“Unbelievably small” describes a number of things about Sec. of State John Kerry

Not the least of which is his brain!  Via Slate‘s Joshua Keating (bolded emphasis added by me):

Over the weekend, Kerry described the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons as “our Munich moment,” telling an audience in France, “This is not the time to be silent spectators to slaughter. … This is not the time to send a message where doing nothing is far more risky than responding.”

Today, Kerry—now in Britain—issued an ultimatum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, giving him one week to turn over his complete stockpile of chemical weapons, or else. Or else what?

Kerry said the Americans were planning an “unbelievably small” attack on Syria. “We will be able to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war. That is exactly what we are talking about doing – unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.

I may not have much experience with brinksmanship, but it seems to me that threatening to hit someone becomes a lot less effective when at the same time you’re telling your friends, Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit him that hard. And convincing the public that this situation is analogous to the buildup to the largest war in human history is difficult when you’re also saying that an “unbelievably small” effort will be sufficient to deal with it. Given the blows the Assad regime has already absorbed over the last two years, it’s hard to imagine statements like these changing his thinking.

Ya think?

Meanwhile, Obama did interviews with several media outlets today, including – GASP – Fox News – and has said the United States is giving “serious thought” to a proposal crafted by …. Russia …. that could maybe steer all parties involved back on to the diplomatic route rather than a military one:

President Obama on Monday took a sharp turn away from his “red line” threat to Syria on the eve of taking his case to the American people, saying in an interview with Fox News that he’s open to negotiations on an alternative plan that could avert a military strike.

The president was responding to a proposal, formally put forward by the Russians, to have the Assad regime turn over its chemical weapons to international control.

“We will pursue this diplomatic track,” Obama told Fox News. “I fervently hope that this can be resolved in a non-military way.”

The president, while saying his advisers would “run to ground” that proposal, indicated he still wants Congress to debate a resolution to authorize a strike against Syria. “I think it is important for us not to let the pedal off the metal when it comes to making sure they understand we mean what we say,” Obama said.

But the president’s decision to pursue the diplomatic track is a departure from his decision more than a week ago to pursue a military strike. And it could bring the temperature down a notch in the ongoing stand-off between his administration and the Assad government.

The president’s comments come after a proposal to have the Syrian government relinquish control of its stockpile quickly caught fire in the international community and in Washington.

[…]

As the United Nations secretary-general and several U.S. allies gravitated toward the proposal, the Obama administration conceded that it would seriously consider it.

Obama went further in his interview with Fox News.

“I welcome the possibility of the development,” he said. “We should explore and exhaust all avenues of diplomatic resolution to this.”

He said the U.S. should be able to get a “fairly rapid sense” of how serious the proposal is. “We are going to be immediately talking to the Russians and looking for some actual language they might be proposing,” he said.

Got that? Russia is at the table. As a  potential peacemaker/mediator. You can’t make this stuff up!

What the real issue here for President Obama and why he is “seriously” considering the Russian proposal is that a majority of the American people do not support US military intervention in Syria, and the President does not have the support in the US House he would need to authorize some type of resolution of force.   His addressing the American people tomorrow night in a televised speech on the matter is unlikely to change any of this. Taking the Russian proposal under “serious consideration” is just a way for him to save face after the domestic and international PR nightmare this administration’s public statements on Syria have become.

Speaking of, I’d have never guessed that cream-puff Sec. of State Kerry would take the “walk softly and carry an ‘unbelievably small’ stick” approach to describing the possibility of US military action.  You? /sarc

 Bashar Al-Assad & John Kerry

”I am absolutely convinced that carefully calibrated diplomacy, that if that is what we engage in, that Syria will play a very important role in achieving a comprehensive peace in the region and in putting an end to the five decades of conflict that have plagued everybody in this region.” Then-Senator John Kerry after meeting with Bashar Al-Assad , 4/1/10
(Photo via AP/SANA)

Cross-posted to Gateway Pundit. Please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers!

