Red Line Rewrite

Bill Neinast

Harry Truman, where are you when we need you?  Please open the gates to let the bucks into the White House.

As mentioned here previously, a buck has not been seen in the Oval Office since Barak Obama took up residence there.  The last one seen wandering in that direction has been permanently barred from the premises.

As difficult as it is for me, I must admit that I was mistaken last week.  The President is not in his normal dither mode over Syria.  He was as resolute as one could be when he locked the door against the buck Friday night.

The Syrian buck is now, without question, on the Congressional table.  The President cannot lose.  

If Congress vetoes the use of military force of any kind in Syria, the President’s response will be, “I really wanted to teach Assad a lesson, but Congress would not let me.”

If Congress gives a green light, and the U.S. military action turns into a fiasco of some sort, the White House will lament, “We really did not want to intervene in another country’s problem, but Congress told me I had to.  It’s Congress’ fault.”

If, however, U.S. military intervention results in no U.S. casualties and has a dramatic effect like bringing Assad to the negotiating table, President Obama will appear on national TV and smilingly announce, “I saved thousands of Syrian children from agonizing deaths.  I forced Assad to give up his store of illegal chemical weapons. I looked into the eyes of evil and forced them shut.  I have restored the U.S. to it’s rightful position as moral leader of the world.   I, as Commander in Chief, could have done this on my own, but I wanted the approval and backing of my people so I asked for Congressional support.  I got that support through my astute ability to lay the facts, and nothing but the facts, before the American people.  I will now resume my tour of the world’s capitols to enlighten the rest of mankind about America’s greatness.”

As he could not think of another way to claim credit with a sentence opening with the personal pronoun, he grinned all the way back to the Oval Office satisfied that he had easily and brilliantly avoided the buck again.

As these words were written Sunday evening, neither chamber of Congress had voted on a resolution to authorize the President to move in Syria.  At that time, cautious gamblers would not have risked a bet on whether Congress would give its approval for military action.

If the people’s voice is heard, Congress will deny the President’s request that it take the blame for sending troops into harms way.  Obama can then blame the whole country for not letting him be the new savior of the world.

If the Congress, however, falls prey to the spurious arguments of the President and Secretary of State John Kerry, authority may be given for some type of limited action against Syria.


Kerry and various White House spokespersons are arguing that a few airstrikes would cause so much damage that Assad would give up or secure his chemical weapons.

Do those people look at even the limited TV coverage of the civil war in Syria?  Buildings and humans are being destroyed with regular bombs, artillery, and mortars every day.  The cost of repairing the damage already inflicted is estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars.  Will a few more bombs really make a difference in Assad’s worries?

What a mistake it would be to launch a few U.S. missiles into the internal conflict.

So here’s the perspective.

The forces trying to overthrow Assad include members of al Qaeda and other jihadists who are sworn enemies of us and Israel.  

Whichever side wins this civil war in Syria will own a cache of chemical weapons.  

Assad has already used those weapons.  There is no reason to believe that, regardless of international prohibitions, al Qaeda and jihadists would not use them if they gain control.

There is, therefore, no benefit for any U.S. military intervention.  The man on the street realized this long before it dawned on either Obama or Kerry.

Unfortunately, Obama had already stuck his foot in his mouth before he realized that he had talked himself into a corner by drawing a red line. Once again, however, his excellent training as a Chicago politician provided a life or face saver.

He punted the ball to Congress and said, “Here, take the blame.  Remember, though, if everything comes out smelling like roses, I and only I get the credit.” 

What a man!


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