As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama Gets Syria Partially Right

Appearing in the Rose Garden Saturday, President Obama said two good and extremely important things: that he wants to attack Syria because of its use of chemical weapons, but that he will ask Congress to support him first.

But the implementation of his strategy is likely to backfire with nightmarish results for the United States, both because of his incomprehensible delay, which I discuss in a companion piece below, and the limited nature of the strikes he is contemplating.

Let’s start with what he is doing right.

Obama’s sudden decision to seek a vote on Capitol Hill is what the Framers wanted. It’s what a country that is divided on action against Syria needs. Buy-in from Congress will give the action more force, making it truly an attack by the United States, not by an isolated chief executive. And all the backseat drivers in Congress with their fingers in the air waiting to pounce on the commander in chief and sap the will of the nation the minute something goes wrong will now have to get on the record first.

The decision to attack Syria is also correct, though not unless the aim is to get rid of Bashar Assad, as I have discussed. But holding Syria accountable is the right thing to do if it’s done right.

Use of chemical weapons must be opposed and stopped in its tracks. This is not just a humanitarian gesture and a confirmation of our deepest values as a compassionate people. It is an national security exigency.

If WMD use is permitted to go unopposed, our enemies – both nations and terrorists – will begin stockpiling them or add to existing caches. And they’ll start using them. Yes, WMD is worse than most conventional weapons, because it generally kills more people faster and in a more gruesome manner.

WMD is a particular peril for the United States, where the prospect of mass casualties from states or groups eager to use terror against us is our greatest national security threat. Remember, we went to war against Iraq because we believed Saddam Hussein had WMD and might make it available for use against us.

U.S. interests are advanced by world stability, which WMD completely undermines. If we fail to stop Syria from flinging chemical weapons around, two of our most important allies, South Korea and Israel, will be in deep jeopardy, since North Korea and Israel’s enemies throughout the Middle East will be emboldened to use WMD against them. And of course, we will have to come to our allies’ defense.

What’s more, our resistance to WMD like chemical weapons is seen as a stalking horse for how we will treat countries that seek to develop nuclear weapons. A failure to act against Syria will surely embolden Iran to complete its nuclear weapons program without much further delay.

Obama must attack Syria, but he must consult with Congress first. His policy now states that he will do both, and I give him credit for it.

85 Responses to Obama Gets Syria Partially Right

      • OK, for 5 years Obama “blamed” Congress for ‘doing nothing’…
        YET!? Why does Obama need to go before Congress and get “permission” to attack Syria…?
        Obama needs the permission of the ‘do-nothing-Congress’ to launch a few missiles at random targets in Syria???!!!

  1. And what about the 99,00 innocent civilians killed with those silly old fashioned bullets and artillery rounds?

    What the f*ck is that, chopped liver?

    C’mon. Topple the son of a bitch or don’t do anything. A shot across the bow is supposed to warn of certain destruction if ignored.

    This is Obama narcissistic bullshit that will accomplish nothing and you know it.

    Im surprised at you, Keith.

    • Yeah–I don’t see this as anything but a baby step into The Big Muddy–whoops–strong current! We have chem weapons, I believe–cached. Because they are relatively cheap (just find a Walter White) so to the terrorists of every varied stripe, I imagine.

  2. No one has to do anything to the U.S.. Our leaders are doing a pretty damn good job of destroying this country we love without our enemies help.

  3. Not so fast with the credit, Keith. If Cameron/UK had voted in favor and given support to Obama, he would not be back peddling and tripping over his golf cart to get Congressional approval.

  4. You know, every time I start to think Barack might deserve some credit for doing something right, he never fails to disappoint my original premise that he is a snake in the grass who only does things for his own political advantage.
    Before Barack decided to ask Congress to give him the green light for invading Syria, he said he was going to do it on his own. Plugs said Barack was going to do it on his own. Lurch said he was going to do it on his own. That he had that right as El Presidente.
    Now it has been made clear, that Barack, in fact, does not have the right to launch an invasion on his own. At least not in this case.
    So now he is going to try and look like a stand-up, humble guy and ask Congress. If Congress says no, it gets Barack off the hook for his half-assed idea of “an invasion with just enough muscle not to get mocked.” Which would be next to useless. If Congress says no, it also gives Barack the opportunity to point his bloody little political finger at Congress and whine about not getting what he wants.
    If Congress says yes, then Barack can take the credit if all goes well and he can still point the finger if it all ends up in the toilet.

