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How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

September 2nd, 2013 - 2:16 pm

As J.E. Dyer at the Conservative Optimist notes, the key element in the Syrian crisis that has escaped notice so far is strategic risk. The relevant question as he rightly points out, is not whether the US military can deliver a pinprick blow on Assad. It can.  But the United States must also meet its global responsibilities in addition to handling whatever Syria may portend. It must simultaneously uphold nuclear deterrence, serves as a counterweight to China and Russia in Europe, it provides security for the seas and is the principle shield of the West against terror.

As I pointed out in the post America as Jackie Chan,  the US is like that redoubtable kung fu star in that it must keep all the world’s Ming Jars intact while simultaneously fighting off the bad guys.  Since the armed forces have been severely downsized under Obama, the incremental risk of doing that is much greater now that it has a smaller global design margin. The Syrian operation must pull men off one part of the wall to commit them to another. The total risk is not what can happen in Syria. It is what can happen in Syria plus what can happen in places where the forces have been thinned. Can America keep all the Ming Jars safe while still fighting this bad guy?

Dyer writes:

For Congress, the important question to pose to the military is what level of risk we incur if we go into a moderate-size Syrian operation with the forces we have right now….

In any air-campaign scenario involving Syria, he said, two capabilities likely needed would be F-16CJ Wild Weasels, which are specially configured for suppression of enemy air defenses, and F-22s.

Squadrons of both those capabilities were grounded earlier this year, save for Raptors on deployment to US Pacific Command’s area of responsibility, in order to pay the remainder of the service’s tuition-assistance bills.

If the Syrian operation ends with a pinprick it is pointless. But if it is a prelude to a much larger then what is that larger operation? The situation is made worse because everything has now become relatively more expensive in security terms. The implosion in credibility McCain always talks about now means that the US actually has to actually expend military force where a warning once would have done. America must pay in strategic cash since Obama’s political credit card has been revoked.

How much is that doggie in the window when all the extras and hidden provisions are figured in? Michael Ledeen can’t shake the feeling there are considerations in the Syrian operation beyond the public reason of ‘punishing Assad’ for using chemical weapons.

Messrs Cameron, Hollande and Netanyahu must have weighed in, along with Erdogan, Saudi King Abdullah, and others.

What others? What about the Iranians? We know that Obama sees Iran as the key to “solving” the Syrian mess, and we know that Obama has authorized secret contacts, even before he was elected, and Swiss diplomats are forever brokering meetings and carrying messages back and forth. What if the Iranians offered him a deal? Or perhaps the Omanis, who have been key middlemen in the deals leading to the release of American hostages?

What sort of deal? Many are possible. What if the Iranians, the real rulers of Syria today, offered to betray Assad, replace him with a military junta under their control, and organize a peace conference if the Americans lifted unilateral sanctions?

Obama would certainly be tempted to delay bombing Syria if he were led to believe that a peaceful rabbit could be lifted from a diplomatic top hat by those new moderates in Tehran, or those proven wheelers and dealers in romantic Muscat, wouldn’t he?

I don’t have an answer to How? or Why?

All the great powers are interesting in something. Germany is now open to considering that chemical weapons were used by Assad against civilians. Perhaps most astoundingly the ex-President of Iran has accused Assad of the the same thing just yesterday. “Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said the Syrian government, a strong ally of Tehran, had carried out chemical weapons attacks against its own people, the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency reported on Sunday.” Yet neither the UK nor Germany are joining in the fireworks and, insofar as we know, Iran will probably defend Assad. Whatever moral qualms the Western allies have about chemicals they’re interested enough to do something about it and are in practice treating Syria like a tar baby and Iran is treating Assad like a favored son. Can’t you hear it now? “You do it Obama. We’re right behind you.”

The answer to Dyer’s question about strategic risk must for the present remain — ????. We don’t know how long the Syrian string is until we start pulling on it. The basic reason for our ignorance is that Obama has conducted his policy largely in secret. He’s made deals we can’t even guess at and people are on the hook for what they don’t even know about.

