John Kerry

John Kerry's Morally, Linguistically, and Historically Obscene Case for War in Syria

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If we are to take our roles as citizens as "seriously" as members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee claim to take their decision to support the bombing of Syria ("very, very seriously," said Bob Corker [R-Tennesse]; "seriously and solemnly," added Dick Durbin [D-Illinois]), then we really ought to give full attention to the testimony yesterday by the war's principal salesman, Secretary of State John Kerry.

Unfortunately for the politician who made famous the line "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?", Kerry's case in front of the committee was more a textbook example of how acting as the world's policeman for decades has warped the country's values, judgment, and even language.

I counted at least seven moments that qualified in my judgment as obscene, exposing along the way the administration's empty and contradictory arguments for air-mailing death upon a regime that does not pose a direct threat in the United States: 

1)  Repeatedly insisting that the war would not be a "war"

During a testy exchange with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Kerry introduced into the lexicon of political evasion a jaw-dropping new phrase, war in the classic sense:

[W]e don't want to go to war. We don't believe we are going to war in the classic sense of taking American troops and America to war. The president is asking for the authority to do a limited action that will degrade the capacity of a tyrant who has been using chemical weapons to kill his own people. […]

[W]hen people are asked, do you want to go to war with Syria, of course not! Everybody, a hundred percent of Americans will say no. We say no. We don't want to go to war in Syria either. It's not what we're here to ask. The president is not asking you to go to war. He's not asking you to declare war. He's not asking you to send one American troop to war. He's simply saying we need to take an action that can degrade the capacity of a man who's been willing to kill his own people by breaking a nearly hundred-year- old prohibition, and will we stand up and be counted to say, we won't do that. That's not—I don't—you know, I just don't consider that going to war in the classic sense of coming to Congress and asking for a declaration of war and training troops and sending people abroad and putting young Americans in harm's way.

The 1949 Geneva Conventions, to which the United States is a signatory, is the basic international legal framework of what can and cannot be done during war. There is no definition of what the U.S. plans to do in Syria that doesn't qualify under that treaty:

[T]he present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them…. Any difference arising between two States and leading to the intervention of members of the armed forces is an armed conflict within the meaning of Article 2, even if one of the Parties denies the existence of a state of war. It makes no difference how long the conflict lasts, or how much slaughter takes place.

Pretending that a campaign of hostile, deadly bombing overseen by the U.S. military is somehow not a "war" is both an Orwellian mangling of the English language, and a formulation central to the administration's sale. As Kerry said in his prepared remarks,

So let me be clear: President Obama is not asking America to go to war. And I say that sitting next to two men—Secretary Hagel and Chairman Dempsey—who know what war is. Senator McCain knows what war is. They know the difference between going to war and what President Obama is requesting now. We all agree, there will be no American boots on the ground.

There were no American boots on the ground in NATO's 1999 bombing of Kosovo, either, but the 38,000 combat missions over 78 days killed an estimated 500 civilians and changed the political reality on the ground. It was a war.

2) Insisting simultaneously that the military action will be "limited," with no boots on the ground…and also that Assad's behavior could trigger an expanded U.S. retaliation, including boots on the ground.

As seen above, Kerry maintained throughout the day that "there will be no American boots on the ground."Well, except for maybe….

But in the event Syria imploded, for instance, or in the event there was a threat of a chemical weapons cache falling into the hands of al-Nusra or someone else and it was clearly in the interest of our allies and all of us, the British, the French and others, to prevent those weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of the worst elements, I don't want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to a president of the United States to secure our country.

What-what-WHAT? Kerry then walked the dog back a couple of times. Here's one of them:

And I want to emphasize something. I want to come back to it because I don't want anybody misinterpreting this from earlier. This authorization does not contemplate and should not have any allowance for any troop on the ground. I just want to make that absolutely clear. You know, what I was doing was hypothesizing about a potential it might occur at some point in time, but not in this authorization, in no way—be crystal clear—there's no problem in our having the language that has zero capacity for American troops on the ground within the authorization the president is asking for. I don't want anybody in the media or elsewhere to misinterpret that coming out of here. As I said earlier, I repeat it again now, that's important.

