Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Never means never

Today, Secretary of State John Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Mr. Chairman, thank you for welcoming Teresa. This is her first public event since early July, so we’re all happy she’s here.” Sure, who doesn’t bring their wife along to watch them try to start a war.

“[The world wants] to know if America will rise to this moment and make a difference.” And by make a difference, I mean make a crater. Well, craters.

“The President and the Administration appreciate that you have returned quickly to the nation’s capital to address it and that you are appropriately beginning a process of focusing with great care and great precision”. Because nothing says great care and great precision like the United States Senate.

Obama is coming to the Senate for a vote because “We are stronger as a nation when we do that.” Sure, remember how strong as a nation the Tonkin Gulf Resolution made us?

“the Assad regime - and only, undeniably, the Assad regime - unleashed an outrageous chemical attack against its own citizens.” There’s that word again.

“Now, some people here and there, amazingly, have questioned the evidence of this assault on conscience. I repeat here again today that only the most willful desire to avoid reality can assert that this did not occur as described or that the regime did not do it.” You can always tell how much someone “welcomes a debate” when they open by being amazed at the willful desire to avoid reality of anyone who questions them.

“Now, I remember Iraq. Secretary Hagel remembers Iraq. General Dempsey especially remembers Iraq.” Also the Alamo. And the Maine.

“our intelligence community has scrubbed and re-scrubbed the evidence.” It just sounds dirty when he says it like that.

“Within minutes of the attack - 90, I think, to be precise, maybe slightly shorter” Well then you’re not being precise, now are you? “the social media exploded with horrific images of the damage that had been caused”. And things that explode in social media have never been wrong, or manufactured. “Those scenes of human chaos and desperation were not contrived. They were real. No one could contrive such a scene.” Says a man who hasn’t seen a new movie in several decades.

He claims Syria kept inspectors out for four days, which is not true. (By the way, did you know that when either side makes a claim of a chemical weapons attack, both sides are required to stop fighting until the UN is done inspecting the area? It’s totally true.)

Over 180 countries joined the Chemical Weapons Convention, he says, without mentioning that Syria isn’t one of them.

“Now, some have tried to suggest that the debate we’re having today is about President Obama’s redline. I could not more forcefully state that is just plain and simply wrong. This debate is about the world’s redline, it’s about humanity’s redline, and it’s a redline that anyone with a conscience ought to draw.” It just sounds dirty when he says it like that.

“the world wonders whether the United States of America will consent, through silence, to standing aside while this kind of brutality is allowed to happen without consequence.” Yes, not bombing Syria is exactly like consent.

“And I think all of you know that history holds nothing but infamy for those criminals” Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it infamy “...and history reserves also very little sympathy for their enablers.” Oh, now not bombing Syria has slipped from consent to active enablement.

“we cannot overlook the impact of chemical weapons and the danger that they pose to a particularly volatile area of the world in which we’ve been deeply invested for years, because we have great friends there, we have allies there, we have deep interests there.” Israel and oil, oil and Israel, Israel and oil.

Oh lord, I am so getting GeeDubya flashbacks now: “but to avoid the creation of a safe haven in Syria or a base of operations for extremists to use these weapons against our friends.”

He calls the authorization for Obama to use whatever military force he wants pretty much wherever and however and for as long as he wants “this very limited request the President has put before you.”

“We need to send to Syria and to the world, to dictators and to terrorists, to allies, and to civilians alike the unmistakable message that when the United States of America and the world say ‘Never again,’ we don’t mean sometimes, we don’t mean somewhere. Never means never.”

“Norms and laws that keep the civilized world civil mean nothing if they’re not enforced.” The civilized world, really, that’s the expression we’re using? Maybe he meant to say that he wanted to keep the civil war civil. Actually, that pretty much is what he’s saying: that the mass slaughter was perfectly acceptable and, to use the word he definitely used, I heard him, “civil,” until someone had to ruin it.

“We all agree there will be no American boots on the ground.” They will be manufactured in China.

“The President has made crystal clear we have no intention of assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war.” So,
“accountability” for Assad, but no responsibility for us. How convenient.

“Some fear a retaliation that leads to a larger conflict. Well, let me put it bluntly: If Assad is arrogant enough, and I would say foolish enough, to retaliate to the consequences of his own criminal activity, the United States and our allies have ample ways to make him regret that decision without going to war.” Um, even if you don’t call it a war (which won’t stop it being a war; ask the people under the bombs we drop whether it’s a war, they’ll be pretty clear on the subject), that is exactly the “ample ways to make him regret decision” is precisely the “larger conflict” he’s reassuring us against.

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1 comment:

Christopher said...

You're doing God's work, but I can't read this, even with commentary.


I mean, he says he remembers Iraq, but he still clearly thinks the fact that the dubya administration made EXACTLY the same claims about Iraq, down to the "The evidence is irrefutable" shouldn't make us skeptical.

Look, yeah, this isn't the same as Iraq, but you could be a little less fucking dismissive.