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Making sense of Syria

Why would President Obama want to commit U.S. forces, basically to help al Qaeda (with the occasional cannibal among them) in a Syrian civil war? What is the compelling U.S. national interest?

I’ve noticed something odd in the administration’s arguments for attacking Syria. They emphasize that chemical weapons were used, but on the crucial dispute over “who did it”, they offer almost nothing beyond mere assertions. (One example here.) It’s almost as if the administration has not wanted people to stop and think about Syria.

I am still keeping an open mind, that the administration’s version of events in Syria could be true. But, for sake of argument, here are some articles giving reason to question it:

It may be worth considering “who benefits” from Obama attacking Syria. Reports say that Saudi Arabia backs the rebels (although I am not sure why they do, unless it’s part of their complicated dance with Russia over the future of OPEC and world energy). Wouldn’t it be ironic, if the Obama administration is acting at the Saudis’ behest?

But I must admit that Obama has finally done something right, in seeking Congress’ authorization to attack Syria.

I think it would be a great mistake for Congress, and especially for the GOP, to authorize in haste – before the many serious, open questions about Syria have been answered to the public’s satisfaction. I do not agree with Speaker Boehner, yet, on supporting a U.S. attack on Syria.

FROM THE COMMENTS: mixitup reminds us that, actually, Obama himself benefits from his attacking Syria. How? “Benghazi, IRS scandal, NSA scandal, gun running scandal [ed: Fast And Furious], unemployment, sad economy…are off the front pages…”

UPDATE: Michael Synder (the Economic Collapse Blog) suggests that the Syrian crisis could really be about which powers get to build pipelines where, to sell whose natural gas to Europe.

I rejected “pipeline thinking” in debates over the wars of a decade ago (Afghanistan, Iraq) – because U.S. security interests were a good-enough explanation for those wars. Again, Syria in 2013 is different. With U.S., NATO, Israeli and even Saudi security *not* obviously at stake in Syria, one may as well start wondering about other explanations for the crisis.



  1. Well, we can all be comforted that Obama will be meeting with gay rights advocates in Moscow while he on his overseas trip to Sweden and Russia.

    Comment by SC.Swampfox — September 3, 2013 @ 3:18 pm - September 3, 2013

  2. Don’t support getting involved in this mess at all. There has been simply to much of a rush to get us involved. So much so in fact that I’m left wondering if the Administration Knows it was Al’Quida or Moslem Brotherhood linked groups were involved in the gassing and wants to hit Assad’s forces before the rest of the World learns it too. I say Vote No!

    Comment by Catseye — September 3, 2013 @ 3:31 pm - September 3, 2013

  3. A President who favors gun control and, frankly, would like to eliminate guns from the public wants to use weapons to attack another country, unprovoked. Would someone explain to me why this is NOT hypocritical? Regardless of whether you are for or against punishing Syria this is a serious question. I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and answer my own question in a thoughtful and logical way but I can’t come up with anything.

    Comment by Eddie Swaim — September 3, 2013 @ 3:42 pm - September 3, 2013

  4. An interesting article with a different thought on the matter.

    Comment by Juan — September 3, 2013 @ 4:11 pm - September 3, 2013

  5. I am having a very hard time why anyone, anywhere at any time would want to give the boy president, his administration, his wishes and desires on any issue he esposes “the benefit of the doubt.” This has NOTHING to do about being a humanitarian, caring for the dead, Syria, Assad, or crossing his dumb a$$ “red line” and EVERYTHING to do about politics, diversion, and possibly some legacy building.

    Lets see: Benghazi, IRS scandal, NSA scandal, gun running scandal, unemployment, sad economy, FED screw up, and the “kitchen sink” are off the front pages, Sunday shows, and certainly gone from the vapid minds of the uninformed voter.

    Lets see: Republicans vote NO and they become that evil bunch of white men that will not let the Nobel Peace prize winning boy president protect those poor innocent Syrian men, women and children from dying a horrible death. Oh the humanity! Repubs vote YES and the boy president becomes the Great Compromiser President who instantly marginalizes the repubs, takes center stage, and gets to pond his chest like King Kong. HE saved those poor innocent children of Syria!! And, if it blows up in his face, well hell, the republicans made him do it – “not my fault” says the boy president. Benefit of the doubt my a$$!!

    As for legacy, he will shove this down our throats like he did when he led the assault on Osama, shot him dead, carried his body to the waiting helicopter, and buried him at sea. All done between 18 hole rounds on the golf course.

    This boy president deserves zero, zip, nada of a “benefit of the doubt,” and every bit of our disdain, disgust, and disrespect.

    Lastly, everything our boy president has said and done about his pending Syrian actions, as well as those of EVERY member of his administration and staff is monumentally hypocritical to what they all said, did and screamed at Bush in the run up to Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Comment by mixitup — September 3, 2013 @ 4:33 pm - September 3, 2013

  6. While I usually don’t get this pissed-off, but after hearing McCain and Boehner toe’ing (or, is that toadying?) the White House-line, I just spent the last 90-mins. firing off a fluffy of polite e-mails to my Congress-Critters and the Republican leaders and Ranking Members “urging” them to vote “NO”….including Sen. McCain.

    “Embarrassing” Pres. Obama…who puts his feet on the Resolute Desk…is hardly a reason for war, and this-one has the potential to inadvertently become the “Sarajevo Crisis” of the 21st-centry. And a limited bombardment could certainly benefit and aid Al’Qaeda, Hezbollah and Iran’s interests against the Unites States long-term.

    We’ve been selling …and giving them…arms for decades. Let the Arab League do something. The Saudi National Guard can walk there…

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — September 3, 2013 @ 4:38 pm - September 3, 2013

  7. Another possible take on what mixitup lays out at #5, and another commenter in an earlier ‘Syria’ thread posits (that the chemical attacks were launched not by the Assad regime, but by the rebels): has anyone else gotten even the faintest whiff of a potential “Wag the Dog” scenario emerging here?

