NYT: Obama retreating on “red line” for Syrian chemical weapons

posted at 9:41 am on December 7, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

In the summer of 2012, Barack Obama talked tough about “red lines” for Syria and the regime’s chemical weapons.  In a rare press conference on August 20th, the President warned Bashar Assad that the US was prepared to act if Assad began to move his chemical weapons as a precursor to their use, emphasis mine:

I have, at this point, not ordered military engagement in the situation.  But the point that you made about chemical and biological weapons is critical.  That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria; it concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel.  It concerns us.  We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.  That would change my calculus.  That would change my equation.

Almost four months later, the New York Times reports that the equation has changed, all right … but not in the direction Obama threatened.  Instead, the “red line” has moved backwards, apparently to negate the threat of military action before the use of chemical weapons by Assad in the Syrian civil war:

When President Obama first warned Syria’s leader, President Bashar al-Assad, that even making moves toward using chemical weapons would cross a “red line” that might force the United States to drop its reluctance to intervene in the country’s civil war, Mr. Obama took an expansive view of where he drew that boundary.

“We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people,” he said at an Aug. 20 news conference. He added: “A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus.”

But in the past week, amid intelligence reports that some precursor chemicals have been mixed for possible use as weapons, Mr. Obama’s “red line” appears to have shifted. His warning against “moving” weapons has disappeared from his public pronouncements, as well as those of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The new warning is that if Mr. Assad makes use of those weapons, presumably against his own people or his neighbors, he will face unspecified consequences.

When the White House was asked about this significant change, they claimed that there was no change.  They offered a Clintonian explanation instead:

The White House says the president has not changed his position at all — it is all in the definition of the word “moving.”

Tommy Vietor, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said Thursday that “ ‘moving around’ means proliferation,” as in allowing extremist groups like Hezbollah, which has training camps near the weapons sites, to obtain the material.

The NYT’s sources admit that Obama overshot the mark in August, though, and had to retreat on his “red line”:

But for Mr. Obama, the change in wording reflects the difficult politics and logistics of acting pre-emptively against Mr. Assad. No American president has talked more about the need to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction, and to lock down existing stockpiles. And no president has insisted more publicly that this is a time for the United States to exit wars in the Middle East, not enter new ones.

“We’re kind of boxed in,” an administration official said this week as intelligence agencies in the United States and its allies were trying to figure out the worrisome activity at one or two of the three dozen sites where Syria’s chemical weapons are stockpiled. “There’s an issue of presidential credibility here,” the official said. “But our options are quite limited.”

The chief limitation, American and Israeli officials say, is that chemical weapons sites cannot be safely bombed. “That could create the exact situation we are trying to avoid,” said one senior American military official, who like several others interviewed would speak only on the condition of anonymity.

The Israelis disagree, and have their own contingencies for taking out the chemical weapons before Hezbollah gets their hands on them.  “We’re willing to do it,” an Israeli official told the NYT, “probably more willing than the Americans.”

That’s the problem with setting “red lines” publicly.  If you are not willing to take action, your credibility at that point is destroyed.  That’s why it is important to understand the situation and your own capabilities before setting those red lines, especially in public speeches.  Essentially, it makes Obama look as though he was bluffing, either deliberately or through ignorance, and neither makes the US look especially strong now.

Fortunately, there may be better news on the diplomatic front.  Russia, Assad’s key ally in the UN, may finally be throwing in the towel on his regime:

Russia’s top diplomat held a hurried private discussion Thursday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the U.N. envoy for Syria about the 20-month-old civil war in the country that is Russia’s closest Middle East ally.

The meeting is a sign that Russia may be reconsidering support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, purely as a practical response to his weakening military position. Until now, Russia has rejected U.S. and other calls to abandon Assad and has appeared to think that he can defeat the rebels and keep his government intact.

Russia has been the chief international defender of Assad’s regime, a military and trade partner, and the main obstacle to tougher U.N. action to pressure him to end the war and step aside. No decisions emerged from Thursday’s three-way discussion, but a State Department official said the talks had been constructive. Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, said the group was seeking a “creative” solution to the Syria crisis.

The meeting came amid fresh concerns that a desperate Assad might resort to using chemical weapons against the rebels or civilians. Clinton would not directly address reports that Assad’s army has prepared deadly sarin gas for delivery by missile.