To this day we don’t even know definitively what Benghazi was about, only that it was about a video. And now Obama is going through this enormous exercise to punish Assad for using chemical weapons. It can’t be about the number killed. Anyone who is interested in the tally of claimed civilian deaths in Syria can go to LCCS Syria. Today 118 civilians died. Yesterday there were 39, the day before 72, before that 66 and go back another 24 hours and it was 104. The Syrian civil war goes through about 1,000 lives every two weeks. The idea that Barack Obama is sufficiently outraged about the manner of the latest victims demise when the previous 100,000 deaths did not move him is peculiar indeed. One commenter on Facebook described the proposal to launch an attack based solely on moral outrage with the old Chinese proverb: 脱裤子放屁 which translates to “like taking off your pants to fart” — something ostentatiously and and insanely superfluous.

Just what exactly is Barack Obama up to? Perhaps the greatest benefit of Barack Obama’s recent fall to earth is that it has forced him to explain himself to others; to share a problem with other Constitutional authorities instead of bearing the entire load on the shoulders of his genius. What is President Obama betting the farm on? And how much is that doggie in the window?

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Top Rated Comments   
This time it's not Chicago. He is overmatched. I was reading Fred Hof's article at the Atlantic Council. He was a former insider in the Obama administration. He was shocked by the Syrian debacle. There was no staff work. None. When the Congressional delegation saw what Obama had prepared it was all generalities. There were no specifics.

Putin by contrast is already getting set to taint the debate by sending over a delegation of Russian parlaimentarians. I would not talk to a single one. But someone will, and that will poison everything. Obama is a busted flush. He may be malevolent, but he is also lazy, secretive and incompetent.

Obama was probably competent by the standards of Chicago. But this is a different league. This is Gamelin vs Rundstedt, Perceval vs Yamashita, I fear.

If you look at historical precedents, it takes a while for a great state to change its leadership. Chamberlain didn't go at once. So I expect Obama to go on, with America's great strength bearing him up, yet declining with each defeat.

But in the end he will go. We are in a situation inconceivable only two months ago. Egypt, Syria ... and it's only just begun. Already McCain is trotting out the argument. My country right or wrong, Obama drunk or sober. Sooner or later Obama will fall apart. We can only hope there will be something left to save. I think there will be, but it will be a painful road and there are no shortcuts to awakening. People will get smell the coffee in their own sweet time. Until then... wait.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wretchard, I have the utmost respect for you and your knowledge of political affairs. But I have to strongly disagree. Your scenario assumes that we are operating as a Constitutional Republic under the rule of law. That is gone. They do not fear future elections or political repercussions, because elections, IF they happen, are subject to massive fraud.

Further, ALL politicians are now under extreme duress. At the risk of redundancy, I was discussing the vote on Syria over at TATTLER. It has bearing here too.


Y'all are missing something. You are looking at this as if the members of Congress will be considering the geo-political and domestic political realities as bearing on what their vote will be.

For the last 116 days we have known that:

a) the Federal government has been spying on everybody with total access to all forms of communications, all supposedly private files and activities, and with the active and paid cooperation of the private institutions who used to maintain privacy.

b) for the same period of time, we have had it rubbed in our faces that the Federal government has been acting to punish those who it considers to be political enemies; via IRS and other regulatory agencies. And that the information collected and collated in a) have been used in b). They ARE above the law, in practice.

c) elected politicians are by their nature morally and legally suspect, have generations of history of considering themselves above the law, and the Congress has a lot in common with a personal services "House of Negotiable Virtue". Up until now, with absolute impunity.

d) Since the beginning of Buraq Hussein's term, when the data collection began to be funneled through the White House political operation; politicians and judges have been .... unusually compliant .... with the wishes of the Obama regime. As in turning on their constituents, their background beliefs, the law, and the Constitution. The most likely explanations [I am a retired Peace Officer and have some small knowledge of human behaviour] are bribery, blackmail, and/or extortion.

e) to expect already compromised and complicit politicians to suddenly vote based on reality and the national interest as opposed to their personal benefit and safety makes Dr. Pangloss appear to be Machiavelli.
====================end quote===============

No one is going to try to convince/compel Buraq Hussein to leave office quietly. Such would be suicidal.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's all damage control for Obama on Syria. He doesn't think strategically WRT foreign policy. He doesn't like foreign policy and wishes it would just shrivel up and blow away. You or I would be concerned about how "the United States will ... meet its global responsibilities ..." to uphold nuclear deterrence, serve as a counterweight to China and Russia in Europe, provide security for the seas and be the principle shield of the West against terror. But for Obama that is just a distraction from his domestic agenda. He always just tries to finesse it in some way. The fact that he appears incompetent time and again is NOT important to him, just as long as he can keep from being held responsible for the total disintegration of foreign policy. Thus the hand-off to Congress on the Syrian morass. He knows that most Americans don't have much interest in it anyway.

