With rousing rhetoric evoking the goose-bump inducing eloquence of Henry V's St. Crispin's Day speech, as he strapped on his armor, and rose upon his mount, he belted out,
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
The presumed Assad gas attack,
presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.
In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted.
Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground. Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. But I’m confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out.Why does the death by gas of over 1000 Syrians present "a serious danger to our national security?" The death of some 100,000 Syrians before that didn't seem to pose a threat, how is this different? Well, because it threatens "our friends and partners." I see. None of those threatened--Israel is a special case--seems willing to join us in punishing Assad. How does Assad's putative use of chemical weapons "lead to an escalating use of chemical weapons?" By whom? Israel, Turkey, Cyprus? "Proliferation to terrorist groups?" Presumably Assad has had these weapons for years, why would he now use them, AND give them to terrorist groups? Which terrorist groups? Why hasn't he done that before? Now, before anybody goes ballistic here, I can think of some answers to these questions, but why doesn't the President provide them?
OK, we are going to take "military action against Syrian regime targets. . . . This would not be an open-ended intervention . . . [no] boots on the ground . . . limited in duration and scope." I see. So we have just told Assad that the whole thing won't be too bad, not too long, and might come after Congress debates it. So Assad is just going to sit there? I will bet anything those chem weapon labs are being emptied and scattered around the countryside, and air defenses are being strengthened.
If you are going to do a limited, "warning shot across the bow" sort of operation you do it in the middle of the night, no warning. The "warning" comes the next day, when you tell the miscreant, that the attack was the warning and is just a taste of what is to come. Will it work? Maybe. It didn't work when Clinton launched his 23 cruise missiles against some empty Iraqi government buildings. It did work, for a bit, when Reagan hit Qaddafi after the Berlin disco bombing.
More important, if this crisis gets complicated, who trusts Obama and Kerry to be resolute leaders? Nobody. Is there any doubt that Obama would cut and run?
This is rank amateurism. Obama has no idea what to do, so he punts. He has kicked the ball to Congress, hasn't called them back to the game, just told them you guys debate it, and let me know. Oh, and, of course, this is more important than defunding Obamacare, investigating Benghazi, looking into the IRS or Fast and Furious. No hurry. We can leave our ships out there for months if need be. Joe, let's head for the links!