – it looks like we didn’t need intervention in any case. 700,000 dead in our own civil war and all Americans. Women in the M.E. are still treated worse to this day.

    As to the GOP opposition being disingenuous – I don’t think you can back that up.

  40. I have a question for our resident expert on the UN, Huck. Why doesn’t the joint operate on majority rule? Why are China and Russia allowed to unilaterally veto shit?

    Anyone else feel free to pipe in.

  41. The key here is that we put some fear into the Middle East.

    See, this is what’s fucked about ‘us’. ‘We’ want to be top dog and have the rest of the pack fall in line. To be a leader, you must EARN the respect of others. That hasn’t happened with ‘us’ for a long, long, time.

    I say fix this shit at home and ramp down the fear rhetoric. I think our drones strike enough fear, but it isn’t fear out of respect. It creates more enemies. The uniform has covered for many an injustice.

  42. “All because he opened his big dumb mouth without someone else’s words coming out. Talk about someone who needs a lecture on blood and treasure. He’s not going to do anything and he never was. This whole show is about covering for him. AGAIN.”


  43. Isn’t it reasonable think some people have learned something by/since the Iraq war? The world IS a better place without those fucks but there will always be others and it will not end and democracy will have to come to the M.E – or not – without our uninvited intervention.

    And yes, the ground for WWIII is being tilled. As has been said recently – it’s all or nothing for us. And more and more I find it’s the furthest thing from a no-brainer as things get.

    BTW, no one here supported Obama’s slimy and unwise interference in Libya.

  44. “Someone else besides Obama invariably becomes the brunt” -Muffy

    Come on Muffy….if it wasn’t for that Senator from Arizona….stupid Senator….

  45. How sad is it that 5 years into a presidency that promised the world would like us because Obama is cool and apologetic…. state censored newspapers are now talking about raping his daughter?

  46. How sad is it that the anti-war former presidential candidate lobbies lefty anti-war blogs to help him gain support for the Peace prize winning anti-war presidents’s war.

    Is this Hope or Change?

  47. Tiger,

    How sad is it that the anti-war former presidential candidate lobbies lefty anti-war blogs to help him gain support for the Peace prize winning anti-war presidents’s war.

    Is this Hope or Change?

    😆 My irony meter blew up weeks ago.

  48. “Why doesn’t the joint operate on majority rule? Why are China and Russia allowed to unilaterally veto shit?”

    Only the Security Council works that way.

    Russia and China get to veto stuff because they fought on the winning side in WWII. The US, UK, and France can veto things in the SC too. Together, they are known as the Permanent 5, or P5. The other 10 members of the SC are not permanent, and their entry is voted on (I think) by the General Assembly.

    The members of the P5 use their veto power to protect their friends. The US has done so many times.

  49. “I declare that the Syrian Arab Republic welcomes Russia’s initiative, on the basis that the Syrian leadership cares about the lives of our citizens and the security in our country,” Moallem said. “We are also confident in the wisdom of the Russian government, which is trying to prevent an American aggression against our people.”

    Syria ‘welcomes’ proposal to hand over control of chemical weapons

  50. You consider Bob Schieffer criminal?

    P.S. yes I had to look the word up.

    Bob does put his finger on the real dilemma here. Obama made a stupid remark about the red line and now who will take us seriously again if we don’t give Syria an ass-whupping?

    That said, I still say no.

  51. “Syria ‘welcomes’ proposal to hand over control of chemical weapons. . .”

    This is becoming more and more like a Team America sequel.

    Can you hear the belly laughing, R?

  52. Was Obama articulating his policy when he made his “stupid remark” or was he not? If he was then this circus is just weird. If he wasn’t then it’s criminal. Maybe I am using the word for flourish but I don’t think Obama should get away with his malefic tongue anymore and without question Bob Sheiffer is culpable.

    I think Obama should go to Syria and give Assad an “ass-whupping” himself . Him and Bob Sheiffer.


  53. “Syria ‘welcomes’ proposal to hand over control of chemical weapons” -muffy

    that reminds me of our local biker gang’s annual pig roast. the sign says open to the public.

  54. Who knew John McCain had a sense of humor? He tweeted that Kerry’s “unbelievably small” remark was “unbelievably unhelpful.”

    Hardy har har. 🙂

  55. Best description I’ve seen of John Kerry’s New look is Easter Island.


    Bernard McGuirk on O’Reilly said Kerry used to remind him of a deflated football with eyes. 😆

  56. Im having a chicken / egg moment here. Anyone know which came first? Kerrys comment or the actual offer from the Russians??