The best creative solution might be an extraction of Assad and his clique from Damascus as soon as possible, and an international force to remain in place to allow for a peaceful transition to democracy.  A sudden departure followed by a power vacuum will produce a Hezbollah-run state, just as the same kind of power vacuum created the situations we currently face in Libya and Egypt.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Gird your loins.

mwbri on December 7, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Tens of thousands of died Syrians would certainly be a distraction from the fiscal cliff kabuki theater.

mwbri on December 7, 2012 at 9:43 AM

If I didn’t know better I would say the words Bark used in the summer before an election were meant to portray him as a tough guy CinC rather than the too-large flight jacket wearing dork he really is.

Bishop on December 7, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Mark my words. Syria will gas its own people and the filthy rat-eared wonder will do nothing. Trolls like Dante will celebrate.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Preemption is not in Obama’s vocabulary.

change is for suckers on December 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

If I didn’t know better I would say the words Bark used in the summer before an election were meant to portray him as a tough guy CinC rather than the too-large flight jacket wearing dork he really is.

Bishop on December 7, 2012 at 9:46 AM

The flight jacket wasn’t too large. The bastard wearing it was too small.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Bishop on December 7, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Sadly, you are right, Bishop.

mwbri on December 7, 2012 at 9:49 AM

So you think the third time is the charm? I think Obama is a slow learner. Will Putin be wearing a shirt when pulls Obama’s butt out of the fire?

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Hey, where are all the trolls acknowledging Obama’s ownership of this debacle?

Galt2009 on December 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Mark my words. Syria will gas its own people and the filthy rat-eared wonder will do nothing. Trolls like Dante will celebrate.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 9:46 AM

I will celebrate, too. Why should I see a bunch of camel jockeys killing another bunch of camel jockeys as a problem?

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Expiration dates

Creditability ok in the lsm eyes so all us well

cmsinaz on December 7, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Will Putin be wearing a shirt when pulls Obama’s butt out of the fire?

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2012 at 9:49 AM

You mean, like he did in 2008 and 2012?

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 9:52 AM

I am puzzled that nobody is talking about the more-likely target of Syrian chemical weapons, Israel. Perhaps that is why Teh SCOAMF moved the red line.

Steve Eggleston on December 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Hey, where are all the trolls acknowledging Obama’s ownership of this debacle?

Galt2009 on December 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Building giant paper-mache Barky heads in preparation to march on D.C. in massive anti-war demonstrations.

-_-

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I crack myself up.

Bishop on December 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM

The chief limitation, American and Israeli officials say, is that chemical weapons sites cannot be safely bombed. “That could create the exact situation we are trying to avoid,” said one senior American military official, who like several others interviewed would speak only on the condition of anonymity.

Thermobaric bombs could probably do wonders, given that fire is what was used to dispose of the American chemical weapon supply.

Steve Eggleston on December 7, 2012 at 9:55 AM

The best creative solution might be an extraction of Assad and his clique from Damascus as soon as possible, and an international force to remain in place to allow for a peaceful transition to democracy.

Ahhhh ha ha ha ha ha ha. Cut it out, Ed. You’re killin’ me.

“International force to remain in place” and “a peaceful transition to democracy” in the same sentence? Yeah, that’ll work. Blue hats?

And howcum the bad guys can do this stuff almost effortlessly while we suck so badly at it?

bofh on December 7, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Was that Putin or Medvedev? I guess even if it was Medvedev it was Putin.

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Obama is all hat and no cows.

wildcat72 on December 7, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Building giant paper-mache Barky heads in preparation to march on D.C. in massive anti-war demonstrations.

Bishop on December 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM

What happened to the idea as coming to these events as your favorite va-jay-jay?

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

I’m gonna count to three little mister if don’t stop. One….Two…Two and quarter….Two and a half……

vcferlita on December 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Steve Eggleston on December 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Is that possible? I would think Obama would be hiding under his bed if he thought that was a possibility.

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Was that Putin or Medvedev? I guess even if it was Medvedev it was Putin.

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2012 at 9:56 AM

I don’t really know which of the two gets to authorize foreign money transfers.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Where (as in from what country) did these chemical weapons come from? I could guess …….. but I must be wrong ……..

darlus on December 7, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Bishop on December 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Those paper-mache heads are for the alters Bishop.

Lord and saviour and all that… :-/

Gatsu on December 7, 2012 at 10:00 AM

What happened to the idea as coming to these events as your favorite va-jay-jay?

