Two pieces today really bring home the incoherence of President Obama’s Syria… “policy,” I suppose is one word for it. Maybe you can think of a better one. But first up, Lee Smith at The Weekly Standard writes about the White House promise to arm the rebels:
However, there are other administration officials who tell the press that the White House is not going to send weapons to the opposition. Josh Rogin at the Daily Beast writes that his source “says that lethal arms are not part of the new items Obama has now authorized.” “The president,” says this official, “has made a decision to provide the Syrian opposition with military items that can increase their effectiveness on the ground, but at this point it does not include things like guns and bullets.”
So is the White House arming the rebels or not? There’s been confusion since Thursday afternoon when Sen. John McCain said on the Senate floor that Obama “will announce that we will be assisting the Syrian rebels by providing them with weapons and other assistance. I applaud the president’s decision.” Shortly after, McCain retracted his remarks, explaining that “the president has not made the final decision on arming.” Afterward, McCain’s spokesman, Josh Rogin reported, said the senator had been told by reliable sources that Obama was planning to arm the rebels.
A White House conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon hardly clarified matters. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes was asked several times whether the White House intended to arm the rebels, or if it was just going to provide more of the direct non-lethal military assistance (like vehicles and night-vision goggles) that was promised in April but still hasn’t reached the Syrian Military Council. “I can’t go through an inventory of the type of assistance that we’re going to provide,” said Rhodes.
Got that? We may or may not be supplying the rebels with items we can’t inventory.
Over at The American Spectator, Jed Babbin calls it “a farce.” Read:
What the Times — the most faithful chronicler of liberalism — describes is the most desultory, most pointless and least compelling case for a war in American history.
Any case for Obama’s action would have to answer a few basic questions. What are we trying to accomplish? In other words, what is the outcome we desire and how will Obama’s decision produce it for us?
It’s impossible to say what outcome we seek because the president is evidently writing off any prospect of affecting the outcome. Which probably doesn’t matter much because the Syrian rebellion is about nothing more than which bunch of terrorists rules that country for the foreseeable future.
Babbin concludes that Obama can’t even wag the dog properly — and I’m so frustrated here that I won’t even add the obligatory “Obama eats dog” joke.
Right now, our President is in Belfast for the big G-8 conference, where Bloomberg reports that he is sounding out our allies on “how far to go to intervene” in Syria.
Would you put your country’s blood our treasure on the line for a “leader” so confused and feckless?