Obama: We’ve “concluded” that Syrian army conducted chemical-weapon attack

posted at 6:31 pm on August 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

While the UK calls for a slowdown in the push to punish Bashar al-Assad for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Barack Obama says that “we have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these [attacks] out.”  The President told Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff that this conclusion requires consequences, and that a failure to punish this violation of “international norms” puts the security of the United States at risk:

It might not come as quickly as Obama wants, however. The Atlantic reports that the UK, America’s closest ally, wants to slow things down until David Cameron can give the UN a chance to say no:

The Obama administration’s plans to carry out a limited air strike against Syria may be delayed until Tuesday thanks to political opposition in the U.K. Parliament. How would British opposition to an American military action throw off the whole schedule? The U.S. and the U.K., according to a Guardian report, seem to be jointly pursuing support for a military strike. And while it looks like the president believes he has all the support he needs to move those plans forward, things have become more complicated in the U.K. Because of that, the U.S. is apparently giving Cameron a “lifeline” so he can quell an anticipated “revolt” in Parliament, as opposition to military action in Syria grows there.

That should give Obama a chance to ask Congress for approval, but don’t expect him to make the pitch.  So far, Obama can’t even be bothered to provide proper consultation to the intel committees on Capitol Hill:

U.S. congressional intelligence committee leaders believe the Obama administration has not properly consulted them as the president engages in final deliberations for possible military action in Syria, according to congressional officials.

One of the officials said the administration’s discussions with critical lawmakers, including Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein and her House counterpart, Mike Rogers, had been limited to “very brief status updates.”

Another official said such talks had largely taken place over unclassified non-secure phone lines, making it difficult to discuss sensitive intelligence findings or details of the administration’s plans for a possible U.S. military response.

Golly, remember when liberals were so concerned about a rush to war and the conservative-imposed “imperial presidency”?  Ed Schultz seems to have time-traveled back to that long-ago era:

Someone need to wake up Ed Van Winkel and remind him who’s been President for the last four-plus years.


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And what would Syria’s motivation be, knowing that Obama is just waiting for an excuse to topple the Assad regime, probably installing the Muslim Brotherhood?

I am starting to believe the conspiracy theories that the US (and for decades now)is the military arm of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.

Amjean on August 28, 2013 at 9:49 PM

Assad has no calling to strap on an IED and walk into a market place, or behead the opposition personally on live TV. He enjoys his trips to Switzerland and Paris, likes fine cars, good brandy, and the company of cosmopolitan friends.
coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Assad made Syria the main conduit of Al Qaeda terrorists going to Iraq to fight our troops and kill many Iraqis by exactly strapping IED on their bodies and walking into a market place… Assad is a main supporter of Hizballah terrorist group who created many of the terrorist tactics… Assad is the main supporter of Hamas terrorist group that killed and still killing many Israelis…

We can help in toppling Assad by supporting the Free Syrian Army which is mostly secular and make sure that they are strong enough to destroy the Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria…

mnjg on August 28, 2013 at 9:55 PM

mnjg on August 28, 2013 at 9:55 PM

Timing in this business is everything.

The time to help out the “Free Syrian Army” was over a year ago.

Today they are less of an effective fighting force than they were just a few short months ago.

The jihadis have the upper hand currently.

There have been whole FSA defections over the past several months, and some whole units have simply melted away, taking their families with them to the relative safety of Turkey.

After a couple years fighting a brave but one-sided battle against Assad…face it, attrition and a lack of equipment and training matching the forces of Assad’s military have taken their toll.

The jihadis more easily melt away, and blend, and seem to be more highly motivated these days…and they can focre complaiance and support from the locals in a more direct, less polite sort of way. The FSA cannot…the hearts and minds of the localsare where they derive their strength and legitimacy.

But, going back to the days of Assad’s dad slaughtering the people of Hama…the Hama massacre of 1982, a lot of Syrians are old enough to remember the outcome…and soon learned better red than dead…or whatever the Syrian equivalent term is.

