Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Takeaways -- UPDATE

The President gave a speech about Syria.

Here are some of the early reactions to it.

From Andrew Sullivan:
That was one of the clearest, simplest and most moving presidential speeches to the nation I can imagine. It explained and it argued, point after point. Everything the president said extemporaneously at the post-G20 presser was touched on, made terser, more elegant and more persuasive.

I’m tired of the eye-rolling and the easy nit-picking of the president’s leadership on this over the last few weeks. The truth is: his threat of war galvanized the world and America, raised the profile of the issue of chemical weapons more powerfully than ever before, ensured that this atrocity would not be easily ignored and fostered a diplomatic initiative to resolve the issue without use of arms. All the objectives he has said he wanted from the get-go are now within reach, and the threat of military force – even if implicit – remains.
From David Sirota:
America's most widely read "Wake Up White People!" daily weighs in:
This charade will last as long as Obama is intent on bombing to recover his own lost credibility over his unfortunate red lines, and as long as Putin can keeping producing a new phantasm as quickly as the prior one disappears. No doubt his well-timed efforts have altered the contents of tonight’s presidential address, and later this week he will do something again to alter the alterations of the presidential address.
Jennifer Rubin flings her WaPoo:
Obama’s Syria speech: An illogical argument from a paralyzed president

By throwing the ball to Congress and then to Russia, Obama has effectively taken the use of force off the table, letting the Russians and Assad set the ground rules. From a moral and geopolitical standpoint, this is a debacle that will extend throughout the Middle East and beyond.
A Republican Congressman from Wisconsin is heard from:

Tom Friedman proves he still craps ingots of pure cluelessness:
Part of me wonders: Has anybody thought this through?


And Roger Ailes' network news Overlook Hotel treated the speech like a bucket of meth-infused chum heaved into a wading pool full of starving sharks. Video available as soon as Jon Stewart posts it.

Charles Pierce won't be buying war bonds anytime soon:
Sorry, sir, but bull. Also, shit. Given the context you've established, anything short of regime change in Syria has to be considered a failure. Unless you're prepared to remove Assad, your actions have no point. Your strategy has no logic to it.
Reason magazine's Nick Gillespie can't understand why anyone makes such a big hairy deal over chemical weapons in particular when there are so many other evil things in the world, like taxes on rich people, environmental regulations and having to wait until the summer of 20-goddamn-14 for "Atlas Shrugged Part III".  Mr. Gillespie actually takes of his leather jacket to make his points, so you know he's super-serious:

Max Fisher is surprised and delighted to see the college professor refusing to treat American's as children to be flattered or frightened into doing something dangerous and complicated with no hope of a victory parade or brass band "Mission Accomplished" speech at the end of it:
Here’s why that’s a big deal: Obama knows that he could really use a boost in public support for his plan. He surely had to understand that the dry, analytical approach he took last night would not be the best way to generate that boost (and, judging by the insta-polls, it doesn’t seem to have done wonders for public opinion). But he did it anyway, sticking to the unsatisfying truth, going way out of his way to avoid adopting a tactic that presidents have used for years to rally public support for international military action: threat inflation.

There are few more reliable ways to sell Americans on military action than to tell them that they’re in danger. That’s not a dig on Americans; people of all nationalities are naturally self-interested. Perhaps that was a lesson Obama learned in the Iraq War debacle, when the Bush administration’s over-sell of Iraq’s alleged threat made the public easier to convince but also badly distorted the debate in ways that still impact U.S. credibility. It’s still much easier to argue that the United States has to fight the enemy abroad so it doesn’t have to defend against them at home. And, almost 12 years to the day after September 11, 2001, it would have been awfully convenient for Obama to tell Americans that strikes are necessary to prevent terrorism. But Obama didn’t say any of that, even though the political consequences of threat-inflation have proven low in American politics and the tactic often seems to work.
Mitch McConnell emerges from his crypt long enough to try to cash in on the Right's great love of hating anything that comes out of POTUS's mouth:
The letter to donors specifically reads, "Today was a ringing example of why we need to keep Mitch fighting for us in the United States Senate. Anything that you can contribute will go a long way towards our goal." The entire second sentence was hyperlinked to a contribution page. The bottom of the McConnell message also included a large "contribute" button. 
I'd love to know which strategic genius told the Senate Minority Leader this would be a good idea. 
Mitch McConnell, too afraid of his own shadow to lead, has spent the last three weeks hiding from taking a position on U.S. policy in Syria. Yesterday, ignoring his own foreign policy views, the Kentucky Republican announced his opposition to intervention. 
Fine. McConnell's hardly the only Republican being craven about this.
But to exploit this a few hours later for fundraising? Even after another congressional Republican caught hell for trying the exact same stunt?
Meanwhile, CNN launches it's new and improved Hindenburg (From the brochure: "As you glide stately and serene over the rolling landscape of American politics, held aloft by giant, fragile, leaking bags of hydrogen, enjoy our world-famous 'Sketches of Napalm' indoor pyrotechnical display while dining on saganiki, open fire-pit BBQ prepared table-side, and PĂȘches Louis...") by making sure that Both Sides...