Ever get the feeling @BarackObama does not want the #Syria resolution passed?

**Posted by Phineas

I mean, why else would you include in your “full-court press” of members of Congress a known liar (1) like Susan Rice?

From John Fund:

Up until now, the White House lobbying effort has been dismal. In an astonishing display of either ignorance or brazenness, the White House will mark the first anniversary of the Benghazi terrorist attack this Wednesday by sending National Security Adviser Susan Rice to Capitol Hill to argue the administration’s case for military force in Syria. Rice infamously delivered false talking points on national television, blaming the Benghazi attacks on a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Islam YouTube video. Sending Rice to Congress to brief members on Syria is like sending Typhoid Mary to lecture on public health. Her credibility is, to use a diplomatic term, limited. 

Okay, okay. Maybe I was being harsh on Rice. She *may* not have known she was lying. I don’t believe it, myself, but it is possible. In which case, the administration is instead sending a clueless tool rather than a brazen liar.

That’s an improvement?

Read the rest. There are more examples of the administration bungling its congressional “diplomacy” vis-a-vis Syria; this is just the most egregious.

But this is also what they get for doing everything but build relations with Congress over the past five years. President “I won”is now learning that, supine as Congress often is, there are still times when presidents will need them, and doing the necessary work to make sure members are on your side before you need them is part of the president’s job.

You’d think the guy widely proclaimed (by his own side) to be the smartest president ever would have known that, no?

Unless, maybe, he really just wants them to save him from his own red-line gaffe and make it go away by voting no.

Footnote:
(1) Yeah, Maureen Dowd. But, read her quotes from Senator Susan Collins (R-ME, and not known as a conservative hardliner) about Rice. Between the lines, they’re devastating and demonstrate just why Rice is such a poor choice for “reach out” work.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Delusional: Obama admin thought they could convince Iran to abandon #Syria

**Posted by Phineas

Top Obama foreign policy adviser

Top Obama foreign policy adviser

I think this is final proof that The One and his band of happy progressives have been into the wrong mushrooms.

According to Samantha Power, our UN Ambassador and key mind behind the fatuous “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine of humanitarian intervention (1), thought that a UN report on Syria’s use of chemical weapons could convince Iran (and Russia) to abandon Bashar Assad:

Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, hoped that a team of UN investigators — many of whom, presumably, have a longstanding relationship with Iranian leaders — could write a report that would convince Iran to abandon its ally at the behest of the United States.

“We worked with the UN to create a group of inspectors and then worked for more than six months to get them access to the country on the logic that perhaps the presence of an investigative team in the country might deter future attacks,” Power said at the Center for American Progress as she made the case for intervening in Syria.

“Or, if not, at a minimum, we thought perhaps a shared evidentiary base could convince Russia or Iran — itself a victim of Saddam Hussein’s monstrous chemical weapons attacks in 1987-1988 — to cast loose a regime that was gassing it’s people,” she said.

This isn’t merely “detached from reality,” this is foreign policy as a psychotic break. Where do I begin? Iran? Syria is their key client in the region, essential to their influence along the Eastern Mediterranean and a vital conduit to their “foreign legion,” Hizbullah. When the protests first started a couple of years ago, they loaned Assad snipers for use against the demonstrators, a tactic they employed in their own country. They’ve even dispatched their elite troops, the Revolutionary Guard, to help Assad because, let me say this again, Syria is vital to them.

The idea that Iran, which is seeking nuclear weapons to fulfill their fondest dream of wiping Israel from the map and bringing about the Islamic “end times,” would be intimidated by a report from the United Nations is beyond laughable.

And Russia? That same Russia run by Vladimir “I leveled Grozny” Putin, who’s publicly slapping Obama, taking his lunch money, and is happily planning to supplant the US in the Middle East? That Russia? The one that blocked us at the Security Council? They’re going to say “Oh, well. A UN report. That’s different!”?

