Monday, June 17, 2013

The Trouble With Red Lines Is...

….they often get crossed. And then what you gonna do?

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Sunday that “the scope and scale” of assistance to Syrian rebels will expand, based on evidence that the Assad government is gaining ground in the protracted civil war and that it may have used chemical weapons in the conflict.

Speaking on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” McDonough did not say whether arms shipments to Syrian rebels would include artillery and other heavy weaponry that could help reduce the military regimes advantage. In the shadow of Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has to tread carefully, McDonough said.
“We have to be very discerning about what's in our interest and what outcome is best for us, and the prices that we're willing to pay to get to that place,” he said. “We've rushed to war in this region in the past; we're not going to do it here.”

So basically, Obama wants to play this as the Opposite Iraq, and find a balance between Syrian autonomy and American influence and assistance.

Good luck with that, but I suppose he feels we have to be involved somehow. But this is why you don’t draw lines in the sand and decide that factor A is what will determine your foreign policy. That places your nation in the hands of someone else.

Needless to say, the bloodthirsty warmongers among us seem to have a problem with his handling:

Republicans such as Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, faulted the administration for not providing the kind of detailed plan needed to get congressional approval for the military aid to Syria.
“The administration needs to come up to Congress and make a comprehensive case. What is the plan? Where are we going on Syria? And what do you want to accomplish?,” Rogers said on “Face the Nation,” after McDonough spoke. “Some of the things that they've told the Intelligence Committee in the past doesn't comport with what they're presenting as the direction they want to go. It seems to me they have a great media strategy; they don't have a great Syrian strategy.”

So a strategy of incremental adjustments is not enough for a body politic that swallowed the lies of the last President whole and even gave him a blank, off-budget- check to write to pay for it, using our children and our children’s futures.

Obama’s strategy admits of two things: first, we can’t know beyond any doubt that the situation is what we say it might be, and second, we’re certain beyond a reasonable doubt that Assad is gassing his people. The President’s strategy seems to be flexible enough to withdraw once we have that last problem under some form of control.

Of course, this completely ignores the 100,000 Syrians whom Assad has killed using conventional weapons. Somehow, we’re OK with that under some warped Prime Directive-type strategy.

Either you’re in or you’re out, is my feeling.

He’s caught between a rock and a hard place of his own creation, is my guess, and he’s trying to navigate the very narrow straits he’s left himself.