Never Fear, Says John Kerry, the Attack on Syria Will Only Be Wafer Thin

John KerryLike a French waiter plying Mr. Creosote with a "wafer thin" mint, Secretary of State John Kerry promises us that any attack on Syria would be "unbelievably small." As with Mr. Creosote, we know that this minuscule treat will involve a horrible detonation that will quickly be over, leaving a nasty cleanup in its wake. But President Assad of Syria knows this, too, and is probably quite capable of scraping the resulting mess off the furnishings and carrying on as before. So what is it that Kerry, and his boss, President Obama, hope to accomplish with a well-telegraphed military action that the world has been assured won't be worth fussing about?

Secretary Kerry made his remarks in a joint press conference with Britain’s foreign secretary, William Hague, that must have had the U.K. politician wondering if he was participating in an open-mike foreign policy show:

Now, I believe that the aftermath of the Iraq experience and Afghanistan leave a lot of people saying, "We don’t want to see our young people coming back in a body bag," and so forth. But that’s not what we’re talking about. And what we have to do is make clear to people that this is – we’re not talking about war. We’re not going to war. We will not have people at risk in that way. We will be able to hold Bashar Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, very short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war. That is exactly what we’re talking about doing – unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.

I think we all get that Kerry is reassuring the folks at home that no body bags will appear on the evening news. This will be nothing more than a painless (to Americans, anyway) television extravaganza, and there's no reason to get all hot and bothered or to dust off those anti-war signs.

President Obama, no doubt, had similar soothing intentions in mind when he promised at a G20 presser, "a limited, proportional strike like this -- not Iraq, not putting boots on the ground; not some long, drawn-out affair." No need to worry folks—it won't hurt a bit.

Frankly, though. President Assad and his buddies probably find that pretty reassuring, too. It's especially reassuring to know that they "could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week" to avoid an attack. That's a good week to think about what to do with the chemical weapons stockpile—and to get the kids, the krugerrands and the good china into bunkers dug well underground.

Regular Syrians rarely have easy access to well-stocked bunkers, alas.

This has been the problem from the beginning with all of the promises that no troops would be committed, that only air strikes are contemplated, and that it will all be over in no time. Why would that especially trouble a brutal dictator fighting to avoid being overthrown by rebels and strung up by his toes? He can wait out an "unbelievably small" attack, while a few buildings, regular troops and, almost certainly, civilians won't be so lucky.

Maybe, a week from now, Assad will surrender some nerve gas shells and go back to slaughtering his countrymen the old fashioned way. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the number of dead in the civil war so far at over 110,000, so chemical weapons that have killed somewhere between 300 and and 1,500 people clearly aren't a necessity.

But any other outcome—say, trying to actually end the killing entirely—would require an effort rather more extensive than an "unbelievably small" attack. And there would be no guarantee of success, of course. Maybe just more bodies, some of them in American uniforms.

Polls already indicate that Americans aren't going to go along with another actual war. That's no shocker after over a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. An "unbelievably small" attack might be an easier sell, but it's doomed to be ineffective.

It's only wafer thin, and it'll all be over in a minute. And damned if any of us can tell what it's supposed to accomplish.

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  • wareagle||

    Ad hoc foreign policy on display. Comedy or tragedy?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I believe the word "farce" is most apropos.

  • sarcasmic||

    "unbelievably small"

    Cue the penis jokes.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Everything about John F'n Kerry is small except his titanic ego and his wife’s financial statement.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He's a pretty tall guy. You have to give him that.

  • Dankee||

    And that face, my god, the length of that face.

  • Libertymike||

    Wonder what his wife's deceased former husband, Sen. Heinz, thinks of all this? All that money.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    So how come I haven't seen many conspiracy theories on Heinz's death? I mean come on!

  • Libertymike||

    You shouldn't bet against them having been bandied about, at least around the time of the Heinz-Kerry nuptials.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Just kick the ball, Charlie Brown.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    WHY IS CONGRESS EVEN BOTHERING TO DEBATE THIS MODEST PROPOSAL?

  • ||

    You see that? That's where I was born. You know, one day, my- my mother, she put me on her knee and she said to me, "Gaston, my son, the world is a beautiful place. You must go into it and love everyone, try to make everyone happy, and bring peace and contentment everywhere you go." And so, I became a waiter. Well, it's - it's not much of a philosophy, I know, but..well...fuck you. I can live my own life in my own way if I want to. Fuck off.

  • rts||

    And though I may be down right now at least I don't work for Jews.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Thank you, sir, and now, here's ze check."