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

The weather is too cold to wear wet costume.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:00 AM

I will celebrate, too. Why should I see a bunch of camel jockeys killing another bunch of camel jockeys as a problem?

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Because, like it or not, regional stability is in OUR national interests. It is a fact that seems incomprehensible to low-intelligence idiots like Dante who advocate isolationism (dressed up as non intervention) and other utterly stupid ideas. If you want to be associated with such morons, then all the best to ya.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM

I heard on the news yesterday that Assad was checking out retirement places in South American. I wonder why there?

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Those paper-mache heads are for the alters Bishop.

Lord and saviour and all that… :-/

Gatsu on December 7, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Why do the altars have baskets at one end and an axe leaning against them?

Bishop on December 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM

I heard on the news yesterday that Assad was checking out retirement places in South American. I wonder why there?

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM

No extradition treaties.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Is that possible? I would think Obama would be hiding under his bed if he thought that was a possibility.

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Quite. Under this line of thinking, if Assad thought it was all over, he would strike against Israel as a last-ditch unifying effort, not caring that Israel would nuke Damascus off the map.

Steve Eggleston on December 7, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Obama is all hat and no cows.

wildcat72 on December 7, 2012 at 9:57 AM

And it isn’t even his hat!

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:03 AM

I think it is sick regardless if it is Arabs who are the victims of genocide, but who really thinks that the dominoes stop with Assad gassing his own people? What about Jihadis coming to power in the region, what about attacking Israel in a desperate attempt to keep power, and what is Iran hoping to do in the midst of this?

mwbri on December 7, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Hey, where are all the trolls acknowledging Obama’s ownership of this debacle?

Galt2009 on December 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Building giant paper-mache Barky heads in preparation to march on D.C. in massive anti-war demonstrations.

-_-

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I crack myself up.

Bishop on December 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM

+ : -) 1000

Galt2009 on December 7, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Because, like it or not, regional stability is in OUR national interests. It is a fact that seems incomprehensible to low-intelligence idiots like Dante who advocate isolationism (dressed up as non intervention) and other utterly stupid ideas. If you want to be associated with such morons, then all the best to ya.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Me being an idiot and such, please explain patiently and in simple words why should we, as American nation, care about political instability in Egypt. The price on double-mercerized pima cotton t-shirts may rise? The chances of them blocking Suez Channel are, in fact, less during an internal strife, as opposed to anti-American Islamist rule. Moreover, any attempt to block the Channel would give us a perfect pretext to establish our control over it – even Obama can’t possibly be so stupid and/or malicious to miss the chance (and even if he is, Saudi sheiks won’t let him).

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:08 AM

What about Jihadis coming to power in the region, what about attacking Israel in a desperate attempt to keep power, and what is Iran hoping to do in the midst of this?

mwbri on December 7, 2012 at 10:05 AM

What we need from the United States is a firm and unquestioned policy of supporting Israel and denouncing radical Islam. Instead we’ve got Hillary Clinton and Barak Hussein Obama with the filthy liar Susan Rice waiting in the wings.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:08 AM

I am puzzled that nobody is talking about the more-likely target of Syrian chemical weapons, Israel. Perhaps that is why Teh SCOAMF moved the red line.

Steve Eggleston on December 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM

My experience tells me that Israeli intel is of sufficient quality that one may be assured that Tel Aviv will know the launch time before Assad.

I am not joking.

M240H on December 7, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Maybe Obama is hoping that some of Syria’s chemical weapons will be used on Israel or stray into Israel.

He is, after all, a pupil of Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

sentinelrules on December 7, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Off topic a bit, but “a whole bunch of chemical weapons.”???? Really. This man is praised as the greatest speaker since Winston Churchill, yet in every public appearance he sounds more like a creation from Bob and Ray. A political version of Wally Ballou.

xkaydet65 on December 7, 2012 at 10:11 AM

I’m more concerned about Boehner and Obama “negotiating” alone than I’m worried about the evil dude of the day in Syria.

on that topic…………..Damascus will be destroyed.

Wait and see.

PappyD61 on December 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM

The best creative solution might be an extraction of Assad and his clique from Damascus as soon as possible, and an international force to remain in place to allow for a peaceful transition to democracy. A sudden departure followed by a power vacuum will produce a Hezbollah-run state, just as the same kind of power vacuum created the situations we currently face in Libya and Egypt.

