Well, Obama has been taken through the wringer. Public opinion is overwhelmingly against him on Syria, and his “not MY red line” remark, along with Joe Wilson’s “you lie” interjection, is one of those phrases that will permanently define his reputation. I see little chance at present for a Congressional authorization for using force against Assad.
Here at pomocon, our James Ceaser called for authorization for the sake of preserving executive flexibility and stature in general, and in 100-plus commenter invasion, was shouted down loudly, and more quietly and tentatively opposed by yours truly, not to mention by the esteemed William Voegeli, too.
Even the Pope speaks against a strike against Syria, and Peggy Noonan has collected all the signs of varied opposition into one satisfying Obama-is-a-very-poor-leader and Washington-is-utterly-out-of-touch column.
I won’t deny that the more Obama’s incompetence is exposed, the better I feel. I think seeing it as vividly as possible is a very necessary lesson for those many (so far, always at least 42%) Americans who, to our appalled disbelief, still tell pollsters they approve of his performance.
But one of those neo-cons that Spengler loves to denounce, Reuel Marc Gerecht, reminds us anti-authorizers in our moment of Obama-humiliated satisfaction of a horrifying likelihood:
Only one thing is crystal clear: Assad used chemical weapons because he needed to. They are the ideal terror weapon for a regime with limited manpower fighting a rebellious population. …bombs, bullets, and artillery shells haven’t quieted the opposition, which in some places (including the suburbs of Damascus) is still gaining ground. Chemical weapons could well do the trick. Terror weapons accomplish a lot with a little, and chemical weapons offer the possibility of graduated escalation—also ideal if a dictator is feeling out the resolve of outraged Westerners. The odds are excellent that Assad will use these weapons again and again until the opposition cracks.
So my fellow anti-authorizers, what will our argument be when this occurs? How many more chemical attacks can we take before we cave to Obama? And how many can he take before he caves to those, perhaps like our Pete, and definitely like Gerecht, who are seeking a much more sustained and robust attack than his envisioned “shot across the bow.”
I’m guessing one.