I woke up this morning prepared to write a post about Obama's genius move in leaving the Syrian matter up to Congress. The people don't want intervention -- the polls are quite clear on that point -- and they are pressuring Congress to vote against a strike. By leaving the decision in the hands of Congress (where it belongs, constitutionally), Obama gets to pretend that he accepts this obviously cooked intel at face value -- yet, at the same time, he can tell the people who did the cooking: "Sorry, dudes. My hands are tied."
But now John Kerry has done an infuriating thing
. He has given Assad a week's deadline to hand over all chemical weapons. Of course, Assad won't do that.
Even if he did, a war-bent administration could always claim that inspectors were not being given full access. That was the gimmick used in Iraq.
Kerry intimates that there will be retaliation if Assad does not comply. So now we know that Obama is committed to a strike. Never mind the polls, and never mind Congress. We're in.
Kerry said (ridiculously) that any strike against Syria would be "unbelievably small
." For God's sake, it's a use of military force. Either you hit hard or you don't hit at all. (As a practical matter, there is very little one can do to take out Assad's CW armaments: Bombs will simply spread the toxins.)
Even if the strike is as teensy as Tinkerbelle, Assad has promised retaliation
. This looks grim:
In a clear reference to his allies in Iran and the Islamic militant group Hezbollah, Assad warned that his government is "not the only player in this region."
So if any of these three players (Syria, Iran, Hezbollah) does something violent in response to our own "unbelievably small" violence, the U.S. -- as a matter of "face" -- will have to respond to that response. At that point, the public will probably support an escalation of hostilities.
(Of course, Assad could go for Putin's offer
, but I don't think that this will happen, because the humiliation factor is too high.)
We know how these stories tend to play out: The violence keeps spiraling. Where does it end? Troops. Another Iraq-style nightmare. Perhaps war with Iran. I've said for a long time now that the neocons are behind this thing, and their great target is Iran.
I used to think the world of John Kerry. I started this blog to do whatever small thing I could to help him attain the presidency. But this...this
Kerry should never have joined this dismal administration. Same with Hillary.
All I can do now is hope I'm wrong. Readers, if you want to argue against this analysis, I would be overjoyed to hear from you.