Had we supplied and supported the FSA even a just a year ago, competently, not this hush-hush Benghazi nonsense, the picture out in Syria today would be decidedly different. Perhaps Assad would be living in Gstaad and not in Damascus.

Unless there is a sea-change of organization, recruitment, outfitting and training, stat, the FSA will continue its decline as the jihadis secure their power base. And right now, only Assad is capable of keeping them at bay.

Had we, and the rest of the West, acted a year or more ago, and not this last minute brinkmanship and folly going on today…I’d have higher hopes for Syria. But a year ago, the Administration was still claiming that Benghazi was the result of an amateur video, and that the Moslem Brotherhood was the best thing to happen to Cairo since Saladin the great.

qnha

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Obama’s pathological narcissism has reached the epic point where he will deliberately risk cascading into WWIII in his increasingly demented Pharaoh state.

VorDaj on August 28, 2013 at 10:36 PM

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Contrary to media report the Free Syrian Army is still the most powerful force among the rebels… Someone here earlier linked to Foxnews interview with a Middle East expert who has been in Syria many times and she confirms that the Free Syrian Army is still the most powerful among all the rebels group… Yes it would have been better a year or two ago to arm the Free Syrian Army before they even had any Al Qaeda in Syria but it is not too late… Al Qaeda terrorists will exhaust their welcome among the Syrians rather very quickly… I happen to know that in general a majority of the Syrians are not keen on living under the Sharia law of islamic terrorists… I know that part of the world very, very, very well…

If we play this one right we can achieve a major strategic victory in the Middle East… If Assad gone then islamic terrorist republic of Iran and their Hizballah terrorists are greatly weakened and Iran may collapse sooner rather than later… And if at the same time we make the Free Syrian Army the one who replaces Assad and then let them crash Al Qaeda terrorists there then it is even a greater strategic achievement…

mnjg on August 28, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Ed Shultz: How does MLK’s message of peace apply today as conservatives push for war in Syria?

Every day, something new that makes you want to ask “can they be more delusional” – to which the answer is – wait until tomorrow, sure enough, it’s coming.

Midas on August 28, 2013 at 10:41 PM

I don’t know how he gets by with making al-Qaeda an ally…

Karmi on August 28, 2013 at 10:57 PM

He wants to do it, and nobody can stop him, so he’s going to. That’s all the evidence he needs, and all the “process” too.

David Blue on August 28, 2013 at 11:00 PM

Ed Shultz: How does MLK’s message of peace apply today as conservatives push for war in Syria?

Every day, something new that makes you want to ask “can they be more delusional” – to which the answer is – wait until tomorrow, sure enough, it’s coming.

Midas on August 28, 2013 at 10:41 PM

Yeah that is an incredible lie even for a liar communist scum like Ed Schultz… He either believes his lies or he thinks that his viewers are that stupid to believe his lies…

mnjg on August 28, 2013 at 11:05 PM

mnjg on August 28, 2013 at 10:39 PM

The lady from the ISW, if I recall, General Jack Keane’s think tank.

The same organization is also reporting the almost the entire Mediteranean coast of Syria is in solid Assad hands, with the ports of latakia and Tartus firmly in regime control well out past the suburbs.

I fail to see how if Assad is merely gone it will be a net loss for Iran and the jihadis?

IF…that bugger of a word…IF we cansomehow elevate the combat effectiveness of the FSA overnight, and destroy the AQ/jihadis capabilities across all of Syria…IF we can do that…then we can start to paint the scene with far more rosey colors.

But…even if Assad decides in the morning that getting his ski pass renewed and sharing some fine Gruyere and wine with his new friends in the Alps for the remainder of his days is the best step to make…it will NOT end the violence in Syria.