I’d just like you, the reader, to take a moment and pause over these words that a so-called conservative wrote.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM

My experience tells me that Israeli intel is of sufficient quality that one may be assured that Tel Aviv Jerusalem will know the launch time before Assad.

M240H on December 7, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Calling yourself a friend of Israel, huh?

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM

I’m more concerned about Boehner and Obama “negotiating” alone than I’m worried about the evil dude of the day in Syria.

on that topic…………..Damascus will be destroyed.

Wait and see.

PappyD61 on December 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Yeah exactly. With respect to Nomad, “regional stability” in the Middle East is a complete pipe dream unless you turn the entire place sans Israel into glowing green glass. And that’s not going to happen on Barack’s watch.

And this wouldn’t be the first time Damascus was destroyed, wouldn’t it?

MelonCollie on December 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM

What we need from the United States is a firm and unquestioned policy of supporting Israel…

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Why? And do you really mean unquestioned?

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Because, like it or not, regional stability is in OUR national interests. It is a fact that seems incomprehensible to low-intelligence idiots like Dante who advocate isolationism (dressed up as non intervention) and other utterly stupid ideas. If you want to be associated with such morons, then all the best to ya.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Be specific: what are our national interests?

And once again, you don’t know the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism. I am all for trade and diplomatic relations with nations; I am a supporter and defender of the free market. That is not an isolationist stance whatsoever.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Off topic a bit, but “a whole bunch of chemical weapons.”???? Really. This man is praised as the greatest speaker since Winston Churchill, yet in every public appearance he sounds more like a creation from Bob and Ray. A political version of Wally Ballou.

xkaydet65 on December 7, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Consider who voted for and support the rat-eared wonder. “whole bunch of” is pretty much testing the limits of their intelligence to begin with. Obama can’t speak like an adult because his constituency find Muppets intellectually challenging (why do you think the outrage over Big Bird? ;0 ).

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Yeah exactly. With respect to Nomad, “regional stability” in the Middle East is a complete pipe dream unless you turn the entire place sans Israel into glowing green glass.

MelonCollie on December 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM

That’s not precisely true. Muzzies learn amazingly fast when their asses are kicked properly and their subsequent cries in the media shrugged off. The maxim “it is better to be feared than scorned” is pure gold in the Middle East.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:18 AM

General Barky: That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

It’s always all about the O, without fail.

Unless there is a fail involved, then it’ that racist redneck cowboy’s fault.

CorporatePiggy on December 7, 2012 at 10:19 AM

And once again, you don’t know the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Would you let Russia invade and occupy Canada?

Would you let Korea deploy nuclear missiles in Canada if Canada wanted that?

sharrukin on December 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

With respect to Nomad, “regional stability” in the Middle East is a complete pipe dream unless you turn the entire place sans Israel into glowing green glass.

MelonCollie on December 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Not entirely true. You could also get regional stability by abandoning Israel and letting the whole place be taken over by radical Islam. That seems to be our nation’s current policy under Barak Hussein Obama who, in fact, was exposed to radical Islamic ideology as a child, went to Cairo and praised the so-called religion of peace, and has shown nothing but contempt for Israel and Jews.

In all honesty, I don’t understand how a single American Jew could have voted for the rat-eared wonder. They essentially wrote the death certificate for the Jewish homeland and are too stupid to understand that fact.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Why? And do you really mean unquestioned?

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:15 AM

I believe that the term “unquestioned” is there due to the fact that Israel is not only our staunch military and ideological ally, but also the alleged homeland of Jesus H. Christ, a mythical spiritual figure of absolute importance for the whole Western civilization. Am I right, Nomad?

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Would you let Russia invade and occupy Canada?

Would you let Korea deploy nuclear missiles in Canada if Canada wanted that?

sharrukin on December 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Your premise is faulty. When you say “would you let,” the word let implies that Russia/Canada or North Korea/Canada is under our domain. We are not an empire, and Canada is not part of the Republic.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

When was Israel admitted into the Union?

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:24 AM

I believe that the term “unquestioned” is there due to the fact that Israel is not only our staunch military and ideological ally, but also the alleged homeland of Jesus H. Christ, a mythical spiritual figure of absolute importance for the whole Western civilization. Am I right, Nomad?