  57. 100% Putin first. There is no way Kerry is so dumb he would accidentally blurb out yet another super specific red line.

    State Department then guards its flank just in case Putin double crosses them and stays mum in public.

    Now….while we play this charade….Putin looks like a champ, Obama looks like a chump (but not a completely destroyed one) and Assad keeps his gas.

    Win win for everybody except the women and children of Syria.

  58. Alfie @ #73 – the link @#57/58 tells the chronology. From the article –

    Asked whether there was anything al-Assad’s government could do or offer that would stop an attack, Kerry said that al-Assad “could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week.”

    Speaking at a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, the U.S. secretary of state described that as an impossible scenario.

    “He isn’t about to do it,” Kerry said. “And it can’t be done, obviously.”

    U.S. official: Kerry “clearly went off script”

    But as Russia and Syria later suggested that it could be done, one U.S. official called Kerry’s remarks a “major goof,” adding that America’s top diplomat “clearly went off script.”

    “There is no one in the administration who is taking this Syria proposal seriously,” the official said.

    Several State Department representatives tried to clarify Kerry’s remarks later in the day, calling them a “rhetorical argument.”

    “His point was that this brutal dictator (al-Assad) with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “That’s why the world faces this moment.”

    Kerry’s comments caught Russia’s attention

    It wasn’t long before the remarks came up in a conversation between Lavrov and Kerry, who talked on the phone as the U.S. secretary of state flew back from London.

    “I saw your comments this morning,” Lavrov said to Kerry, according to a senior State Department official.

    During a 14-minute conversation that had been previously scheduled, the Russian foreign minister said he would speak out about the issue but played down the idea that a proposal was on the table, the official said.

    Kerry told Lavrov that the United States “is not going to ‘play games,'” the official said. “If there is a serious proposal, we will take a look.”

    Hillary Clinton weighs in

    Could ‘goof’ be solution?

    The comments from Kerry and counterparts in Russia and Syria are the latest twist in an international crisis that has also become a fierce political battle in the United States.

    The Obama administration says the al-Assad government was behind an August 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus. And the U.S. president is seeking congressional approval for a military strike in response.

    So far he’s met resistance from lawmakers and the public who are concerned about the United States again intervening militarily in a foreign crisis.

    On Monday, Harf said looking at the Russian proposal doesn’t mean the White House is backing down from its push to get authorization to strike Syria.

    “In fact, the opposite. …. We think this is why it’s even more important that Congress votes to authorize the president to use military action against Syrian regime targets, because we can be clear that if we don’t give authorization to do so and we don’t respond, then Assad will see that as a green light to continue using these chemical weapons.”

    But could Kerry’s possible gaffe be the key to a diplomatic solution?

  59. So….I’ve noticed the liberals are flooding comment sections praising Obama’s new found brinkmanship and genius chess play. The epitome of a perfected big stick policy. It was all a master plan executed to perfection. They don’t have any questions on how in the holy hell Syria will come clean of their WMD in the middle of a civil war nor do they seem to care that this could take years. They don’t remotely question the entire proposal at face value. It’s all about Obama. Always Obama. The fact that these people are in full force tonight makes me realize how nervous they were about their Dear Leader. Not about American casualties. Not about Syrians. Not about the concerns Hucking has. Not even gas prices. Only Obama. I haven’t watched MSNBC tonight but I suspect the spin has commenced. Look for a lift in Rutherford spirits.

    Putin comes out of this golden. Obama may recharge one half of the partisan followers here with glee but he is being laughed at by the worst of the worst all over the globe.

    Obama was saved from utter humiliation and I’m glad he was. I despise the man….but for love of country I was cringing over the thought of Congress shooting him down in front of the world.

  60. Obama responds to a question about Kerry’s stumble into diplomacy –

    WALLACE: Had you discussed this, when you were in St. Petersburg, with President Putin, the idea of Russia intervening, uh, to try to get them to turn over their chemical weapons or do you worry that this could be the Russians — and they have a history of this — trying to throw a monkey wrench into this whole process?

    OBAMA: Uh, I did discuss this with President Putin. Uh, this is something that is not new. I’ve been discussing this with, uh, President Putin for some time time now. The last time we were at a G-20 meeting in Los Cabos last year. Uh, I suggested the need for the United States and Russia to work together to deal with this particular problem. Sssssssssssssssss.

    (I added the “Ssssssssssss.”)

