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Saturday, October 22, 2016

President Barack Obama called Syria’s use of chemical weapons “a challenge to the world,” but said that he has not made a final decision on military intervention, during a brief statement from the White House on Friday.

“We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed,” the president said. “This kind of attack threatens our national security interests.”

President Obama stressed that he has “not made a final decision” on military action, but said that he is consulting with Congress and America’s allies as he plans his next move.

The president also reiterated Secretary of State John Kerry’s assurance that the United States would not launch a ground war in Syria, insisting that the U.S. response would be “narrow” and “limited.”

“We’re not considering any open-ended commitment. We’re not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach,” Obama said.

The president made his statement at a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and the presidents of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. Shortly before President Obama spoke, Secretary Kerry made a far more expansive case for military intervention, calling Syrian president Bashar al-Assad “a thug and a murderer” and insisting that he would be held accountable for using chemical weapons.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • sigrid28

    I hope the president waits for Congress to reconvene and the GOP to carry out its own civil war before the American public. I hope he waits for Assad to become even more desperate, meanwhile bringing down more and more condemnation on the Assad regime. Assad’s desperate acts–the use of napalm and chemical weapons–are DESIGNED to bring the U.S. and other nations into his conflict. These allies so much as drop a feather on Syria, and Assad has achieved his goal and that of his allies. Assad needs U.S. intervention so his allies, Russia and Iran, seem justified in putting THEIR boots on the ground and keeping him in power now that he is almost on his knees. How wise for the president to continue to decide how to intervene in the Syrian civil war.

  • bcarreiro

    patience is a virtue and we know you Obama will have to do what you have to do.

  • daniel bostdorf

    I am afraid many do not get the cunning strategy of the president.

    Remember–this president thinks basketball is life.
    Does anyone know what a “head fake” is?

    That is exactly what the president did to outwit and mis-direct his opposition….and more important….Assad.

    With looming threat of imminent attack, Assad and his generals moved chemical weapons and other assets into what they believed were secure and undetected facilities—instead–Assad and synchopants stepped right into Obama/NSA trap while monitoring the whole Assad panic…do recall the recent spy satellite launched a week ago? Tasked for Syria and middle east monitoring exclusively?

    The House GOP led by McCain have been touting and beating their chests that Obama was weak and should have struck sooner, and insisting at same time for GOP approval via a vote that Obama appeared to syria he didn’t need…

    Obama head faked the GOP once again by at the last minute “changing” his mind and wanting a vote.

    He wins either way…he got Assad to reveal his plans, and negated the GOP’s call for immediate attack on Assad..

    Now the GOP owns the mess….if they approve the attack.

    Full court press at first….pull up…and duck and weave….

    Masterful politician…

    • sigrid28

      I’m onboard with the “masterful politician” remark, but not as comfortable with the idea that “this president thinks basketball is life.” I get the “head fake” metaphor, and would raise you a “running out the clock,” with respect to the administration’s approach to Syria. This president’s life is also like basketball in that he belongs to a team, and a really good team at that, not just experts in his administration but a close-knit family that surrounds him. He’s not just playing fantasy football with affairs of state or in life.

      Perhaps what I’m trying to say is that this president must also understand that life is more than a strategic game among heads of state. He has to take into account the misery of “short people,” too–the thousands whose lives have been cut short by the Syrian civil war, and millions of others, many of them children, who have been displaced in refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan. At home, his “short people” include unemployed and underemployed Americans among the 98%, oppressed by a rotten economy Republicans won’t let him and his team do enough to fix; seniors wasting away without Meals on Wheels and hungry children deprived of food assistant and Head Start; and the sick and disabled for whom the provisions of the ACA cannot kick in soon enough. Many of these “short people” don’t have the luxury of calculating their next move in the game of life and have given up all hope of winning, if they ever had that hope at all.

      I counting on the president and his team to put basketball imagery aside, when the stakes are so high and so many lives are in the balance. As many of us know, if you don’t keep your head up, you may not see the next calamity coming at from out of left field. I will concede this to you: even our language is besotted with sports.

