Archive for the ‘US Foreign Policy’ Category

Years ago, Der Spiegel wrote about the Seven Phases of Al Qaeda’s plan as related to Jordanian journalist Fouad HusseinLong War Journal wrote about it as well.  Beyond the first few stages, it was expected to be the ramblings of madman terrorist Seif al-Adel.   It seemed the kind of plan that would easily be checked by intervention by the West, led by the US.

A short summary of the seven phases:

1. “The Awakening” - was supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby “awakening” Muslims.

2. “Opening Eyes” – 2003-2006 – the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the “Islamic community.” Al Qaeda turns itself into a movement, recruiting and building an army in Iraq and bases in other Arab states.

3. “Arising and Standing Up” – 2007-2010 a focus on Syria with fighting units already built in Syria and Iraq.

4. Destabilization of the Middle East.  2010-2013.  Al Qaeda will bring about the collapse of Arab governments, and AQ will steadily grow in strength.

5, Islamic State/Caliphate declared.  2013-2016.  Weakened western influence will allow for an Islamic State to form.

6. “Total Confrontation” – 2016 on.  The Caliphate will instigate the fight between believers and non-believers.

7. “Definitive Victory” – completed by 2020 with a two-year war.  The rest of the world will be so beaten down by 1.5 billion Muslims that the Caliphate will succeed.

Phase 4 was completed by the “Arab Spring”.  And Phase 5 is now complete, as ISIS has declared an Islamic State.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has reportedly declared the areas it occupies in Iraq and Syria as a new Islamic state, removing Iraq and the Levant from its name and ushering in “a new era of international jihad”.

According to Isis’s chief spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the declaration of the “restoration of the caliphate” was made after a meeting of the group’s Shura Council. In recent weeks, Isis has captured large areas of western and northern Iraq and for two years has held parts of Syria, imposing a harsh interpretation of Islamic law and in many cases, killing large numbers of opposition Shia Muslims.

Adnani said all jihadist organisations must now offer up their support to Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been declared Caliph of the new state.

The Long War Journal in 2005 wrote this:

The United States will not allow another Islamic state to fall to al Qaeda’s ideologues. The lesson of September 11 serves as a reminder of what happened when Afghanistan became a sanctuary and de facto al Qaeda state.

The Fifth Phase This will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaida hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.

The Long War Journal wasn’t able to forsee Obama or Obama’s retreat from the Middle East.

The Caliphate had smaller plans:

ISIS envisioned boundaries 140611That are now getting bigger:

isis caliphate projection 20140629

And those “moderate” Muslim rebels Obama thinks will magically appear to stop the Caliphate?  They’re being crucified:

isis crucifixion 20140629_crucify

Meanwhile, some are saying that ISIS is a paper tiger that only accomplishes anything out of fear, and others are saying that ISIS only exists because of Manbearpig.

To borrow from a speech by Lara Logan two years ago:

You’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight.  In your arrogance, you think you write the script, but you don’t.

The Advance of ISIS

Posted: June 12, 2014 by ShortTimer in Iraq, Middle East, terrorism, US Foreign Policy

A few pictures can give some idea of the situation:

isis iraq syria us humvees

US humvees, now being used by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq & Syria).  And this would be Georgian-Chechen ISIS commander Umar al Shishani who’s smiling at the capture of American humvees given to Iraq’s failing government.

isis iraq syria us humvees shishani

And one more photo via Jawa Report of US humvees now used by the emerging terrorist caliphate:

isis iraq syria us humvees 2

They’ve taken Tikrit and basically taken Mosul, and as the map (via Jawa Report again) shows, they are not “on the run”:

isis advance june 2014

Reports say 500,000 people have evacuated/are evacuating Mosul.  But pictures say plenty:

isis advance june 2014 mosul evacuation

And then, of course, there’s the fact that ISIS just made themselves the richest terrorist group in the world:

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (Isis) has become the richest terror group ever after looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars – the equivalent of $429m (£256m) – from Mosul’s central bank, according to the regional governor.

Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi confirmed Kurdish televison reports that Isis militants had stolen millions from numerous banks across Mosul. A large quantity of gold bullion is also believed to have been stolen.

Following the siege of the country’s second city, the bounty collected by the group has left it richer than al-Qaeda itself and as wealthy as small nations such as Tonga, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Falkland Islands.

But Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is on the run, right?

One may disagree with the original decision to go in (and there’s plenty of disagreement to be had), but US departure from the region has left it open to terrorists and tyrants who are actively getting stronger due to the absence of any resistant or even stabilizing force.

Via Jawa Report:

syrian_hostage_baby

From Raymond Ibrahim via TROP:

According to Sham Times and other Arabic websites, jihadi social media networks posted the above picture of a child sitting on the ground while surrounded by armed men pointing their rifles at him. The caption appearing with the picture, purportedly posted by a supporter of the Free Syrian Army, is “Our youngest hostage from among the hostile sects of Kessab.”

Kessab is a predominantly Christian Armenian village in Syria near the Turkish border. Earlier it was invaded by jihadis, who terrorized, pillaged churches, and prompted some 2000 residents to flee. Initial reports had stated that about a dozen families remained as hostages.

Read the rest at The Jawa Report.

And keep in mind that the Free Syrian Army are the same people that many in the US government want to support and that the Obama administration’s CIA is arming.

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For contrast:

us soldier protects child 1

American Soldiers Protecting Vietnamese Children

Ambassador Chris Stevens is dead in part because there were MANPADS in Libya that were being shipped to Syrian rebels, at least that’s how some of the story goes, but we can’t confirm it because the CIA is hiding Benghazi survivors and changing their names.

But now the CIA is openly sending weapons to Syrian rebels… who also count Al Qaeda among their numbers.

The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.

The arms shipments, which are limited to light weapons and other munitions that can be tracked, began arriving in Syria at a moment of heightened tensions over threats by President Obama to order missile strikes to punish the regime of Bashar al-Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons in a deadly attack near Damascus last month.

“Can be tracked?”

The Obama administration wouldn’t track weapons they send into Mexico that got hundreds of Mexicans and two US federal agents killed, and we’re supposed to believe they’ll do it in a war zone in Syria?

“When you finally have a free Syrian government, you will know them and they will know us,” Ward said. “We will have been working with them week after week, month after month. These won’t be strangers.”

That worked so well in Libya and Egypt.

Libya, Egypt, and Syria will be the Whitman, Price, and Haddad of the Middle East.

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Now Assad is demanding that in order to give up his chemical weapons, the US needs to stop arming the rebels.  Oh look, the meaningless accord that Obama reached when he kneeled before Putin has already been proven meaningless.  Good thing he’s got that extra flexibility he told Medvedev about.

I started this as a minor post a few days back, but in the span of a few days, the story has changed.

First Putin called Obama out:

“I would like to address Obama as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate: Before using force in Syria, it would be good to think about future casualties,” Putin told Russian news agencies in Vladivostok during a tour of the country’s flood-stricken Far East.  …

Putin said he was sure the attack was the work of rebels trying to provoke international — and especially American — involvement in the Syrian conflict. The government of Bashar al-Assad, he said, would have had no reason to use chemical weapons at a time when it had gained the upper hand in the fighting.

Doing so, he said, would have been “utter nonsense’’ – with the clear implication that that is how he would characterize the American allegations.

On top of that, he said, the Obama administration’s “claims that proof exists, but is classified and cannot be presented to anybody, are below criticism. This is plain disrespect for their partners.”

Putin’s comments were soon underlined by a stern statement from the Foreign Ministry. After U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul had finished a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Saturday, the ministry declared, “Russia has expressed its conviction that any forceful action against Syria that the U.S. could carry out in circumvention of the U.N. Security Council would be an act of aggression and a gross violation of international law.”

Pretty harsh, and some biting digs there at Obama, using Obama’s own words and line of attack against Bush against him.  Putin even used Obama’s own hatred of American exceptionalism against him in his NYT op-ed:

And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy.