AQ-Levant has declared that they will destroy the FSA…and any who do not support their noble cause of retaking the Golan and seizing Judea and Summaria and Jerusalem for Islam…and driving the Israelis into the sea along the way…and Iran shares that conviction…openly.

AQ-Levant has also joined forces with AQ-Iraq…to retake all of Iraq and down past the Saudi frontier…secure the holy places of Islam for the new caliphate and grind the House of ibn-Saud into dust.

Gets a bit more complicated after that.

The average go to mosque on Friday Syrian, and moreso secular Syrians, Christian Syrians and the like, have no love for AQ, or the jihadis…none…they loathe them. But loathing jihadis does not in and of itself dispel them.

Even individual Syria families are torn right now…support Assad, hope for the best, and keep the jihadi jackals at bay…or join the FSA, become instant enemies of the regime, and enemies of the jihadis...and pray that neither will round them up…

Not a pleasant spot to be.

My major complaint with the current march to war out there is that there seems to be a paucity of thinking, and a paucity of actual deployment of assets and willingness to get all the good guy players on the same sheet of music, because if we go it alone…we lose…and so do thousands and thousands of Syrians.

When it is the stated aim of our government to fire lethal weapons into Syrian territory and we do not wish to topple Assad, and we do not wish to engage ina greater war no campaign…just fire a few salvos to send a “message” to Assad that he better not cross any more red lines or this nest time we will get really really p.o.’d…it makes my blood boil.

All of this could have been easily avoided had we people of character and experience running the show…not some political friend from Chicago who Michelle truly dislikes, but Barry thinks the world of, nor some neo-progressive Mick harridan who belives attending a comedy film festival in Ireland is far more importnsat than attending a major meeting at the UN to legitimize our planned course of action regarding Syria, and who was the author of the Libya fiasco, among other exploits….

All of this could have been avoided.

We once had the means to do so…and did, often…cut my teeth doing exactly that over the years in the Middle East, in South Asia, Europe East Asia and Africa…and we had some damn fine people working the problem and a lot of solid success along the way…but each op was thought out to the Nth degree…and blowback and repercussions and what happens “after’ were first and foremost…not just willy-nilly like we see today…the stuff of bad movies and more lousy dime novels and exposees…engaging our military for no apparent reason but bluster and ego.

In an ideal world, I’d love to be able to visit old friends in the region, take my grand kids along, be able to walk through the Khan el-Khalili with them, unmolested, just taking it all in…was a nice place once upon a time.

In the current real world…ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime.

Hence the anger, and frustration.

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 11:10 PM

“we have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these [attacks] out.”

We, and every intelligence agency in the world, also concluded beyond reasonable doubt that Saddam still had large stockpiles of chemical, and possibly biological, weapons hidden somewhere. Most Dems thought that, too, back in the fall of 2002.

We had no doubt he had used chemical weapons many times in the past, including against his own people. We didn’t do anything about it.

Will Comrade O have Colin Powell present his evidence to the US public before he unleashes his dogs of war on a nation that still has a significant military capability?

AFIAK, Assad’s military is stronger and more capable than Saddam’s was in 2003. Saddam’s war machine never recovered from the massive destruction it experienced in 1991. Assad’s, OTOH, hasn’t really been touched. His battles with insurgents are low tech affairs. Unless it has been seriously degraded since the start of the insurgency Syria’s air defenses would be the most capable we have faced since Saddam’s in 1991.

Comrade O may decide to lob some cruise missiles into Syria and keep our aviators out of harm’s way.

Then what?

farsighted on August 28, 2013 at 11:14 PM

I want to ask libfree about this.

Obama DOJ Asks Court to Grant Immunity to George W. Bush For Iraq War…

Del Dolemonte on August 28, 2013 at 6:55 PM

But this time France says it’s okay for Comrade O to go to war with Assad.

That apprently makes all of the difference in the world.

