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Belmont Club

The Speech

September 10th, 2013 - 6:21 pm

The running transcript of Obama’s case for his Syrian strike from the Washington Post is here. Here are some reactions from Twitter.

EXCELLENT SPEECH by President #OBAMA on the #SYRIA situation. We have an amazing incredible president.

Obama looks good during this speech, man this is history he’s making. Again.

Obama says he’s wants a “targeted military strike” to keep the fires in Syria from spreading and prevent humanity from being trampled upon.

If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel.

And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran, which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon or to take a more peaceful path.

This is not a world we should accept. This is what’s at stake. And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use. That’s my judgment as commander in chief.

He neglects to mention that elsewhere he has promised to supply arms to the “rebels”. And it will be Congress’ fault if they don’t let him do it — both supply arms to the rebels or strike at Assad for overstepping his Red Line. And so he humbly lays the problems facing him on the steps of the legislative temple. Though he does it, he reminds them, simply to humor them as he doesn’t have to. “But I’m also the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possessed the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress.”

He takes up this heavy burden despite the fact that his hands have been tied by the Bush legacy, “now, I know that after the terrible toll of Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of any military action, no matter how limited, is not going to be popular”. He asks Congress for their opinion though he doesn’t need to ask them. It is a heavy stone he takes up, but it is in his nature to do the right thing.  Nevertheless he reassures listeners, there will be no ground action, no prolonged air action yet it will not be a “pinprick”. But just as he never says whether he’d abide by Congress’ decision or not, neither he explain just when a pin does more than prick.

I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo. This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad’s capabilities.

Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks.

Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver. I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force. We learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next. But a targeted strike can make Assad or any other dictator think twice before using chemical weapons.

In other words he’s back to where he was before the Putin deal was offered, though he hasn’t quite forgotten it. He places it on the lectern before the end of the speech.

However, over the last few days we’ve seen some encouraging signs in part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin. The Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons. It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments, but this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies.

And because he hasn’t decided whether to do the strikelike or the peaceful thing, he wants it both ways at once. “I have therefore asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path. I’m sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart on Thursday, and I will continue my own discussions with President Putin” — not to forbid the action even though he does not acknowledge it can be forbidden.

Obama is turning his blunder into another power grab. He doesn’t know whether he will order the steak or the lobster. How about the waiter brings him both? He wants the blank check and surely Congress would not be so churlish as to deny him that. You’ve got to give it to him. Obama never lets a crisis go to waste. Its someone elses’s fault if he can’t defend his Red Line, which he only drew to send a Message. He ends his oration with an appeal to American exceptionalism.

America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong, but when with modest effort and risk we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act.

That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.

What is exceptional is his effrontery. Stripped of its soaring phrases it comes to this: sign the check, bub.   The essential truth is not so slippery as the man who’s said nothing and asked for everything. In other news we learn from Sharyl Attkisson that John Kerry has refused to allow Congress to question Benghazi survivors; a reminder that there is in this administration a vagueness amounting to a method. Nowhere in the speech do we learn what side in Syria he hopes will prevail. He assures his listeners that he will not strike down Assad, but who he will raise up remains as much a mystery as Benghazi.

In the end nothing has changed. He’s placing the onus on Congress without acknowledging its authority for a military act that isn’t war, in pursuit of a goal he doesn’t explain, over a duration that is not short but not long, which will be no more than pinprick but less, one assumes, than a shaving cut, to install no knows who and which in the end Obama may decide not undertake at all.

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Top Rated Comments   
I see the situation with Obama and the “limited and ineffective but key strike on Syria” like this:

Say you’re the mayor of a small town, a city councilman, a county commissioner. And a private firm wants to come build a new business in your municipality. It will involve not only the initial construction jobs but badly needed full time employment for at least 1000 people and may well attract some of the firm’s suppliers to locate to the area as well.

But you turn it down. The company does not hire union workers so the pay might not be as high as you would like. And you don’t like their politics. And environmental groups are protesting the new development. And the project is only a couple of miles from the country club you belong to and the other members are bending your ear about how they don’t like the noise and traffic it will bring. So you turn it down and the project never gets built.

Then one day you are walking from your car to your office and encounter a man with a sign, “Unemployed. Looking for Work. Please Help.”

Now, you had always avoided such people, even suggested that panhandling be outlawed. But it occurs to you that if you had not stopped that new project that man probably would have a job. Whereas before you normally would not give such a beggar anything or perhaps 50 cents if you were feeling generous that day, instead you give him $5.00.

The airstrike on Syria is like $5.00 to the man who you helped prevent from getting a job. Syria was on Bush’s list of countries to be taken down. After Iraq fell he literally turned to Condi and said “Who’s next?” But Obama and the Dems stopped that. Now the blood of 100,000 killed in Syria, as well as the 1,400 killed by the gas, is on their hands; they stand right behind Assad in collecting blame. And they know it, too. The airstrike is their $5.00 worth to the guy on the sidewalk, to help their conscience.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I note that throughout it all, Buraq Hussein asserts that he and he alone has the power to take the US into a war at will, and that Congress' participation is only allowed by the Sovereign Grace of the Throne. And there has not been, nor will there be, a single peep countering that from Congress as a whole, and from the Institutional Republicans in particular.