    • And if the WMD was actully deployed by the rebels..if the Saarinen was from the stockpile in Benghazi..Why is the assumption now at WHEN he goes into Sŷria…rather than WHO actually released the WMD in Syria….Makes no sense for Assad to have done so…But for the rebels, who are AlQaeda Muslim Brotherhood to have done so does make sense….The MB topples another country as they had Obama’s help to do so in Egypt…where they slaughtered Christians….yes gas could have been used but I believe it was the rebels with WMD from Benghazi who did so to bring down Assad….

  5. “Use of chemical weapons must be opposed and stopped in its tracks. This is not just a humanitarian gesture and a confirmation of our deepest values as a compassionate people. It is an national security exigency.

    If WMD use is permitted to go unopposed, our enemies – both nations and terrorists – will begin stockpiling them or add to existing caches. And they’ll start using them. Yes, WMD is worse than most conventional weapons, because it generally kills more people faster and in a more gruesome manner.

    WMD is a particular peril for the United States, where the prospect of mass casualties from states or groups eager to use terror against us is our greatest national security threat.”

    Then, let’s stop selling the components.

    BRITAIN allowed firms to sell chemicals to Syria capable of being used to make nerve gas, the Sunday Mail can reveal today.

    Export licences for potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride were granted months after the bloody civil war in the Middle East began.

    The chemical is capable of being used to make weapons such as sarin, thought to be the nerve gas used in the attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb which killed nearly 1500 people, including 426 children, 10 days ago.


    The chemical export licences were granted by Business Secretary Vince Cable’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills last January – 10 months after the Syrian uprising began.

    They were only revoked six months later, when the European Union imposed tough sanctions on Assad’s regime.


    The chemicals are in powder form and highly toxic. The licences specified that they should be used for making aluminium structures such as window frames.

    Professor Alastair Hay, an expert in environmental toxicology at Leeds University, said: “They have a variety of industrial uses.

    “But when you’re making a nerve agent, you attach a fluoride element and that’s what gives it
    its toxic properties.

    “Fluoride is key to making these munitions.


  6. Here is a posting by someone who understands:

    The idea that the US will act as the world’s policeman to deter the development and use of WMD was tested in Iraq and failed. In spite of all the evidence that Saddam had retained limited stockpiles of chemical weapons (binary nerve gas artillery shells were being employed in IEDs!), had retained 500 tons of Uranium and had preserved the knowledge to rapidly reconstitute his Uranium enrichment program once free of sanctions, the “Bush Lied, People Died” mantra was exploited to crucify him. Obama’s refusal to support secular Iranians during the Green revolution against the Mullahs and subsequent support of militant Islamabad-fascist during the Arab Spring has forever foreclosed the option of establishing secular democracies in the Muslim world.

    Given the questionable evidence that it was Assad loyalists rather than Al Quaida rebels who used chemical weapons (we KNOW that the rebels have them) there is no valid justification to bomb anyone.

    The Bush doctrine of preemption and deterrence to prevent the use of WMD has been repudiated by this President and his imbecilic supporters. Now we must accept the inevitable consequences of living in a world where the use of WMD will become prevalent. The only viable policy options that remain for the US is a policy of to hopefully avoid provoking a WMD attack combined with strategic defense and civil defense to mitigate the consequences of a WMD attack and a robust military that is led by a President who has the testicular (or ovicular) fortitude to exact retribution on a genocidal scale.

    The only positive aspect of our situation is thatnthe people most likely to be killed in a WMD attack are those who voted for Obama.