    So when asked if he’d spoken to Putin about THIS development, Obama suggested LAST YEAR that…oh never mind.

    Read more:

  61. It’s all about Obama.

    Of course it is. Always.

    His answer given today, pre-spin, is clear. He’s lying when he pretends that he engineered anything.

    Just watch how that red line suddenly becomes his again.

  62. Logistically speaking the Russians have assets in place and actually “on the ground” in Syria. They could secure sites. Whether my use of secure should be in quotations too is open for debate. It would be a major coup de grace for the Russians and Syrians to play together this deal.
    I also think it is a great idea and one that has precedent. We sent $$$$$’s to Russia for nuke retirements. I confess I didn’t imagine this sound idea could’ve come up.

    On a possibly related note not to bore the board. I stumbled across a story and wonder how much potential it has. Lost in everything we get bombarded with there is a movement to help with the hot spot in /Azerbijian the Nagoro Kazabak [sp?] conflict. This has implications in the Caspian Sea region. This has been going on for some time now and there was a recent spike in interest as the US has sent a guy named James Warlick to serve on the panel of the OSCE Minsk group.
    Anyway where I am going with this is that the Russians really do have a few reasons to feel we’re really f@#$ing about in their backyard,within their sphere.

  63. Remember what Obama said 3 days ago (see #85).

    He says he urged Putin to set aside his differences with the U.S. over the use of chemical weapons and try to help encourage a political transition in Syria.”

    FF to today –

    BRET BAIER: Just to review, Charles, this started with Secretary of State Kerry answering a question in London in which right after he said it, the State Department said he was speaking rhetorically about a situation we thought had very low probability of happening and suddenly it may be U.S. policy.

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Because I think the Russians were playing chess here with a set of rank amateurs and understood that that gaffe gave them the opening they wanted. There are two issues here: chemicals and the retaining in power of Assad and of the Iran/Hezbollah/Assad/Russian axis dominating the region.

    The Russians clearly, immediately saw that this enabled them to achieve their two objectives. Keep Assad in power. After all, if we’re going to have negotiations, we have to essentially recognize Assad. It’s not that Assad has to go, he’s the guy that’s going to have to provide the protection for any inspectors, locate the sites, he’s going to have to be in there. He’s going to be a negotiating element in this. He will remain in power and the Russians are going to have their air base, the naval base, everything that they have.

    And for the Russians who worry about their own Muslim — unrest in the Muslim republics like Chechnya‎, the idea of the jihadists in the rebellion in Syria getting hold of chemical weapons is a nightmare. So, if you remove the weapons and you keep Assad in power, the Russians have achieved everything that Russia wants.

    Obama’s has seized on this because it’s the only way he saves face. That’s a high price to pay, but I assure you he will seize that. It will be his policy as of now and as of his speech tomorrow night.

    The only way Obama orchestrated this is if his goal is to preserve Assad’s power, and what he said 3 days ago that he and Putin discussed last week was a deliberate head feint.


  64. Our grand daughter is three months old now. She held a rattle and shook it

    Putin outfoxed Obama and Kerry. and the world knows it. The administration’s attempt to explain otherwise reveals its incredibly tiny understanding of geopolitics. It is the Colgate Comedy Hour revisited.

  65. Syria accepts Russia’s proposal out of hand.

    Teleprompter pushes ahead with planned speech and overworked speechwriting team scrambles to come up with a fresh way of articulating a policy vacuum.

  66. Something’s going on here. It’s ineptitude plus some kind of deal/manipulation. No way is the Kerry comment and immediate reception by Obama and even Hillary (who was speaking at national security meeting and approved out-of-hand) in the span of hours pure coincidence.

    Methinks something’s very rotten in Denmark. It doesn’t add up. It’s more than the Ass-Clown-in-Chief’s and SOS Thurston Howell’s dodge of a devastating Congressional vote. A deal was brokered long before yesterday.

  67. Once again, it appears President Duck Hook and Sec Easter Island have been played like a fiddle by the KGB.

    Kerry missteps and Putin immediately takes advantage, holding Easter Island by the balls. We underestimate the cleverness of the new Stalin.

    Truly pitiful. Not only did they cross the red line, but they kicked sand in the 97lbs weakling’s face after they stepped over…Assad and the rest of the tyrants must be giggling at their good fortune to be paired with a pair of sinking boobs at this time in history.

    Country is in the best of hands!

  68. Esse quam videri. To be rather than to seem.


    Tigre,you never know with this group but if Obama was prepared for this in any way he would probably be playing golf instead of working.