      • daniel bostdorf

        I really appreciate your reasoned and well stated response…my metaphor was intended to be a very loose analogy, not a firm statement of rigidity or trivialization of what is happening.

        You are absolutely correct that Obama is a member of a team….that he is the commander of… He realizes this. He has asked for the GOP controlled congress to support the effort to remove chemical weapons and the command and controll mechanism…not a declared war by any stretch of imagination…

        If the GOP says no to this removal, it means that they support Assad’s use of these weapons that DO have a national security issue for us and allies in region…If congress says no– the GOP continues the un-American obstructionism that this congress has perpetrated against the American people….and in this case, declare that Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his citizens is morally acceptable….of which it is not…in this real world of global bully’s like Assad on he international playground, we must take away the bully’s weapons. And ultimately, the people oi Syria must remove the bully (as was done in Libya) by any means necessary as he cares not one bit for human life. He will never end the civil war…supported by Iran and given blessing by Putin in Russia and a tacid nod of approval from China.

        • sigrid28

          Thanks again for a terrific post, with all of which I agree. Unless we were privy to the president’s intel, we can’t know, as he and his team can, how weakened or emboldened Assad is at the moment. My theory is that he used napalm-like weapons and sarin gas to try to bring the U.S. and its allies in his civil war, giving Russia and Iran an excuse to go much further and support him openly, even putting troops on the ground–the only way Assad can now win. Given this scenario, that he is weak, will he be brought down without the overt intervention of his silent partners? You say rightly, in my view, “he will never end the civil war” of his own accord. Is his defeat only a matter of time without Russia or Iran coming openly to his aid?

          About Assad’s allies, in particular, Russia, the president has found overt as well as subtle ways to snub Putin. Before the bombing, Obama postponed a previously scheduled meeting with him. The president made some of his first remarks about Assad’s use of chemical weapons while sitting among leaders of three countries, once unhappy members of the Soviet Union, which are now strengthening ties to the West and its interests–Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

          The nonverbal messages flew: Look at how good our new geopolitical friends are compared to yours, Mr. Putin. Our new friends sit down with us to discuss world affairs; you’ve sided with a failing dictator, now basically in hiding, who won’t listen to anybody and gasses his own people.

          Look how close to Russia, geographically, these trading partners and potentional allies are situated. If America were to intervene to limit Assad’s use of chemical weapons, would it be a wise idea for Russia to attack the U.S. on Assad’s behalf? Is it even a wise idea for Russia to defend Assad, at this point? Weeks of universal condemnation while Congress deliberates give Putin and his team plenty of time to think about this decision. I hope he decides it is easier to swoop in, secure the chemical weapons in Syria, dispatch Assad, and convene the relevant parties to bring an end–himself–to the misery of Syria’s civil war. It would be a huge face-saving measure.

          • daniel bostdorf

            Assute observation and provocative…

            Putin can offer Assad asylum, work with UN team to dismantle weapons of mass destruction/chemical weapons, and come across on the world stage as being able to do what Obama and the world community couldn’t do ie bring and end to civil war and create stability in the region…

            However, this assumes that Putin, a former KGB warrior and killer, has the emotional capacity to do so. And is that really in his best interests and that of the interests of the power military elite, not only in Russia, but that of Iran …who supply weapons and other lucrative materials to Syria?

            Putin’s history indicates he is a self absorbed, narcissistic sociopath who cares little for human rights, let alone the people of Syria. This matches Assad’s as well.

            I am convinced that the only way to start dealing with these two bully’s on the international playground is to first take away Assads chemical weapons, and show Putin that his support of Assad is simply unacceptable.

            NATO wants us to intervene and I agree.

          • sigrid28

            Well said. Your point about Putin is supported by the recent xenophobic actions of the Russian government (with respect to its LGBT community), which have counterparts in Europe in general (note LePen in France) and, most overtly, in Hungary, where anti-Semitism has once again gained a foothold. In fact, the racist aspect of the far right in the U.S. has disturbing equivalencies in many other Western countries, where these elements always simmer under the surface but are now more openly on display than at any time since World War II.