Got it! Except, uh, if Assad responds to being attacked by acting like the illogical, murderous dictator that he's already acting like:

You all have to make a kind of calculation here, just as Assad does. If he is foolish enough to respond to the world's enforcement against his criminal activity, if he does, he will invite something far worse, and I believe, something absolutely unsustainable for him.

So in that case the U.S. would be using its military for regime change, even though the congressional authorization is not about regime change (even if the administration's stated policy since before the authorization is to remove Assad, which would be regime change). But that's OK, because it's still not war!

That doesn't mean the United States of America going to war, as I said in my comments. There are plenty of options here.

3) Using as a causus belli the fact that the U.S. turned away a boat of Jewish refugees from the Third Reich in 1939.

After being asked a series of appropriately skeptical questions from Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), such as "How can we guarantee that one surgical strike will have any impact other than to tighten the vice grip Assad has on his power or allow rebels allied with al-Qaida to gain a stronger foothold in Syria?", Kerry got haughty and uncorked this historical haymaker:

History is full of opportunity of moments where someone didn't stand up and act when it made a difference. And whether you go back to World War II or you look at a ship that was turned away from the coast of Florida and everybody on it lost their lives subsequently to German gas, those are the things that make a difference. And that's what's at stake here.

That ship was the MS St. Louis, which was indeed a historically bungled opportunity. To take in refugees fleeing Hitler. Any usable analogy with refusing to accept Jewish refugees in June 1939 should be focused on the U.S. taking in Syrians displaced by Assad's butchery. And how have we been doing on that score? Abysmally: Just 90 refugees granted permanent asylum in the last two years, with a recent announcement that we'll expand the number to 2,000, though asylum seekers will have to undergo terrorist background checks that could last as long as one year.

To sum up: The administration is so shamed by America's historical behavior with the MS St. Louis that it has accepted only 10 percent the St. Louis's passenger cargo as refugees from Syria in the last two years, yet has seen fit to invoke the lesson as a non-sequitur in its publicity campaign to launch a war that isn't being called a war.

The final insult? Kerry was wrong that "everybody" on the St. Louis "lost their lives subsequently to German gas." Here's the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

Great Britain took 288 passengers; the Netherlands admitted 181 passengers, Belgium took in 214 passengers; and 224 passengers found at least temporary refuge in France. Of the 288 passengers admitted by Great Britain, all survived World War II save one, who was killed during an air raid in 1940. Of the 620 passengers who returned to continent, 87 (14%) managed to emigrate before the German invasion of Western Europe in May 1940. 532 St. Louis passengers were trapped when Germany conquered Western Europe. Just over half, 278 survived the Holocaust. 254 died: 84 who had been in Belgium; 84 who had found refuge in Holland, and 86 who had been admitted to France.

4) Describing this decision as a "Munich moment"

In a conference call Monday with congressional representatives, Kerry characterized the upcoming Syria vote as a "Munich moment." In his testimony yesterday, he aimed to send "the unmistakable message that when the United States of America and the world say, never again, we don't mean sometimes; we don't mean somewhere; never means never."

Along with the MS St. Louis anecdote above, the three Hitler references center on the infamous September 1938 Munich Agreement, at which British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Premier Edouard Daladier handed western Czechoslovakia to the expansionist Nazi dictator without representatives of Czechoslovakia even being present, and despite the fact that France had treaty obligations to defend the Czechs from attack. That act of appeasement and treachery is to the Syrian civil war what a fish is to a bicycle.

