Monday, September 02, 2013

Sending a message

Daily Kos: And away we go:

I wonder if Obama backed off a unilateral strike against Syria at least partly because the usual gang of idiots jumped out of the blocks to support it?
So now he's taking the problem to Congress, and the right-wing is in a tizzy -- they don't want to support Obama but they don't want to say no to John McCain and Bill Kristol, either.
Oh well, they just found a photo of Kerry having dinner with Assad four years ago, so they can chatter about that for a while.
Juan Cole sums it up: Friday, Obama had painted himself into a box with repeated statements that he had to attack Syria because of the gas attack. But as he looked behind him, the troops he was leading had thinned out faster than Custer’s at the Little Bighorn....
Obama made a clever political calculation. The Tea Party and the GOP in general had been demanding that he submit the Syria file to them. So he obliged them. If they say ‘no,’ as the British parliament did, then Obama is off the hook. If they say ‘yes,’ then they are full partners in any failures that result. Either way, the issue is taken off the agenda of the 2016 election and Democrats are held harmless....
It is remarkable how important the Iraq experience has been in the debates on Syria, and how decisive. Even if the US goes ahead with the strike, it is likely to attempt to keep the action narrow and symbolic, and to avoid troops on the ground, and indeed, generally to stay out of the conflict thereafter as long as no more chemical attacks are launched. Whether it is possible to bomb Syria and then walk away like that isn’t clear; but it is the maximal Obama plan. The minimal one is to be able to blame the Tea Party for isolationism and cold disregard of the regime’s violation of international law.
I'm not sure whether you could call such a result "win-win", but perhaps its not "lose-lose" either.

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