            This introduces an added element to the West’s hesitation to intervene in Syria, even after the use of chemical weapons. Yes, we are war weary. But many within our nation do not recognize the full humanity of the “others” who live in Middle Eastern countries, like Syria. We excuse our own inhumanity, saying, they hate us anyway. We condemn Syria for disintegrating over sectarian conflict, while essentially doing the same ourselves. It is a very bad case, if you will forgive the pun, of the pot calling the kettle black.

          • daniel bostdorf

            We know have Putin’s mouthpiece chiming in 5 minutes ago :

            “Evidence of alleged chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime presented to Moscow by the U.S. and its allies is “absolutely unconvincing,” Russia’s foreign
            minister said Monday, as the Obama administration lobbied Congress to support a punitive military strike against Syria.

            Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said “there was nothing specific there, no geographic coordinates, no names, no proof that the tests were carried out by the professionals.” He did not describe the tests further.”

            “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. received new physical evidence in the form of blood and hair
            samples that show sarin gas was used in the Aug. 21 attack.”

            here is China’s response:
            “China is “highly concerned” about possible
            unilateral military action against Syria and believes the international community must “avoid complicating the Syrian issue and dragging the Middle East down into further disaster,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong
            Lei said Monday.”

            Iran is silent because they supplied the sarin…and our PRISM NSA/CIA satellite surveillance has been shared with congressional oversite committes that proves it…

          • sigrid28

            Even more reason for the president to be in wait and see mode. Posts like your must convince him that, at least, people of good will who are thinking seriously about this dilemma will have his back over the next few weeks.

          • daniel bostdorf

            Actually—the GOP led congress will decide this, which forces a “wait and see” timeframe….it is a shrewd calulation by Obama to allow the GOP to sign off on this strike….and allows for various others who support removal of chemical weapons to back channel pressure others in region for this to happen.

          • daniel bostdorf

            Addenda: from associated press…

            “President Vladimir Putin hopes to send a delegation of Russian lawmakers to the United States to discuss the situation in Syria with members of Congress, the Interfax news agency reported…Russia has sent legislators to the U.S.
            before to try to persuade Congress about pending legislation. But sending a delegation to Washington to discuss Syria’s civil war could be seen as a publicity stunt, given the strong positions Moscow already has taken as a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. The U.S. has accused Russia of providing military support to Assad that has allowed Assad to cling to power during Syria’s civil war.”

          • sigrid28

            If I were the U.S. State Department, I’d put some non-negotiable conditions on their visas: BEFORE WE GRANT ANY VISAS YOU MUST #1, clean up the mess YOU let Assad make; #2, secure the chemical weapons, #3) spirit Assad out of Syria (one way or another), and #4) organize an interim government to bring an end to civil war.

            Until then, Putin and his “delegation” can just pick up the phone or use skype or whatever. What business do they have weighing in on deliberations in Congress, any way?

          • daniel bostdorf

            Yeah…pure publicity stunt….Secretary of State should handle this as State oversees VISA process.

            As a Russian friend of mine used to say:

            пойти прогуляться от короткого пирса!

            Want the meaning?


    • lana ward

      OHitler has made us the laughing stock of the world. Isn’t that great!!!

      • daniel bostdorf

        I thought Lane “The Troll” Ward had permanently found remorse for her or him self with the constant bumper sticker rush limbaugh mentality.

        I was wrong.

        For those who haven’t met Lana, here is her biography and a recent photo…

        “Lana Ward is a social media troll… someone who seeks to lure or bait people into negative, disruptive rhetoric for their own edification or to commandeer an otherwise free-flowing discussion among colleagues.

        Lana and her fellow trolls….don’t recognize anyone that may be interested in discussing something that bores them and opt to criticize or yell “boring” instead of engaging in the discussion. (in this case “OHitler blah blah….”

        Lana and her troll friends of Obozaomustgo and a dozen or so others at National Memo..choose to belittle those who seek out rational information and discourse as well as those who try to provide it. Trolls simply have no interest in anything that is not self-serving.

        Lana and her troll friends will defend their focus on expressing contrary opinions as an honorable attempt to rid the online community of fake-experts, get to the truth of a matter or enlighten their followers; however, their intent has nothing to do with community building or public enlightenment.”