    At this point I think it’s largely happenstance and the speedy response by both Obama and Hillary is testament to their predisposition towards expediency.

    I do believe that Obama wasn’t going to do anything about Assad – ever. That Assad doesn’t horrify Obama – he inconveniences him. The red line was a verbal misstep because when you really get down to it Mr. Smooth is NOT terribly articulate and has no foundation of principles or policy that serves as a frame of reference from which he can speak impromptu.

    Kerry is a simp.

    So, I think the big dummy is off the hook and that’s all that matters.

    Them’s my thoughts for now.

  69. A pool on the number of “I’s” in his speech tonight?

    Course that really depends on the length of the thing I suppose. Maybe we should just go with average per minute.

  70. Lurker accused Bush of taking us to war so that he could muster domestic support for his shitty domestic policies. Of course, she could not produce a shred of evidence to support that claim.

    Isn’t it interesting that “we must support Obama taking us to war so that he can maintain his legitimacy as president and not be a domestic lame duck” is the EXACT argument that was openly tossed around by his media proxies for a week?

  71. Muffy, I am having hard time understanding why Putin wouldn’t delight in Obama’s failed Congressional vote before taking advantage of him. You know, Obama first thrashed by Congress, then pretending he’d go it alone, then comes the Putin power grab, then Putin declares that the chemicals were used by the rebels, then backs Assad.

  72. The Obama doctrine in action. 🙄

    As Ace said, I guess we can now give credit to Putin for Obama’s accomplichmen5ts since he isn’t black. 😆

  73. oh, I forgot a step.

    . . . then reveals that US was arming the rebels resulting in Benghazi incident carried out by Iranian nationalists. . . then laughs before skydiving into Obama’s Hawaiian hometown as a publicity stunt. . .

  74. @#98 – For one thing I don’t think the vote was going to happen anytime soon but more importantly Obama goes away happy. He saves face and the gassed children don’t get in the way of a mollified Obama.

  75. Muffy, agreed. I get Obama’s motivation. He views this as unfucking it — and probably has the lack of self-awareness to believe that he could sell it as a triumph of his personal strategy of brinksmanship, even after the liberal media has started to fragment. I think he pounded his chest harder knowing this was his out.

    It’s Putin that has me scratching my head.

  76. Of course, Putin will probably just continue to fuck with the our tragically comical Nobel Prize winner, maybe taking turns with Rouhani running him about.

  77. GWB – I took him at his word.

    “He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,” said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. “It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade�.if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.” Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father’s shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. “Suddenly, he’s at 91 percent in the polls, and he’d barely crawled out of the bunker.”

  78. Is the president wearing blue eye shadow?

    Is the John Kerry look catching? 😆

    What’s up with the new and “improved” Obama look. All he needed was some Vulcan ears and Obama would have been ready for a Star Trek Convention.

    Do you realize in less than five years, Obama’s gross incompetence combined with profound arrogance has actually shifted the balance of power in the Middle East.

    Russia was an afterthought even five years ago, working behind the scenes I’m sure. But Obama is so incredibly weak, Russia has come out of the shadows and now openly mocking America.

  79. “It’s Putin that has me scratching my head”

    (Yeah I had a feeling I wasn’t answering the question but it was too late to turn back.)

    I don’t know Tigre but when Obama included Susan Rice among those he sent to press for strikes I really had to question whether the president just wanted congress to save him from himself and his red line. That and Kerry’s “unbelievably small” advocacy.

    Maybe Putin wanted to shake Barry’s resolve rather than let him scapegoat congress.

  80. Yeah. He’s being played like a cello but I don’t get the tune (so to speak).

    This speech was just plain odd. The only question I have, “why?”

    Or how about O’Donnell’s brilliant question is better; “what’s wrong with you?”

  81. Remember, Obama was caught on open mic promising Medvedev he’d have more flexibility after the election. He does appear a little more rubber-like.

  82. “Oh but of course!”

    Yes, of course. There is a reason “he said”, “he said”, “he said” is regarded as credible evidence, especially when it comes from someone who got fired and he’s writing about his former boss.

    But let’s say I give you that point (which I’m not), have you nothing to say about the rest of my comment? (That’s a rhetorical question because, of course, you don’t)

  83. Remember, Obama was caught on open mic promising Medvedev he’d have more flexibility after the election. He does appear a little more rubber-like.

    That’s a great point, Mr. Poolman. I had almost forgotten that one.

    Well, we at least need to give Obama credit for being prescient at recognizing his own glaring inadequacies – needing Putin to bail him out.

