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Syria and the Sucker’s Deal: John Kerry Pushes Another Transparent Lie

As with the "red line" debacle, the administration attempts to edit the transcript. IRAN: Kerry says U.S. was "very, very close" to deal.

Rick Richman


November 11, 2013 - 12:00 am

In his interview with Secretary Kerry on Meet the Press, David Gregory summarized the criticism he said Kerry had undoubtedly confronted in his travels throughout the Middle East:

And let me sum it up this way. It amounts to this criticism that the President appears reluctant to exercise power on the world stage. It’s not just Israel. It’s Egypt. It’s Saudi Arabia. There’s a feeling that the U.S. has abandoned critical friends in that region, in part because you’re moving toward a deal with Iran which could provide them tremendous economic relief when, at the same time, critics would say their major client, Syria, has gotten a pass to murder their own people as long as they don’t use chemical weapons, so that all of this is amounting to this reluctance to really exercise U.S. power.

Kerry responded that he “couldn’t disagree with [that criticism] more,” citing President Obama’s response to Syria:

He decided to use military force in Syria. He also made a decision to respect the requests of many members of Congress to come to them. And guess what? When he did, it was the members of Congress … who balked very significantly. … The President, before he had to make a decision of whether or not he would use force anyway, succeeded in getting an arrangement with Russia to remove the chemical weapons altogether. That would never have happened — that deal would never have come about if the President had not made his decision to use force.

What actually happened regarding Syria? The president repeatedly ignored his own red line; when finally forced to respond, his proposed response was a “shot across the bow”; after he purportedly “decided” on the shot, he threw the question over to Congress (with an assurance it was not time-sensitive so Congress need not interrupt its vacation to consider it); and after it was obvious he could not convince Congress, he accepted a Russian “reset,” leaving Assad in power and Iran’s position in Syria significantly strengthened.

If Kerry thinks this represents an example of American power, perhaps the Iranians should throw the Brooklyn Bridge into the deal he is currently negotiating with them; they may have found a buyer.

In the Gregory interview, Kerry repeatedly said that “the president has taken no option off the table” — an assurance that has now been repeated almost as many times as the one about keeping your insurance. The American people now know an Obama assurance is not worth the policy it is written on. As does Iran, having learned the same lesson as it watched Obama retreat from an equally clear assurance regarding Syria.

Obama’s Syrian red line declaration has commonly been considered “an ill-considered-rhetorical statement,” but it was much more than a rhetorical remark. In the August 20, 2012 press conference in which he made it, Obama was pressed about it, and said this:

We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons. (Emphasis added)

When the president of the United States says he has already communicated “with every player in the region,” and done so “in no uncertain terms,” warning them there will be “enormous consequences” if we “start seeing” the use of chemical weapons, he is not speaking extemporaneously or rhetorically. He is announcing a policy already adopted, and already communicated to every country in the region, in terms that admit no ambiguity. Call it “all options on the table” squared.

The “red line” was not an off-teleprompter gaffe. On the contrary, here is what actually happened: In July 2012, senior U.S. intelligence officials briefed top members of Congress on the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons in a small-scale attack. In mid-August — the weekend before Obama announced his red line — the U.S. received alarming intelligence reports suggesting Assad might be preparing to use chemical weapons again. The White House held a series of meetings and devised a plan to deter Assad, sending him a clear message through Russia and Iran about the red line. Obama’s announcement at his subsequent press conference was a public statement of private messages already sent. And the message was as clear as “you can keep your policy if you like it.”

Seven months later, on March 19, 2013, there was a sarin gas attack in an Aleppo suburb. There was another one on April 13 in a different neighborhood of Aleppo, and another one May 14 in the town of Qsar Abu Samra, north of Homs. Obama not only did not act, but dramatically redefined his prior remarks.