Remember that Obama has the same opinion that Putin states there.

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Mark Steyn summed up the accidental war brewing here:

(the US)… is going to war because Obama wandered off prompter and accidentally made a threat. So he has to make good on it, or America will lose its credibility. But he only wants to make good on it in a perfunctory and ineffectual way. So America will lose its credibility anyway.

While he was expecting a military response in the bare minimum as the quote by an unnamed official went: “just muscular enough not to get mocked”, what’s happened was an even weaker response – empty posturing and nothingness.

The president has backed away from a military strike in Syria. But he can’t acknowledge this or act as if it is true. He is acting and talking as if he’s coolly, analytically, even warily contemplating the Russian proposal and the Syrian response. The proposal, he must know, is absurd. Bashar Assad isn’t going to give up all his hidden weapons in wartime, in the middle of a conflict so bitter and severe that his forces this morning reportedly bombed parts of Damascus, the city in which he lives. In such conditions his weapons could not be fully accounted for, packed up, transported or relinquished, even if he wanted to. But it will take time—weeks, months—for the absurdity to become obvious. And it is time the president wants. Because with time, with a series of statements, negotiations, ultimatums, promises and proposals, the Syria crisis can pass. It can dissipate into the air, like gas.

The president will keep the possibility of force on the table, but really he’s lunging for a lifeline he was lucky to be thrown.  …

All this, if it is roughly correct, is going to make the president’s speech tonight quite remarkable. It will be a White House address in which a president argues for an endeavor he is abandoning. It will be a president appealing for public support for an action he intends not to take.

And that’s exactly what the speech was.

What happened was Vladimir Putin proved, as has been stated across a million blogs and talk radio shows now, that the Russians are playing chess, while Obama is playing tiddly winks.  Maybe we should’ve expected that.

putin vs obamaPutin won.

Lee Smith at Weekly Standard makes the case solidly.

The Syrian government has accepted the proposal because they understand it is an empty formalism.  As everyone knows, as even all but the most obtuse White House officials must also understand, Assad will not give up his unconventional arsenal because he cannot.  …  …. plan B is to withdraw from Damascus and head to the coastal mountains that make up the historical Alawite homeland. The question for Assad then is, how to ensure the safety of that retreat? Further, once there how are the Alawites to defend their redoubt from a Sunni community galvanized by a shared vendetta against Assad and his community? From Assad’s perspective, without chemical weapons the Alawites might fall off the face of the earth.

Who knows what the Russians told Assad? For God’s sake, just say it’s your chemical weapons arsenal you’re turning over for safekeeping. Send them canisters of perfume, or cat urine. The Americans just want a deal, the president thinks he’s saving face. If the Americans are smart, they’ll let the whole thing drop and call it a win, but knowing them they’ll come back later and complain that you’re not keeping your end of the bargain. No problem. We’ll stall them. And then every time Obama whines it will remind your adversaries and U.S. allies around the world that the Americans are empty suits, a bunch of legalistic bureaucrats who are incapable of standing with their friends.

But Putin showed shrewdness and defeated Obama handily by appealing to Obama’s weakness.  He can’t let himself look bad.  The only “credibility” question was a corner Obama painted himself into that he expected to paint his way out of at the cost of US military power, Syrian lives, and a war that would escalate.

The president’s supporters and publicists in the press know how to package Obama’s weakness. The fear that everyone else in the world smells emanating from him like a wounded animal is really just humility and modesty—fitting attributes for the leader of a superpower that needs to make amends for having meddled so long in the affairs of others. And besides, this talk of strength and weakness is juvenile—the world is not a schoolyard. And so Obama ignored Putin’s slights and held his head high. This revealed to Putin Obama’s real liability, his vanity. Obama always needs to look good. He will embrace defeat so long as he can still imagine himself a handsome princeling. After pushing Obama around for five years, now Putin escorts him out of the Middle East. Here, friend, take my hand. Let me help you to the sidelines.

