The ludicrous headline of the month goes to Financial Times writer Richard McGregor who claims Barack Obama marshals his forces for war of non-intervention in Syria.
All official US statements, be they on the record or in behind-the-scenes briefings, are peppered with words such as “limited”, “surgical”, and “intermediate”, to emphasise how any action will be quarantined to a few days.
The US-led attack on Syria, in other words, is not about intervening in the civil conflict. It is about not intervening.
The ghosts of Iraq still hover over every decision to go to war, no matter how limited and quarantined the US may want such action to be.
Congress is so wary of having its fingerprints on the issue that its leaders seem more than happy not to have to vote on a Syrian attack. In the House of Representatives, John Boehner, the Republican Speaker, and Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, have asked only for consultation.
Perennial hawks such as John McCain in the Senate have long pressed for a more interventionist US role in Syria. “If this isn’t aimed at regime change, then what is it aimed at?” he said with visible frustration on Wednesday.
The US is readying the release of its evidence of the Assad’s regime’s complicity, probably on Thursday, in what Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, called “the US intelligence community’s most important single document in a decade”.
Memories of Colin Powell’s now discredited presentation to the UN before the Iraq invasion on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction remain raw in the US system, no more so than in the intelligence community.
As Mr Cordesman says, the US has lost its credibility to assert that Mr Assad ordered the use of the chemical weapons and it will be difficult to regain it with a document that is necessarily constrained about revealing its sources.
“The US government may trust the US government,” he says. “That is not a trust the world shares, and recent polls indicate that it may not be a trust American people share as well.”
You can either have a war or not have a war. You can intervene or not intervene. You cannot, in any way, have a war of non-intervention. War is intervention.
The entire article sounds like something from George Orwell’s ‘1984’.
If by some chance you have not read the book, please do. And if you have, consider reading it again.
Huffington Post notes George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Book Sales Skyrocket In Wake Of NSA Surveillance Scandal.
Good Riddance to McCain
If anyone should know how stupid wars are it it should be John McCain. He sat as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for six years in one of the stupidest wars in history. And he wants more wars in spite of the fact that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan solved nothing, and if anything increased the number of US enemies.
I wait for the day McCain retires.
Anthony Cordesman certainly misses the mark calling a document on chemical usage “US intelligence community’s most important single document in a decade”.
If we are not going to war, then precisely what use is the document, even if it is true?
I do give Cordesman credit for the general idea I paraphrase as follows: “The US government may trust the US government but the American people sure don’t”.
Of course it was Obama who stated “Trust Us” to which Reason.Com responds … “Somebody needs to tell the president that it’s not that a lack of trust in government leads to some problems, it’s that a litany of problems involving the use and abuse of government’s coercive power have eroded any basis for trust.“
Mike “Mish” Shedlock