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Obama’s Syrian Adventure: Is ‘Arab Spring’ Fantasy Still in Play?

September 5th, 2013 - 6:45 am

Years ago (many years ago, alas), a business mogul gave a friend of mine who was thinking about quitting his job a piece of advice: “Don’t give up your wet towel until you have a dry one.” Don’t chuck the job you have until you have another lined up. A homely enough piece of wisdom, but pretty good for all that.

The peacock-like display of moral posturing about Syria reminded me of that apothegm. Are you, as my friend Ron Radosh suggested, an “isolationist,” a “Taft Republican” (is that such a bad thing?), as irrelevant as the dodo bird if you doubt the wisdom of Obama’s plan to attack Syria? And are the divisions over this issue, as Ron says, “eerily reminiscent of those at the beginning of the Cold War,” or even the controversy over America’s entry into World War II, with all the good guys on one side and the rancid, dodo-like characters on the other?

I doubt it. If you want a pertinent analogy to the situation that faces us now in Syria, rather than look to World War II or the beginning of the Cold War, you’d do far better to look to the situation that faced us just a year or so back in Libya. John McCain’s and Lindsey Graham’s very good friend Muammar Gaddafi was, no doubt, a very bad guy. So we helped the “freedom fighters” who opposed him, thus (or so we thought) watering the tender shoots of the “Arab Spring.”

That sounds odd now, doesn’t it, the phrase “Arab Spring”? You don’t hear it much anymore, and with good reason. Libya, for example, has descended into “lawlessness and ruins,” thanks in no small part to our meddling. It turned out to be a bad case of Spring Fever, not the beneficent outbreak of freedom and democracy we were all promised.

Actually, that’s a promise — or perhaps “fantasy” is a better word — that we made to ourselves. Any candid look at those “freedom fighters” would have discerned not budding James Madisons, but embryo Osama bin Ladens.

And so it is in Syria. I am deeply hesitant about Obama’s plan — or half-plan, or swaggering non-red line in the sand that he never drew anyway. I am deeply hesitant about the spasmodic lurch Obama is threatening partly because I believe he is a bumbling incompetent who is vastly more likely to make things worse, not better, but also partly because I don’t trust the administration’s narrative about what happened in Syria.

Last month, someone used poison gas outside Damascus. Many people, including many children, died. Question: who used the poison gas?  That great statesman John Kerry says it was Assad. But what if Raymond Ibrahim is right and it wasn’t Assad but the “rebels” who were using chemical weapons? What then?

As Andrew McCarthy has pointed out, al-Qaeda has a long and grisly history of attempting to acquire chemical weapons.

That’s one question: who actually used the poison gas?

And here’s another, which goes back to my friend’s advice about the towel: suppose we depose, or sufficiently weaken so others can depose, John Kerry’s dinner partner Bashar al-Assad. What then? Assad is a thug. No doubt about that. But what about the people who might replace him? What do we think of them?

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Top Rated Comments   
so I guess B.O. is a master of diplomacy because he grew up in Indonesia and had muslim friends?

But if you are speaking of a strike at Syria, and hearing that if you do that Israel is going to be attacked, don't you have to deal with this threat.

If I were sitting in the white house, my comment that an attack on Israel would occur would be met with the statement that any such attack would be met with immediate and massive response.

But tell me again why we should believe this president who by his own words is an unpatriotic, irresponsible person, who when the going gets tough votes present, blames others and runs off to play spades with a buddie.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is simple: or people like me are right (i.e., this administration's plan is simply to destroy America's might) or Obama is a psychotic.
In both cases, we don't seem to have a second party, a real opposition, and this will make very difficult for the checks and balances of the Constitution to work.

Let us pray for our Women and Men in uniform.

51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Agreed, Roger. Following "Obama's Rules" in foreign policy has lead to one disaster after another. Ron Radosh, despite labeling Obama "most incompetent and dangerous chief executive our country has ever had" still thinks we need to follow his lead. He hasn't really thought through the internal contradictions in his own writing. Following an incompetent leader, rather than opposing his incompetent decisions, is the path of foolishness.

It is true that a proper intervention in Syria would be advisable. But Obama has already told us that his intervention would be merely "a shot across the bow", pinpoint, in no way damaging to Assad's abilities to wage war. Following him in this incompetent decision, is the path of foolishness. "No," is the correct response.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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Whatver the bumpf is about Obama's new "decision" on Syria, from experience of his and his troupes behaviours before and since becoming POTUS we should be very cautious in accepting anything he says or plans to do. With or without - as is his habit - approval from Congress.

Even more cautious about Obama's statements than is usual for any pronouncements from poltiicians, even the Clintons, and their minions.

And while unpopular here at PJ Media there remains that as yet unclarified question of his legal, per Constitution of the Constitutional Republic of the USA, qualification to hold the office of POTUS. That "elephant in the room".

That for some strange reason is so fraught for Obama and his supporters they resort to primary school playground tactics of name-calling, ganging up to dismiss the question and questioners as lunatic or right-wing fruitcakes or some other sort of monstrous or satanic aliens. "Birthers" of "that vast right-wing conspiracy"?

DESPITE Obama's Sealing documents - what and why - from the American Public which includes members of Congress and Judiciary. As virtual first act on taking the Chair of Executive of the USA. And expenditure of gazillions in legal fees - from the public purse??? - to protect the documents from the light of public exposure.

Plus that bizarre uploading onto the Internet from the White House a putative birth certificate that on examination by authoritative documents authenticators is considered forgery.

All while holding an office in public trust.

