What initially was going to be a losing proposition in the House (and possibly the Senate) has now been delayed, all because of an ad lib "rhetorical" comment by the Secretary of State, and now the Russian proposal will go to the UN. Smart diplomacy! Barry is in Vladimir's debt for temporarily extricating him from his self-imposed mess. The spin from the White House and its defenders--and broadly repeated across MSNBC and other cable news channels--is, what Hillary said!
"It is very important to note that this discussion that has taken hold today about potential international control over Syria's stockpiles only could take place in the context of a credible military threat by the United States to keep pressure on the Syrian government as well as those supporting Syria, like Russia."
Which is fine. They're welcome to whatever crumbs they can get from this debacle.
Charles Lister has a good summary on the composition of the Syrian rebels.
While it is incontrovertibly the case that jihadists (or "extremists") represent a minority of the total insurgent force, true genuine "moderates" -- by Western standards of supporting the establishment of a non-religious, liberal state preferably founded on democratic principals -- also do not represent a majority. The largest portion of insurgent fighters in Syria is in fact represented by "Islamists," some less socially and politically conservative than others. Crucially, this does not preclude them from being potentially valuable leaders of a future Syria or even as future friends of the West, but it is important that this crucial element of the opposition is included within the minds of today's policymakers.
This puts the lie or untruth to Kerry's testimony before Congress, which was not ad-libbed, and which you can add to the seven other reasons for not trusting the Obama administration on Syria. The American people may be ignorant, as Sandy Baby said, but they're not stupid. One of the problems with Obama's proposals remains that his focus is all about Assad while basically ignoring the fighters who are opposed to the dictator, and offering no real plan for strengthening the moderates and weakening the extremists, exemplified here:
David R. Shedd, the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, were one of the strongest public warnings about how the civil war in Syria has deteriorated, and he seemed to imply that the response from the United States and its allies had so far been lacking.
Mr. Shedd suggested that in addition to strengthening the more secular groups of the fractious Syrian opposition — which the Obama administration has promised to arm with weapons and ammunition — the West would have to directly confront more radical Islamist elements. But he did not say how that could be accomplished.
“The reality is that, left unchecked, they will become bigger,” Mr. Shedd told the Aspen Security Forum, an annual meeting on security issues. “Over the last two years they’ve grown in size, they’ve grown in capability, and ruthlessly have grown in effectiveness.”
Administration officials including Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have stated in Senate hearings that U.S. military action will punish the Assad regime, degrade its ability to launch further chemical attacks, and deter future chemical attacks.
Yet, as Senator John McCain has noted, the Syrian government has had a head start of at least ten days to disperse and conceal its military assets. Given that Secretary Kerry and other senior officials have insisted that the administration does not “want to go to war,” how will President Obama direct U.S. forces to accomplish the mission he has defined while limiting the tools available?
Similarly, why does President Obama believe that military action will deter future chemical weapons attacks? If Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is sufficiently desperate to use chemical weapons, knowing the probable international reaction, he must fear for the survival of his regime. The only way to deter Assad from using chemical weapons when he believes his survival may be at stake would be to threaten to accelerate his downfall. The administration does not appear prepared to do this and the Congress does not appear prepared to support it. Moreover, as Senator Rand Paul has asked, if Assad is acting irrationally, why would we expect a rational response to a U.S. attack?
If Assad is eating Cheerios, we're going to take away his spoon and give him a fork. Will that degrade his ability to eat Cheerios? Yes. Will it deter him? Maybe. But he'll still be able to eat Cheerios."
If Obama cannot be trusted on Syria or the NSA, what else can we not trust him on? Quite a bit, in my opinion.