Worthless, inbred stacks of meat.

"trangbang68
Why can't Congress hold Kerry in contempt of Congress for refusing to let Benghazi survivors testify? "

Same reason. Not a functioning male gonad between the lot them. They are ALL Statists who agree with Executive supremacy, and they literally fear the reaction if they would dare to resist in any way. A combination of innate nature, and NSA blackmail, I assume.

Subotai Bahadur
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wretch, what think ye of Norman Podhoretz' analysis in the WSJ which accuses Obama of selling out his country, essentially. That is, he does things to damage America because he thinks America is too powerful. In Podhoretz' view this has been Obama's aim all along ... to weaken the U.S. internationally ...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323595004579062811443943666.html?mod=trending_now_5
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (42)
All Comments   (42)
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It is amazing that, with the focus on children and bringing civil action to the region, that Obama has not invited Queen Noor to Washington to discuss the refugee problem in Jordan.

Queen Noor was born American and her country bears a huge burden due to the flow of refugees from Syria.

http://www.kinghusseinfoundation.org/index.php?pager=end&task=view&type=content&pageid=61

We know the downside, we need a vision of an upside. We need to help civilized parties in the region. Contrast Putin and his support of Assad to a mother.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
It would seem that we have forgotten that there can be a real vision of an upside. The sad thing is that most of the people in the Middle East really just want to get on with their lives and want no trouble with anyone else. There is just that persistent 10-15 percent that wants to hold and exercise absolute power, and will go to any lengths to do so. Over 1,000 years of this will tend to cow a population, and through a combination of their naked brutality and our arrogance and ineptitude, they are well on their way to doing the same to the West.

I think that Queen Noor would be an excellent ambassador for such an alternate vision, as she has a foot in both worlds of the West and the Middle East not to mention a standing that our current president could not even begin to aspire to.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Islam in practice is a totalitarianism most extreme.

The group think is reinforced five times a day.

Most of the 'prayers' consist of damning the infidels as the curse of Earth.

Imagine saying a rosary that chronically intones the need to kill every Muslim on the planet. THAT is what Islamic 'worship' is all about.

More generally, it codifies norms universal at the beginning of the Neolithic era -- 12,000 ybp NOT 1,200 ypb as so often asserted.

Afghanistan is really a half-way house between the beginning of the Neolithic and civilization. Pashtunwali is highly illuminating. The Pashtun fall back on it whenever they have a 'logical' conflict with Islam.

Nuristan used to be Kafiristan -- and was the actual back drop for The Man Who Would Be King. It's so remote that even Islam had to wait until the late 19th Century to take hold there.

Such mores eliminate any dream of a peaceful ancient time. Plainly such times were feral, trusting even your brother could be pretty iffy.

It was from this ethos that the brigand Mo' came up with his dicta. They stuck because he was making everything old, new again.

We see this echoed in the Greens -- whose mantra are generally a re-tread of paganism.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Drake. I used to think like you. Then I spent my first year in MENA, 1974-75, and my belief in the general peacefulness of man was shaken. I went back for Desert Storm.

I was fortunate enough, on both occasions to have lots of contact with the locals, doing routine business and normal civil intercourse.

Then I learned a hard fact about the Middle East. They are nucking futs. In truth well over 80% want to kill infidels. The 10-15% you mention want to be in charge of the killing, and really are happy to kill just about anybody.

It is very sad.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
So many people continue to think of Obama as a normal person. He isn't.

Obama isn't a Real Person whom you can interact with on an equal rational basis. He's a Virtual Person, made up totally of words. His words. Words as he speaks them, which change hour by hour, minute by minute. You can't interact with a Virtual Person because there is no integral continuity, no basic foundational principles. There is only the Virtual Person - made up of words - focused on a constant self-defining, self-describing image of Him-as-Controller. There's no-one THERE for you to interact with. Thw wisest thing you can do with such a clinical narcissist is to walk away. Quickly. Don't become enchanted by The Words of a Virtual Person.

Obama is paralyzed, psychologically, in situations where he feels he does not control the events and the players with His Words.

That's why he's paralyzed in foreign affairs since the ONLY method he has developed over the years, to interact with the world, to interact with people, is not by shared, rational analysis of the facts leading to a conclusion, but by personally emotionally manipulating them to do something for HIM. He's never worked on doing anything for anyone else! Remember, he always voted 'present' in Congress because he can't participate in an action that is about someone or something else. He only engages when it's about Himself. And only when he feels he can control the situation. If not - he is 'not there'.

Obama is not a normal, rational person but someone living in a bubble of empty words, emotionally manipulative, a pathological liar (he's unconnected to reality and thus has no relation to truth versus fiction) and focuses, as a narcissist, only on himself.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Completely self-absorbed and devoid of empathy.

