Obama has once again back tracked and even his Security Council left with consternation. What’s the next step backward that’s coming?
The president said, “A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.” It didn’t happen once, but a number of times. Even aften that clear statement, the US did nothing when Assad used chemicals. Final after more than a 1,000 were killed at one time, including scores of children and women, Obama said we’re going to strike.
And now he’s still walking around in circles waiting for Congress to come strolling in 10 days from now and start debating. By then, Syria will be able to move their airplanes to Iran, hide their heavy artillery, dig in at the all the places the USA has already said they’ll hit, and hit their army in the places we already said we won’t shoot at. Who knows what they’ll do during the ten days and all those that follow as the Congress barks and bites each other.
From a military point of view, Obama’s statements about what he will and won’t do is a disaster. Anyone knows that a surprise attack is basic. At this point, the president’s statement appear to be only symbolic warnings to get him off the hook for making a statement he couldn’t back up. Can there be any value in shooting rockets at targets you’ve already defined weeks earlier?
Should the president have drawn the “red line?” Absolutely.
Should the president have brought aircraft carriers, ships, and submarines close to Syria?
Should the ground work already been done so a strike could be immediate? Of course.
It didn’t happen.
No can dispute that all the alternatives in Syria are from difficult to bad. When Britain backed out of the collision, the president was left in a hard position for sure. But why weren’t all of these details worked out well before Obama declared himself? From where I sit, this oversight now appears serious.
Trying to obtain congressional support at the eleventh hour is another step into more potential chaos. Yes, a united front would be positive, but the congress has not been able to agree on anything including the time of day. Already we are hearing a multitude of options raised about every aspect of the struggle from a larger and more lengthy attack to an even more limited response to doing nothing. By the time Boehner, Cantor and company chew this struggle to the bone, it will be Christmas. The point is that the President and his staff have stumbled into a dilemma and continued stumbling only makes it worse.
On the sidelines, Israel and Saudi Arabia watch, wondering if Obama has any resolve. Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other enemies observe and hope we prove to be a paper tiger. After Obama’s threats, Syria already responded with a huge gas attack that signaled Obama doesn’t intimate them.
A week ago, I blogged that what happens in Syria can determine Obama’s legacy. So far, the bequest isn’t looking good.