As David Samuels wrote last week, Putin’s goal is to replace the United States as the regional power broker. Sure, Russia is less a state than a criminal enterprise with lots of energy to sell, while the United States drives the global economy, but so what? What good are American aircraft carriers if you don’t have the will to use them? Putin will use anything he has to win, while Obama is looking for a reason not to fire a few cruise missiles into the Syrian desert. There is absolutely no chance Obama would risk a shooting war with Iran.

Part of the reason for a Western European demand for action is because Russian Gazprom controls the heat in Europe in the winter, and a pipeline through Syria could be built if the Assad regime (backed by Russia) goes away.  Russian Gazprom wouldn’t be controlling Europe’s thermostat, and with it would go a lot of economic and political power.  So losing Syria would could also harm Russian interests in the future.

And the reason Britain might’ve been interested in getting into Syria?  Britain sent Syria a lot of components for chemical weapons, and they may want to go clean up the mess they helped make.

The Russian proposal not only saves Obama from having to do something about Syria, it also, and much more important, shows the way forward with Iran. From the White House’s point of view, its credible threat of force made Syria buckle and will similarly bring Iran to the negotiating table. Putin has shown his bona fides as a credible interlocutor with Damascus and will do the same with Iran. Obama can relax now and imagine that he has finally earned his Nobel Peace Prize and that that sound he hears is the tide of war receding.

In fact, it is the sound of American allies around the world—the Poles and Czechs, the Japanese and the South Koreans, the Saudis, Jordanians and Israelis, among others—gnashing their teeth. They now see that they are on their own, and that  the word of the United States means nothing.

There’s all that talk of credibility, and all it proves is that Obama won’t stand up to anyone on the global stage except US allies.  It’s marvelously consistent with Dinesh D’souza’s theory that Obama’s anti-colonialist roots drive him to harm the US and its allies at every turn and weaken the power of both.

The only thing credible was Obama’s threat to take unilateral military action over the orders of Congress and his triangulating to blame Congress for failure if he went to war or if he didn’t.

Putin just gave him a more convenient exit, and took another step towards his own expansion of power, and at American expense.

putin glasses flag

John Kerry says Obama can attack Syria with or without congressional approval, and may do so anyway:

“Now. I can’t tell you what judgment the president will make if, in three weeks, Bashar Assad uses chemical weapons again. But the president reserves the right in the presidency to respond as appropriate to protect the security of our nation.”

Syria has less to do with our security than Iraq or Afghanistan by a long shot, and the rebels in Syria are Al Qaeda, our enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last few decades.  So there is no case for this, but Obama might attack anyway, even if congress says no, because screw you.

Meanwhile, VP Joe said this:

What if they gave a war protest and nobody cared?

As per the Daily Caller, nobody cares:

Code Pink spokeswoman Joan Stallard agreed that there is an obvious disconnect between the “thousands of people in the street in the run-up to Iraq” and the empty streets now.

When asked how she would feel if Obama orders bombings in Syria, Stallard didn’t mince words.

“I’ll be so disgusted,” she said. “How are we going to cut down the killing in Syria by killing people in Syria? People are going to die. They are not likely going to be members of Assad’s administration.”

TheDC reached out to representatives of CNN and MSNBC to find out if those organizations would be covering Answer’s protests. They have not responded, though a CNN spokeswoman promised to look into the situation.

CNN won’t be looking into it.  It doesn’t fit the narrative.  And it’s not something they want to show.

Controlled and copied, they’ve planted the seed that sprouts into your picture of the world.

Nobody cares.  The media won’t cover it, because the broader media has their own agenda, and it’s as simple as Republicans=bad, Democrats=good.  So there will be no coverage by the leftist media of the dissent on the left.

Dennis Kucinich, who’s a lefty, but who’s a principled lefty (he may believe in many leftist policies that are ultimately “evil, failed, and wrong” as Evan Sayet would put it, but he’s consistent) put out 10 unproven claims on Syria that he wants answers to, none of which anyone on the power-hungry Democrat left cares about:

In the lead-up to the Iraq War, I researched, wrote and circulated a document to members of Congress which explored unanswered questions and refuted President Bush’s claim for a cause for war. The document detailed how there was no proof Iraq was connected to 9/11 or tied to al Qaeda’s role in 9/11, that Iraq neither had WMDs nor was it a threat to the U.S., lacking intention and capability to attack. Unfortunately, not enough members of Congress performed due diligence before they approved the war.

