“It isn’t always being fast or even accurate that counts, it’s being willing. I found out early that most men, regardless of cause or need, just aren’t willing. They blink an eye or draw a breath before they pull a trigger. I won’t.”—John Wayne The Shootist
Well, we know you get tired of hearing “we told you so!” so we aren’t going to begin that way, gentle readers—but you know we told you this would happen way back in June, right? Yeah, we did. As the various scandals ranging from the president’s weaponization of the IRS to Holder’s illegal sale of American firearms to Mexican drug cartels, to the the DOJ’s outreach department acting as propagandists and organizers in a push to indite and convict George Zimmerman, to the botched effort to allow an American ambassador to be taken hostage in Benghazi, and so many more we’ve kind of lost count ourselves, the Liberal Establishment’s angst has grown to the point of furtive-but-unconcealable panic. Yes, Rappin’ Preezy’s extra-constitutional and downright illegal escapades have now acquired sufficient accretive stench that even the mainstream news media are finding it difficult to avert their gaze and their quivering nostrils. It must have become obvious down at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that it was going to take more than Alec Baldwin’s latest meltdown or Miley Cyrus’s newest vulgarities to sufficiently distract the national psyche from Dear Leader’s cavalcade of high crimes and misdemeanors—nossir, it was going to take something serious! And just as President Clinton turned the nation’s attention to blowing up aspirin factories in the Sudan and bombing ethnic cleansers in Serbia when Monica Lewinsky proved impervious to what that administration used to term “bimbo suppression,” so the Liberal imagination generally turns in times like these to the art of war.
Well, not war war…not like Americans getting shot or blown up by IEDs or anything. Not like Tarawa or Normandy or Khe Sanh or Fallujah–Lord knows enough of that still goes on and it’s increasingly bloody and tragic as Iraq unravels and Afghanistan falters while the president’s commitment melts away. But none of this is embarrassingly bloody or tragic, because the Liberal Establishment Media stopped reporting body counts or filming coffins coming off transport planes the day Obama entered office. Gitmo may never have closed, but since nobody ever mentions it any more, is it really there? — And the peace movement? Even if it still exists in small pockets around the nation, it stands no more chance of getting any news coverage than—well—a gun used to prevent a crime, or a Black conservative, or a Black conservative using a gun to prevent a crime! Anyway…
No, nobody in or around the Obama cabinet wants a real war—that could be messy and it wouldn’t “focus group” well at all. What is needed to preoccupy the American psyche just now is an almost real war—the kind with lots of explosions and cruise missile strikes and F-18s catapulting off carrier decks and videos of triple-A fecklessly sweeping the night skies over Damascus as our ghostly B-2s drop their payloads with surgical precision and vanish into the nocturne…that is the kind of war that will fill our hearts with martial passion and turn us as a nation in breathless gratitude to the man of the hour, Field Marshall Barack Hussein Obama, who will have, by the above-described demonstrations of military potency, delivered us from the threat of the hour—which was—well…Syrian..something or other. Why, this all sounds so good, gentle readers, we get goose bumps here in the WOOF cave just writing about it! So what’s holding up production?
Waiter, there’s a fly in my ointment!
Well—the problem with war, no matter how artificially manufactured and gingerly applied, is that it comes replete with an unvarying catalog of contingencies any of which, regardless of how scrupulously the drama is orchestrated, can ruin the impression. What happens if, for example, Syria uses one of its world-class Russian SAMs (surface to air missiles) to nasty effect and knocks down a Navy fighter jet? What happens if the pilot and/or his Radar Intercept Officer parachute to safety only to be taken captive and turned into media sensations by the Syrians? What happens, for that matter, if a Syrian cruise missile should score a hit on an American naval vessel? What if Vladimir Putin orders the Russian military (entrenched in the massive Russian naval facility at Tardus in Syria) to carry out attacks on American ships or aircraft while disguised in Syrian livery? Even if Obama became aware of the “false flag” nature of such operations, would he dare make such awareness public? (In case you haven’t guessed, the answer is “nyet!”)