While thanks to the miracle of video tape technology, the Senator from Galt's Gulch was able to record his contempt for President Obama's speech before President Obama actually made it:
Twelve years after we were attack by al-Qaeda, twelve years after 3,000 Americans were killed by al-Qaeda, President Obama now asks us to be allies with al-Qaeda...
In an odd coincidence, leg-humpingly-eager presidential aspirant Rand Paul's thinking just happened to line up perfectly with that of the GOP's kingmaker and capo di tutti capi:
The Obama administration has accused the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad of carrying out a chemical weapons attack outside Damascus that killed nearly 1,500 people. 
But maybe it’s a frame job, and Obama actually conspired with al Qaeda to gas innocent Syrians as a pretext for going to war against Assad. That’s what right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh wondered aloud on his radio show Tuesday. (Limbaugh’s theorizing was first noted by Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum). 
“Now, if this is right—and I say “IF” in capital letters—if this is right, this is the setup of all time,” Limbaugh told his listeners Tuesday, pointing his listeners to an opinion piece titled “Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?” Limbaugh then said, “At any rate, it looks like there was US intel involvement dating a week before the alleged chemical weapons attack in meetings that were anticipating a war-changing event. So we could be looking here at a frame job, a pretty big setup.”


Damian, Pink No More said...

Video available as soon as Jon Stewart posts it.

And that is why I'm staying.

blackdaug said...

"U.S. President Barack Obama vowed to pursue a diplomatic initiative from Russia over Syria's chemical weapons on Tuesday but voiced skepticism about it and urged Americans to support his threat to use military force."

Its almost as if..there was some kind of multi-scenario ...whats the word...plan.

Imagine, publicly voicing one thing, while contemplating other actors to react with different solutions, and taking advantage of that for a better outcome.


Some days, don't you feel like Ricky Gervais in the movie "The Invention of Lying?"

Because, I feel like that every fucking day now....

gratuitous said...

Hey, say what you will about what the President's going to do about Syria, and you can almost certainly find a sentence in last night's address that will tell you that he's going to do that very thing.

Bomb the ever-loving shit out of Syria for no reason? Yep, it's there. Bomb the ever-loving shit out of Syria for all the best reasons? Uh huh.

Ask Congress for permission? Yupper Smucker. Go ahead with whatever he wants to do regardless? Oh, yeah.

Big time shock and awe attack? Well, we don't spend all that money on our military to do pinpricks, Seamus. Precision attack to send a message, but not effect regime change? Sure, that's on the table.

Just once, before this administration does something, I'd like all the 11th-dimensional chess players to tell me ahead of time what the President's going to do. Based on last night's address, which was all over the map (you should pardon the expression), what's the administration's policy? Based on that publicly-announced policy, what is the President going to do?

Every time this administration does something - agreeable or disagreeable - the cheerleaders dash out in their pleated skirts and pom-poms and explain to all us benighted dolts and dunderheads that if we had only read this speech from 2009, or that paper from 2011, or read what Obama said during an interview in 2004, it would be crystal clear that he was going to do whatever he did all along.

So I ask those folks to get out ahead of the game that you all so clearly see, before the fact: What's the administration going to do? Bomb Syria? Not bomb Syria? Ask for Congressional approval? Go ahead without it? Please be as specific as you can, because I'm getting more than a little tired of policy by M. Night Shyamalan movie plots.

marindenver said...

Hey gratuitous, I'm a little tired of my pleated skirt getting all muddied and wrinkled as you guys trample over me to rush to the public square and declare Obama, whatever it was he did, agreeable or disagreeble, as a corporatist, Worse-than-Bush, Killer-of-Innocent-Civilians, wannabe dictator, working only for his Wall Street overlords.

As for your question, I think Obama's going to try and negotiate the best possible settlement of a bad situation. And Obama usually wins whether you like to admit it or not.

drspittle said...

What the hell is Pierce's problem? Or did I take that quotation out of context? I don't go over there anymore because of the dudebro love. Also, too, what blackdaug and marindenver said.

n1ck said...

Agreed with marindenver.

So far, everyone who goes up against Obama ends up looking like a massive fucking idiot.


Please proceed, Gratuitous.

gratuitous said...

Well boo hoo, marindenver! Please point to where I said Obama was worse than Bush or a killer of innocent civilians, a wannabe dictator, or working only for his Wall Street overlords?

Sorry you can't stuff words into my post, but can you at least give me a little specificity as to what your bold pronouncement of "the best possible settlement of a bad situation" is apt to look like? I'd really like to know - ahead of time for once - what yet another "win" will look like before it takes shape and you have to dust off the old cheer of "Jamais-never-nein-nyet, That's the best we could get!"

Jack said...

What marindenver said.

Also I just happened to stumble across this comment posted in another comment thread on another site.

"Mr. Secretary-General, distinguished delegates, the terror of it. The horror of it. We condemn it. The use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war -- beyond its tragic human toll -- jeopardizes the moral and legal strictures that have held these weapons in check since World War I. Let this tragedy spark reaffirmation of the Geneva protocol outlawing the use of chemical weapons. I call upon the signatories to that protocol, as well as other concerned states, to convene a conference to consider actions that we can take together to reverse the serious erosion of this treaty. And we urge all nations to cooperate in negotiating a verifiable, truly global ban on chemical weapons at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. It is incumbent upon all civilized nations to ban, once and for all -- and on a verifiable and global basis -- the use of chemical and gas warfare."

Ronald Regan at the U.N.

You know, there was a time when the left would have unambiguously regarded this as progress, even though it came from Reagan. Sure, it's not a total weapons ban, nor a call for pacifism, but it's an important step towards a better world.

Now all of a sudden, the emo-progs seem to spend all their time telling us that chemical weapons really aren't a big deal, and anyone who suggests otherwise is obviously lying as part of some sinister consiracy.

Frank Shannon said...

So much straw in so little space. This thread is in danger of becoming a fire hazard.

gratuitous said...

Hmmm, no reply. Lemme get my shocked face I keep in a jar by the door.

Anonymous said...

Well...I just came back and looked at this today
So let's see it.
I stand by my original I did with ...the grand bargain...
Remember that?
I didn't fucking think so.

...but I haven't listened to the checkers podcast either