Each and together another of those "nothing to see here events"?

In America in which each member of Congress and Judiciary swears/affirms a freely taken oath to "Uphold and DEFEND the Constitution".

Obama has the public purse at his disposal so useful for influencing votes in Congress and elsewhere.

In addition to strong arm tactics so effective in enactment by Congress and Judiciary of the PPACA - over vociferous objection from masses of American citizens

It is possible, probable, that he shall get the requisite approval from Congress. With John Boehner as Speaker and representative of the Party of the Opposition it's a foregone conclusion.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
as Hazel said I didnt know that anybody able to earn $6650 in a few weeks on the computer. see here
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51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who used the poison gas? Who's going to use nerve gas on the U.S. once they get their hands on it?
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Time for him to return to Cairo and make another speech.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
If both Obama and his lackeys and we the public both learn of irrefutable evidence that the Syrian rebels or Iran or some other party used poison gas, would Obama, Kerry, McCain, et alii be so keen to attack them? Or is it just Assad they want to attack?
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
"(Obama's) Islamophilic rhetoric, from his notorious Cairo speech of 2009, right down to his handling of the Ft. Hood massacre, the so-called “Arab Spring,” the Boston bombings, and the multifarious State Department initiatives to stamp out the fantasy sin of “Islamophobia,” have left him weak, confused, and belligerently impotent."

And don't forget Barack Obama lying for 2 solid weeks on the cause of and inspiration for Benghazi, up to and including his big speech at the UN on September 25.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama, Kerry and McCain: The Axis of Seniles.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
We must remember that Assad is a Baathist, a "benevolent" Islamist. Surely, he ruled with an iron hand, acquired a vast fortune, and treated his citizens like serfs.

OTOH, his rule provided a stable Syria, much like the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have done. This is a religious issue, that the US cannot forget. Western democracy is incompatible with Islam and the teachings in the Koran.

We cannot condone the blood on the hands of the Islamists, but we cannot in our lifetimes change Islam into western democracy. The one billion adherents to Islam on earth are accustomed to being serfs; they will never rise up in large against their overlords. The hard line rebels in Syria, if they take over Syria, will institute government far worse that has the Baathist Assad, yet it will be their version of Islam that will control.

Islam is what it is, "benevolent" or not. The west cannot change the fundamentals of Islamic governance with bombs or troops. The religious power of eighth century Mohammed overrides everything political. The only "cure" for Islam in the west is isolation and letting the Islamist do what they do best in the name of Mohammed.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
A Baathist is an Arab nationalist. Not an Islamist, although I don't think in practice there is as clear a seperation as you might think. Saddam Hussain, for example, was a Baathist and Arab nationalist, yet under his rule Iraq became increasingly Islamic. I think it was a result of a change in the culture, even dictators have to obey the cultural norms to some extent. In any case, Assad is more likely to respond to rational foreign policy then any Islamist who replaces him.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
He ONLY became Islamic after the 1991 Gulf War.

He went so far as to allow the king of KSA to establish Wahhabist mosques in Iraq. They had been prohibited. (Most Islamic nations prohibit Wahhabism. It's deviant; sort of a Nazi version of Islam -- with overtones of racial and tribal supremacy -- with Saudis at the extreme apex, naturally.)

51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
You lost me at "who used the poison gas?"

Do you really expect me to seriously consider that al Qaeda, which has been trying to get WMD for years, got their hands on some - but instead of using it for terror against the West, smuggled it at great risk into the Syrian war zone to use it on their own supporters, just to make Assad look bad?

Alex Jones called, he has an opening at

It is a false dichotomy that if we strike, Assad must fall and al Qaeda types take over. We can hurt him badly without deposing him. There are three choices: the very bad idea of regime change, strikes to weaken Assad and level the battlefield again, and the very bad idea to do nothing to the regime that more or less openly used WMD.

I'm sorry so many of my formerly conservative friends have decided to become Code Pink hippies but, as an act of friendship, I'll send you all some feminine deoderant spray.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Sarin has been acquired LOCALLY from Assad's inventories.

Turkey insists that al Nusra/ AQ has already used Sarin and other nasties in false flag attacks going back a number of months.

For al Nusra, the battle against the near enemy takes priority over the far enemy.

If they actually sweep the board -- they'll have more than enough extra Sarin so supply their 'export needs.'

51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
"His Islamophilic rhetoric, from his notorious Cairo speech of 2009, right down to his handling of the Ft. Hood massacre, the so-called “Arab Spring,” the Boston bombings, and the multifarious State Department initiatives to stamp out the fantasy sin of “Islamophobia,” have left him weak, confused, and belligerently impotent."


I'm sorry for perhaps being a bit thick...but, what was our reasoning behind all the lies in Benghazi?

I apologize for my lack of insight...but, what does it mean to be "just muscular enough"?

Please pardon my lack of understanding...but, if our agenda is NOT to give the Muslim Brotherhood all the power slots....why are ALL the leftists rooting for them?

Far be it from me to connect these dots and make a case that this fumbling Inspector Clouseau act puts all the corner pieces together better than any other theory I can come up with.

This administration may have indeed picked a side.

Ali Abunimah and Rashid Khalidi may be proud. Because we have wiped out all the opposition, in every way we could...and blamed some shnook on YouTube....when we weren't whispering that it was "those damned Jews" in the closed meetings in the Green Room.

Sorry...let me unconnect those dots...and unring the bells in Cairo, Benghazi and in the pews of Jeremiah Wright's church at the dinners with Rashid Khalidi and in the tape held hostage by the LA Times.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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