Obama’s Utterly Incoherent Syria Strategy

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Obama pitched war to a war-weary America, and all he got back was a yawn.

Tonight’s speech was touted as the most important of his life. I doubt many will remember in 3 years.

“I have asked Congress to find something else to do for a couple of weeks,” seemed to be the theme. Or “there’s something wrong with you people for wanting to bomb a Middle East country. I mean, they’re Muslims for God’s sake.”

But having made my decision as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I’m also mindful that I’m the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.

So, only a madman could watch the YouTube videos from Syria and fail to throw bombs at Assad. While I’m no madman, I’m going to let Putin deal with this.

Seriously? This guy makes Jimmy Carter look like Tony Soprano.

And he made no attempt, really, to demonstrate that Syria’s civil war threatens American lives or interests.

I’ve told you what I believe, that our security and our values demand that we cannot turn away from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons.

Countless? I thought the number 1,451. Unless you ask anyone other than the US war machine. The UK, France, and the UN put the number closer to 500. (So maybe instead of “countless,” he meant “disputed.”)

But what about that justification? At least Bush made the argument that Saddam had violated numerous UN directives that Iraq had signed and threatened his neighbors. Obama’s only justification for war in Syria is value-perturbation.

Yes, Bashar al Assad is an evil bastard, as are many (most?) of the forces fighting to topple his government. Yes, we want to contain and eliminate chemical weapons. But war is a serious things, and once you lob a rocket—or shoot an Archduke—there’s no telling where things will go.

So . . .

This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground.

You really can’t say that.  As I wrote earlier, bombs influence behavior of the target, and not always the way you want. The Japanese expected the USA to fold after Pearl Harbor. That didn’t happen.

Where does that leave us? I’m not sure, and neither is Obama or his Secretary of State. Boehner seems happy to go back into a fetal position over the continuing resolution.

On his speech, though, we know the score. Unless his goal was to just get it over with, he failed.

Eric Cantor and the Trojan Rabbit

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Eric Cantor’s latest tactic in the battle to defund Obamacare reminds me of the Trojan Rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.


According to Business Insider’s Josh Barro:

It’s a strategy predicated on the idea that Republican activists are stupid. Many of them are stupid. But they’re not stupid enough to fall for this.

(Barro is hard-left, btw.)

From what I can gather, Cantor intends to pass two continuing resolutions out of the House. One funds Obamacare along with some other cuts and increases. The other doesn’t.

House Republican leadership hopes the Senate will screw up and pass the wrong one, defunding Obamacare without a shutdown.

Not really. House leadership actually hopes the Senate passes the bill that funds Obamacare because it also funds some Republican favorites.

I have to give the GOP leaders credit for courage. They’re begging for really nasty primary fights next year.

Meanwhile, over on twitter, Rep. Ann Wagner’s spokesperson is arguing nonsense.

Here’s what Heritage Action for America has to say about that:

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), “will incur substantial administrative costs to implement the law’s private insurance reforms and its changes to the federal health care programs.” And while Obamacare provided $1 billion in mandatory funding when it was first enacted, HHS projects that this is largely spent. According to CRS, Obamacare’s, “administrative costs will have to be funded through annual discretionary appropriations.”

Furthermore, discretionary spending bills routinely contain provisions making changes to mandatory spending, and there is no reason that the CR could not have. Unfortunately, the House-passed CR contained no specific language precluding HHS and IRS from funding implementation, and as a result, implementation will go forward.

House leaders don’t want to fight. They want to pass the buck, as Patrick Howell admits:

In other words, “give up.” Stop calling Ann Wagner’s office. Call Roy Blunt, instead.

I’m all for calling Blunt, but Patrick’s tweets do not demonstrate leadership; they perpetuate finger-pointing.