          • I was wondering why Obama voters would be most likely to be killed by gas–isn’t the prob with gas that it’s pretty indiscriminate? I watched MTDepressed–good grief (love that phrase), Robert Gibbs? Why would I listen to him? Ifill? Same. Why is Krystol on that panel…no one seemed to know any more than we do. Gregory kept saying “he heard” Kerry say even if Cong said no, Obama would attack–I didn’t hear that. But I guess this cover the bases for Keith and others who think we have to meet violence with violence and hope more people we like will be the ones standing.

          • The Middle East is just waiting to explode. I fear that an attack from the US would set it off with disastrous consequences for Israel. And, Hizb’allah probably is gearing up to hit Israeli and Jewish targets all over the world. I’d be getting the hell out of Dodge if I were a Jew in Venezuela.

          • Did you notice the first clip of Obama in the Rose Garden? The echo effect was enhanced so much it sounded like he was on stage at the Super Bowl. (A clip played later on “Meet the Press” had normal audio).

    • The link to the post is fully functional and valid.

      The remaining comments are mine, not quotes of Governor Palin.

      The speculation that the most probable victims of a chemical weapons attack is simply an acknowledgment of reality. Chemical weapons are most deadly when used against densely populated target areas, so terrorists would most likely target such areas. The most densely populated areas in the US voted overwhelmingly for Obama.

      As to the nastiness of the sentiment, why should I not be nasty? The situation we now have where so many of the secular dictators who brought stability to the Muslim world and even Turkey’s democracy have been replaced by Islamo-fascists is the intentional result of Obama’s policies. Obama and the Democrats were eager to undermine President Bush’s efforts to stop the spread of WMD and bring democracy to the Muslim world as a third alternative to Islamic fundamentalism or military dictatorship. They were screaming “Bush Lied, People Died” even as our troops were being threatened by Sarin in IEDs. The opposition and efforts to undermine Bush were motivated purely by partisan politics rather than honest policy disagreements. They succeeded in exploiting the stalemates to put Obama in office. I think that it is only fair that Obama’s supporters be the ones who suffer the predictable consequences of his idiotic policies.

  7. The previous post that assumes that MrObama has a disorder that makes him act “stupidly” or he just can’t help himself, is the same kind of crappola that his supporters use: he is a good person, butt no one will back him up because they’re ______, or they ______(fill in a favorite slur).
    In reality, he’s a rank amateur on the world stage who doesn’t understand that it matters what he says, what he does, and doesn’t do and could mean the difference in life or death for others.

    What he suggests to do to Syria is madness with no predictiable outcome. Lobbing missiles into Syria will only rachet up the animosity, prove nothing, and create a massive international problem if Assad continues with his attacks.
    The truth is that MrObama got caught up with his loose talk, and his foreign enemies saw a chance to humiliate him further on the world stage. His own fault, his problem, his mess.

    By throwing the sticky ball over to Congress he hopes that to save the reputation of the US, they will overcome their personal and political grudges against him and give him some cover. The go it alone President who proudly used the EO as his right to govern, is now in the position of having to beg, to give leeway on issues, and to back down from previous hard lines to his political enemies who will use every tactic for their gain and his loss.
    We can expect to see our government take a hard right from now on and issues that were hotly defended will now be quietly put aside for another day, another President.

    • It seems that any response now because of the mishandling of this on Obama’s part will provoke a response against the US. Somehow somewhere. If we are going to be frayed into a significant war by Barrack Princep’s actions I would rather we hold our fire now and prepare. Currently we have no plan and no objective. Anybody who thinks we can NOW issue a shot across the bow and call it quits is delusional.

      I all pretty sure if someone shot across our bow for denying honor killings we would respond. What a mess.

    • Thank you SRdem, you are so right! Whats so great about throwing a few missiles? It will only open up a can of worms that will use it as an excuse to destroy Israel. What do we need another war for? I think Obama is using this as a distraction from his scandals and that there are NO JOBS and a new horrendous medical plan? He is always scheming politically. Obama is the worst, most sadistic miserable President.

  8. Well I understand that since legalizing abortion there are different levels of the value of human life. The unborn are not really human unless their mother’s say so. Our government has gone out of its way to make certain more of the unborn are exterminated into perpetuity.