    It the situation not so dire, that would actually be humorous.

  84. Zimmerman is the media and liberals’ pet concern while they all ignore the racially motivated brutality visited on two New Yorkers this week.

    One soul-scarred individual just wanted to punch the first white guy he saw. Now that white guy’s dead and his elderly mother who suffers from alzheimers is left alone in this world.

  85. “Bet his wife wishes Trayvon had killed his ass.” Rutherford

    Ahh…..let me guess, MSNBC never did a follow up on that one. Left you hanging like a moron once again.

    Don’t worry. Zimmerman is an untouchable. He will sooner or later make you gleeful.

  86. Nope not MSNBC at all. My wife read me the story. Obviously she hadn’t seen the follow up which I will investigate for veracity.

    The story I heard said Z destroyed the video evidence of the assault.

  87. dude…you don’t even understand why you hate him so much. tons of killing…..some racial, some not. but this one guy, a Hispanic no less, under conditions that we all agree are hazy…..this is the one that you and your friends decide to incorporate into your phoney narrative on race. Ever get the creeps that you don’t own your own thoughts?

  88. Well but it happened in a battleground state after all.

    “The story I heard said Z destroyed the video evidence of the assault.”

    😆 Yeah his back broke the iPad when she smacked him with it. Atzwat I heard.

    It’s a non-story. A divorcing couple disputing the division of assets.

  89. Yeah, go source that R. 😆

    This story is several days old. Don’t tell me your wife fished it out of the trash.

    So is he a racist or just a violent dude with anger management issues?

  90. Seriously R. DR’s right. With all of the white on black crime the left pretends exists, can’t you do better than this guy? Shit, the racially motivated black on white crime the left has fostered is a daily event. It’s hard not to notice you don’t give a fuck.

  91. I half-listened to Obama’s speech last night, losing interest fairly quickly. But something stuck with me.that I hadn’t had the occasion to examine in the hours since. So I was remembering today that my liberal friends at the time (most of whom I’ve drifted from or outright cut ties to) felt something akin to appreciation for Bush in the days and weeks immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And I was probing that I continue to experience nothing but disaffection from and for the president.

    So I thought about his speech last light and the vague feeling I’d had that his rhetoric had alienated me and mine again, though much more subtle than usual. He was supposed to be asking us for our support. I had only just mentioned here that I was beginning to question whether he really wanted a ‘yes’ vote or an out from striking Syria for which he can cast blame onto congress.

    In any case I looked up the passage that I thought was bothering me in his mostly benign and refreshingly brief speech.

    “And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with a failure to act when a cause is so plainly just. To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.

    Of his friends on the right he asks to draw on their “commitment to military might” and to his friends on the left he appeals to their “belief in freedom and dignity for all people.”

    . . .

  92. Muffy, that line has been isolate by other commentators too. It’s such an overused refrain (aggressive, dispassionate right always favor death and destruction for its own sake v. left that is always seeking justice regardless of the mechanisms, and frankly outcome) my belief is that what you’re hearing is that no one is hearing it anymore.

    The emptiness is perhaps being seen for what it is. Apparently it requires a crisis that necessitate unity for the routine divisive b.s. to lose all effect.

    I wonder if anyone sees the silliness of using the death of civilian women and children by someone that engaged in drone attacks that had the exact same outcome.

  93. “I do have to chuckle that Huck had to source an unknown New Zealand source for his Zimmerman rebuttal.”

    Actually that was just the top of the Google search.

    What you should be doing is crying that our own media won’t report the truth when it doesn’t meet their agenda.

  94. Letter of the Day:

    “If Bush was so bad, then why did Obama lift so much of his speech making the case for military action in Syria from Bush’s speech making the case for military action in Iraq?”

  95. “I do have to chuckle that Huck had to source an unknown New Zealand source for his Zimmerman rebuttal.”

    Even New Zealanders knew what actually happened you Zipperhead. 🙄

    MSNBC is still trying to pass of the false story which is why you bought it, right?

  96. if you want to know what is happening in the US, read the foreign press.

    I saw the silliness with lack of unity between gas and drone related deaths, only I considered it irony.

    Stomach trouble gave our grand daughter a bad day yesterday.

    The company owners told theirstaff their health insurance coverage will end because of Obamacare. Until now, our daughter has been apolitical. Now, she says they should kill the bill

  97. “dude…you don’t even understand why you hate him so much.”

