Saturday, September 07, 2013

Of Red Lines and War

I purposely have not written much about the goings on in Syria for two very valid (in my mind) reasons. Reason #1 is that as a staunch supporter of the State of Israel, I felt that it would be hard to be taken seriously, as if I have an axe to grind against Assad and his government.

The second reason is because I truly wanted to stay neutral until I better understood exactly what the heck was going on out there. You see it would be very easy to have a knee-jerk reaction against the President and blame incompetency on his part for what could be the start of a much larger Middle East war. Regardless, after all has been said and done so far, my biggest conclusion is that I do not envy the corner he has painted himself in.

Let's look at the latest pronouncements from Mr. Obama; for one thing, he has tried to move the infamous "red line" from his red line to the "world's red line." That may work among his sycophants on the far left, but aside from the bozos at MSNBC, no one is buying it - and it is an embarrassment world wide. The sad thing is it was something he should have said originally (that it is the world's red line). But with an election coming up and Obama desperate to look tough against his GOP challenger, it was par for the course for Obama to make such pronouncements. After all, this came off the heels of Obama ordering the hit on Bin Ladin. Granted, even that was wrought with indecision and unneeded drama. But the reality was he was the President of who got him.

If there was any particular time Obama could threaten with a "red line" it was at that time a year ago. Although most clear thinking Americans roll their eyes at the idea of Obama's toughness, most of us did give him credit (although more credit went to the Navy Seals) for the hit. But now that the election is long over, these words have come back to haunt him. And the reason why is because in 2012 they were "just words."

In 2008, during the election cycle, President Obama made a famous speech where he condemned a verbal attack by Hillary Clinton. In her remarks, she criticized Senator Obama as a man of just words and no substance (how right she was!). In his rebuttal, Obama said the following:
“Don’t tell me that words don’t matter. ‘I have a dream.’ Just words. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Just words. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words. Just speeches. It’s true that speeches don’t solve all problems, but what is also true is that if we can’t inspire the country to believe again, then it doesn’t matter how many plans and policies we have.
These remarks became known as his "just words" speech and because of of his eloquence, as well the mainstream press not interested in looking into his history and instead swallowing each word as if it were gospel, Obama was able to deflect any questions of his (lack of) substance.

Sadly, as it has turned out, Hillary Clinton was right. Time after time the President has made speeches that have proven him to be a man of great oratory, with little or nothing to back it up. Now, after 5 years in office, the President's chickens are coming home to roost. After 5 years of talking tough and expressing beliefs he really just doesn't have, he's painted himself in a corner on the word stage and because of his lack of substance hasn't a clue how to get out of it.

The way it has turned out today, Obama has 3 choices; One - if Congress gives him to okay to attack, do so. If it goes poorly, blame the GOP for forcing his hand. How can he do that, after it was his own words that started it? Easy, Obama has already changed the vernacular to say that it is the "world's red line" and the MSM is only slightly calling him on it. By the time any and all aggression has ended, the press will scrub Obama's "red line" quote to protect his legacy.

Choice #2 - Congress says no. Obama will most likely use that excuse to not attack and once again blame the GOP - calling them hypocrites for approving Bush's war in Iraq - although we are comparing apples to oranges.

Choice #3 - Congress says no but Obama goes ahead with it anyway. In this scenario, the President pulls a Bill Clinton and fires a few tomahawk missiles into the desert, perhaps killing a few civilians, but generally doing nothing to making a difference. In this case, it will make the President look even more foolish and weak.

The big problem Obama has is his credibility gap. Aside from his friends in the media, no one trusts him to do what's right. Instead of "rebuilding broken alliances" that weren't all that broken in the first place (after all, Bush managed to create a 50-country "coalition of the willing" for war with Iraq), Obama has turned us into a disrespected laughingstock on the world stage. We've made countless enemies of the very people we should be helping. And now, after 5 years, Obama'a words have never had any real meaning. Certainly he has had his opportunities to back up his lofty rhetoric. But he has not be able because there is no substance or meaning to what he says.

His first opportunity was with the Green Revolution in Iran. if only he meant what he said, in regards to supporting freedom and supported the revolution, our reputation would have soared and Iran would know we were not to be trifled with. The situation there was so volatile that it was indeed possible for the Khomenei regime to have been overthrown and Iran returned to it's moderate standing. But Obama dithered, feeling his personality and words would win the day and mollify the Mullahs.

In Egypt he immediately called for the removal of Mubarak, even though the only possible outcome at that time would be for the Muslim Brotherhood to fill the void. And to this day, he supports the MB blindly against the wishes of the vast majority of non-Jihadists in the region. Obama's MB support simply makes no sense when considering how they treat their citizens, especially Christians.

The same pretty much could be said with regard to Libya, even though Khaddafi not only gave up his cache of WMDs, but also posed no immediate threat to the US. Still, Obama went after him in order to install an even more extreme, MB-aligned government.

So now it's Syria's turn and this country is tired of it. We do not trust Obama's words any longer. If this were still President Bush, it's likely he would be able to convince the American people of the reason going into Syria is right. Because deep down, if it's try Assad gassed his own people, the world should see to it that Assad losses the ability to be on the word stage. It should a be personal and quick and something that warns others of the consequences of using such weapons.

But Obama no longer has credibility. His words are meaningless and no one is buying them. If Congress does not give him authority, what then? My guess is he goes the Clinton route and lobs a few missiles their way. Just enough to make some noise, but not enough to pull Russia in. It will be a big waste of time and money, will do nothing to prevent WMD use again and will be praised by the administration and MSNBC for his boldness.

Regardless of what the President ultimately does, this episode has greatly weakened him. There are still a myriad of scandals and issues that must be dealt with back home. How will this issue with Syria affect his governing domestically? I'm almost afraid to ask.

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