"Munich" has been the go-to historical analogy for every sizable U.S. intervention since World War II. As former Armed Services Committee staffer Jeffrey Record wrote in a March 1998 Air War College paper titled Perils of Reasoning by Historical Analogy: Munich, Vietnam, and American Use of Force Since 1945, "Reasoning by historical analogy can be dangerous, especially if such reasoning is untempered by recognition that no two historical events are identical and that the future is more than a linear extension of the past….In Vietnam…Munich blinded rather than enlightened American policy-makers….[And] helped lay the foundation for the very disaster, memories of which today shape U.S. policy just as profoundly as did Munich in Southeast Asia."

5) Denying that the U.S. is the self-appointed policeman of the world.

Sen. Udall made another worthwhile and factually accurate point:

To the international community we're saying once again the United States will be the world's policeman. You break a law, and the United States will step in. We are on shaky international legal foundations with this potential strike[.]

In many ways, this is one of the key questions about U.S. foreign policy, about which there is plenty of dispute: Is playing the world's policeman a wise, cost-effective, or legal role? Kerry responded with a humdinger of a euphemism:

[Y]ou raised the question of doesn't this make the United States the policeman of the world. No. It makes the United States a multilateral partner in an effort that the world, 184 nations strong, has accepted the responsibility for.

Besides attempting to sustain the cognitive dissonance of having a strategy to remove Assad but seeking the authorization to only lob bombs at him, the administration is attempting to claim the mantle of international legitimacy for a strike that has no international legal footing, and which almost the entire rest of the world has chosen not to join.

6) Making the laugh-out-loud claim that a post-Assad Syria will be "secular."

A classic lie, when selling Americans on intervening in civil wars from Vietnam to Nicaragua to Iraq, is over-hyping the democratic and peace-loving credenials of the side who stands to gain most from U.S. military intervention. Here are a couple of passages from Kerry, in response to understandable concerns by senators that the opposition to Assad is composed of Islamic militants:

The opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation, more defined by the breadth of its membership and more defined by its adherence to some, you know, democratic process and to an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution, which will be broad-based and secular with respect to the future of Syria. And that's very critical. […]

I would also say to you, Syria historically has been secular, and the vast majority of Syrians, I believe, want to remain secular. It's—it's our judgment that—and the judgment of our good friends who actually know a lot of this in many ways better than we do because it's their region, their neighborhood—I'm talking about the Saudis, the Emirates, the Qataris, the Turks, the Jordanians—they all believe that if you could have a fairly rapid transition, the secular component of Syria will re-emerge […]

[T]he fundamentals of Syria are secular, and I believe, will stay that way.

The recent historical record of secular dictators in the Muslim world being removed suggests that Kerry's optimism is fantasia.

7) Asking us to trust U.S. intelligence on chemical weapons because of James Clapper.

Presented with historically understandable skepticism about the quality of U.S. intelligence about Assad using chemical weapons, Kerry said this:

The intelligence community, represented by DNI Clapper, has released a public document, unclassified, available for all to see in which they make their judgment with high confidence that the facts are as they have set forth. So you know, I think that speaks for itself.

Clapper, as you may recall, is a sworn liar. That, like so much of Kerry's testimony yesterday, indeed speaks for itself.

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  1. in an effort that the world, 184 nations strong, has accepted the responsibility for.

    Hey, as long as the rest of the world is jumping off a bridge, why shouldn’t we join them?

    1. In this case, the rest of the world is standing back and saying “you first”

  2. I’d put in an amendment to the AUMF that reads “Acting in his capacity as CinC, the President must personally wage the ground campaign against the Assad regime without landing either DoD assets or Civilian agents of the US Government prior to the launching of any munitions.”

    1. After taking out bin Laden with his bare hands, this should be a cinch.

    2. Nah, I would permit him to select any DEA, DHS, or ATF officers he wanted as his personal soldiers in that campaign.

  3. I’m convinced the administration is just taking a page out of the Clinton playbook and (successfully) attempting to distract from their scandals.

