Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Obama, McCain, Boehner, and Pelosi in Agreement - A Bad Omen

Part I: The Excuses

A guide to the rationalizations currently being given for war with Syria was recently published on The excuses are from that page, the analyses are my own:

1. American credibility is on the line
American credibility is on the line because Obama's described of the use of chemical weapons as crossing a "red line." In reality, America's credibility isn't in danger, just Obama's. Only die-hard Obama supporters would equate the two.

2. Iran must be deterred
This one is from John Boehner. OK, so then why not get to the point and take action directly against Iran?

3. It is in the interests of America’s allies, especially Israel, to strike Syria
Then it should be Israel's job to do this, not ours.

4. The use of chemical weapons violates basic standards of human conduct
Agreed. Unfortunately, such violations are all too common. Is it a fact that Assad used chemical weapons on the rebels, or was it the other way around? Regardless, is there ANYBODY in Syria that would be a US ally and not just looking to be "friends with benefits"?

Part II: Release the... Oh, Never Mind

The watch dogs (both main stream media as well as the "opposition" party) are acting as lap dogs, as usual. They explicitly assume that the Syrian civil war is our problem. They treat this as a done deal, that the decision has been made to go to war with Syria. The administration wanted to take military action even before the UN inspection team even gathered evidence - they didn't want facts to get in the way of their theory.

To muddy the waters, Obama decided to seek Congressional authorization for military intervention, though he claims he didn't need to do so.

Part III: End Games

Senator John McCain criticizes the current wording of the authorization in that there is no "end-game" plan. Perhaps McCain missed that part of the presentation because he was playing poker on his iPhone?


What is much more interesting is Obama's end-game. What does he get out of it? Here are some off-the-cuff theories:

1. The whole affair acts as a diversion from all the other scandals: Benghazi, IRS, NSA, ATF "Fast and Furious", overall spending, etc. The Administration believes that to make one scandal to go away, they must create an even bigger scandal. But isn't this just a bit over the top? Really, all it takes to divert media attention is a bright shiny object who twerks.

2. This is for the benefit of certain Democrats and RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) during the midterm elections
- If congress rejects, then Obama saves face. That's good for Obama, and therefore good for America (so his acolytes believe). Meanwhile, the Syrian civil war rages on, and supporters of military action are then given ammunition against those who rejected it, namely the Tea Party and the so-called Peace Democrats.
- If congress accepts, then the blame could be spread around if things go bad (and they will).

3. This is yet another executive-branch power grab.

Of course, there can be other theories, and more than one can be true at the same time. My money is on #3: Each and every action taken by Obama has strengthened Federal government power in general, and executive branch power in particular. The consequences are that we are less free as a nation and economically worse-off.

Part IV: The Analysis

With the exception of McCain and a few others, everybody involved in this are on the other side of historical events: the most recent and relevant being the second Iraq war, but Vietnam, Korea, and other wars would count as well. It is commonly said in DC that McCain is perpetually one war away from happiness, and so he is one individual who isn't on the other side of those events. It will be interesting to see how two people in particular - Obama and Kerry – bridge the events.

In October 2002, Senator Obama gave a speech against the Iraq war in which he said, in part:

"Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power.... The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. 
"But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors...and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. 
"I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. 
"I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda. 
"I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars..."

In 1970, Navy Lieutenant John Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. In 1971, he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in opposition to US conduct during that war. This no doubt caused quite a bit of media attention, and most likely was the start of his political career.

During one of the VVAW protests, Kerry and other veterans threw their military decorations over a fence which surrounded the Capitol building. When he did this, he said:
"I'm not doing this for any violent reasons, but for peace and justice, and to try and make this country wake up once and for all."

These two men, Obama in 2002 and Kerry in 1971, were neither pacifists nor "non-aggressivists." But Obama and Kerry in 2013 certainly have shifted sides. Were Obama and Kerry always so opportunistic, or were the younger versions of those two men "authentic" and the older versions opportunistic, or is it the other way around? Perhaps they have been absolutely corrupted by absolute power. Whatever the reason, we may never know why they sold out.