I was watching a TV news program concerning the events in Syria on the twenty-third when a most amazing clip of President Obama was shown in which he indicated that this nation’s hands are tied absent any permission from the United Nations to do anything, at least anything significant. One supposes on the basis of the U.S. Constitution’s listing of presidential powers that Obama can do things only with the permission of the Congress. Or, if the nation is threatened he can act unilaterally, that action also permitted under the War Powers Act.
From a logical standpoint, never mind the subterfuge connected to that silly statement, he can’t do anything anyway. He set up a “red line” vis-à-vis the use of chemical weapons months ago. It was crossed, at least reportedly (who knows?), but he did nothing. It has just been crossed again (reportedly, who knows?) and he has said the UN has our hands tied. That isn’t the truth but the decision is proper. Apparently, he knows by now that meddling in Syria would be dangerous and foolhardy with respect to accomplishing any good.
Obama has indicated over and over his dislike (hatred?) of the U.S. Constitution and has done what he pleases via executive orders. He totally bypassed the feckless Congress when he decided that he and NATO would lay waste Libya, even though Libya posed no threat to any nation on earth, having virtually no military establishment. Instead, he directed State Secretary Clinton to get authorization from the UN Security Council. Russia and China abstained from voting, allowing Obama to have his little war, and so the deed was done. Nobody liked Qaddafi anyway.
The degree of Obama’s disdain of the Constitution (nation of laws) was exceeded only by the degree of his stupidity vis-à-vis how to conduct a war. His method was described by Defense Secretary Gates as “on the fly,” meaning with no planning whatsoever for either the bloodshed itself or the aftermath. Obama said the dustup would be over in days, not weeks. It lasted seven months with Libya (population just 6 million) as a “killing field” and exposed Obama’s complete ignorance of both world affairs and military matters.
The end result of his little war was absolute chaos that continues to this day. The slaughter of Americans at Benghazi last September just scratched the surface of the mayhem Obama introduced under the guise of protecting Libyans from Qaddafi—in other words, Obama choosing who lived and died rather than leaving that up to Qaddafi and the Libyans. In the bargain, al Qaeda seems to be the apparent winner in Libya, the very outfit that Qaddafi had already identified as his enemy in the country and which he was already fighting.
So…the newsies are on Obama’s case because Syrians are dying and he’s backtracked all the way to the nearest golf course. Fox’s Shepard Smith seemed about to go into contractions and deliver a bowling ball the other day, throwing one of his entertaining temper tantrums. He may not have the ability to see what’s happening in Syria in light of what happened in his state of Mississippi in 1861. It rebelled against the government and fought for four years, with the loss of life just in the military about 625,000 souls, about 5% of the white male population.
Assad is doing in Syria essentially what Abe Lincoln did in 1861-65 by seeing the bitter uprising of the Confederacy (insurrectionists) to the bitter end with the greatest bloodshed in American history, about 428 dead per day for four years. Lincoln responded to a civil war whereas Assad is responding to a civil/sectarian war—different flavors of Muslims killing each other. Nobody knows the body-count in Syria but accepting the 90,000 figure, which seems way too high, that works out to just over 100 per day of the total Syrian population (not just the men) since March 2011 as compared to the average 428 per day (nearly all, men) during the American civil war, about 1,460 days. During the 4.5 years of combat in WWI and WWII, the average number of GI deaths per day was about 320.
The current generation can’t comprehend the figures noted above or see the parallel of Assad with Lincoln and is appalled at the contemporary carnage anywhere, perhaps not least because the average death-rate of American GIs in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 is 1.5 per day. This is not to say that any killing, not to mention the thousands more wounded, is acceptable—it isn’t—but just to provide a perspective that one may not have had.
In any case, Obama’s hands are tied but not by the UN…just plain common sense. Libya was his hard-learned lesson, and many weep there account his little war.
And so it goes.