His serious, dedicated, efforts are all domestic. Turning the U.S. into a banana republic with the Democrat Party as the one party that controls all the levers of power drives him. I really can imagine him saying to his closest associates, "Who cares what happens in Syria! As long as it won't affect the Party during the midterm elections next year!"

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (85)
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John Kerry is up now, all orotundity and stentorianality per usuality. He's not the condiment king anymore --Heinz was sold to admin sin-eater Warren Buffet soon after Kerry became Sec of State. Kerry is now high and dry regardless of whatever might sink the stock market. The Heinz chief of north american operations, Jimenez iirc, along about then, became the new CEO of Novartis, the Swiss synthetic psych drug maker from the St John district near Davos --the company Susan Rice the new National Security Advisor is involved with.

If you want to understand the minds of your betters, search 'images' for the Novartis HQ building.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Apparently, they're Nucking Futs!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
... and the horses they rode in on too!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wasn't it a donkey?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
dunno --i forgot to ass
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?"

- Axel Gustafsson Oxenstierna (1648) in a letter to his son who was involved in negotiating The Peace of Westphalia - which established the sovereignty of states and the international tradition of not meddling in the affairs of other sovereign states...A world order and system of maintaining avenues for peace between nations that is being unraveled and pi$$ed on as we speak.

Which brings us full circle to the translation of the quote: "Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Dateline now: Congress leads off with Sen. Menendez talking about conscience and morality.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Handing it off to Congress was not weakness- it was both correct and brilliantly devious. Now he can blame them and the American people have already been propagandized enough against their own representatives and our system of government that with the coming debacle, Obama will blame Congress and hence gain more absolute power, as he has relentlessly sought. Knowing how this regime operates, you wonder how many backdoor deals, how much blackmailing, how many threats are being made to get the votes for their Armageddon. Meanwhile, creating a maelstrom in the ME is just the remedy to distract from the coming financial collapse, to declare "emergency measures", consolidate power over a frightened, panicking, dumbed-down populace. Then he can fulfill his dream - invade Israel under the pretense of protecting it. This has all been coming, been known, been prophesied about for thousands of years. And then the end, and Messiah comes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Imagine Obama as a naiive teenager and it all makes sense. Nothing that happens is his fault. It's always someone elses. He stumbles from one crisis to another, never plans ahead, hoping problems he created go away, or they will not be seen or heard, or get cleaned up by his parents/adults. He wants the power of an adult but not the responsibility. The rest of the world is done indulging his silly/dangerous actions. Maybe it's time we do the same.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Earlier in this thread [and elsewhere in related threads] I was discussing how the "already compromised and complicit politicians" would vote as Obama wants, regardless of the good of the nation.

I don't know what Obama's spying has found out about Institutional Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, but it must be devastating. Or at least enough to make him cry, which may mean not that much by normal standards, because he breaks into tears at the slightest provocation.

However this may be a poetic moment. I am reminded of the Walrus and the Carpenter from the Jabberwocky.


"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

============end quote===============

for the same reason; Betrayal.

Boehner has announced that he supports giving Obama the wide ranging powers to go to war at will.

With him will go about 40 Republicans who always vote with him. That is how he has given victory to Obama at every turn since January, by voting alongside Nancy Pelosi with enough Republicans to defeat his own caucus.

If electoral politics were still relevant, immediately deposing him would be a just goal. As it stands, it will have to be left to the events that are about to befall our poor country.

But it might not be a bad idea to send money to any primary opposition he has, and if he survives a primary; then send money to his Democrat opponent. Because it will be a case of two of Obama's minions fighting each other, and Boehner has earned defeat by his treachery.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Now we have object proof that the purpose of the Dems is to convert the U.S. into a Euro-style socialist command economy autocracy, and that the Repubs job is to protect their right flank in doing so.