Asked at his May 16, 2013 press conference about his red line and whether he would now take “more initiative” to effectuate his policy that “Assad must go,” Obama responded as follows:

With respect to what I’ve said in the past around red lines — what I’ve said is that the use of chemical weapons are something that the civilized world has recognized should be out of bounds. … [M]y intention is to make sure that we’re presenting everything that we know to the international communityfor the international community to put all the pressure that they can on the Assad regime, and to work with the opposition to bring about that political transition. … But it’s not going to be something that the United States does by itself. (Emphasis added)

The “enormous consequences” promised on August 20, 2012, turned out to be a promise to report Assad to the “international community,” together with a statement the U.S. would not act on its own. Obama’s comments effectively provided a green light to any “players in the region” who might have worried about a U.S. response.

In the two weeks following Obama’s May 13 remarks, there was another attack in the eastern part of Damascus, and Iran and Hezbollah dramatically escalated their involvement in Syria on behalf of Assad.

The Obama administration responded with a May 31 background briefing by “senior administration officials” who were unable to answer even the most basic questions about whether there would be any U.S. response. In a June 13, 2013 briefing, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said the U.S. intelligence community had “high confidence” the Assad regime had used chemical weapons multiple times during the last year. But still there was no action.

Then came the brutal August 21 chemical weapons attack killing more than 1400 people; the mobilization of the U.S. military to deliver what Obama said would be a “shot across the bow”; and Obama’s last minute decision to call it off and to refer the matter to Congress. It was not long before Obama was asserting he hadn’t set the red line — “the world” had — and that his credibility was not at stake, Congress’s was.

They will be studying for years how Barack Obama turned his August 2012 red line into something that wasn’t red and wasn’t (according to him) even his.

The collapse of Obama’s credibility at home and abroad over the last year is an exceedingly dangerous development. Both his own citizens and the citizens of the world have noticed he is an inadequately clothed emperor, enamored of his own words, always believing he can convince you they didn’t mean what you know they meant. Iran knows the Syrian red line was not simply a press conference remark but a message delivered last year by Obama to Iran to deliver to Syria, and Iran undoubtedly drew the logical conclusion from watching Obama’s later efforts to redefine his words and make every effort possible not to enforce them.

Yesterday, Kerry told David Gregory:

We always said — President Obama has been crystal clear — don’t rush, we’re not in a rush, we need to get the right deal, no deal is better than a bad deal.

But if France and Israel had not spoken out, this weekend the U.S. would have signed a very bad deal, a sucker’s deal. The president and his secretary of state would have told us it was a good deal, an exercise of smart power, a sign the tide of war is receding, another triumph just like Syria.

Rick Richman’s articles have appeared in American Thinker, Commentary, The Jewish Journal, The Jewish Press, The New York Sun, and PJ Media. His blog is Jewish Current Issues and he is one of the group bloggers at Contentions.

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All Comments   (9)
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Yeah, let's intervene in the Syrian civil war on behalf of the Al Quaida terrorists that comprise the "rebels" fighting the Assad regime.

Gee, what could possibly go wrong?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let's see now.

ALL the Kennedy Bros, Both the Cllintons, BH Obama and his queen Antoinette/Michelle, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, models for club members in the most exclusive "gentlemens" club in the world, the adminstrative offices of the government of the United States.

With the biggest pork barrel in the history of the world - the United States TREASURY - at their disposal for any whim or favourite concubine real or figurative - they choose.

ALL members in good standing of the "Demcratic Party", jealous of their cushy seats on the gravy train of government.(but it must be said plenty of their like in the "Republican Party")

ALL members, who, except for WJ Clinton who didn't need no lessons in doing what comes naturally lie, lie, and lie again.

Each accepted lie encourages more and increasingly grotesque lies.

With that get out of jail free card given them from one of their own H. Clinton mentored by her spouse "What difference does it make now anyway"? AND OR Amnesty.

They smile, smirk and insult with their escalating LIES the citizens who WILL NOT discipline them..

With their escalating LIES pleading that SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING TO STOP THEM.