Here are some key questions which President Obama has yet to answer in the call for congressional approval for war against Syria. This article is a call for independent thinking and congressional oversight, which rises above partisan considerations.

Kucinich may be wrong on some of them and totally right on others, but no one even cares to address him.  He was useful against Bush, now the Democrat party and the larger left simply ignore him and give some lip service to war protesters about how they care.  And it works, because the narrative is that Democrats are caring, and there can be no questioning it.

So the Democrats can bomb people with impunity and start wars and still be the caring, nice guys, just like they can personally kill women and still be champions of women’s rights.

Ted Kennedy's car that he drowned Mary Jo Kopechne in... as he left her and went back to a party... and called his lawyer to figure out how best to proceed... and went to bed until the next day.

Ted Kennedy’s car that he drowned Mary Jo Kopechne in… as he left her and went back to a party… and called his lawyer to figure out how best to proceed… and went to bed until the next day.

Syria Explained

Posted: September 7, 2013 by ShortTimer in Middle East, US Foreign Policy
Tags:

Via Jawa Report:

Syrian Mess explained

The UK Daily Mail has made a point that John “Stupid People Get Stuck In Iraq” Kerry used to wine and dine with Syrian president Assad:

kerry and assad 2009

But he’s not the only one.  Remember when Nancy Pelosi took a little trip to Syria in 2007 to say what wonderful people the Assad regime is?

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad shakes hands with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Damascus

Remember how she was harshly criticized by many on the right since she was hanging around with a dictator and giving a thug legitimacy?

pelosi assad ad rjc

Don’t worry if you forgot, the media would never remind you.

Now she wants to bomb Syria for being “outside the circle of civilized behavior”.

Are you serious?

eviloverlord12

I’ve been reading about this and listening to this for a while, and as someone who’s had to fight in the Middle East before, I’m hearing a replay of 2002-2003, but a much worse one, with an imperial president who ignores the law as opposed to a neocon president who even his staunchest critics when confronted with the data can see at least jumped through the required hoops.

So far, it’s heavily suspected that Syria has used chemical weapons on its own rebels and population, though it’s also possible that the rebels themselves (who are affiliated with Al Qaeda) may have used them to garner international sympathy – mideast terrorist groups and their allies do use propaganda, after all.   Reuters even has rebels saying it was rebels (but Reuters in the mideast isn’t exactly trustworthy, as is evidenced one link ago). The use of chemical weapons is pretty much accepted, but by whom isn’t wholly decided.

The Obama administration has attacked Bashar Assad’s credibility when asked for proof.  If you’ve heard the audio (Charley Jones on 1080 KRLD played some of it last night), you know it starts off with a question asking about where the proof is that chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime, and sounds even less convincing when spoken than written.

Q:   But based on the President’s own criticism of the previous administration, not being able to clearly establish the use of WMD — if you’re now acknowledging the U.N. doesn’t have the mandate to determine that anyway, what will the President use to decide whether or not to take U.S. military action –

MR. CARNEY:  Again, we are continuing to assess the matter of culpability.  We believe, and I think the evidence is overwhelming, that there is very little doubt that the Syrian regime is culpable.  But we will continue to establish, or assess the incident, and we’ll have more information for you, as Secretary Kerry mentioned, in the coming days about that matter.

But, in the meantime, we should make clear from here and from the State Department and elsewhere, and in capitals around the world, that the Syrian regime has very little credibility on this matter.  If the Syrian regime had any interest, as Secretary Kerry said earlier, in proving that they were not culpable, they had the opportunity to allow that U.N. inspection team to visit the site immediately.  Instead, they blocked access for five days while they shelled the neighborhood, killing more innocent civilians, in an attempt to destroy evidence.