  • Libertymike||

    How about the brain fart of Lavonte David yesterday?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Frustrating, but I found the sloppiness of the game in general to be more annoying. I mean, the Bucs are still trying to figure some things out, but talent-wise, the Jets should've been fairly easy to beat.

    We'll see how this season goes, but that wasn't a pleasant game to watch.

  • Libertymike||

    Very sloppy.

    Still, the Bucs snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Frankly, I think they weren't quite ready for the regular season, having held back a number of key players during preseason. This is really Schiano's first full camp/pre-season, so maybe he just fucked that part up. No excuses going forward, though.

  • Libertymike||

    That type of play, near the end of the game, is just inexcusable.

    Sure, it is easy to say that coaching has something to do with it, and in some cases (the Raiders through the years); but in Schiano's case, there are a plethora of players in the league who were coached by him at Rutgers and that tells you that, around the league, his program was respected. Up here in Patriot nation, it is generally understood that the hoodie is fond of Schiano.

  • Brett L||

    I'll be singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" for days now.

  • Loki||

    "Life's a piece of shit,
    When you look at it!"

    Words to live by...

  • rts||

    I love this headline at CNN:

    A way out for Syria? (with regards to Syria destroying its chemical weapons).

    A way out for Syria?! More like a way out for Obama.

    How heavy that water must be...

  • wareagle||

    that seems the new talking point in the media from a piece Eleanor Clift did to Chuck Todd at MSNBC and now this - as always, it is all about Obama, about preserving his awesomeness, and and and. I don't think the Moonies were this bad.

  • anon||

    Headline from TheOnion: "Americans favor sending Congress to Syria."

  • Mike M.||

    Given Kerry's exalted status as our country's only Vietnam war hero (everyone else who served over there is of course a war criminal), I say we should send him over there with a bowie knife to personally take out Assad and his stockpile of chemical weapons himself.

  • Brett L||

    He can get a new Purple Heart to replace the ones he threw over the White House fence!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, not if he's shot by an Islamic fanatic who is in the U.S. military.

  • Brett L||

    True

  • PapayaSF||

    "Never do any enemy a small injury." —Niccolò Machiavelli

    And my Syria meme.

  • PH2050||

    Haha, nice!

  • Boisfeuras||

    "If our opponent is to be made to comply with our will, we must place him in a situation which is more oppressive to him than the sacrifice which we demand; but the disadvantages of this position must naturally not be of a transitory nature, at least in appearance, otherwise the enemy, instead of yielding, will hold out in the prospect of a change for the better."
    - Clausewitz

  • PapayaSF||

    That, too.

  • johnl||

    Drone a lifeguard tower when the beach is closed.

  • anon||

    It's only wafer thin, and it'll all be over in a minute. And damned if any of us can tell what it's supposed to accomplish.

    So many dick jokes, so little time.

  • PH2050||

    "Let's play a little game called 'Just The Tip.'"

  • ||

    You can't hug your children with nuclear arms without firing Peace missiles into Syria!

  • PH2050||

    Bombing people isn't an act of war? These guys have more power than I thought, being able to redefine reality.

    Conclusion: Obama possesses the Infinity Gauntlet.

  • Tim||

    The Winter Soldier has thawed out.

  • John||

    Then why do it? They are so screwed on this. If it is a big deal, then they have to admit that a big response is justified. But if a big response is not justified, then it is not a big deal and turning it down isn't a big deal either.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, their scrambling is only having the effect of showing off what bumbling jackasses they are.

  • AlexInCT||

    I hear Carter says a prayer of thanks every day that his days of being ridiculed as the most ineffective and inefficient foreign policy president of the last 50 years are over. And Black Jesus and his team are making sure their record of stupid will stand for decades. Well, unless Hillary gets elected in 2016.

  • Brett L||

    Eh, I have great confidence in the American Electorate to find an even more venal and worthless candidate in 2016.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We're up to that challenge, I'm sure.

  • Killazontherun||

    He will still be hammered mercilessly. The only Democratic president of the past century since Truman who possessed the grace not to steal a second term. That is unforgivable. Look how long it took Harry to be rehabilitated and the man reintegrated the military!

  • John||

    And if it only requires this tiny weeny response, then why didn't Obama just do it? Pretty much everyone is willing to give the President deference for launching the odd air strike or cruise missile attack. If that is all this was going to be, Obama could have just done that and ask for forgiveness later. Either they are lying or Obama is a bumbling incompetent.

  • Hyperion||

    Either they are lying or Obama is a bumbling incompetent

    I'm going with both.