The members of the Co-Equal administrative offices and civic instiitutions with the remit to apply, to enforce and PROTECT citizens AND the structures of "the pillars of the City" in this "Country of Law" manifestly failing to do THEIR job.

AND failing the tests of their vaunted "compassion".

Failing to understand the stated intention to "Fundamentally Transform the Nation" and thereby the lives and "Rules of the Game" for MILLIONS of compatriots is "A Plea For Help".

Their lies a major symptom of Disturbed Peoples. People who CANNOT help themselves. Victims of the infection and or inheritance of The Caligula Effect. Forcing them to beiieve themselve gods. Hence their standard bearer known to them as their Messiah.

ADDICTED people. For whom ANYTHING GOES to "get their fix". People ADDICTED to Power.

Disturbed people who "cannot help themselves".

NEED HELP from the ONLY people who CAN help them. The very people they insult, rob, and demean with their lies. Citizens . Through their representatives in the "Administative Office of Government". INCLUDING those offices specifically enjoined to enforce the LAW.

That LAW constructed on the premise that "NO MAN/WOMAN is ABOVE the LAW. Enforce the Law with the compassionate understanding THESE Perpetrators WANT to be STOPPEd.

Citizens who through the members of their civic institutions do them no favours in refusing to give them the treatment they need.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama didn't lie. You peasants just don't understand.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Anyone who says Obama words are "crystal clear," that he speaks in "no uncertain terms," does not understand the English language. Obama has become the most prolific utterer of ambiguous and UNclear phrases ever spoken by an American President.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It doesn't take a diplomatic genius to know that the deal with Iran was terrible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Pocket Media doesn't hold Obama and his Baghdad Bobbie Soxers accountable, they don't hold themselves you get lies and propaganda all day, every day
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Should we be bored by reports of the in our faces Lies from members of the Cabinet and their instruments in legacy Media/entertainmaint Academia, government and the bureaucracies (NSA, IRS, etc) of this Obama Administration?

Let's see: BH Obama as standard bearer and model who REFUSES to PROVE his "Legal eligibilty" for the "Office of President of the USA.

Accepted the nomination as candidate for Office of Presdient of the USA from the DNC Chaired by Nancy Pelosi in 2008. Presumably as trained, but no longer licenced at the Bar (why?) lawyer aware of the omission of the crucial descriptive "legally".

Nancy Pelosi, of her VOW for REVENGE against the Americans who didn't vote the Millenial Election to the candidate of "her" Party. As Chair of the DNC Nominating Committee "certified" BH Obama as "eligible" for the Office of President of the USA. "Inadvertently", although a lawyer, omitting THE CRUCIAL detail Legally".

Hillary Clinton of the Whitewater and Vincent Foster episodes and how many others with her get out of jail free "What difference does it make now anyway" card, of which we have yet to be informed.

Her dismissal of Americans who didn't vote the Millenial election to the candidate of "her" Party as "That VAST Right-wing CONSPIRACY. Seconding the DNC's 2008 Chair's "certication" of Obama's "eligibility". Without apparently , ALSO a lawyer, calling attention to that OMITTED DETAIL "legally".

And, John Kerry himself of the Swift Boat Veteran's episodes, erstwhile "contender" for the Office of President for "Their" Democratic Party and slander of the men on the front lines of "THEIR Party's" War in Southeast Asia.

War begun and escalated by The Commanders - in - Chief of THEIR Party JF Kennedy and LB Johnson. And how much else of which we know nothing as yet.

ALL KNOWN for their honesty, probity, respect for the Laws of the Land, the American People, and contempt for their supporters who think they're the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Eager to join their army to "fundamentally transform the nation" which protects and maintains them. Carrying adolescent rebellion against parental figures to "a bridge too far".

Their, pre-emptive models for their followers ,"mis-speaking" egregious even by the standards of politics as usual.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let the French deal with Syria.........anyone who wants to put their life on the line can volunteer for the Foreign Legion...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Get used to it. Three more years of the Teqiyya Liar.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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