I agree with the premise of Miles Copeland's recent piece in the Copeland Chronicles, "Death and Rubble"
, especially as concerns Syria, but to a much lesser degree as regards Iraq. I'm sure the Kuwaitis and the Kurds were pleased to see Saddam go, and he was by far more despotic than the Assads, although they all were. Assad poses no threat to the oil supply while Saddam did, and he proved it with his invasion of Kuwait. There was no choice then but to take drastic action against him. That we did not drive all the way to Baghdad and depose him in 1991, I think, was in large part due to some realpolitik on the part of the first Bush administration, i.e. he served as a counterbalance to Iran. Then there are a few other inconvenient facts: Saddam killed thousands with chemical weapons (5,000 in a single day in 1988, and at least 50,000 killed overall), he used chemical weapons against Iran, and he attempted to assassinate George H.W. Bush. Our ultimate failure in Iraq now will only strengthen Iran.
The ad hominem attack on McCain is gratuitous, however, and lends no weight to the argument. McCain is a lot of things, but he ain't senile. I think McCain is a bit of a jerk and totally wrong on Syria while Copeland's analysis is largely correct and in line with my own (though I am no expert on the MENA).
And why is it that Copeland just can't help himself when it comes to attacking Republicans when it is actually OBAMA'S foreign policy that he should be attacking. The disasters in Libya, Egypt, and now Syria (not to mention snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq) were all on Obama's watch. But now to attempt to put the onus on Republicans is standard progressive fair: "Admit nothing, deny everything, make counter-accusations."
"Super smart" to turn the decision on Syria over to Congress? On the eve of his travel to the G-20 in Moscow and while Congress debates the Syria question, our president (past-master of voting "present" to avoid taking a position) met with his POLITICAL advisers. Columnist Harold Meyerson in yesterday's 'Washington Post' had the temerity to say that Obama's punt to Congress means that "with Syria, GOP actually have to govern." This is astonishing chutzpah given the fact that Obama's move is designed to relieve him of the responsibility to govern and lead. The president does not require the approval of Congress to take action in Syria, however misguided that action might be. But his every move includes a political calculation intended to distance himself from the consequences of his own policies and decisions.
More hilarity ensued recently in Stockholm. Congress apparently was not of sufficient gravitas to lift the burden from Obama's insubstantial shoulders. Now the line is, "I didn't draw a red line, the world did." Wow, how long did it take his political spinners to come up with that whopper? Obama's final act is turning into a dark comedy.
At the press conference In Stockholm a few days ago Obama made a very cogent argument for a strike on Syria. I don't agree with him, but if he is so convinced and has the authority, he should show the courage of his convictions instead of playing political games.