    When Coptic Christians are murdered, their lives aren’t valued as the international community and Obama have barely spoken about them. So it seems their humanity is subjective as well.

    I guess the modern world view of the value of human life depends upon those who have power.

    • The low IQ voters seem to think its okay to kill your baby, ala President Obama’s new Planned Parenthood health plan.
      And they think its okay to let the Government decide which oldie deserves to have the correct medication that they need for them to live, after their meeting with the Government Death Panels. Sounds like 1930’s Hitler’s Germany.

  9. Obama’s gargantuan ego and loose lips have brought him to his knees on a global scale. On bended knee with hat in hand, he is forced to go before the Congress that he has demonized for the past 3 years and beg for mercy in the form of a face-saving “no” vote.

    Congress has him over a barrel. Now is the time to even the score for his end-runs around Congress to circumvent the Constitution, i.e. back-door amnesties and ram-rodding Obamacare through without one Republican vote.

    You want a “no’ vote on Syria, Barry? Repeal the illegal back-door amnesties and table immigration reform talks until 2016. Ditto with Obamacare. Take it or leave it, Barry!

  10. I don’t want to sound like a nut, but we and the world and the Sunday blabs are so focused on this, I am wondering what the rest of the dog is doing…what are we not seeing. If it’s OK to suddenly conclude, “Oh, well, what’s another 10 days…Golf time” have enough news cycles been consumed–on a holiday weekend–to defuse something else. I am prob wrong, but this is getting pretty wacky.

  11. This is not about chemical warfare, dead innocents or peace in the middle east. This is about Barrack Obama shooting from the lip.

    Our best course of action is not to back him and pray that reason prevails. If the world sees us as weak it is because of Obama.

    If this was about the country I’d be all in. But it’s not. Obama has put this country at risk with his fecklessness. And a foot on a historic desk and a game of golf speaks to how feckless and arrogant this
    man is.

  12. I tell ya, keeping track of Obama and this Syrian thing is making my hair hurt!

    Keith, while the essence is true, “Remember, we went to war against Iraq because we believed Saddam Hussein had WMD and might make it available for use against us.” we should also remember Saddam Hussein WANTED us to believe he had WMD. The premise is often repeated as if we were wrong to invade Iraq when perhaps more precisely, Saddam Hussein was found to be bluffing.

      • I remember as well. In fact, I recall reading an rather long article about it (WSJ?) can’t be 100% sure in the memory department after so many years. What I do remember is that the article magically disappeared with in hours, never to be seen or heard from again. It’s one of the bigger drawbacks of the internet as opposed to print.

        • James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence in the Obama Administration, thought so.

          From the Daily Beast:

          Whether or not sensitive weapons technology was moved to Syria is a hotly disputed question in the intelligence community. James Clapper, now the Director of National Intelligence and formerly the director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, said in 2003 that he believed materials had been moved out of Iraq in the months before the war and cited satellite imagery.

          If the Bashar al-Assad regime falls, and should the securing of the chemical and biological stockpiles of Syria be necessary, what would be the effect if some of those materials and munitions bear Iraqi markings?

          Former Iraqi General Sada asserted that Saddam’s chemical stockpile was lifted, in his book “Saddam’s Secrets” and summarized by Investor’s Business Daily:

          As Sada told the New York Sun, two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, and special Republican Guard units loaded the planes with chemical weapons materials.

          There were 56 flights disguised as a relief effort after a 2002 Syrian dam collapse.

  13. O/T question for the crew: Obama’s recent executive orders are interesting….one in particular: regarding the Civilian Marksmanship Program or CMP. If this program was created by the U.S. Congress as part of the 1903 War Department Appropriations Act, how can it be set aside by executive order? Is this affecting only the import thereby cutting off supply to the program?

    • Not sure, @G
      I think this is just another try at limiting gun sales in the US. Maybe they’re afraid that those tea party terrorists want to get their nasty mitts on a decommissioned tank or F-16 or something.
      Legal? don’t know. Who knew the POTUS could decide what law or portion of a law to enforce or not.
      Is the EO “dream act” legal? who knows.