I think I’ve figured it out. “Smart Power” was one big joke all along. On us.

I’m with Victor Davis Hanson: Obama’s naive blundering is reminiscent of JFK’s mishandling of the Vienna summit, which lead Khrushchev to think he could get away with putting nuclear missiles in Cuba, which in turn almost resulted in World War III. It worries me that , with more than three years left to go, one of our major foes is going to think he can similarly test Obama.

Oh. Hi, China!

via Twitchy

Footnote:
(1) That worked so well in Libya.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

CONFLICT: Media spin on opposition to US military action in #Syria predictable, pathetic

Spin

Enough already.

Have y’all noticed the emerging liberal media spin on the opposition to US military intervention in Syria where the mediots insinuate or outright say that the reason most Americans aren’t behind us taking direct action there is due to the “deception over Iraq” – translation: Blame Bush? Of course, liberal politicos like Nancy Pelosi have repeated this talking point over and over again, and even former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, our staunchest ally during the Iraq war, has said more or less the same. But the media picking up with it and running with it as if its an unassailable assertion is a prime example of much of what is wrong with the US media today.

Is America war-weary? Absolutely. Between Afghanistan and Iraq, the American people are tired of seeing their sons and daughters come home with life-altering injuries, or in body bags, are tired of hearing about how the murders of innocents by jihadis are continuing in both Iraq and Afghanistan, NOT exactly what we signed on for when we went to war in both countries. Are some Americans understandably skeptical about the rationale given by the administration and their allies to date on why we “must” intervene in Syria, considering the massive stockpiles of WMD we thought were in Iraq that were never found there? Yes. Are these the only considerations the American people are taking when it comes to determining whether or not to support action in Syria? No.

The real issue here is not weariness and skepticism due to Iraq. It’s the fact that our celebrity President, the supposed “greatest speech-giver evahh!!!!” hasn’t made a convincing case to date on Syria action, nor have the doves-turned-hawks in his party, nor have his adoring press. Why do you think he’s going before the American people next week? Because the communications/PR effort on this issue has been a disaster from the get-go, and this administration knows it. And they also know the more information that comes out about the Christian-hating jihadi “rebel forces” who oppose Assad, the likelihood that the opposition to using force in Syria will continue to grow.

I stand in opposition to this effort not because I want to see innocents get gassed. It’s understandable to see horror like that on a global level and think: “We have the power to do something, so let’s do it!” I’m against it because, based on the available information, the “alternative” to Assad is no better. As we have seen time and time again, “uprisings” in the Middle East to kick out evil rulers typically only replace them with equally repulsive regimes, contra to the “moderates” spin we often see asserted by the MSM. Also, unlike with Iraq and Afghanistan, this is a civil war against a ruthless dictator and one I think our involvement – even if only by air – will only make worse. See Libya for more.

As I noted earlier, Obama will take his case to the American people Tuesday. If multiple polls in the aftermath indicate that he fails to persuade a majority with his speech, will the US media continue to bogusly spin this as being about Iraq? That is, of course, a rhetorical question.

Cross-posted to Gateway Pundit.

Before we trust John McCain’s judgment on #Syria…

**Posted by Phineas

Senator McCain said in Arizona this weekend that he was “unalterably opposed” to using American ground forces –“boots on the ground”– in Syria. Andy McCarthy thought that sounded familiar and recalled that John McCain also said he was “unalterably opposed” to Muslim Brotherhood participation in Egypt’s post-Mubarak government.

Right before he became in favor of it.