  • creech||

    Sounds like the response will be so small that Kerry and Obama should offer to pay for it out of their own pockets!

  • Loki||

    So, are we supposed to be Mr. Creosote and Kerry's the waiter offering us a "thin chocolate waffer"? Or is Kerry Mr. Creosote?

    "I couldn't possibly eat another bite."

  • Loki||

    Maybe I should have read the fucking post first before commenting:

    Like a French waiter plying Mr. Creosote with a "wafer thin" mint, Secretary of State John Kerry promises us that any attack on Syria would be "unbelievably small."

    So Kerry's the waiter.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    We're the vomit bucket.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    "C'mon babe, it's so small you won't even feel it!"

  • AlexInCT||

    Was that one of Bill's pick up lines?

  • Killazontherun||

    He didn't need lines. Just invite an ambitious government sector piece of tail back to the hotel room. Where he would greet her without pants on. Then came the trick. He would pour a double shot of vodka, sit it on the floor, and his erect little pecker would bend that way like a dowsing rod. Those transcripts are sealed until 2018, but everyone in Little Rock knows about L'il Willy.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Popular opinion held that the Civil War and Vietnam would be limited and over quickly, too. Also Iraq. Not sure about Korea.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Let's just sink a few American battleships. Then we can swing through the Pacific, pick up a few oil-producing areas, fully supply our invasion of China, and live happily ever after as the Japanese Empire. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    I do wonder what might have happened if Nagumo hadn't chickened out and really leveled Pearl with a few more waves. The POL facilities in particular. Maybe he even runs into a returning Halsey on his way out and hits the carriers pretty well too.

  • Irish||

    WWI was supposed to be over in a couple of months too.

  • andarm16||

    Yep, all of those Oxbridge boys were terrified they'd miss the war by the time they got up to the front lines.

  • Plopper||

    OT: But what do people here think about the breaking news regarding Zimmerman?

  • John||

    Can't see why I should care.

  • Brett L||

    Estranged spouses don't carry much credibility. The cops were so concerned they sent him to a relative's house. I'm going with standard divorce fight.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think it will be milked by the media, the left, and the administration for all that it's worth. Maybe a drone strike.

  • Steve G||

    You see the line about her requiring him to pay for a life insurance policy with her as beneficiary as part of the divorce filing? That's choice. Not only do I think you're a selfish prick, but I think you're a dead man walking and I see dollar signs.

  • PapayaSF||

    Awaiting the barrage of Facebook postings trumpeting this as proving that Zimmerman is a dangerous guy and thus Martin was an innocent victim. *SIGH*

  • Plopper||

    Exactly what I was thinking :(

  • Jerry on the boat||

    I bet CNN is secretely fondling itself over the prospect of a new war.

  • Loki||

    Secretly?

  • Being Waterboarded||

    No, secretely. It is an outcome of the fondling.

  • Being Waterboarded||

    CNN is fondling themselves... businesses are people, too.

  • Hugh Akston||

    CITIZENZZZZZZZZZZ UNTIED!!!!111!!!!ONE!!

  • Killazontherun||

    Citizens United. It was the only time in 120 years of progressive history they ever acknowledged that human beings are an ends in themselves, and not merely a means towards one.

  • Sevo||

    And besides:
    "Obama adviser: Strikes at Syria 'not another war'"
    It's not war-war, see?
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/pol.....798949.php

  • John||

    Bombing another country is not war. Just like some Muslim nut shooting soldiers is not terrorism.

  • Tim||

    It's not war, what could possibly go wrong?

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's certainly an act of war. Remember those? Syria would be well within its legal rights to attack the U.S. if we dropped some bombs on them.

  • Andrew S.||

    So... was Pearl Harbor not an act of war?

  • Spiny Norman||

    It's not a war in the classic sense. It's something new. Different. Uniquely refreshing. Call it the "New Coke" of wars.

  • Hyperion||

    What is it with all of these journalists and the media being such war mongers?

    I found a link to the article below, and this guy is saying that it would be a mistake to strike Syria with public disapproval so high. Why would it be a mistake? Because we have to make sure the public will support our next big war, with Iran.

    There are about half a dozen paragraphs similar to this in the article:

    Yet by dragging an unwilling American public into a dangerous, no-win Syrian intervention, we are killing-off our ability to convince them that a strike at a soon-to-be nuclear Iran will be worth the substantial cost

    We need to save up our war boners for Iran

  • sly311||

    Just wafer thin enough to get rid of the arms, which we were sending them, get gone. Simple.

  • sly311||

    Oh, that would be through Bengahzi that is.

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