What is truly strange about Obama Inc’s reaction to the allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria is the sheer fumbling incompetence of it. If you didn’t know better, you might assume that the minions of the administration had no idea that this day would come and had no reaction planned for it.
Once Obama had laid out his red line, his people had months and months to come up with a fallback strategy. The team that can spin anything from his mentor screaming hate for America after September 11 to class warfare from a crony capitalist regime seems to be completely inept when dealing with real world problems.
After fumbling for a week, Obama has given one of his patented “smart” responses which says nothing of any relevance whatsoever while acknowledging how “complex” the issue is.
“My job is to constantly measure our very real and legitimate humanitarian and national security interests in Syria, but measuring those against my bottom line, which is what is the best interest of America’s security,” Obama said at the White House.
He added: “I think we have both a moral obligation and a national security interest in both a) ending the slaughter in Syria and b) ensuring a stable Syria.”
Obama pointed to past intelligence failures suggesting Iraq had developed weapons of mass destruction.
“It didn’t work out that well,” Obama said.
“I don’t make decisions based on ‘perceived’ and I can’t organize international coalitions around ‘perceived.’”
But a coalition in Libya had formed around the perceived threat of a future massacre in Benghazi without any WMD being involved. And Libya would be a much better example considering that it was Obama’s war in defense of an Arab Spring civil war that proved disastrous. But Obama predictably defaults to the Bush era while denying that his Libyan War was even a war.
Like in Libya, Obama is invoking humanitarianism as a principle of national interest. This point is debatable at best. Obama isn’t entirely retreating from that point, but he selectively demands a higher standard of proof in Syria, when he didn’t demand any standard of proof whatsoever in Libya.
The issue isn’t really civilian casualties. It’s a series of political calculations that have nothing to do with whether Syria uses WMDs or not.