    Sometimes you are just plain stupid Rabbit. I don’t hate Zimmerman. In fact when all was said and done I had about zero sympathy for Trayvon. But Zimmerman ain’t the hero either.

    It looks like Z and his wife are a piece of work.

    P.S. I love how after five years you still have to box me into your image of what a liberal is. Own your own thoughts dude. 🙂

  98. Assad says he will give up his chemical weapons when the US shows good faith and takes military option off the table AND stops arming terrorists.

    Again others play 3-D chess while Obama continues to play checkers.

    On a related note, my congressman, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, returned correspondence to me today stating he plans on voting against US intervention in Syria.

  99. I hadn’t listened to the 911 tape but I gotta say, after what he’s been put through, a guy such as myself might have gone on a shooting spree the moment I left the courthouse. And having a dopey wife in a domestic squabble fucking with me over small items of personal property sure as shit wouldn’t have helped calm me down any after the initial rampage.

    If they have a kid (and I pray they don’t), we might see an allegation of molestation next.

    I guess I’ll go find that recording and see what it sounded like now.

  100. OH MY LORD. You honestly can’t make this shit up.

    From the NYT — Not The Onion — MSNBC’s sister outlet, NYT:

    “To aides and allies, Mr. Obama’s willingness to hit the pause button twice on his decision to launch airstrikes to punish Syria for using chemical weapons on its own people reflects a refreshing open-mindedness and a reluctance to use force that they considered all too missing under his predecessor with the Texas swagger. In this view, Mr. Obama is a nimble leader more concerned with getting the answer right than with satisfying a political class all too eager to second-guess every move.”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. . . cough, cough. . .hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. . . burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp.

  101. 😆 That Coulter article is hilarious. I can never tell when she’s kidding or being serious. She certainly has a good imagination and can spin quite a yarn. That’s almost as good as her “radiation is good for us” claims. 😆

  102. Tigre on the 911 it’s very simple. He said something like “these assholes always get away with it”. Not something a cool calm collected nbrhood watch guy would say.

    I’m also amazed that you’re so in love with this guy that even his wife is a villain.

    LOL I think you love Zimmerman as much as you think I love Obama. 🙂

  103. Yeah, all the liberal sites are touting Obama’s smart handling of this. Gawd, both sides are delirious. Reality has left the building…

  104. How’d you like to have this obituary penned about you by your children? 😯

    January 4, 1935 Sept. 30, 2013

    Marianne Theresa John¬son- Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on Sept. 30, 2013. She is survived by her 6 of 8 children whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible. While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion towards them. When they became adults she stalked and tortured anyone they dared to love. Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit.

    On behalf of her children whom she so abrasively exposed to her evil and vio¬lent life, we celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after¬life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty, and shame that she delivered on her children. Her surviv¬ing children will now live the rest of their lives with the peace of knowing their nightmare finally has some form of closure.

    Most of us have found peace in helping those who have been exposed to child abuse and hope this message of her final passing can revive our message that abusing children is unforgiveable, shameless, and should not be tolerated in a “humane society”. Our greatest wish now, is to stimulate a national movement that mandates a purposeful and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America.

  105. I must admit that what looks like dithering and a completely aimless foreign policy is being spun by some as sheer brilliance.

    It’s becoming difficult to discuss politics without viewing it as some absurd comedy. It’s one reason I stopped the weekly “radio” show. I just can’t muster the pro-Obama vitriol like I used to.

    You guys can claim to be prescient all you want–if Obama’s first term had the record of his 2nd term so far he would not have been reelected.

  106. Poolman I loves me some Carlin too but he loses me when he starts raving against “the man”. Carlin became the man. He could buy and sell all of us.

    That’s the terrible irony that to truly protest on behalf of the oppressed you have to rise above them to be heard and then you’re no longer one of them.

  107. R, his first term was a joke. You were just as much a fool in 2008 as 2012. No matter how tired you are of being proved the fool, you’d vote for him again. You didn’t make it this far because you were paying attention — at least to anything other than MSNBC. 😆

  108. re 160, I think though Carlin did achieve financial success, he never conformed to the societal norms, rather fought the establishment all of his life. I think the guy’s most famous act was his freedom of speech victory with the ‘seven words you can’t say on TV’. He even went to jail for it. I mean, even in the military he had 3 court-martials.

    Bottom line, I don’t think he was ever ‘the man’.

  109. There really isn’t a first term. The signature legislation was held back deep into the second term.

    By the way……what is there to talk about when it comes to Obama meeting the unions over Obamacare.

    Seriously…..whats the conversation?

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