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:22 AM

They’re such good allies that they spy on us and vice versa. They’re so great that they sell drones to Georgia and then sell the control codes for those drones to Russia.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM

In all honesty, I don’t understand how a single American Jew could have voted for the rat-eared wonder. They essentially wrote the death certificate for the Jewish homeland and are too stupid to understand that fact.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Has it ever crossed your mind that American Jews, or rather the effete variety that inhabits urban bohemes and banking businesses, hate the state of Israel with passion unmatched even in Muslim world? Generations of NYC shrinks made a fortune out of this perverse feeling.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Would you let Russia invade and occupy Canada?

Would you let Korea deploy nuclear missiles in Canada if Canada wanted that?

sharrukin on December 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Your premise is faulty. When you say “would you let,” the word let implies that Russia/Canada or North Korea/Canada is under our domain. We are not an empire, and Canada is not part of the Republic.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM

So that would be yes, you would.

sharrukin on December 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM

And once again, you don’t know the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism. I am all for trade and diplomatic relations with nations; I am a supporter and defender of the free market. That is not an isolationist stance whatsoever.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Isolationism and non-intervention are distinctions without difference if you are willing to let the world burn and then engage in free trade with whomever is left standing no matter how much of a dictator or despot. Not that you low-intelligence trolls understand that kind of nuance. After all, you supported Obama.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Not entirely true. You could also get regional stability by abandoning Israel and letting the whole place be taken over by radical Islam.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Well yeah, but that would also result in the “green glass” scenario, at least to some extent.

MelonCollie on December 7, 2012 at 10:26 AM

They’re such good allies that they spy on us and vice versa. They’re so great that they sell drones to Georgia and then sell the control codes for those drones to Russia.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM

I think you missed the sarcasm tag. As for the codes, don’t we do the same? I’m sure we do – I could likely rake my memory for actual examples from the time I live din Israel – but cryin’ shame if we don’t.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Calling yourself a friend of Israel, huh?4.
Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM

1. I am a friend of Israel.
2. I put my money where my mouth is; I wear the uniform, I work outside the wire, and I have multiple deployments.
3. I have benefited in theater from Israeli intel.
4. Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, is where that info needs to go. It has nothing to do with the true capitol is, but rather where certain offices are.
5. Shut up.

M240H on December 7, 2012 at 10:28 AM

I’d just like you, the reader, to take a moment and pause over these words that a so-called conservative wrote.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM

OK. I took a moment to read it and think about it.
Sounds like intervention to me.

Jabberwock on December 7, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Has it ever crossed your mind that American Jews, or rather the effete variety that inhabits urban bohemes and banking businesses, hate the state of Israel with passion unmatched even in Muslim world? Generations of NYC shrinks made a fortune out of this perverse feeling.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM

It has not. Though in re-reading my post I should make a distinction. There are practicing Jews and those that are Jews by heritage. They all voted for the rat-eared wonder in overwhelming numbers but only those who practice Judaism should be called out for their stupidity. The other variety don’t really care about protecting the faith of their ancestors.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Not our problem.

libfreeordie on December 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

So that would be yes, you would.

sharrukin on December 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM

No, that would be me rejecting your premise and then your trying to put words in my mouth.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Well yeah, but that would also result in the “green glass” scenario, at least to some extent.

MelonCollie on December 7, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Let me be clear here: I’m not anti-green glass. I just don’t think it should be the professed policy of the United States. Egypt, for example, has some promise of being salvaged. Syria or Lybia…. not so much.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

4. Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, is where that info needs to go. It has nothing to do with the true capitol is, but rather where certain offices are.

M240H on December 7, 2012 at 10:28 AM

How much do you know of Israeli chains of command, to know where the info needs to go? I actually served in IDF and was in the headquarters while wearing their uniform. Have you? The Kiriya (army headquarters) is in Tel Aviv but they only work on tactical details; all political decisions are made in Jerusalem.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Where (as in from what country) did these chemical weapons come from? I could guess …….. but I must be wrong ……..

darlus on December 7, 2012 at 9:59 AM

I saw a hanger full of airline seats and was told there were 3 passenger jets that were unaccounted for when I was in Iraq. Would that be considered a clue or a coincidence?

HotAirian on December 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

No, that would be me rejecting your premise and then your trying to put words in my mouth.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

You keep accusing others of putting words in your mouth. Perhaps the problem isn’t with others.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Isolationism and non-intervention are distinctions without difference if you are willing to let the world burn and then engage in free trade with whomever is left standing no matter how much of a dictator or despot. Not that you low-intelligence trolls understand that kind of nuance. After all, you supported Obama.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:25 AM

More dishonesty and logical fallacies, but look at you, desiring and arguing for an empire.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:32 AM

More dishonesty and logical fallacies,
Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:32 AM

You keep using those words… I do not think that they mean what you think they mean…

SWalker on December 7, 2012 at 10:35 AM

OK. I took a moment to read it and think about it.
Sounds like intervention to me.