I hate to say it about a genuine war hero, but John McCain has become a old fool, lead more by his own vanity than by good sense and sagacity. His is not a voice the public should heed when making up its mind about Syria.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Kirsten Powers: President Obama should return his Nobel Peace Prize

Democrat Kirsten Powers appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show Wednesday and offered up this suggestion for our celebrity President after a question on the issue came up during a press conference in Sweden:

This is a RUSH transcript from “The O’Reilly Factor,” September 4, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

O’REILLY: “Impact Segment” tonight, President Obama and Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt held a joint press conference today in Stockholm Syria dominated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[SWEDISH REPORTER] BJERSTROM: Could you describe the dilemma to be a Nobel Peace Prize Winner and getting ready to attack Syria?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I see 400 children subjected to gas, over 1,400 innocent civilians dying senselessly, in an environment in which you already have tens of thousands dying and we have the opportunity to take some action that is meaningful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O’REILLY: The President went on but did not directly address the reporter’s question about the peace prize.

Joining us from Washington is Republican strategist Kate Obenshain and Democrat Kirsten Powers also a Fox News analyst. So should the President give back his peace prize Powers?

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. He should have given it back a long time ago, actually. But you know for the drone war, for the escalating the war in Afghanistan. Having all these people die unnecessarily, plenty of civilians have been killed by his drone war, including children.

So, estimated 200 children are being killed by the drone war.

(CROSSTALK)

O’REILLY: Where did — where did you get that fact? Where did you get the 200?

POWERS: The Bureau of — Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

O’REILLY: Who?

POWERS: Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Look it up, Bill.

Watch video of the segment below:

I don’t know if Powers’ stats on children killed by drones are accurate, and furthermore don’t necessarily think it’s fair to hold unintended civilian casualties against any President in the unfortunate context of what happens during a war, but the question of whether or not he should return his Nobel Peace Prize is an interesting one in light of the President’s push for military action in Syria.   Remember, too, that the President was more or less awarded the prize for what he was supposedly going to do as far as international/diplomatic relations went, more so than what he had previously done (his resume was quite thin prior to becoming elected President, if you’ll recall).  Also interestingly enough, the Prize was awarded to him, in part, based on Obama’s previous insistence on involving the United Nations in international efforts.  Fast forward to now, where President, in so many words, has suggested he will do what he believes needs to be done in Syria regardless of whether or not the UN decides to come on board (it won’t).

To be sure, to conservatives rightly believe that the Nobel Peace Prize has been worthless for decades -especially since terrorist thug Yasser Arafat won it in 1994, but you have to look at the prize from the mindset of elitist liberals who view the mere nomination for this prize in and of itself as absolutely everything.  To even have the sheer audacity to question our coddled “leader of the free world” on the issue of whether or not he should return a coveted-by-the-left prize that used to be explicitly for people who promoted peaceful solutions rather than military ones was probably deeply offensive to him, his handlers, and his cult-like devotees who view any deviation from the “greatest President evah!!!!” script as tantamount to heresy.

In the grand scheme of things we know President Obama will never return this prize because it, like so many other grandiose accolades he has received over the course of his political career, gives him – more importantly, his ego –  a sense of great self-importance and accomplishment that in reality he hasn’t earned.  I don’t begrudge him for holding on to it, really. If I had nothing to show from my decades in political office beyond meaningless awards and puffed-up prizes, I would, too.

For the latest developments on Syria both stateside and abroad, click here.

President Obama & the Nobel Peace Prize

This ”prize” – and this President – have become an international embarrassment.

Before we attack #Syria, let’s look at Libya, shall we?

**Posted by Phineas

If Obama wants to launch us into another humanitarian intervention against an Arab dictator (1), perhaps we all should look at how his last Big Adventure turned out? That would be in Libya, where, according to The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn, things have gone from bad to God-awful:

A little under two years ago, Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, urged British businessmen to begin “packing their suitcases” and to fly to Libya to share in the reconstruction of the country and exploit an anticipated boom in natural resources.

Yet now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters.

Mutinying security men have taken over oil ports on the Mediterranean and are seeking to sell crude oil on the black market. Ali Zeidan, Libya’s Prime Minister, has threatened to “bomb from the air and the sea” any oil tanker trying to pick up the illicit oil from the oil terminal guards, who are mostly former rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and have been on strike over low pay and alleged government corruption since July.