That’s all that seems to matter to Dems these days.

farsighted on August 28, 2013 at 11:23 PM

mnjg and coldwarrior, you both seem to understand the region much better than I do. The problem I’m having with this whole ME experiment we’ve been running for way too long is that politics, our politics, always gets in the way (think stupid political ROE in Iraq and Afghanistan). If you’re gonna overthrow Assad because he’s a murdering-terrorist-creating-maniac and it would keep Iran at bay, then by God put troops in there, take over, install the right folks, and then leave. But, that isn’t what happens, and lobbing some cruise missiles is just like kicking an ant mound, it just pisses people off, and ends up creating more enemies for us than friends. Timing doesn’t matter if we’re not really trying to win.

txhsmom on August 28, 2013 at 11:26 PM

Is this like the conclusion that Benghazi was a spontaneous attack based on a video?

besser tot als rot on August 28, 2013 at 11:30 PM

Assad has no calling to strap on an IED and walk into a market place, or behead the opposition personally on live TV. He enjoys his trips to Switzerland and Paris, likes fine cars, good brandy, and the company of cosmopolitan friends.
coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Assad made Syria the main conduit of Al Qaeda terrorists going to Iraq to fight our troops and kill many Iraqis by exactly strapping IED on their bodies and walking into a market place… Assad is a main supporter of Hizballah terrorist group who created many of the terrorist tactics… Assad is the main supporter of Hamas terrorist group that killed and still killing many Israelis…

We can help in toppling Assad by supporting the Free Syrian Army which is mostly secular and make sure that they are strong enough to destroy the Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria…

mnjg on August 28, 2013 at 9:55 PM

You talk nonsense, mnjg.

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/03/free_syrian_army_com.php

Free Syrian Army commander praises Al Nusrah Front as ‘brothers’

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/02/us_to_aid_syrian_gro.php#ixzz2dKLH7UVO

The US State Department announced today that it will provide nonlethal aid to two Syrian rebel groups, the Syrian Opposition Coalition and the Free Syrian Army. Both of these groups support and actively fight alongside the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, which is al Qaeda’s affiliate in the war-torn country

http://my.telegraph.co.uk/markulyseas/markulyseas/3552/free-syrian-army-killing-christians-burning-churches/

Free Syrian Army Killing Christians Burning Churches

http://www.examiner.com/article/u-s-backed-syrian-rebels-reportedly-massacre-christian-village

U.S.-backed Syrian rebels reportedly massacre Christian village

Dreadnought on August 29, 2013 at 12:05 AM

txhsmom on August 28, 2013 at 11:26 PM

War, any war, should always be the last best option, never, never, the most convenient option.

Civilians who think that there is something glorious, noble about sending your best off to die for some transient cause…remember the plethora of yellow ribbons back in the Gulf War…of little comfort at the end of the day to those who were about to jump the dunes into Kuwait or Iraq.

Or maybe it was…the thought that their efforts meant something back at home. But by that point you are not motivated by the folks back home, but covering your six and the guy on your left and right…focused.

But, hell, we’ve been at war continuously since October 2001…and the longer we are so engaged the more shackles we put on those at the point of the spear. And all the yellow ribbons in the world will not help that little thing…

Go to war as the last best option…and do so with full intent and commitment to actually win…destroy an enemy…make them understand for generations that messing with us is not a wise thing to do…and when the dust settles, then and only then, engage in assisting them to rebuild.

And when the vast majority of the population here at home is untouched personally by this decade long war…still living a civilian lifestyle, where the “troops” grow more and more meaningless day by day,but getting that latest IPhone…that something big…really big…

Two of the key mistakes after the Iraq War were our refusal to establish a true occupation government and to disarm the Iraqi Army wholesale, immediately but frefusing to make sure their essential needs were met, along with the population in general.