    1. And in typical fashion they are doing so in the most incompetent manner possible.

    2. Clinton had a booming economy to distract from his scandals.

      1. Actually by the time most of his scandals were being uncovered the economy was already starting to tank.

        The tech bubble had already burst, and the housing bubble was in the beginning stages of collapse. And of course you had the enron situation and other similar situations developing towards the end of his second term.

        The economy was anything but booming.

    3. My first pinch-me experience with politics came when Clinton starting bombing Iraq following his impeachment. It was such a blatant attempt at misdirection and manipulation of public attention that I was sure it must be an outlier in the adult realm of adult politics.

      Oh, young Knarf, if only you knew then what you know now.

  4. we don’t mean sometimes; we don’t mean somewhere

    Huh? I wasn’t aware that you could use “somewhere” in the same fashion as “sometime”.

    “Do you like to read Hit And Run?”

    “Sometimes.”

    “Do you try to read it everywhere you go?”

    “No, just somewhere.”

    1. “somewheres”

    2. Somewhere over the rainbow …
      there’s a Wizard of Oz who has a firmer grasp of international relations, economics, and political theory than the entire Obama Administration.

      1. hows his grasp on vocab?

  5. Pretending that a campaign of hostile, deadly bombing overseen by the U.S. military is somehow not a “war” is both an Orwellian mangling of the English language, and a formulation central to the administration’s sale.

    It very much mirrors the administration’s first defenses of NSA spying: they only spy on foreigners and foreign communications.

    If Americans are not being spied on, it’s not a violation of privacy, because other people’s rights are unimportant. If Americans are not actually fighting, it’s not a war, because other people’s rights are unimportant.

  6. So let me be clear:
    President Obama is not asking America to go to war.

    It seems that whenever an Obama official says “So let me be clear”, it is followed by either the logic of NewSpeak or intentional obfuscation.

    It amazes me how Obama, Kerry, etal get away with this.

    1. It amazes me how Obama, Kerry, etal get away with this.

      Well, the one good thing about having a Republican in the White House is that the press will actually hold him to account.

    2. It seems that whenever an Obama official says “So let me be clear”anything, it is followed by either the logic of NewSpeak or intentional obfuscation.

    3. It’s always been like that. “Let me be clear” means “here comes a lie.”

    4. So let me be clear…it’s all COMMON SENSE!

      Don’t you see?

  7. This whole thing is maddening. Lies, half truths…anything to make the act of death dealing seem moral.

    1. The lies and half-truths I expect … it’s the utter nonsense, the absurdities of their arguments even if the lies were true, that I find maddening.

      The US intends to launch upwards to a billion dollars worth of weapons at another country, but it’s not a war.

      The US does not intend to put boots on the ground unless its initiation of hostilities creates a situation requiring it to put boots on the ground.

      These people are not merely mendacious; they are clearly insane and irresponsible. Either incapable of thinking through the consequences of their actions or simply not caring, they are ad libbing their way to catastrophe.

      1. of thinking through the consequences of their actions

        you have hit on what is key. I don’t believe there are any consequences of consequence to them. The ‘risk’ these buffoons take is solely to their pride, which they have already cheapened with absurd arguments. If there were a real risk to their lives and property, they might be more considerate of their actions.

      2. ^ This. Nothing I’ve heard in support of this action even rises to the dignity of falsehood.

  8. 3) Using as a causus belli the fact that the U.S. turned away a boat of Jewish refugees from the Third Reich in 1939.

    And yet, for decades, there has been a country with actual death camps and where people are forced to eat their own children to survive.

    And of course, for decades, the Wilsonian Progressives of these United States have done nothing.

    Go jump in a lake, Kerry.

    1. I’ve noticed that progs really, really don’t like having the existence of North Korea acknowledged. I wonder why not.

      1. Well, have you seen their uniforms? Totes unfashionable!

        They really need someone like Hugo Boss to design them.

        1. Yes, so gauche. Now Che, there was a man with style. He could personally execute a man and look good doing it. That’s class.