Sweet. Our intervention there was so successful that the Prime Minister is threatening to bomb his own ports. Oil production, Libya’s only source of revenue, has cratered to a tenth of what it had been prior to the intervention, denying the government the revenue it needs to maintain forces to control the country. Far from governing Libya, this gelded government can barely control its own capital, Tripoli:

Rule by local militias is also spreading anarchy around the capital. Ethnic Berbers, whose militia led the assault on Tripoli in 2011, temporarily took over the parliament building in Tripoli. The New York-based Human Rights Watch has called for an independent investigation into the violent crushing of a prison mutiny in Tripoli on 26 August in which 500 prisoners had been on hunger strike. The hunger strikers were demanding that they be taken before a prosecutor or formally charged since many had been held without charge for two years.

The government called on the Supreme Security Committee, made up of former anti-Gaddafi militiamen nominally under the control of the interior ministry, to restore order. At least 19 prisoners received gunshot shrapnel wounds, with one inmate saying “they were shooting directly at us through the metal bars”. There have been several mass prison escapes this year in Libya including 1,200 escaping from a prison after a riot in Benghazi in July.

In short, after overthrowing Qaddafi, a tyrannical cross-dressing nut-job who, nonetheless, kept order and worked with us, we and our allies left Libya to its own devices, apparently doing squat-all to strengthen the central government. Instead, we patted ourselves on the back, picked up our toys, and left the place to torn apart by various tribal and jihadist militias.

Read the whole thing; it’s a searing indictment of the incompetence of the British, French, and especially the American governments. The lack of any planning or even simple foresight about what to do after “we won” is stunning. If the Bush Administration could be justly criticized (2) for not properly planning for the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, then the Obama administration’s failure to do even rudimentary post-war preparation is a blazing sign of incompetence. At least the Bush people had a plan, bad as it was. The yo-yos of Team Smart Power couldn’t even be bothered to scratch one out on a cocktail napkin.

And now they want to intervene in Syria.

But, don’t worry. I’m sure the Obama people have learned their lesson, gamed out the various possibilities in Syria after we intervene in order not to be mocked, and made plans for each contingency.

And I’m also Napoleon.

While Congress considers granting permission for this humanitarian intervention, they’d be advised to take a close look at the results of the last one.

RELATED: Andrew McCarthy on the people John McCain thinks we should help in Syria. Oh, yeah. It’s Libya all over again. Stanley Kurtz on Samantha Powers, one of Obama’s foreign policy guru’s, our current UN Ambassador, and one of the main architects of the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine of humanitarian military intervention. For an encore, Kurtz asks a rhetorical question: Shall we now retake Libya in the name of humanitarianism? Here’s an excerpt from his answer:

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda factions driven out of Mali by the French make their home in Libya’s southern desert, armed with weapons plundered from Qaddafi’s arsenals. Other arms, and no doubt Islamist fighters as well, flow to the rebel forces in Syria, strengthening precisely those elements that most threaten our counterweight to Assad. A year ago, Senators McCain and Graham repeatedly cited our apparent success in Libya as a model for intervention in Syria. They haven’t mentioned it lately.

Footnotes:
(1) I can see a case for intervening, but I think the bulk of the good argument is against it. But that’s not out of any sympathy or liking for Assad, whom I think should be strung up from a lamp post. If he’s lucky.
(2) As I’ve said, I did and do support the liberation of Iraq under Bush. But, there’s no arguing that the post-war occupation and reconstruction was poorly planned, and for that they deserve criticism.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Tweet of the Day: On Democrat war actions versus Republican war actions

From @divadoll123:


Sounds about right, unfortunately. Any number of Democrat “leaders” fall under this double standard – Pelosi, Kerry, etc.