And even today, when the inspection team began its trip to the region where the attack occurred, its convoy was attacked.  They had to turn back.  And then they were able to make it later into the region.  After they left, the Syrian regime started shelling again.  The credibility here does not exist.

Except saying Assad is an uncooperative liar doesn’t mean Obama has definitive proof.  Saying “we have evidence from sources on the ground and from surveillance” would be a point.  Saying “we are assessing culpability” isn’t the same.  Considering the numerous resolutions against Saddam Hussein’s WMDs and ultimately action taken because of them, Obama is setting us up for the very same thing he railed against and ran on as a presidential candidate and president.  But Democrats are always against terrorist regimes before they’re for giving up and abandoning the efforts against terrorist regimes:

The Syrians have allies in Iran and Russia and Hezbollah, and the rebels are allied with and often part of Al Qaeda.  There are arguments by interventionists that some rebels are regionally different, but ultimately it doesn’t matter.  All sides involved are villainous.  There’s no reason for the US to get involved.  Neither side winning is good for the US.

If Syria wins, America’s adversaries in Russia, Iran, and China as well get strengthened in the region.  If the rebels win, Al Qaeda and other extremist forces will take over… just like happened in Egypt and much of Libya.  Either way, non-combatants in Syria suffer.

But speaking of Libya, the reason Ambassador Chris Stevens is dead is most likely because he was out in the middle of nowhere in Benghazi trying to secure weapons for the Syrian rebels.

Lawmakers also want to know about the weapons in Libya, and what happened to them.

Speculation on Capitol Hill has included the possibility the U.S. agencies operating in Benghazi were secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.

That’s from a while ago.  Realistically, we’ve probably been supporting Syrian rebels since then.

The problem is that as we’re supporing the Free Syrian Army, we’re supporting the same allies of Al Qaeda that we’ve been fighting since at least the 1993 WTC bombing, and for no particular reason.

One question that hasn’t been answered adequately is that if we intervene, who will end up with those 1000 tons of chemical weapons that Syria has?  If the rebels win, are we handing Al Qaeda 1000 tons of sarin or VX?

If we act against Syria, will they use chemical weapons on their neighbors in Israel and Jordan and Turkey?  Is that part of why Turkey, who got involved in Syria a bit, stopped getting involved?

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So far the hypothesis has been that in a few days of air attacks, we could seriously degrade the Syrian air force and reduce Assad’s capability to fight significantly.  If we were to do that, basically providing Al Qaeda the use of our air force, and ultimately leading to an AQ/rebel victory and our actions were to protect the world from chemical weapons… then what do we do once they have those chemical weapons?  The answer ends up being boots on the ground.

There are only a few options in Syria:

  • We don’t get involved.
  • We support Syria’s government and push for stability against AQ.
  • We support Syria’s rebels and push for regime change and a new stable state that magically doesn’t turn into an AQ-state or Egypt redux.
  • We get involved and crush both sides, secure WMDs, and leave with them secured or destroyed.
  • We get involved and crush both sides, secure WMDs, and stay and nation build.

Carl Von Clausewitz stated as his elegant definition of war:

War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will.

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So what is our will in Syria?  To stop the use of WMDs?

There have been tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands killed in Syria’s civil war by conventional violence.  Why were those deaths less important than the ones killed by a nerve agent?

To control WMD proliferation and keep WMDs out of the hands of groups that would threaten the US and our allies?  Supporting Syria would lead to stabilization and keep weapons out of terrorist hands – because a regime like Syria is a nation-state with something to lose if it uses WMDs against us.  A stateless organization like Al Qaeda doesn’t care.

Or is our will just so Obama can say his “red line” means something and not look like a complete weakling in front of Putin and China?  Too late, they know our president is weak on US interests and more concerned with instituting self-destructive policies within the US.  Any angry, self-righteous response against Syria is just going to look like Obama going “oh yeah, I’ll show you guys!” and they’ll still think him weak, because he is.  Obama doesn’t care about US interests.  He does care about himself, but that’s not strength, that’s vanity.