        2. +1 Charles and Rudi

      2. It’s their ideal dream society, but they can’t admit that for rather obvious reasons.

      3. Srsly, Doc, it’s because under progressive doctrine as stated and written the US government should have liberated the Norks long ago. So this is a glaring example of their failure to live up to their ideals.

        Disclaimer: Liberating the people of North Korea is easier said than done, unless you’re willing to sacrifice a huge number of South Koreans, risk war with China, etc.

        1. Well to be fair we did go to war with north korea, we just didn’t win it. We didn’t have the capability to win that war with the soviets and china backing them.

          We could easily decimate them now, but what’s the point? If history has shown us anything it’s that when you remove a dictatorial regime it usually just gets replaced with a new one. And the new one often turns out to be worse than it’s predecessor.

          We’ve been in an endless cycle of removing dictators for almost a century now. And not once has one of those removals resulted in a country becoming free or democratic or in any way better off than what they were.

  9. Killing people is war! Fuck!

  10. 2) Insisting simultaneously that the military action will be “limited,” with no boots on the ground…and also that Assad’s behavior could trigger an expanded U.S. retaliation, including boots on the ground.

    If Obama is unable to restrain himself from attacking Assad now, it’s reasonable to assume that Obama will be unable to restrain himself from escalating if and when Assad escalates his attacks on Syrian civilians.

    And there is good reason to think Assad may escalate his attacks on Syrian civilians in response to Obama’s strikes.

    The pressure Assad is under is similar to the pressure Saddam Hussein was under to give up his WMD…and that was one of George W. Bush’s biggest miscalculations: Saddam Hussein must have WMD; otherwise, why would he keep defying weapons inspectors and the United States?

    The answer was that, as ominous as the threat from the United States was, being seen as weak by Saddam Hussein’s enemies (both foreign and domestic) for not defying the United States was an even greater risk.

    Assad is already fighting to keep his head off of a pike, and if he’s successful in that, it will likely be because he convinced the Syrian people and his enemy neighbors that he’s invulnerable. And capitulating to Barack Obama does the opposite of that.

    So, I think Assad may feel compelled to escalate what he’s doing–specifically because of Obama’s strikes. …and if Obama can’t restrain himself now, how will he find the courage to restrain himself then?

  11. You know who else had a linguistically, and historically obscene case for war?

    1. Louis “the Palatinate Grabber” XIV?

    2. My ex-girlfriend’s mom?

    3. Cato the Elder?

      1. Hey, Carthage had to be destroyed.

  12. Hear the drum pounding out of time,
    Another protester has crossed the line,
    To find, the money’s on the other side.

    -Green Day, on John Kerry

    1. Does Green Day still don’t want to be ‘An American Idiot?”

      I still find the lack of production among the artists under Obama quite amusing. There were a proliferation of “question authority’ musings under Bush.

      With Obama not so much.

      American idiots indeed.

      1. Reason’s piece on RATM from back around 2000 was one of the most salient encapsulations of the intellectual bankruptcy of “anti-authoritarian” rock music I’ve ever seen.

  13. That this …performance…was not laughed at by the media, Senators and everyone else makes me despair. Well, despair a bit more.

    1. Does it count when they laughed at themselves?

  14. When I was a kid, we argued in our civics class whether the US should be the “world’s policeman”. And damn near half a century later, it’s the same argument. It’s so boring. Except for, you know, all the destruction and killing.

    1. How many in your civics class had any actual encounters with police?

  15. The recent historical record of secular dictators in the Muslim world being removed suggests that Kerry’s optimism is fantasia.

    Then I’d say we’re due for a positive flow into a power vacuum.

  16. Great Moments in Progressive History

    1919:A naval base in Newport, Rhode Island reports numerous complaints of same-gender sexual solicitation. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy signs off on an undercover Navy unit to investigate homosexual acts within the military. FDR orders the unit to entrap the men by actually performing oral sex on those sailors, including a Naval chaplain, suspected of being homosexual.

