To the naked eye, there is absolutely no sense to President Obama’s policy on Syria. It is nothing but confusion. Before I get too far, let’s do a little roundup of this Syrian policy for the past year or so:
For a politician who decried the Iraq War, President Obama sure acted like a man who wanted to go to war. But then he didn’t. For a man who decried that President Bush didn’t have enough contributions from the world community regarding the Iraq War, Obama acted like a leader who didn’t care about the world opinion. No one really was on board to do much of anything. For a man who set a red line, Obama sure acted like a bully who backs down when challenged. He set a red line, then Syria crosses the red line (earlier this year), then Syria crosses the red line again (in August), but the world set the red line; not Obama.
At the same time, he didn’t want Congress’s input but then he does and then he tells them to put off the vote to go to war. He wants to send a “shot across the bow.” But then the U.S. military doesn’t do “pin pricks.” But then whatever action will be taken will be “unbelievably small,” in Secretary of State John Kerry’s words. Bashir al Assad has to go. But then he doesn’t have to go. We don’t want to “alter the course of the civil war in Syria.” Yet, we want to help the rebels and punish Assad. Confused? The world is confused.
But the world is not confused about one thing: Obama’s weakness, fecklessness, disarray and ineptness makes the U.S. look just as bad. We have lost respect in the world. We are viewed as a joke. Putin takes to the New York Times to laugh at us. Bashir al Assad’s teenage son even mocked Obama. Assad has mocked Obama. Russian President Vladimir Putin has mocked and intimidated Obama. Putin, who invaded Georgia (not the U.S. state but the country that borders Russia), lectures Obama about democracy, freedom and even God in the New York Times. And he was even able to do with his shirt still on! I think.
Yes, I am not an Obama fan. Yes, I’m a partisan. But anyone with a clue has to realize that Obama’s whole Syria crisis has been one embarrassing misadventure for him and this country. It is a land of confusion. Heck, I think Obama’s brain is confused. For the master community organizer, Obama hasn’t been able to organize much support in Congress or even within the world community, for that matter. A world community that celebrated him and even gave him a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING!
The confusion continues. More than 120,000 Syrians have been killed by the Assad regime. That didn’t seem to matter. The alleged use of chemical weapons killing perhaps 1,500 apparently did matter. This will not be Iraq or Afghanistan we’re told. But then when pressed about the scope of the mission or even the mission itself, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff cannot even answer that question.
Well, I can say this: No, it won’t be like Iraq or Afghanistan because despite the flaws in both wars, they still had a clear mission. In Afghanistan it was to get Al Qaeda and remove from power the Taliban, which gave bin Laden and Al Qaeda a home and cover. Within weeks, the Taliban was ousted and Al Qaeda was on the run. In Iraq, the mission was to remove Saddam Hussein from power. The mission was to bring democracy to that part of the world. Well, both happened. Saddam is dead and Iraq has had elections in which voters proudly displayed inked fingers.
Secretary of State John Kerry makes an offhand comment that Assad should hand over his chemical weapons within a week, “but we know that’s not going to happen.” Then out of the blue, the Russians come propose a plan to do just that. It’s even billed as The Russian Proposal. Strangely enough, Obama says it actually was something he and Putin discussed weeks ago. But we never ever heard anything about it. At the end of August we were on the brink of war. The last week of August it was “not if, but when” we would strike Syria. It was “I don’t need input from Congress to hit Syria” to “I’m going to let Congress decide if we should strike Syria.” If The Russian Proposal was discussed before then, wouldn’t that have been a very important piece of information the nation and Congress would need to know before voting on going to war?
Then, after The Russian Proposal comes to light, the Russians say the deal is contingent upon the U.S. agreeing to not strike Syria. A strike remains on the table; The Russian Proposal goes off the table. Then Assad comes in with his own demands. He won’t agree to anything unless we stop giving any kind of support to the rebels fighting him. Of course, the Russians have been supplying the Assad regime with aircraft, bombs, guns, missiles and whatever else it needs. We’ve been giving small arms and a few machine guns to the rebels.
And, not only have the Russians been supporting the Assad regime, but so have the Iranians. The Iranians send in arms and military too. Now, in this new deal, Assad is protected, the Russians and Iranians can continue to support him militarily, but the U.S. support will end. Apparently.
And then who are these rebels? Well, when the Syrian civil war began nearly three years ago the rebels consisted of a variety of Syrians. Many of them good. But not all. Today, the rebels are largely supported by Al Qaeda and are not good people. The Assad regime and the rebels are not good people at all. There are no good sides, which is one reason I don’t support our involvement.
A Time magazine photographer witnessed truly horrific events committed by the rebels the end of August: the beheadings of people. In his account he told the tale of one young man whose hands were tied behind his back pleading for his life and trying to cover his neck. The rebels then took a knife and began sawing the young man’s head off. There were four victims just in one day.
And then you have the Syrian Christians who are being wiped out by the Syrian rebels. They, too, are being beheaded. Simply for being Christian. So, whose side are we on?
And then we have the agreement. It’ll be until sometime next year that Syria’s chemical weapon stockpiles will be dismantled – under the auspices of Russia. The same Russia that supports Assad. The U.S. agrees it won’t attack the Assad regime now. And apparently we no longer will be helping the rebels either. Not that it matter anyway. So, apparently, Obama’s stated goal that Assad must go is no longer policy either.
Unfortunately, there appears to be little teeth to the proposal worked out between the U.S. and Russia. No changes, no regime change, not stopping arming the Syrian government. Life continues as is, but the administration and media work to make Obama look good and save face. That’s all that matters.