Carney: Why no, our response to Syria has nothing to do with the regime change we’ve demanded since 2011

posted at 2:01 pm on August 27, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Doesn’t this sound a little … familiar? Over two years ago, the Obama administration repeatedly insisted that its intervention in Libya to keep Moammar Qaddafi’s army from overrunning Benghazi was not about regime change, either, and insisted that Libyans had to decide their future for themselves.  The resulting NATO intervention then bombed Qaddafi’s army all the way back to Tripoli and continued the bombardment until Qaddafi’s regime collapsed — leaving a failed state in its wake, and open operation for al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist networks to operate.

But this time, it’s different:

The president is consulting with leaders of Congress and allies abroad as he weighs military options such as missile strikes against Syrian military installations.

Asked if the president is contemplating the killing of Syrian leader Bashar Assad, Mr. Carney replied, “The options that we are considering are not about regime change.”

Carney’s lips says no no no, but their official policies say yes. It took months for Barack Obama to demand regime change in Syria after the civil war started, compared to eight days for American ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, but demand it Obama did in October 2011. Jay Carney even delivered the message:

The White House on Friday called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to “step down now,” warning he was taking his country down a “very dangerous path.”

In a statement, spokesman Jay Carney condemned the killing of Kurdish opposition leader Meshaal Tamo as well as the beating of a prominent Syrian activist, saying it showed “again that the Assad regime’s promises for dialogue and reform are hollow.”

“The United States strongly rejects violence directed against peaceful oppositionists wherever it occurs, and stands in solidarity with the courageous people of Syria who deserve their universal rights,” Carney said.

“Today’s attacks demonstrate the Syrian regime’s latest attempts to shut down peaceful opposition inside Syria. President Assad must step down now before taking his country further down this very dangerous path.”

So far, the White House isn’t willing to publicly proclaim a timetable for the response:

They seemed pretty anxious to leak it this morning, though, and in detail:

Missile strikes against Syria could be launched “as early as Thursday,” senior U.S. officials said Tuesday as the White House intensified its push toward an international response to the suspected use of chemical weapons.

The “three days” of strikes would be limited in scope, and aimed at sending a message to Syria’s President Bashar Assad rather than degrading his military capabilities, U.S. officials told NBC News.

News on the possible timescale for military action followed another round of telephone diplomacy by President Barack Obama and his administration.

It’s good thing that “senior US officials” are willing to set the start and end dates ahead of time.  That way, Bashar al-Assad can put it on his calendar and get the e-mail reminders. I guess that’s some sort of message, but it doesn’t sound as daunting as the White House might believe, especially when partnered with double-talk about regime change.


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