What does the president do when he discovers that nullifying a chemical weapons threat cannot be easily effectuated from the air, and that neutralizing the Syrian Air Force will not prevent delivery of such weapons by artillery or other means? Besides which, blowing up stores of nerve gas or infectious agents on the ground may kill untold numbers of civilians…by inadvertently nerve-gassing them! Add to this the problems of no exit strategy (or none that doesn’t leave the problem intact), no clear war aims (other than getting everyone to think about foreign policy rather than domestic outrages) and the obvious fact that, just as Dennis Kucinich said during a rare moment of lucidity, we would be “serving as Al Qaeda’s air force,” (as indeed we did in Libya, which ended in Benghazi), and you can begin to understand why Obama’s brain trust saw this as an opportune diversion initially, but sobered into less strident tonalities as the week expired. War, it turns out, is not as simple as all that. It can turn on you.
But we have, as Hillary Clinton might say in somewhat different circumstances, “kem too fur tuh tarn back now!” Indeed, the bellicosity with which Secretary of State John Kerry’s most recent pronouncements rang was impressive, and his heartfelt lamentations regarding “the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders” were of a magnitude of conviction heretofore reserved exclusively for criticisms of his own military. The adventure must have seemed a masterstroke, initially, this idea of a few quick salients into evil Syria, goosing Dear Leader’s approval ratings while depriving the runaway scandal chatter of oxygen. Besides, there was that peskily irretractable quote about crossing a red line if Assad used nerve agents, followed by an apparent reluctance to act, which looked irresolute, because it was. It may be recalled that several reported uses of nerve gas preceded the now cardinal incident of 21 August, making the arbitrariness of the current indignation all the more evident.
The President listeth?
After considering the problems militarily and factoring in the near impossibility of determining who used the nerve gas in the first or second or third place, (it after all being to the rebel’s advantage to gas a few civilians to bring American might to bear against the government forces), and following the administration’s rather lackluster summation of the allegedly damnatory evidence that consisted of a monitored phone conversation that was instantly reminiscent of the monitored phone conversation adduced by Colin Powell at the UN back in 2001 “proving” that weapons of mass destruction were cached in Iraq…oops…and after Bashar Assad categorically denied using weapons of mass destruction, the whole picture became considerably less clear.
As WOOF has pointed out on numerous occasions, Bashar Assad is a putrescent scoundrel whose preternaturally tiny head contains little thought of truth-telling or humanitarianism even in the calmest of times—but why would he do this now, exactly when he seems to have the upper hand against the rebel factions and exactly when Obama is committed, however injudiciously, to do something about it? In fact, considerable evidence has been amassed implicating the rebels in the gassings of the 21st, as a glance at Adina Kutnicki’s totally hip and WOOF-approved web site will suffice to demonstrate. For Obama’s part he has carefully explained that “We do not believe that, given the delivery systems, using rockets, that the opposition could have carried out these attacks. We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out.” To interpret: the president does not believe that the opposition (Al Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia—which is Libyan for Al Qaeda, otherwise known as our noble allies) could have used the nerve gas because the nerve gas is delivered by missiles, which these terrorist organizations (otherwise known as our noble allies) don’t possess. This is problematic in several respects, not least of which is the statement’s syntactically misshapen but carefully planted axiom. In reality there is no reason whatsoever that nerve gas cannot be delivered by mortar, artillery fire, IED, or the old heave ho. The rebels are well equipped with such options, in part courtesy of the CIA.
Brits out, now!