Jabberwock on December 7, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Yes, the progressivist policy. What did you think about the other progressive aspect of his words, the Wilsonian “international force” that he desires to see occupy a sovereign nation?

I hope people are waking up, even if it is somewhat slowly, to the simple fact that Ed Morissey holds more in common with statist progressives than he does conservatives.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

You’re kind of fellow that can’t take “yes” for an answer, aren’t you?

M240H on December 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM

No, that would be me rejecting your premise and then your trying to put words in my mouth.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Well the world doesn’t care if you reject the premise or not. Events actually happen, and the only question is to do something, or do nothing.

You are a do nothing sort of fellow.

sharrukin on December 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM

If not an empire than at least a line of allies to keep the savages at bay. Israel may not be the perfect friend but is certainly better than the other regional candidates that we have to choose from.

Bishop on December 7, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Let me be clear here: I’m not anti-green glass. I just don’t think it should be the professed policy of the United States. Egypt, for example, has some promise of being salvaged. Syria or Lybia…. not so much.

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

If it were the professed – and meticulously followed – policy of the United states, it would spare us a lot of grief and solders’ blood.

But what’s that strange fascination with green glass? It’s the color of Islam, and – accidentally, of course – Obama’s most insane economic initiatives. Can’t we make it any other color?

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:37 AM

You’re kind of fellow that can’t take “yes” for an answer, aren’t you?

M240H on December 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Try “ken ha-mefaked”. It’s the Hebrew version of “yes, sir”.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:39 AM

You keep using those words… I do not think that they mean what you think they mean…

SWalker on December 7, 2012 at 10:35 AM

They mean exactly that. A straw man is a logical fallacy. In no way do I desire or have expressed a desire to see the world burn. It is dishonest to insist that I am an isolationist when I never espoused an isolationist view, and when arguing against the progressive policy of interventionism. He has to resort to these lies and fallacies to support his flawed world view, because maintaining and growing diplomatic relations would go against seeing a world burn; it is opposed to seeing a burning world.

But here is a guy who argues FOR interventionism and occupation, which results in the world burning rather than resulting in stability.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:40 AM

You are a do nothing sort of fellow.

sharrukin on December 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM

When something isn’t my business and doesn’t involve me, yes.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:44 AM

But what’s that strange fascination with green glass? It’s the color of Islam, and – accidentally, of course – Obama’s most insane economic initiatives. Can’t we make it any other color?

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Sand, when exposed to billions of degrees of nuclear blast radiated heat, has a strange tendency to turn into hand sized clumps of… Green glass… Some strange and inexplicable result of the chromium and vanadium trace minerals commonly found in most unwashed sands… :P

SWalker on December 7, 2012 at 10:44 AM

A straw man is a logical fallacy.
Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:40 AM

You keep using that word… I do not think that it means what you think it does…

SWalker on December 7, 2012 at 10:46 AM

But here is a guy who argues FOR interventionism and occupation, which results in the world burning rather than resulting in stability.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:40 AM

I’ll give you this much, trolltard: when a nation half-a$$es such things (like we are), it inevitably results in disaster.

Charles James Napier hit the nail on the head when he said “The best way to quiet a country is a good thrashing, followed by great kindness afterwards. Even the wildest chaps are thus tamed.”

Emphasis mine, because we’ve been doing it completely backwards. Steamrolling a pathetic excuse of a standing army with your overwhelming might and then promptly going into “nation-building mode” is a guarantee of failure.

MelonCollie on December 7, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Manning is a whistleblower and a hero.

Dante on December 6, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Not a Conservative. Not a Libertarian. Not a patriot. Not even an American.

Just a scumbag, chickensh** traitor.

M240H on December 7, 2012 at 10:48 AM

If you are not willing to take action, your credibility at that point is destroyed.

Not if you can play the Clintonion word parsing game…./

ted c on December 7, 2012 at 10:49 AM

1. I am a friend of Israel.
2. I put my money where my mouth is; I wear the uniform, I work outside the wire, and I have multiple deployments.
3. I have benefited in theater from Israeli intel.
4. Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, is where that info needs to go. It has nothing to do with the true capitol is, but rather where certain offices are.
5. Shut up.