But, we could not be seen as “occupiers.” Not PC. And even though history has shown that in the initial days following the fall of Baghdad, there were few, if any incidents of attacks by locals on Americans. Once we told the Iraqi army to go home…you are on your own…sorry about your luck…suddenly the attacks started their deadly upwards spiral…and lasted until the last American soldier was withdrawn and continues to this day.

Current ROE in Afghanistan?

Just plain nuts. But then, again, we are pledged to get out soonest…so best not to do things to make our withdrawal a major military campaign to the border, fighting the ANA and the Taliban every mile of the road out.

And, it is too late to ratchet them up [the ROE's] to a sane level again…because in reality, who out there, which American in uniform, wants to be the last American killed for what has devolved into a mistake?

So…yes, I am opposed to this Syrian excursion…for it still makes no sense.

I am angry.

I loathe our president with a passion once reserved solely for my ex-spouse.

I hate that he has taken this nation down a road that will take a couple generations to recover.

I am viscerally disgusted that he is willing to put Americans in harm’s way merely because he, personally, has drawn a red line in the sand.

And I am apoplectic that our current government looks at me, a veteran, a Catholic, a pro-gun rights American, as a threat to our nation….just for being a veteran, catholic, pro-gun…and being a white.

Thank God for the catharsis of Hot Air to help dispel much of the anger. {Explains why my posts are so damn lengthy, too.]

coldwarrior on August 29, 2013 at 12:09 AM

what’s that old saying ‘ he who fails to learn the mistakes of history are bound to repeat them’

the US is doing a real good job of that.

RonK on August 29, 2013 at 12:22 AM

Free Syrian Army commander praises Al Nusrah Front as ‘brothers’

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/03/free_syrian_army_com.php#ixzz2dKSOjPlN

Al Nusrah Front commanded Free Syrian Army unit, ‘Chechen emigrants,’ in assault on Syrian air defense base

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/10/al_nusrah_front_comm.php#ixzz2dKSbFipx

Free Syrian Army = terrorist murderers.

Dreadnought on August 29, 2013 at 12:30 AM

For the past six weeks up to 150 Christian and Armenian fighters have been fighting to prevent Free Syrian Army rebels from entering Christian heartland areas of Aleppo.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9539244/Syria-Christians-take-up-arms-for-first-time.htm

U.S. backed Syrian rebels reportedly massacre Christian village

http://www.examiner.com/article/u-s-backed-syrian-rebels-reportedly-massacre-christian-village

Dreadnought on August 29, 2013 at 12:35 AM

Dreadnought on August 29, 2013 at 12:35 AM

Disturbing. Very disturbing.

I assume that all the “good” Syrian members of the FSA have been killed or are now living in refugee camps in Turkey.

The jihadi side has won the internecine rumble…and we now want to knock off the only force in town that can prevent a jihadi takeover of all of Syria? Bashir Assad.

All the more reason to stay tyhe hell out for now.

It is working for al-Sisi in Cairo…let’s let it work for Assad.

Then we can engage in polite cookie pushing and diplomatic teas and such.

coldwarrior on August 29, 2013 at 12:43 AM

The jihadi side has won the internecine rumble…and we now want to knock off the only force in town that can prevent a jihadi takeover of all of Syria? Bashir Assad.

coldwarrior on August 29, 2013 at 12:43 AM

Yep.

My rule of thumb: if Samantha Powers is for it, I’m against it.

Dreadnought on August 29, 2013 at 1:04 AM

Coldwarrior thank you for your service! My dad is a Vietnam Vet. He feels just like you. I can’t blame either of you or any of our veterans for feeling betrayed by our stupid govt. I’m praying we don’t go to war with Syria. No more American treasure for President Verbal Vomit and his stupid “red lines”.

txhsmom on August 29, 2013 at 1:22 AM

Coldwarrior, rest assured that your comments will be completely ignored and derisively laughed at by the marxist-in-chief and his handlers. Which puts you in good company among most of us here at HA.

