This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 9th, 2013:
A remarkable change is taking place, and most “conservative” pundits are failing to see it. As Obama stumbles determinedly forward in promoting his Syrian strategy while his supporters bail out along the way, few are seeing any benefits.
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough admitted, after some tough grilling, that there is no support from the international community for Obama on Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry, freshly returned from Saturday’s meetings with more than two dozen foreign ministers in Lithuania, claimed victory when that group of interventionists said that a “clear and strong response” was needed to the gas attacks attributed to Assad, but nothing was said about supporting a military strike as the proper response.
And no wonder. It’s simply asking too much – it’s a leap of faith that no one is willing to take: that because there were murders in the towns east of Damascus in August, it must have been Assad who ordered them. The videos are simply ghastly. Grant the point. But to use that horrific event as the foundation stone for an unprovoked attack on a third world country on the other side of the planet, claiming an imminent, immediate and direct threat to US sovereignty is just a little much.
One of the best summaries of why more than 190 members of the House are already lined up to vote against any Syrian resolution offered by Obama was presented by one of Obama’s most ardent supporters, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.):
I haven’t heard that Assad wants to use weapons against us. I haven’t heard that he wants to use weapons against our allies, that he’s moving them to terrorist organizations….
So for the president to say: “this is just, you know, a very quick thing and we’re out of there” … that’s how long wars start.
In the Senate, Obama’s support is razor-thin. An AP poll on Saturday shows 34 in favor of his plan, 32 opposed, while 34 are undecided. That’s a far cry from the 60 votes that that ever-enthusiastic ardent supporter of military action, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, claims he has in his pocket. The LA Times wrote that members of Congress are getting calls from constituents that are running 10 to 1 against such adventurism.
Why, even the president himself, in a rare moment of glorious candor, said “It’s conceivable [that] at the end of the day I don’t persuade a majority of the American people that [an attack] is the right thing to do.”
But “conservatives” – who have been rightly fearing the unchecked growth of the imperial presidency and a US world empire – are now saying that Obama’s complete and utter failure on Syria will weaken the presidency, perhaps for years. Here’s Larry Kudlow:
I know conservatives do not trust the president in his role as commander-in-chief. They want more than a shot across [Assad’s] bow….
Oh, really? Kudlow sounds like other so-called conservatives who want just such a shot, like McCain, Lieberman, Graham, Boehner and Cantor. Said Kudlow: “Everybody seems to know this except the president.” Wait! Everybody? 190 members of the House are prepared to vote “no.” Polls across the political spectrum are showing growing opposition to just such foolishness. 100,000 people showed up at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Saturday – the first of its kind in history – opposing Obama. The Pope stated that both Assad and Obama are “captivated by the idols of dominion and power.” Amen.
John Bolton, the former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, and ever seeking face time as a “conservative,” said, “What the president did was a display of weakness of the kind we haven’t seen in an American leader in decades, if not since the 19th century.”
And that great supporter of the Constitution, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) – with a Freedom Index reading of 45 out of 100! – said that with Obama’s dithering he is “abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief and undermining the authority of future presidents.”
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the author and finisher of those great American military success stories in Iraq and Afghanistan, moaned:
The fact that the American people are confused and the fact that Congress seems uncertain, and the international community is not supportive, is a reflection of the fact that the so-called commander-in-chief has not been acting as commander-in-chief.
No, Mr. Rumsfeld, the American people are not confused and Congress is less uncertain now than at any time in recent memory. And the fact that the international community isn’t supportive is just a bonus. Instead, the American people are tired of a president who moves his agenda ahead without permission, acceptance, or support. They are tired of wars and billions of dollars and thousands of lives lost in promotion of the American empire. They have been reading their Constitution. They don’t think the War Powers Act gives any such authority to Obama to intervene in Syria.
Kudlow put it best: “Will a Syrian defeat in Congress cripple the administration completely, with 40 months left in the executive’s term?”
Lord, I for one certainly hope so.