M240H on December 7, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Sounds like you’re more of a foreign policy tool than a defender of the Constitution and Republic.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:50 AM

A sudden departure followed by a power vacuum will produce a Hezbollah-run state, just as the same kind of power vacuum created the situations we currently face in Libya and Egypt.

that’s working out swimmingly, ain’t it.

ted c on December 7, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:39 AM

You’re alright. I can get along with you just fine.

M240H on December 7, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Happy Nomad on December 7, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Doesn’t the present state of Egypt and Syria belie the theory that Israel is the problem in the area? If those folks aren’t fighting, they aren’t happy. Happy being a relative term. And when they get tired of fighting each other, they can take breaks by coming after us. You know what I just thought about? As a kid, there were endless jokes about Irish people fighting each other and well, anyone….. is it due to political correctness that it doesn’t happen with the folks in the Mid East?

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2012 at 10:52 AM

I’ll give you this much, trolltard: when a nation half-a$$es such things (like we are), it inevitably results in disaster.

Charles James Napier hit the nail on the head when he said “The best way to quiet a country is a good thrashing, followed by great kindness afterwards. Even the wildest chaps are thus tamed.”

Emphasis mine, because we’ve been doing it completely backwards. Steamrolling a pathetic excuse of a standing army with your overwhelming might and then promptly going into “nation-building mode” is a guarantee of failure.

MelonCollie on December 7, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Is there even a tiny little buzz in your head that is trying to tell you of your full embrace of progressivist and fascist policies?

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Sand, when exposed to billions of degrees of nuclear blast radiated heat, has a strange tendency to turn into hand sized clumps of… Green glass… Some strange and inexplicable result of the chromium and vanadium trace minerals commonly found in most unwashed sands… :P

SWalker on December 7, 2012 at 10:44 AM

That’s only true for pure, silicate sands. Even Sahara Desert has few of those. Most natural sand deposits contain significant fraction of iron, intense brown-reddish color of which should overcome the green tint of chromium. However, I’m willing to conduct a test anywhere in Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan; our European allies will certainly appreciate the scientific importance of such experiment.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:50 AM

To borrow a bit from Lord Byron, insults from you fall like kisses from a beautiful woman … right on my ass.

M240H on December 7, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Manning is a whistleblower and a hero.

Dante on December 6, 2012 at 8:54 AM

We know which whistle he likes to blow.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Is there even the tiniest whisper in your empty head of what a mewling little coward you are?

MelonCollie on December 7, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Barack Obama talked tough

What else did ya expect?

That’s all he does.

Putz.

(And we gotta endure at least four more years of this?)

coldwarrior on December 7, 2012 at 10:57 AM

We know which whistle he likes to blow.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:55 AM

And Dante just blows.

MelonCollie on December 7, 2012 at 10:57 AM

To borrow a bit from Lord Byron, insults from you fall like kisses from a beautiful woman … right on my ass.

M240H on December 7, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Oh, you thought that was meant to be an insult?

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Is there even the tiniest whisper in your empty head of what a mewling little coward you are?

MelonCollie on December 7, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Says the guy who speaks of dominating nations through force and turning the ME into “green glass”.

You sure are generous with other peoples’ lives and money.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Says the guy who speaks of dominating terrorists through force and turning the ME into “green glass”.

You sure are generous with other peoples’ lives and money.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Just as generous as you are on welfare projects, liberal troll.

MelonCollie on December 7, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Don’t hurt the Kurds.

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2012 at 11:02 AM

You sure are generous with other peoples’ lives and money.

Dante on December 7, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Turning large areas of the Middle East into a naturally illuminated parking lot actually saves money in the long term, not to speak of American blood. As for lives, your objection stem from the mistaken perception that there are people living there. My first-hand experience says there are precious few of those. To misquote Vasco de Gama, “kill them all, and let Allah sort his flock”.

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Don’t hurt the Kurds.

Cindy Munford on December 7, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Eh, why? Any personal connection, or you just believe that they are somehow different from the rest?

Archivarix on December 7, 2012 at 11:04 AM

that’s the problem with setting “red lines” publicly. If you are not willing to take action, your credibility at that point is destroyed.

you have to have credibility for it to be destroyed. The Syrians didn’t believe it was credible in the first place.

chemman on December 7, 2012 at 11:12 AM

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