Recall the photo of Sergeant James Crowley helping Henry Louis Gates Jr down the White House steps toward that rose garden beer summit, while Barack Obama strides blissfully ahead?
http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/2010/02/harvard-race-ba.html

Remember the Dalai Lama being led out of the White House "servant's entrance" past a pile of garbage?
http://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=11986

A classless, clueless child with an untreatable mental illness.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Regarding the assumed large number of "moderates" in Syria

"The Syria researcher whose Wall Street Journal op-piece was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain during congressional hearings about the use of force has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for lying about having a Ph.D., the group announced on Wednesday.

“The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University,” the institute said in a statement. “ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately.” "


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/wall-street-journal-elizabeth-obagy-fired-96637.html#ixzz2ebdVbnvU

That didn't take long. They didn't even wait for a Friday news dump.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Getting the Russians involved should severely limit the potential for embarrassing revelations about Syria getting any of Saddam H's chemical weaponry/technology during the pre-OIF period. You know that has to be weighing on the minds of the Demos.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"pinprick"
Perhaps the best description of Obama I have heard to date.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hopefully he will be the pinprick that pops the progressive bubble.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
A Golden Oldie of the Preference Cascade from Dave Barry of WaPo

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/23/AR2010122303570.html

"So on second thought we see that this was, in fact, the worst year ever. The perfect symbol for the awfulness of 2010 was the BP oil spill, which oozed up from the depths and spread, totally out of control, like some kind of hideous uncontrollable metaphor. (Or "Jersey Shore.") The scariest thing about the spill was, nobody in charge seemed to know what to do about it. Time and again, top political leaders personally flew down to the Gulf of Mexico to look at the situation firsthand and hold press availabilities. And yet somehow, despite these efforts, the oil continued to leak. This forced us to face the disturbing truth that even top policy thinkers with postgraduate degrees from Harvard University -- Harvard University! -- could not stop it.

The leak was eventually plugged by non-policy people using machinery of some kind.
But by then our faith in our leaders had been shaken, especially because they also seemed to have no idea of what to do about this pesky recession. Congress tried every remedy it knows, ranging all the way from borrowing money from China and spending it on government programs, to borrowing MORE money from China and spending it on government programs. But in the end, all of this stimulus created few actual jobs, and most of those were in the field of tar-ball collecting."
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ha, ha, ha, laugh, chortle, snort, chuckle, laugh, ha, ha, ha.

And the maroons voted for him.

Roll on floor, eyes water from laughter.

Otherwise would have to cry...
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I realize that I have reached the point that I literally care nothing at all about what this ass-clown says. You could not get me to watch a speech by him if you paid me money, and I'm sorry, but I just skimmed the article because I don't want to be told by someone else what he said, because I Don't Care.

To me, this is now nothing more than an ass-clown that will be mentioned occasionally by people I know, just like people mention the Kardashians. I care about as much for what they do, as I care about Obama. I mean of course everything he does will be idiotic, and this country is going to get into more and more trouble; but we were screwed the day that jagoff was elected, so try telling me something I don't already know.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I see the situation with Obama and the “limited and ineffective but key strike on Syria” like this:

Say you’re the mayor of a small town, a city councilman, a county commissioner. And a private firm wants to come build a new business in your municipality. It will involve not only the initial construction jobs but badly needed full time employment for at least 1000 people and may well attract some of the firm’s suppliers to locate to the area as well.

But you turn it down. The company does not hire union workers so the pay might not be as high as you would like. And you don’t like their politics. And environmental groups are protesting the new development. And the project is only a couple of miles from the country club you belong to and the other members are bending your ear about how they don’t like the noise and traffic it will bring. So you turn it down and the project never gets built.

Then one day you are walking from your car to your office and encounter a man with a sign, “Unemployed. Looking for Work. Please Help.”

Now, you had always avoided such people, even suggested that panhandling be outlawed. But it occurs to you that if you had not stopped that new project that man probably would have a job. Whereas before you normally would not give such a beggar anything or perhaps 50 cents if you were feeling generous that day, instead you give him $5.00.

The airstrike on Syria is like $5.00 to the man who you helped prevent from getting a job. Syria was on Bush’s list of countries to be taken down. After Iraq fell he literally turned to Condi and said “Who’s next?” But Obama and the Dems stopped that. Now the blood of 100,000 killed in Syria, as well as the 1,400 killed by the gas, is on their hands; they stand right behind Assad in collecting blame. And they know it, too. The airstrike is their $5.00 worth to the guy on the sidewalk, to help their conscience.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Brilliant.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
As always, the left makes a huge noise about "the needy" but doesn't actually give a rat's a$$ abut them as human beings. Sociopaths are predictable that way.

You are talking about people who define charity as voting for politicians who will take money from their wealthier neighbors and throw it at people who are poor, regardless of why they are poor. That way, their consciences will be clear without actually having to touch or interact with those yucky downtrodden.

No, sob stories abou the downtrodden only serve to generate support for their agenda and the officious attempt to generate guaranteed magic government checks to solve the "problems".



As I said, sociopaths.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was just reading that Civil War General Joshua Chamberlain's re-issued Medal of Honor was found in a book. When the Medal of Honor was redesigned Congress issued him the new version. He kept his old one but wore one or the other.
I wonder what he would think of our present government.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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