      • Decommissioned tank or F-16? But I don’t want to move to Egypt! To your point…it is a mystery why no one will stand up to this man regarding his oath of office.

  14. Keith, don’t you see that he’s put himself in a win-win situation? If Congress votes “yes” and he attacks and everything breaks loose in the Middle East, then he’ll point his finest blaming finger at them. If Congress votes “no” and he refrains, then he’s been released from his “red line” folly. (i.e. I have to observe the will of the people).

    • I have to disagree with you.
      He is in a lose/lose situation.
      If congress says yes, and we attack Syria, and Israel becomes a target, he loses.
      If congress says no, he is then up against his ego, you know, the red line.
      If he does it by executive order, that is solid ground for impeachment processes to commence.
      He is in a corner by his own creation, and he knows it.

  15. Well having lost the element of surprise and leaking this gives Syria
    more than enough time to move everything, something or nothing.
    Reminds me of Iraq and using children as shields around possible
    targets. We looked bad enough before but he just emasculated our
    military in front of the whole world. Now he’ll go the Europe and they will
    see now he showed his hand and its empty like his suit.

      • Same here, Sadie. Hope Putin has a symbolic empty high chair at the table for the incredible shrinking POTUS.
        ‘Comrades, I shrank the Leader of the Free World’.

        • Girly1: LOL. I was thinking more along the lines of Putin sportin’ a “Snowden” button on his lapel with Hope and Change in big bold letters. Putin could start the conversation with, “How do you like my “RESET” button?!

          I’d kill to be a fly on the wall for that scenario.

          • Oh and just remember Congress comes back 9-9 and
            might vote. Then it will be 9-11 again remember last year
            Benghazi our people begging for help. This will not go well
            reguardless. And just to put the image over the top saw a picture of him on the phone standing with one big foot planted on th Resolute Desk and he wonders why the Brits baied.There are smart enough to see this man is not up for the job and who’d follow someone this inept?

  16. Sorry, “WMD” is not a good enough reason to go butt into other countries business unless it was used on an ally. And I’m startin to question allies too. This constant meddling is what got the U.S. into the predicament it’s in. Had the U.S. developed its on oil and had a remote clue how to deal with the Soviets, there would be millions more people alive today. WMD is like any other government plot. It stirs emotions to justify illegal and unethical acts. It’s just like “will anyone think of the children.” Total BS. The quicker Americans figure that out, the faster you’ll quit killing and maiming your young men and killing innocent civilians.

    • “Had the U.S. developed its on oil and had a remote clue how to deal with the Soviets”

      What? You don’t think the Soviets were hell-bent on destroying our way of life, of subjecting the entire world to their rule?

  17. Obama is clearly obliged to consult Congress on this matter. But reasonable review of his battle plan at this point should garner a big, fat NO vote from every thinking Congressman.

    Simply firing a bunch of Minuteman missiles into countryside is not a military mission. It’s foolishness. Obama has promised a) that we are not seeking regime change, and b) that we are not proposing troops on the ground. So in essence, we are arming the rebels. And they are? Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Now comes the report that the chem weapons actually used may have been used by the rebels, not by Assad’s army. So which side do we fight?

    There is much to be known, and much more to be weighed, before anyone starts any military campaigns in Syria. It would be nice to “teach Assad a lesson,” but right now the lesson we are most likely to teach is that America is capable of only the weakest, most ineffective response despite its bluster. And that’s not a fact we should publicize these days.

  18. Obama never does anything right, just wants to scare and shock everyone all the time, Mr. Miserable must be a sadist. He locked up all his personal and school records, he must have some bad records.

  19. Is Obama still in charge? If so he needs to get his foot off the desk and his ass off the golf course and appear to be a leader instead of a follower…..;

  20. My opinion is unconventional because I have not seen it mentioned. Anyway, you are incorrect. Obama is not going to attack Syria. He’s only going to get Congress to deny authorization then blame republicans for making the world unsafe as we go into the 2014 elections. Remember, everything Obama does is for 2014 and people are gullible.