There is now nothing - no atrocity, no violation of rights, no pogrom or purge or oppression, that Obama cannot undertake if he chooses. Every Dem in the country will cheer and every institutional Repub will stand and do nothing. The Boehner caving is absolute proof of this. The moment we've all dreaded is now.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What the Republicans ought to do is focus Obama's mind by impeaching Eric Holder. Obama exists with the complicity of a multitude of government weenies who do his bidding. We need a paradigm shift. So we need those weenies to panic.

They can't impeach Obama himself, but they can fight a proxy war. Make Holder Obama's proxy. Even the MSM has seen Holder's evil side in the AP wiretap mess.

Arming Mexican drug gangs via Fast & Furious?
Covering for the IRS attacks on private citizens?
Refusing to provide Congress with email etc. so that he has already been found in contempt?

Holder is a big, fat target for public outrage. And he was not elected. The MSM could not keep the news of Holder's impeachment out of the headlines. Now that Obama has lost the aura on invincibility, he is vulnerable.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Most folks know about the recent stuff --even as far back as the Waco man-made disaster. Fewer know that smuggling arms to both sides in an effort to depopulate an area was practiced in Colombia before it was employed on the Mexican border (where only the 2010 tea party storm stopped it). See 'chiquita banana and eric holder' --Holder had become the Banana consigliare via introduction through a guy who, coincidence, was the employer of record of the Times Square bomber.

But almost nobody ever picked up on this:

For some reason, the MSM made this earth-shattering boom revelation one of their 'one-day wonder' blue-plate specials.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Remember our strategic goal

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

That singing rage
Miss Patty Page
Sang Doggie In The Window
Some sixty years
Of laughs and tears
Yes that’s how long it’s been though
That dog’s now old
In from the cold
Decrepit, slow and mangy
His bark is weak
Can hardly speak
Though full of hope and changey
The broken pane
Lets in the rain
The room is wet and musty
He cannot eat
Nor stand on feet
His dinner bowl is rusty
It isn’t fair
Is only for two leggers
But not to fuss
Soon all of us
Will be reduced to beggars
Yes we’ve been had
It makes me sad
To think that we elected
A mangy cur
And call him sir
No wonder I’m dejected
Obama stands
And wrings his hands
While looking out that window
The broken pane
Incessant rain
Dog knows when it is fin though

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Fantastic, walt. In the same mood, "the lightning is a yellow fork" by Emily Dickinson:

The Lightning is a yellow Fork
From Tables in the sky
By inadvertent fingers dropt
The awful Cutlery

Of mansions never quite disclosed
And never quite concealed
The Apparatus of the Dark
To ignorance revealed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In the Middle East, showing one's foot is rude and stepping on something is a sign of disrespect. To step on the presidential desk in the Oval Office is to symbolically show contempt toward the Presidency, and by extension the United States of America. This is very bad manners within the United States too. And just think, this photo is being put out by the White House itself!

If Barack Obama wants to unite Americans behind his campaign for war, he is certainly going about it in a very strange way.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To look at the picture allegorically would show the President with his foot on the table and his hand in a gun gesture (which would get you arrested and expelled in any public school) pointed at the desk.

Knowing the desk came from the British and their subsequent no vote on expending men and treasure on behalf of the President's desire to "punish" Assad. It would indicate his sending a message to his ol' chum Cameron.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
just a couple of random thoughts/observations:

1. Wasn't our all knowing, smarter than everybody leader in Brazil, giving them a billion dollar loan to drill in the Gulf of Mexico when we started our "kinetic action" in Libya??

2. Don't we have 70,000 plus troops in a landlocked country surrounded by either countries that do not have our best interests at heart or are openly hostile to us???

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1) It was a $3,000,000 loan guarantee -- so that Brazil could drill off in the Atlantic -- excluding American oil companies -- and support the national coffers of Brazil.

The gratitude has not lasted.

Coincidentally, Soros had a major economic interest in said project.

2) The ISAF actually has about 100,000 troops and twice as many hangers on. The lower number excludes all of our NATO allies. You can't forget them and their logistical needs, either.

Somehow, the American press makes everything all about America.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Did you note on Memorial Day the Taliban cut the northern supply line? Wasn't a big fight, but the pictures show an enormous mass of burning vehicles. Also, same day, 'terrorists' made a run at Suez, trying to mount an attack on a transiting ship when Egyptian counterforce stopped them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Labor Day, not Memorial Day --just a couple days ago. I mis-dated --
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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