And as these drawbacks grow more noticeable Our Beloved Helmsman seems to equivocate. The man who orotundly assured us that “There need to be international consequences,” is now in earnest of assuring us that he has not made a decision, and that even when he does make a decision, he won’t decide to target Assad. (We just hope he doesn’t target Assad’s wife—she’s hot. Why do some total losers get chicks? But we digress…) Obama is not alone in his equivocation as our staunch allies begin to ask themselves, (rather sensibly if unstaunchly), what on earth they would be doing and whom on earth they would actually be punishing– or aiding and abetting — by committing themselves to an air war over Syria. Britain fell away with a thud on Thursday, and other “allies” (who obviously have no more faith in Obama’s word, wisdom or backbone than they do in, say, the Greek economy) are wobbling uncertainly in the moral vacuum. It may well be that the Bamster will have to go to Al Qaeda’s rescue alone, or nearly so, if he chooses to plunge ahead. This will make relatively little difference militarily, truth be told, but it looks bad on the surface—and Barack Obama is the consummate political surface dweller. Here is the man who excoriated George Bush for invading Iraq without UN sanction and without a declaration of war, preparing to launch attacks into Syria despite the UN Security Counsel’s refusal to approve the venture, and without so much as a congressional vote of support (which Bush sought and received). Where Bush had allies, whom Kerry memorable denounced as a coalition of the coerced and the bribed, Obama seems fresh out of allies and the only coerced and bribed coalition he has ever put together were the Democrats who passed national health care.
Consulting America’s “charter of negative liberties.”
And then there is the minor inconvenience of congress, and particularly that band of notorious haters and bitter clingers in the House who stand stubbornly between the Regime and the ultimate collectivization of America, sabotaging as they do our brilliant young president’s every progressive salient, obstructing his perfect vision, delaying the elevation of our rapaciously materialistic system into an enlightened matrix of Big Unions, undocumented aliens, and entitlement recipients. It seems highly unlikely that Obama will wrangle a vote of temporary support let alone a declaration of war out of these troglodytes, and to make matters worse, even the Democrats—who so obediently upheld the destruction of the world’s most effective medical system so that the IRS could seize control of every citizen’s health care, are balking at the Syrian operation. Most of this is just for appearances sake however. Even dyed in the wool peace-at-any-cost subversives like Barbara Lee and Jim McDermott are only mumbling in a pro forma kind of way. Like all those supposedly pro-life Blue Dogs, they will shape-shift and support the White House when Obama passes the pork. But can the president use the War Powers Clause of the constitution to launch “police actions” without the consent of Congress? In the area of the War Powers Clause, the flexibility provided by the requirement is mootable. The President is often argued to be granted the right to defend the country, its people, or its manifest interests by virtue of Article I, Section 8, Clause 11. But in 1973 a particularly dove-ish Congress passed the War Powers Resolution which requires the President to obtain either a declaration from Congress or a resolution specifically authorizing the use of force within 60 days of initiating hostilities. This, WOOF feels obliged to acknowledge, gives Obama two months to bomb Syrians without congressional approval, although other constitutional opinionists most definitely differ.
What’s the job pay?
It’s hard to see how Our Beloved Leader goes about making the current situation pay off for himself or his party—he miscalculated the value of threatened aggression and must now either aggress or demure. If the former, he risks tremendous ramifications militarily and geopolitically. If the later, he looks even more like a quintessentially indecisive wimp in the eyes of the world, and what remains of his prestige at home will be grossly diminished. If he attacks too little, he will appear to have underbid the crisis, and if he ventures too much he could launch a series of devastating confrontations throughout the region and beyond.
But America’s Student President has talked too much, promised too much and postured too much to simply change the subject. He cannot vote present; he must make a command decision, and the only certainty is that whatever decision he makes will be a bad one, if only because there are no good options on the table. The Bamster finds himself hogtied by his own propensity for bombast, and this only because he needed a break from all the scandal talk in Washington and his mouth got ahead of his brain–if only because he forgets from time to time that some of this is real. So now he is about to attack a country about which he knows nothing, in a region of which he is almost totally ignorant, without a single ally either on the ground or in the sky above—except the media! We may safely predict (and indeed we do), that the Liberal Establishment Media will “sing of arms and the man” as soon as Barack shoots his first cruise missile at some ammo dump, and Hollywood writers will go to work on film treatments depicting him as the lonely colossus, bringing the force of American arms to bear where lesser men feared to tread. Meanwhile, where can we get one of those bumper stickers? You know the ones—the ones sanctimoniously emblazoned with,“War is not the answer!” We could use a few of those stickers this week. They’re not just for Priuses anymore!