The bombing hasn’t even started yet, but Secretary of State John Kerry is the first casualty of the war in Syria. He’s closer to getting out of the action with a Section 8 than Corporal Klinger on “MASH” ever was. He looks like an absolute fool. Listening to his babble is absolutely terrifying for anyone sincerely concerned about the risks of Syrian intervention.
Here’s Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) taking Kerry apart yesterday, by asking a series of very pointed questions that Kerry couldn’t answer, other than to assert his powers of clairvoyance, followed up by an incredible reprise of his wheezy “Vietnam war hero” act from the 2004 presidential election. It’s a wonder he didn’t wear his fabled Magic Hat to the briefing.
Isn’t it time for this preening blowhard to apologize to all the people who voted for him in 2004 because they believed his insincere anti-war crap? But no, instead Kerry favors us with jaw-dropping lines like this: “We don’t believe we are going to war, in the classic sense of taking American troops and America to war.” That would fit nicely into a Director’s Cut of “Dr. Strangelove.”
By the way, would Kerry consider it a “classic” act of war if a foreign power conducted airstrikes on American soil? I seem to recall that happening a couple of times, and we sure did seem to consider it a warlike act. Why, one of those occasions even came to be known as “a day which will live in infamy.” Another prompted the war that Kerry made fools of his supporters by insincerely denouncing, before revealing himself as a bloodthirsty hawk who can’t wait to get involved in a war of choice.
But then Kerry did suddenly start talking about the “classic sense” of taking American troops to war, by allowing that Syrian intervention might just end up with U.S. boot prints on Syrian soil. Check out this rambling nonsense and tell me you feel confident in the outcome of a military operation that involves this man in any capacity:
“Mr. Chairman, it would be preferable not to, not because there’s any intention or any plan or any desire whatsoever to have boots on the ground, and I think the president will give you every assurance in the world, as am I, as does the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman. But in the event Syria imploded, for instance, or in the event that there was a threat of a chemical weapons cache falling into the hands of Al Nusra or someone else, and it was clearly in the interest of our allies, and all of us, the British, the French, and others, to prevent those weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of the worst elements, I don’t want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to the President of the United States to secure our country.”
Kerry then panicked and tried to walk this “boots on the ground” escalation back by claiming he was just “thinking out loud,” and he wanted to “shut the door now” on ground force deployment. So… the Administration would just stand idly by and watch al-Nusra (an al-Qaeda front group) make off with chemical weapons?
Maybe they’re not prepared for that, but they are fully prepared to lose this war to Bashar Assad. When Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) told Kerry he was worried about Assad absorbing a few days of air strikes and declaring victory over the Great Satan, the Secretary of State responded, “For certain we’ve taken that into account. He will weather… I mean, the president’s asking for a limited authority to degrade his current capacity and to deter him from using it again. He is not asking for permission from the Congress to go destroy the entire regime or to, you know, do a much more extensive kind of thing. That’s not what he’s asking. So he will be able to stand up and, no doubt, he’ll try to claim that somehow this is, you know, something positive for him.”
Brilliant! Not only will Operation Just Muscular Enough to Not Be Mocked avoid destabilizing the Assad regime, it will actually prop him up by increasing his credibility in anti-American circles. That’s probably worth whatever collateral damage Assad might suffer, especially since the attack will almost certain have a higher dollar price for U.S. taxpayers than it will for the Syrians.
Kerry also got to field questions about the Administration’s supposedly “slam-dunk” case for Bashar Assad’s culpability in the deployment of chemical weapons. When Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) asked if any intelligence agencies disagreed with the Administration’s conclusions, Kerry wrote the Obama Second Term Motto into history by replying, “To my knowledge, I have no knowledge of any agency that was a dissenter or anybody who had, you know, an alternative theory.”
Laugh all you want, but that really isn’t any sillier than Kerry telling Rand Paul that a blatantly unconstitutional attack on Syria, in defiance of Congressional vote, would be constitutional because the dictator-President says it’s constitutional. The Lawgiver cannot break the law, by definition! If the President does it, then it’s legal, QED. And to my knowledge, I have no knowledge of anything contrary to my knowledge.
Team Benghazi actually traded down by replacing Hillary Clinton with John Kerry. Combine him with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) playing poker on his iPhone during the hearings, and declaring the Syrian rebels to be a pack of lovable secular moderates who just happen to shout “Allahu akbar!” when they’re really happy…
… and you’ve got an autopilot rush to war by people who don’t have an entrance strategy, never mind an exit strategy. This thing has “half measures” and “mission creep” written all over it. It’s almost like a proxy war for internal divisions within the American political landscape, in which every move is made for crass domestic political reasons. I can’t imagine an environment more ripe for disaster, or an approach less likely to win the informed consent of the American people. This is not what the Bush Administration did when it was time for war in Iraq. And if you don’t think that operation was handled well, why would you support an operation that appears vastly more confused and ill-prepared for unpleasant contingencies at the outset?
It’s such a confused muddle that at the very moment of this writing, John McCain announced that he would not support the Senate’s draft resolution authorizing the use of force in Syria, presumably because it doesn’t go far enough – he’s said in the past that he wants regime change. He really needs to talk that over with John “No War in the Classic Sense” Kerry.
Update: More inspiring war leadership, as President Obama quavers from Sweden that he isn’t the one who set those “red lines” he famously talked about a year ago. In fact, just about everybody but the Empty Chair was responsible for that, so everybody else’s credibility is on the line, not his. From CNN:
“My credibility is not on the line — the international community’s credibility is on the line,” President Barack Obama said Wednesday in Sweden regarding his desire for a military strike in response to a suspected August chemical attack in Syria. He said the question is, after going through all the evidence: “Are we going to try to find a reason not to act? And if that’s the case, then I think the (world) community should admit it.”
President Barack Obama said Wednesday the “red line” he previously spoke of regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria wasn’t his own, but the world’s. “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98%” of the world’s population “passed a treaty forbidding (chemical weapons) use, even when countries are engaged in war,” Obama said in Sweden.
It’s like installing a naughty toddler in the White House. Nothing is his fault, not even words that tumbled thoughtlessly out of his own mouth, to the horror of aides who later said the “red lines” comment was unscripted. If we could just find a way to convert Obama’s irresponsibility into electromagnetic energy, we could vaporize Bashar Assad with a death ray and be done with it.
Obama also offered some diplo-babble about his “respect” for the “U.N. process” and the “international community,” but it looks like the sole member of his international coalition against Syria, France, is having second thoughts.