As soon as Obama decided not to decide on Syria and passed the buck to congress, anyone looking at it could see he’d play politics with it and use congress as his scapegoat. If congress said no and he chose not to go to Syria, he could blame congress for Assad’s use of chemical weapons. If congress said no and it was a wise choice, he’d pat himself on the back for staying out. If congress said yes and the war went well, he could claim credit. If congress said yes and the war went sour, he could blame congress.
Obama has chosen to completely and 100% pass the buck in order to shift blame.
“I didn’t set a red line, the world set a red line,” Obama said. “My credibility’s not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress’s credibility’s on the line.”
Obama set a red line a year ago. Now he’s saying he didn’t, the world did. Now he’s saying it’s not his credibility, it’s everybody else’s – everybody else who he can blame.
And he’ll blame everyone:
My credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line and America and Congress’s credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important.
So, the question is, how credible is the international community when it says this is an international norm that has to be observed.
“International norms?” When the hell do we go to war for “international norms?” Are we the conformity police now? This is a very thin veneer of an excuse for war.
The question is how credible is Congress when it passes a treaty saying we have to forbid the use of chemical weapons.
So what? Syria isn’t a signatory.
If you want to lean on them with sanctions, great. But military actions against them for breaking a treaty they’re not party to is like going into your neighbor’s house and spanking your neighbor’s kid for not cleaning his room. Make all the arguments about the greater good that you want, it’s really not your place, no matter what the neighborhood “norms” are.
That is progressivism at it’s core, though. Woodrow Wilson’s desire to get involved in the Great War, and Teddy Roosevelt’s desire to get involved in all sorts of noble little wars – we belonged in none of them but there was always some great moral argument for going to war – to save Europe from the Hun or to avenge the Lusitania or the Maine.
If we’re going to be the world’s policeman, we’re two years late to the hundred-thousand conventional deaths in Syria, and we were smuggling anti-air missiles to Al Qaeda in Syria (which is why Ambassador Chris Stevens was out in Benghazi and not in Tripoli). But this isn’t about being the world’s policeman or the role that would entail, this is about the president covering his ass, using classic progressive rhetoric to say “We must act! Now now now! Action! The time for talk is over! We must act!” and force congress into a decision that gives him a scapegoat.
Obama and his willing media sycophants are phenomenal liars. They can convince people that their own words don’t mean what they say, that a war isn’t a war, and that Obama didn’t say what he said, that nations that don’t sign treaties must have military force used on them to enforce “norms”, that 1000 nerve gas deaths are worse than 100,000 conventional deaths, and that congress is to blame no matter what goes wrong.
It really is masterful propaganda.
One last bit here, from Real Clear Politics:
First of all, I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war. Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that in a piece of legislation titled the Syria Accountability Act that some of the horrendous thing that are happening on the ground there need to be answered for. And so, when I said, in a press conference, that my calculus about what’s happening in Syria would be altered by the use of chemical weapons, which the overwhelming consensus of humanity says is wrong, that wasn’t something I just kind of made up. I didn’t pluck it out of thin air. There was a reason for it. That’s point number one. Point number two, my credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress’ credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important.
Again, Syria isn’t a signatory to chemical weapons treaties. But the Syria Accountability Act is rather interesting, since it was passed in 2003, and that means Obama’s been ignoring it since 2008, and his party was ignoring it when Kerry and Pelosi were busy sitting down to dinner with Assad. It also only applies to international terrorism, not a civil war, and nowhere in the bill is there a provision for military strikes, only sanctions.