Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks

Obama addressed the nation on Syria.

UM, IRAN? “My fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk to you about Syria, why it matters and where we go from here.”

“But I have resisted calls for military action because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force”. Now he tells us.

“Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them.” Nothing disqualifies you from intervening in the affairs of a Third World country so quickly as using a phrase like “the civilized world.”

“On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons”. Then he mentioned gas attacks in World War I (noting that American GIs were exposed to it but neglecting to add that the United States also used chemical weapons in that war) and the Nazis’ use of it in the Holocaust (but not the execution of nearly 600 people in US gas chambers, most recently in 1999).

“When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory.” In democracies, we just wait until a new president says we need to look forward, not backward.

He did the slippery slope thing: if we don’t bomb Syria, Syria will keep using chemical weapons, then other tyrants will, then they’ll use them on our troops, then terrorist groups will get them, then George Zimmerman. Then they’ll be used against Israel, because everything is about Israel. Then everyone will acquire other prohibited WMDs and Iran will build nukes, and we’re back to Israel. Smoking gun in the shape of a mushroom cloud.

“After all, I’ve spent four and a half years working to end wars, not to start them.” It’s nice of Obama to remind us, as he’s starting another war, that he’s taken longer “working to end wars” than it took to fight entire world wars.

He reassures us that this won’t be “an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan” or “a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo,” even though the authorization he sent to Congress included no such limitations. Funny, that.

“Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks.” Is the military’s inability to do anything that isn’t violently destructive on a large scale something to brag about?

“Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver.” Er, why no other nation?

“I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force. We learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next.” Bombing without responsibility is so much more fun.

“It’s true that some of Assad’s opponents are extremists. But al-Qaida will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death.” Can’t say I see the logic here.

“And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with a failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.” So his argument is that if you have a large military, it’s just silly not to crush a few small countries from time? We really do have to switch the name of the DOD back to War Department.

“To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.” Bombing for freedom and dignity, what leftie couldn’t get behind that?

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