Syria

Bill Clinton Says Obama Should Do More To Help Rebels in Syria

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Credit: The White House / Foter.com / Public domain

Bill Clinton told Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that Obama risks looking like a "total fool" if he does not do more to help rebels in Syria.

Clinton made the comments during a private discussion at an event hosted by the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Manhattan. Although press were not allowed at the event details of the discussion were leaked to Politico.

From New York Magazine:

Clinton's opinions on Syria came up during a question-and-answer session with McCain. "Some people say, 'Okay, see what a big mess it is? Stay out!' I think that's a big mistake. I agree with you about this," Clinton said. "Sometimes it's just best to get caught trying, as long as you don't overcommit — like, as long as you don't make an improvident commitment." He added, ""I don't think Syria is necessarily Iraq or Afghanistan — no one has asked us to send any soldiers in there."

Politico doesn't quote the question, but at McCain's urging, Clinton described how he decided to intervene in Kosovo and Bosnia, and suggested that when polls say the public is against foreign intervention, they don't necessarily mean it.

It is remarkable that Kosovo and Bosnia are being mentioned in a discussion about the situation in Syria. As Ed Krayewski has mentioned on this blog before, the situation in Syria is very different to the situation in the Balkans in the early 90s. The risk of our intervention in the Balkans helping jihadists with regional ambitions or further expanding beyond the borders of former Yugoslavia was non-existent.

Aside from the mention of the situation in the Balkans in the early 90s Clinton's comments about public approval for intervention are also worrying. Even the war in Iraq, as disastrous as it turned out, had public support when it began. However, support for intervention in Syria is low, and it is understandable that Obama, whose administration is in the middle of dealing with numerous scandals and crises, would be hesitant to get more involved in a conflict that does not have public support.

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  1. Yes Obama, listen to Bill! He has your best interests at heart!

    1. Exactly. I assume that any advice Bill Clinton gives is to the benefit of Bill Clinton and orthagonal to my or the nation’s benefit.

      1. Doesn’t he have a wife who might be interested in presidential politics or something?

        1. Now, now, Jesse. He’s a statesman and above all that. And if you believe me, have I got some beautiful waterfront property to sell you in the Everglades.

  2. Sure. Make sure they have weapons so the war goes on and more nutso jihadist go there to die rather than here. That is about the only argument I can see for doing it.

    1. He is also being a revisionist about his own policy and its success. He waited until after the worst of the civil war had been fought before intervening and then declared his policy a success. More like the peace of a graveyard than that of a fighting force settling the matter.

  3. “Total fool” as dog whistle.

  4. “McCain Institute for International Leadership”

    Holy. F*&king;. Balls.

    1. McCain Institute for BOMB ‘EM ALL, I’M OLD

      1. McCain Institute for GET OFF MY LAWN! Damn Kids These Days.

        Aka MIGOMLDKTD

  5. …it is understandable that Obama, whose administration is in the middle of dealing with numerous scandals and crises, would be hesitant to get more involved in a conflict that does not have public support.

    I would think that being in the middle of scandals would make the President less hesitant to get involved in a conflict that would distract attention from the scandals.

    I don’t remember off-hand which one it was, but didn’t we once have a President who – in the middle of a scandal involving sex with an intern – decided this would be a good time to step up intervention in some place called Kosovo? Maybe the linkage between Kosovo and Syria that this Clinton fellow is bringing up should be examined from a different perspective.

    1. It is remarkable that Kosovo and Bosnia is being mentioned in a discussion about the situation in Syria.

      It is indeed remarkable. So why the hell didn’t you make the obvious remark? “The situation in Syria is very different to the situation in the Balkans in the early 90s”? Really?That’s the best remark you can come up with in response to a remarkable comment? The ‘situation’ in both cases is that you have a president mired in scandal who desperately needs a dog to wag.

      Is there video of Clinton making this mention of Kosovo vis-a-vis Syria? Was he doing the ‘overly-broad pantomime winking while ostentatiously pointing to his winking’ thing?

      That’s how you remark on a remarkable comment. Dumbass.

    2. Some punks on the street tried to get me to sign some nonsense concerning Mali. I told them that neither Mali nor its people pose any existential threat to me personally or the United States in general, therefore what they do is not my business.

  6. Go get ’em, Bill. I’m sure somebody can arrange to drop you out of an airplane in the dead of night. Take your wife.

    1. And Chelsea.

    2. +1 Ron Brown.

  7. at McCain’s urging, Clinton described how he decided to intervene in Kosovo and Bosnia, and suggested that when polls say the public is against foreign intervention, they don’t necessarily mean it.

    Fucking proles don’t know what’s good for them.

  8. “”Some people say, ‘Okay, see what a big mess it is? Stay out!’ I think that’s a big mistake.”

    Clinton went on to say, “I have plenty of experience in getting into big messes, yet here I am today, a respected ex-President, talking to you guys.”

  9. “The risk of our intervention in the Balkans helping jihadists with regional ambitions or further expanding beyond the borders of former Yugoslavia was non-existent.”

    Really? Because I seem to recall a certain degree of jihadist involvement in ex-Yugoslavia.

  10. How about we give Bill Clinton an AR-15 and, what the hell, a helmet and let him risk his ass to go liberate Damascus. Oh, and take your undoubtedly brave son-in-law and service-oriented daughter to FIGHT-FIGHT-FIGHT on behalf of their country.

  11. I wonder what Syrian rebel group paid the Big Dog a seven figure consulting fee or speech / appearance fee.

    That’s what he charges everybody else, so I’m just assuming here.

    1. Nah. I’m thinking Bill’s running the trial balloon for Barry. If it gets the right reception, Mr. Obama can show his “willingness to be flexible” and go along with escalating commitment. If not, well, it was just old wonky Bill Clinton shooting his mouth off as usual.

  12. Oh Bill. Does “total fool” mean not getting thousands killed trying to play world police in Mogadishu? Or does “total fool” mean not bombing Iraq and watching thousands get killed in an attempt to distract from Monica scandals?

    Tough to keep track.

    1. He meant total fool because he knows the only effective way to distract from your own incompetent and corrupt scandals is to start up a war and bomb some brown people. And he’s right. So he is being honest that Obama is being a fool not to do this for his OWN benefit, that of TEAM Blue and TEAM GOVco. He isn’t interested in the the benefit to the unwashed masses.

      1. it’s not just brown people; the ones in the former Yugoslavia were quite white. Distraction is often color blind.

        1. They were a lot browner after the bombs hit them.

  13. One word:

    Mogadishu

    If you aren’t going to commit, STFO.

  14. I’m sure this war will be just as humanitarian as Kosovo, Bosnia, and Haiti were.

  15. Hey, Bubba!
    “UNITED NATIONS – Syrian troops and rebels are recruiting children to fight in the country’s civil war”
    Tell me again which one is the good guys.

  16. “Sometimes it’s just best to get caught trying, as long as you don’t overcommit…

    See, it’s kind of like the difference between a blowjob…and sex!

  17. “Sometimes it’s just best to get caught trying”

    This is the reasoning of a commander in chief, whose decisions can mean life or death for thousands of people: Well, we tried! What more can you ask for, ya know?

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