    When the unit’s actions were discovered, FDR, bald-faced, denied signing off on the whole damn thing. After the elections of 1920, the Republicans, who won in a landslide, sought to rightly destroy FDR’s political career; however, they didn’t succeed because….polio.

    Twelve years later, America’s misplaced sympathy for a blundering cripple enamored with Fascist political ideology would begin the modern chapter of our country’s decline.

    Oh, and Progressives are not homophobic racists. Totally.

    1. Ah, thanks for that…yet another reason to despise FDR.

    2. The proggies, or at least this administration, have been pretty good on the homos. Not sticking up for them; but credit where due.

      Also, back then *nobody* was sticking up for the homos.

      You really don’t want to pick that fight, Heroic.

      1. FDR was closeted anyway.

    3. Wait, are we mad because he persecuted the gays, or because he arranged for them to get blowjobs on the taxpayer’s dime?

  17. I would also say to you, Syria historically has been secular, and the vast majority of Syrians, I believe, want to remain secular. It’s?it’s our judgment that?and the judgment of our good friends who actually know a lot of this in many ways better than we do because it’s their region, their neighborhood — I’m talking about the Saudis, the Emirates, the Qataris, the Turks, the Jordanians?they all believe that if you could have a fairly rapid transition, the secular component of Syria will re-emerge […]

    [T]he fundamentals of Syria are secular, and I believe, will stay that way.

    How anybody can believe John Kerry can predict anything about Syria is astounding.

    In 2007, Nancy Pelosi enthused that “the road to Damascus is a road to peace.” On March 16, 2011?the day after the first mass demonstration against the regime?John Kerry said Assad was a man of his word who had been “very generous with me.” He added that under Assad “Syria will move; Syria will change as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/…..55840.html

    1. At least the optimism regarding Assad was plausible a few years ago. Relying on the assessment of “our good friends”, the Wahhabi Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar, that “secular component of Syria will re-emerge” following transition is delusional. Unless “re-emerge” is another NewSpeak term meaning subject to murder, repression, and/or refugee status.

      1. It will re-emerge in Turkey or the U.S.

  18. I saw part of the exchange between Kerry and “Tea Party Senator” Paul this morning. Kerry obviously went to the Foghorn Leghorn School of Rhetoric. If somebody calls you out on an obviously nonsensical claim, just repeat it at a higher volume.

    1. I kept waiting for the “I say, I say, what’s the idea?”

  19. There were no American boots on the ground in NATO’s 1999 bombing of Kosovo, either, but the 38,000 combat missions over 78 days killed an estimated 500 civilians and changed the political reality on the ground. It was a war

    This seems to be the new “definition” of war. US trooops (excluding special forces) have to be on the ground doing war-type stuff. It’s a total cop-out considering how much war-type stuff can now be accomplished with cruise missiles and drones. 20 years from now will the President/SoS be making this same argument as he sends a million bipedal automatons to oust some new dictator?

    “Let me be clear. There will be boots on the ground, but they will all be robo-boots, and robo-boots don’t count.”

    1. bots on the ground. and in the air.

      1. winner

    2. The most traumatic effect of the vietnam war on this country were the staggering numbers of US casualties. The body bags being unloaded on the television, the neighbors mourning the loss of a child, the maimed coming home and living amongst us were made everyone feel personally involved in the ugliness of war.

      As was pointed out the other night vietnam was a defining even during their formative years and they see everything in relation to that.

      These fuckers think that if they eliminate that element by having no casualties on our side then they can get away with calling it not a war because in the minds of the public it would only be an abstraction. How is that for calculated Orwellian manipulation?

    3. How can anyone take a war seriously if there aren’t any tanks involved?

      1. OK, ro-boots and tanks, but that’s it!no leather boots on the ground.

    4. 20 years from now will the President/SoS be making this same argument as he sends a million bipedal automatons to oust some new dictator?

      Like congress is ever going to fight their own war…

    5. Make no mistake — as soon as some power grows bold enough to bomb an American military installation, Kerry or his successor will be calling it an act of war with no hint of humility or irony.