Anyway, as to the latest developments on the President’s quest to get “Congressional approval” even though he says he doesn’t need it, Fox News reports (via):

President Obama cleared his first hurdle on Wednesday in his push for a military strike in Syria, as a key Senate panel voted to authorize the use of force.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7, with one senator voting present, to approve a military strike in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack last month. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week.

The vote came after Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised objections to an earlier draft. The objections forced lawmakers to renegotiate the measure; McCain ultimately won tougher language clarifying that U.S. policy would be aimed at changing the momentum on the ground. He was among the 10 who voted for the final resolution, after getting two amendments added.

“These amendments are vital to ensuring that any U.S. military operations in Syria are part of a broader strategy to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria,” McCain said in a statement afterward. “That strategy must degrade the military capabilities of the Assad regime while upgrading the military capabilities of moderate Syrian opposition forces. These amendments would put the Congress on the record that this is the policy of the United States, as President Obama has assured me it is.”

The resolution specifically would permit Obama to order a limited military mission against Syria, as long as it doesn’t exceed 90 days and involves no American troops on the ground for combat operations. The Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker, crafted the resolution.

The vote was nevertheless close. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who voted against the measure, said he remains “unconvinced that the use of force proposed here will work.”

This resolution will likely pass the full (Democrat-controlled) Senate, but as the article notes, there may be trouble with getting it to pass in the House, where there appears to be a deeper divide – one which even crosses party lines a bit – when it comes to possible military action. Stay tuned.

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Obama in Sweden: “Red line? That wasn’t *my* red line!”

**Posted by Phineas

What’s the Swedish for “Don’t blame me?” Oh, yeah: Klandra inte mig! (1)

At a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Sweden (2), Obama engaged in this bit of historical… “tale-telling:”

“I didn’t set a red line,” Mr. Obama said during a news conference here in Stockholm. “The world set a red line.”

Funny. That’s not how I remember it. Nor is that what the press records:

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilised. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

That would be the President of the United States, Barack Obama, talking about his administration’s policy. Not the UN Secretary General, aka the “Chief Clerk for the Security Council,” speaking for some mythical “international community.” Just so we’re clear.

I guess that’s what happens when you’ve spent most of your political career voting “present.” When that’s not possible anymore, you try like the dickens to spread the responsibility around so that no one can hold you accountable: “I did not draw a red line; we all drew a red line. (Under his breath) So lay off me, okay?”

It’s the Steve Urkel presidency: “Did I do that??”

Harry Truman weeps.

Footnotes:
(1) Courtesy of Google Translate.
(2) You know, that social-democratic country that’s more free-market than the US.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

VIDEO: House Minority Leader Pelosi confers w/ 5-year-old grandson on Syria

Honestly, you’d think this was something out of the Onion. Sadly, it’s not. Via NRO’s Andrew Johnson:

Nancy Pelosi told reporters today she consulted her five-year-old grandson over the weekend about whether or not to support intervention in Syria.

The minority leader explained that when she was home this past weekend, her five-year-old consigliere pressed her, “Are you ‘yes’ war with Syria, ‘no’ war with Syria?,” and said he opposed intervention. She took issue with his use of “war” to describe what she considers an “action,” but told him she generally agreed, but favored intervention because “they’ve killed hundreds of children there.”

The youngster then asked her if the children were in the United States. Pelosi explained the victims were children abroad, but praised his “wisdom” in attending to American interests. She explained to reporters, however, that she found her grandson’s reasoning wanting because the use of chemical weapons “affects our interests because, again, it was outside of the circle of civilized behavior.”

Here’s the video. Watch it. Seriously.

Response of the day comes from Twitter user @MuchLuck:


Heh. Welcome to bizarro world, ladies and gents.

For the latest developments on the Syria issue, click here.

Nancy Pelosi and President Obama

What? You thought you could
take these two seriously??
(Photo via AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)