Foreign policy experts might not support it. The general public might not support it. Enough members of Congress probably don’t support it to get a universal declaration of conflict passed in order to accomplish it Constitutionally. But, hell if the Obama Administration is going to listen to any compelling voices on why they probably shouldn’t side with Al Qaeda on this one.
The good news is, they’re already working on a strategic battle plan, and if it was possible to make this operation look more like we should preemptively declare failure and start writing it down as a cautionary example, at least one US official who has been briefed on the subject says that the goal of the operation isn’t so much to chastise a Middle Eastern dictator into compliance with international law and/or encourage regime change, it’s mostly to make sure we don’t look like complete p*ssies.
No, I’m serious.
White House officials cautioned that Obama was still considering the options, but the administration appeared positioned to act quickly once he chooses a course. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a visit to Brunei that thePentagon was prepared to strike targets in Syria and hinted that such a move could come within days.
Some experts said U.S. warships and submarines in the eastern Mediterranean could fire cruise missiles at Syrian targets as early as Thursday night, beginning a campaign that could last two or three nights. Obama leaves next Tuesday for a four day trip to Sweden and Russia, which strongly supports Assad’s government, for the G-20 economic summit.
One U.S. official who has been briefed on the options on Syria said he believed the White House would seek a level of intensity “just muscular enough not to get mocked” but not so devastating that it would prompt a response from Syrian allies Iran and Russia.
“They are looking at what is just enough to mean something, just enough to be more than symbolic,” he said.
In other words, our policy on how to approach action in Syria isn’t a balance of interests and outcomes, but rather a question of whether we can follow up our President’s hard-hitting “red line” commentary with just enough force to do damage, but not enough to send a message that we care what happens as a result, so long as it doesn’t involve us having to expend any further effort on the subject.
Good to know. I mean, I’m happy we’re going to risk American lives and jeopardize, perhaps, thousands of innocent Syrian lives just so that our President doesn’t get a wedgie on the first day of G-20 from a bunch of real leaders of countries whose foreign policy doesn’t result from a sort of international form of bed-wetting.
Thankfully, though we may have to endure three days of hapless military action as we wait out the moment when our Commander-in-Chief is satisfied that he looks tough enough in light of the situation, we will be spared any public comment or prime-time speech, such as the kind that have preceded nearly every major commitment of American forces to international conflicts in the past. You see, according to the White House, the President doesn’t need to lay out his reasons for using our aircraft to attack another country (or even our flying bomber robots), because Oval Office speeches are just so George W. Bush administration.
[Politico's Glenn] Thrush reported on Wednesday that, based on his conversations with aides to the president, Obama will not address the American people about the mission in Syria before hostilities commence. Thrush reports that Obama’s advisors believe addressing Americans from the gravity of the Oval Office or the East Room is “passé.” Furthermore, most Americans who care about the mission in Syria will learn the logic behind it from cable news.
Because if there’s anyone the Administration has historically trusted to correctly inform the American public, it’s cable news.
The problem is, of course, that a great majority of Americans don’t watch cable news programming, especially in prime time, and especially if it happens to interfere with, say, a reality television program about a man with a 150-pound scrotum. Keeping key information from potential voters, though, I suppose, was a primary campaign tactic for the Obama Administration, so why bother to inform anyone of our government’s international activities, especially when it’s possible they might object? If you pretend we’re not headed to war in the Middle East, committing American forces and American lives to a conflict that we not only can’t win, but don’t really care to, maybe everyone will just figure that news story was a figment of their imagination, anyway.