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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

 

DRUDGE Headlines - with Detail - on Obama's Syrian Fiasco

Fournier: Obama Fumbling, Flip-flopping, Marble-mouthing...
The good news is we're not at war. The bad news is … almost everything else about President Obama's handling of Syria – the fumbling and flip-flopping and marble-mouthing – undercut his credibility, and possibly with it his ability to lead the nation and world.

NOONAN: 'We've never had a presidential speech like this!'
The president has backed away from a military strike in Syria. But he can’t acknowledge this or act as if it is true. He is acting and talking as if he’s coolly, analytically, even warily contemplating the Russian proposal and the Syrian response. The proposal, he must know, is absurd. ...

It will be a White House address in which a president argues for an endeavor he is abandoning. It will be a president appealing for public support for an action he intends not to take.

We’ve never had a presidential speech like that!

Milbank: Massive muddle...
At 9 p.m. Tuesday, President Obama, in his address to the nation, said that he had “asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force.”

This contradicted what his secretary of state, John Kerry, had said in testimony to Congress just 11 hours earlier. “We’re not asking Congress not to vote,” Kerry told the House Armed Services Committee. “I’m not asking [for] delay,” he added later.

Kerry can be forgiven for being at odds with the president. The president, in the space of his 16-minute address, was often at odds with himself. He spent the first 12 minutes arguing for the merits of striking Syria — and then delivered the news that he was putting military action on hold.

He promised that it would be “a limited strike” without troops on the ground or a long air campaign, yet he argued that it was the sort of blow that “no other nation can deliver.” He argued that “we should not be the world’s policeman” while also saying that because of our “belief in freedom and dignity for all people,” we cannot “look the other way.” He asserted that what Bashar al-Assad did is “a danger to our security” while also saying that “the Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military.”

AP: Obama's Syria case still lacks proof...
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama voiced his conviction Tuesday night that Syrian President Bashar Assad was to blame for deadly chemical attacks against civilians, but again he offered no proof.

A look at his remarks to the nation, seeking support for a military strike against Syria, and how they compare with the facts as publicly known:

OBAMA: "We know the Assad regime was responsible. ... The facts cannot be denied."

THE FACTS: The Obama administration has not laid out proof Assad was behind the attack.

The administration has cited satellite imagery and communications intercepts, backed by social media and intelligence reports from sources in Syria, as the basis for blaming the Assad government. But the only evidence the administration has made public is a collection of videos it has verified of the victims. The videos do not demonstrate who launched the attacks.

Administration officials have not shared the satellite imagery they say shows rockets and artillery fire leaving government-held areas and landing in 12 rebel-held neighborhoods outside Damascus where chemical attacks were reported. Nor have they shared transcripts of the Syrian officials allegedly warning units to ready gas masks or discussing how to handle U.N. investigators after it happened.

The White House has declined to explain where it came up with the figure of at least 1,429 dead, including 400 children - a figure far higher than estimates by nongovernmental agencies such as the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has counted only victims identified by name, with a current total of 502. In his remarks, Obama more generally accused Assad's forces of gassing to death "over 1,000 people, including hundreds of children."

RAND PAUL: CALL OFF VOTE...
On Tuesday, as the Obama administration ramped up its lobbying on Capitol Hill, Sen. Rand Paul convened a group of some 30 lawmakers skeptical of a military intervention in Syria. The group -- which included Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) and two dozen others -- discussed different strategies for staving off a military intervention and the desire to call off a vote to authorize military force.

"I think everybody is hopeful that putting the vote on a permanent hold would be the best route forward," Paul said in an interview with The Cable.
Hillary stance raises familiar risks...
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton has been in this spot before.

As a senator in 2002, she endorsed military action in Iraq, a decision that came back to haunt her in her failed White House bid six years later.

Now, the former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential candidate is risking the possibility of a similar political situation in a future campaign with her support of President Barack Obama's call for a U.S.-led military strike in Syria as punishment for the use of chemical weapons.

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