    I’m not saying that’s what’s going on; I’m suggesting that it’s worth considering.

    Nothing like another war abroad to divert attention from all of the lawlessness at home.

    Comment by Jman1961 — September 3, 2013 @ 5:50 pm - September 3, 2013

  8. “Wag the Dog” scenario…I’m not saying that’s what’s going on; I’m suggesting that it’s worth considering.

    Agree! We could try to say that our philosophy with the Obama administration is “trust, but verify”… except that after F&F and especially Benghazi, they deserve no trust; verify everything they say.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 3, 2013 @ 6:15 pm - September 3, 2013

  9. Regardig the “Wag the Dog” scenario, how’s this for a fun thought? I’ve seen some evidence to suggest that it was the SYRIAN REBELS (read: Islamic extremists) who actually used the chemical weapons to set this whole thing up….and the Urkel regime knew about it and wants to get in there to destroy evidence.…thus, the rush to lob a few missiles in Assad’s direction.

    Do I need to get fitted for a new tinfoil hat now?

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — September 3, 2013 @ 6:53 pm - September 3, 2013

  10. …they deserve no trust; verify everything they say.

    This absolutely true, but it only goes so far (for me).
    Even assuming that it is the Assad regime that’s responsible for the chemical weapons attack, I still don’t support U.S. intervention in Syria.
    Just consider the record of this squad of Keystone Cops:

    1. the botched ‘reset’ with Russia
    2. the crappy treatment of Britain (and I’m not just talking about the return of the bust of Churchill here), as in our withholding support from the Brits regarding the Falklands (which the Halfrican Prince called the “Maldives”…brilliant).
    3. Fast & Furious (as you noted).
    4. Benghazi (as you noted).
    5. More ham-handedness with the Iraq withdrawal (and the execution of those operations once the World’s Most Famous Community Organizer assumed the helm.

    The list could go on for a hell of a lot longer, but I think this brief summary makes the point: these clowns and their travelling Festival of Errors would cufk up a bowl of cold cereal.
    They are utterly and thoroughly incompetent.

    And to each and every clown that cast a vote in 2008 and or 2012 for this pathetic buffoon: Many thanks to each and every one of you SOBs.

    We’re going to be suffering the effects of this human turd for a very long time to come.

    Comment by Jman1961 — September 3, 2013 @ 9:05 pm - September 3, 2013

  11. By way of the Powerline blog: America’s ‘Brain Trust’

    Or as Powerline labels them: Team of Nitwits.

    Don’t you sleep better at night knowing that these refugees from Ringling Brothers Clown College are running the show?

    Comment by Jman1961 — September 3, 2013 @ 11:34 pm - September 3, 2013

  12. That’s what bothers me about this, the Admin seems to think if they scream squirrel loud enough and point we won’t look at what they don’t want us to see. This whole things reeks of the Benghazi distraction all over again.

    Comment by Catseye — September 4, 2013 @ 1:09 am - September 4, 2013

  13. Everyone has made a lot of good points so far. Here’s another thing to throw into the mix. This story has mainly been confined to the fringe websites, but I’ve seen it linked at least twice today, and it certainly has a lot of explanatory power: there are reports out of Egypt that Obama is a secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s the sort of stuff one usually hears on late night radio shows that specialize in conspiracy theories, but it certainly would explain a lot. And with this administration’s track record, there sure is “a lot of ‘splaining to do!”

    Comment by Kurt — September 4, 2013 @ 1:10 am - September 4, 2013

  14. Kurt, his brother is. Huma’s family is. There are brotherhood members in his staff. He’s ripping through the ME, helping get rid of this guy and that guy, and who does he support in their place?
    All the while ripping up our constitution, decimating the military – RoE getting so many of them killed, open borders, selling arms to cartels, leaving men he put in harms way in Benghazi to die, putting a target on the now dead Seal Team 6′ back – you do know, in islam, blood money or a life must be paid for a life taken.

    I’d be surprised if he weren’t Muslim brotherhood. The future does not belong to those who insult the prophet, donchaknow. And the call to prayer is the most beautiful sound…so he says.

    Comment by Annie — September 4, 2013 @ 1:38 am - September 4, 2013

  15. President Trayvon’s posturing during this manufactured “crisis” reminds me a lot of Bubba’s air strikes on Serbia during his impeachment. Neither one knows what they are doing, and imperil people and resources to protect their own hineys.

    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — September 4, 2013 @ 12:16 pm - September 4, 2013

  16. It’s quite simple. Killing civilians with nerve gas is bad. Killing civilians with drone strikes is good.

    Comment by V the K — September 4, 2013 @ 1:23 pm - September 4, 2013

  17. Well, one has to draw a line somewhere….. **snert**

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — September 4, 2013 @ 3:18 pm - September 4, 2013

  18. V the K @ 16, Brilliant observation!

    Comment by Jane Austen — September 4, 2013 @ 11:48 pm - September 4, 2013

  19. Remember, American intervention in Libya was to protect French oil interests there.

    Comment by Juan — September 5, 2013 @ 11:46 am - September 5, 2013

  20. And another thing:

    These Dhimmicrats in Congress are the same morons that called Assad a reformer. Yet now we’re supposed to ally ourselves to al-Qaeda.

    And FYI to Sen. McCain: “Allah Akbar” means “Allah is the Greatest.” It is the call to destroy infidels. It does not mean ‘Thank God’ in Arabic. That would be ‘Alhamdulillah’.

    McCain lied, and these fools on the left believed him.

    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — September 7, 2013 @ 4:45 pm - September 7, 2013

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