Sunday, September 01, 2013

Clue-less Emperor Has No Clothes

The “keystone kops” scenario playing out in this country at the White House is not funny. The president was ready on 29 August to rain missiles, bombs or whatever else on Syria from U.S. warships account, as he said, Syrian President Assad’s alleged use of poison gas on Syrians. He had set a red-line not to be crossed by Assad with respect to this subject months ago but did nothing when Assad allegedly crossed it. He set another one recently, though it seemed to deal not with small crossings, only huge crossings.

The gas-attack triggering Obama’s ire and threats of U.S. action happened in a Damascus suburb on 21 August, strange because Assad presumably lives in Damascus and presumably would not appreciate something like that so close to home, making one wonder if Assad ordered the attack, assuming the UN team assessing the situation verifies an attack, or the insurrectionists pulled it off trying to drag any nation into the civil/sectarian war on their side. If memory serves, the number of fatalities initially was set at 300. According to questionable UN figures, Syrians have been dying at the rate of 110 per day for some 2.5 years.

Britain’s prime minister announced his support for U.S. action but sensibly called Parliament into session for a vote he obviously expected to be affirmative. It wasn’t, so he backed out. He may have been relieved, though he probably didn’t mean his support to be with hardware anyway. No other nation of any consequence—Arab League doesn’t count—expressed support, leaving Obama twisting in the wind.

So, Obama sent State Secretary Kerry out with a windy speech on 30 August to claim categorically that the administration KNEW (didn’t say how) Assad had done the deed and that punishment militarily by this country was in order IMMEDIATELY – never mind the Brits – and would just amount to some missile-drops with no problems in the aftermath—certainly no American boots on the ground—and certainly not open-ended. Clinton dropped a few on Afghanistan and Sudan after the U.S. embassies were devastated in Africa in the 1990s but accomplished nothing.

It’s doubtful that Obama or his NSC has a clue vis-a-vis what’s happening in Syria. Kerry said that 1,429 people died in the gas, but in a speech on 31 August Obama just said more than a thousand. In this speech, Obama angrily backed away from his previous rhetoric, claiming that even though he had the authority to blast Syria with or without Congressional approval he would wait and not just consult with Congress but get a resolution, leaving Kerry twisting in the wind!

Bypassing Congress was his modus operandi when Obama attacked Libya in 2011 for seven months, leaving that benighted country in total continuing chaos. Syria, the size of North Dakota with a population of 22.6 million (33 times that of North Dakota), is so heavily populated that a single missile-strike could kill thousands instantly, much worse than the gas. Damascus is only some18 miles from Syria’s border with Lebanon so a near-miss from ships in the Mediterranean could be catastrophic.

Syria’s tragedy is completely misunderstood by Obama. Near- and Middle-Eastern countries do not do democracy. They do despotism, with every government being sectarian, not representative, and ruled by religious fiat, not by laws. Governments change on the point of the sword, not at the ballot box. Meddling in their affairs foments treachery and Obama should shut-up and bug-out, putting no American GIs at risk to save face.

The tragedy in this country lies in having a president who subscribes to the despotic mode, not the representative one. He’s constantly disdained the U.S. Constitution and bypassed the Congress entirely, as in the case of Libya, ruling by executive orders and with zilch knowledge of anything military, proven by his having no idea of what he was doing in and to Libya.

Asserting that the Congress may not hinder his actions, Obama has become a civil ayatollah. This is reprehensible /impeachable. One hopes he realizes the shaky legal ground upon which he stands and has the good sense to not even bring up Syria to Congress, letting that body try to settle the nation’s business, to which he has done his share of mischief. But I doubt it, more’s the pity.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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