HiJack on August 29, 2013 at 3:00 AM

Mr Nobel Peace prize.

jaywemm on August 29, 2013 at 4:23 AM

If Obama attacks Syria without Congressional approval it’s an impeachable offense.

Ask Joe Biden.

Ask Barack Obama.

If Congress would approve of such lunacy… going for 5 times burned in failed Muslim states… then everyone in Congress needs be booted back to the boondocks.

They can’t be this stupid, so who bought them all?

profitsbeard on August 29, 2013 at 4:23 AM

Dreadnought, that’s infuriating. The more facts I learn, the less I like this.

David Blue on August 29, 2013 at 5:19 AM

They can’t be this stupid, so who bought them all?

profitsbeard on August 29, 2013 at 4:23 AM

One thing’s for sure: whoever owns them doesn’t even like Christians. This is a disaster for Christian interests.

As was the interference in Egypt for Coptic Christians. As was the Iraq War for Iraqi Christians. Whoever really runs American foreign policy is just fine with Christians going under the hammer, over and over.

David Blue on August 29, 2013 at 5:23 AM

Man….we could really use a Ron Paul in office right now.

dom89031 on August 29, 2013 at 6:56 AM

They can’t be this stupid, so who bought them all?

profitsbeard on August 29, 2013 at 4:23 AM

You have this backwards. Both parties are owned by the establishment, which is predominantly progressive — on both sides. The hard-left controls the culture, which is where the progressives get their ideas.

Man….we could really use a Ron Paul in office right now.

dom89031 on August 29, 2013 at 6:56 AM

No we could not. Paul is a decent sort for a libertarian but the main-stream libertarians are as progressive as the hard-left.

Palin is the right choice. She needs some serious backing as she is starved for resources. And she doesn’t necessarily need to be the presidential candidate but she is the only choice as leader of the opposition. Cruz would be a good executive. Or Rand Paul. Or Mike Lee.

gh on August 29, 2013 at 7:13 AM

Ed Schultz isn’t being stupid or time-traveling, he’s helping the Propaganda Arm of the regime by mis-informing the low info voters. They will believe, of course, that it is the war-mongering BUSHCHIMPHITLERRETHUGLICANS who want to nuke Syria, and when this turns into the cluster-love-in we know it will, conservatives will be blamed, and it will be believed–because as Josef Goebbels so aptly showed us, a lie repeated enough times becomes the truth. They are doing this with everything from Green Energy to Detroit. Why stop now, it is working so well?

Boudica on August 29, 2013 at 7:19 AM

Obama: We’ve “concluded” that Syrian army conducted chemical-weapon attack

….within 24 hours his statement has expired (via a leak to the AP and NYT?

Queue the dead Americans in coffins coming back to Andrews AFB because Muslims in the Middle east have an uncontrollable urge to kill one another.

Hellllllllllllllo Energy independence would eliminate the need for us to be worried about these idiots.

PappyD61 on August 29, 2013 at 9:02 AM

We, and every intelligence agency in the world, also concluded beyond reasonable doubt that Saddam still had large stockpiles of chemical, and possibly biological, weapons hidden somewhere. Most Dems thought that, too, back in the fall of 2002.

We had no doubt he had used chemical weapons many times in the past, including against his own people. We didn’t do anything about it.

{sigh} But, that was so long ago.

socalcon on August 29, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Is this like the conclusion that Benghazi was a spontaneous attack based on a video?

besser tot als rot on August 28, 2013 at 11:30 PM

Same liars telling lies.

PappyD61 on August 29, 2013 at 9:02 AM

The clown posse was supposed to release their proof today. “Concluded” means they don’t have any.

dogsoldier on August 29, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Hey Barry, the Limeys say otherwise. Guess you should’ve kept that Churchill bust, huh?

…ass.

a5minmajor on August 29, 2013 at 7:49 PM

From the same Man who said the benghazi attack was because of a youtube video.

sniffles1999 on August 30, 2013 at 11:14 AM

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