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The progressive left is interventionist, though.  They have been since the days when Woodrow Wilson dragged us into WWI, and before then the progressives under Teddy Roosevelt on the right dragged us all into other wars.

Consider this NYT editorial, titled “Bomb Syria, Even if It Is Illegal”:

The latest atrocities in the Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 100,000 people, demand an urgent response to deter further massacres and to punish President Bashar al-Assad.

They don’t want to be the world’s policeman enforcing the law, they want to be the world’s angry disciplinarian out castigating people for things they don’t like.

But there is widespread confusion over the legal basis for the use of force in these terrible circumstances. As a legal matter, the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons does not automatically justify armed intervention by the United States.

There are moral reasons for disregarding the law, and I believe the Obama administration should intervene in Syria. But it should not pretend that there is a legal justification in existing law. Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to do just that on Monday, when he said of the use of chemical weapons, “This international norm cannot be violated without consequences.” His use of the word “norm,” instead of “law,” is telling.

There’s currently a big push by the administration to say that Syria is violating international norms and must be punished.  You’ll hear the word in news reports a lot as a new narrative is made.  Sort of like hearing about the hun.

Syria is a party to neither the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 nor the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, and even if it were, the treaties rely on the United Nations Security Council to enforce them — a major flaw. Syria is a party to the Geneva Protocol, a 1925 treaty that bans the use of toxic gases in wars. But this treaty was designed after World War I with international war in mind, not internal conflicts.

Not only will Russia and China block any UN resolutions, it doesn’t matter, because there is no authority to something Syria isn’t a signatory to.  This is the very unilateralism the left railed against.

What about the claim that, treaties aside, chemical weapons are inherently prohibited? While some acts — genocide, slavery and piracy — are considered unlawful regardless of treaties, chemical weapons are not yet in this category.

Some acts are unlawful regardless of treaties?  What a joke.  Sudan is on the UN Human Rights Commission even though they were and are engaged in genocide.

If there is no law, they are by definition not unlawful.

…if the White House takes international law seriously — as the State Department does — it cannot try to have it both ways. It must either argue that an “illegal but legitimate” intervention is better than doing nothing, or assert that international law has changed — strategies that I call “constructive noncompliance.” In the case of Syria, I vote for the latter.

Since Russia and China won’t help, Mr. Obama and allied leaders should declare that international law has evolved and that they don’t need Security Council approval to intervene in Syria.

This would be popular in many quarters, and I believe it’s the right thing to do. But if the American government accepts that the rule of law is the foundation of civilized society, it must be clear that this represents a new legal path.

This can be summed up simply:

There is no law in this administration, there is only what people in power feel like doing, and whatever complex mental and linguistic gymnastics they can do to justify acting out how they feel.

Under Bush, the administration went through the processes that were necessary, getting approval along the way before acting on a perceived threat, regardless of the haste or individual opinions on the wisdom of those actions.  Under Obama, we have leftists actively advocating for ignoring laws they agree to with their wonderful UN-consensus ideals because it’s now magically moral to break the law, to do what feels good even though it’s illegal.

The rule of law is the foundation of a civilized society, but we have the rule of men, and of a man who feels what he’s doing is right means more than the law.  I’m sure Assad would agree with the decisions to ignore legality and do what you want as a ruler.

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As a final note, I heard or read this story not too long ago:  A bartender saw a boyfriend and girlfriend fighting across the bar and saw the boyfriend slapping the girlfriend.  The bartender decided this was wrong, and he had to get involved and separate the two.  He stepped around the bar and got them apart, and the girlfriend then broke a beer bottle over the bartenders head.

As of right now, with no real evidence of a threat to the US or US interests, there’s no reason to get involved.

This is a cluster of our enemies fighting each other.  It’s tragic what’s happening to the non-combatants, but unless we want to wage a massive, all out campaign to suppress the rest of the world and pacify them, we can’t change that.

Away from wartime, we can change things through trade and commerce, but in wartime, there’s little we can do unless we go all-out.  And there’s while there may be some broader humanitarian desire to act, there’s really little reason to get involved, as both potential victors in the only likely outcomes are villains.