      1. I’m amazed no one has made the ‘by Kerry’s logic Pearl Harbour wasn’t a declaration of war’ argument yet.

  20. I might add, his (Thurston Howell III) body language displayed all the symptoms of a pompous ass.

  21. Humanitarian Intervention = we have to bomb the children to save them.

    1. Real humanitarian intervention – air-dropping food and medical supplies.

    2. Reports indicate that Assad is strengthening his defenses by moving them all into schools, residential areas and hospitals. So, yeah, there will be some bombing of children.

  22. Brilliant piece, and all too true. Apparently, the U.S. can’t stand not having a war going on.

      1. Carlin has a pretty good record of being right, but in that case he was not. The first gulf war was justified. Saddam was attempting to take control of the Kuwaiti oil fields so we had an important interest at stake, and he was invading and committing atrocities against our ally.

        George the 1st was prudent enough to limit the war to ousting Saddam from Kuwait and not invading Iraq.

        In this case Russia has interests in Syria, we dont.
        I wonder if Putin punking Obama over and over has anything to do with Obamas desire to stick our noses in.

    1. Thank god Anal stopped by to tell us this.

      1. Don’t make fun of his name.

  23. It will be a great day when our children all have school vouchers and the Air Force has to have a bake sale to bomb Syria.

  24. Excellent — and infuriating — article!

  25. The president is not asking you to go to war. He’s not asking you to declare war.

    Yea, he’s more informing us he’s going to war whether we like it or not.

  26. When the B2s nuke Moscow, Kerry can go to the UN and shrug his shoulders and say, “War? What war?”

  27. “Russia to act ‘decisively’ if Syria chemical attack claims are proven”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin called for evidence of an alleged Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria to be presented to the UN Security Council and said Moscow would “act in the most decisive and serious way” if the claims were proven.

    http://www.france24.com/en/201…..oven-putin

    Why doesn’t the Obama administration just prove the claims?

    1. Putin strong!

    2. Secret evidence.

  28. Hang on. Now I’m really confused. Slow down a sec I say.

    Didn’t Palin’s Buttplug say Obama comes through with astute policy? I mean, can it be we’re not seeing the genius behind Kerry’s babblings?

    1. You must dissonate your cognate, my son.

  29. What are you guys worried about? We have millions of troops just sitting around twiddling their thumbs, wishing they had something to do, right?

    1. Sure, they’re counted among “184 nations strong [which have] accepted the responsibility for” joining the US as multilateral partners in this non-war to establish a secular Wahhabi Sunni republic in Syria.

      1. I remember years ago when the left laughed whenever someone pointed out that Iraq wasn’t technically unilateral since 46 countries or so actually supported U.S. actions in various ways.

        They laughed at the fact that only a handful actually supported the invasion with troops.

        It reached silly levels. I was at a comedy pub – of all places – and the comedian was mocking Bush and one person in the audience brought this point up saying, ’36 countries supported Bush.’

        The comedian, among the hissing, went a step further and actually made fun of the ‘type’ of countries supporting Bush – like Poland to much applause.

        I sat in stunned silence at the idiocy around me.

        Now, apparently, it sounds as though just a wink and a nod is sufficient for proof of international support.

        Nutjobs.

        1. This time the US has the full support of the most repressive theocratic monarchies on the planet, not wimpy democracies like Poland.

          But, for some reason, the moron Kerry thinks that a secular state will emerge in Syria.

  30. Kerry is right that Syria has a history of secularism and tolerance for religious minorities… this secular tradition is one of the issues that has motivated islamist to join the fight against the government.

    1. You and your borgeoise “facts”. It’s our intentions that matter.

  31. Matt, thanks for this. Direct rebuttal of the case for this foolish proposed war is needed desperately now.

  32. Shorter Kerry: It’s OK to bomb ‘n’ drone other countries in an odd-numbered year.

  33. If normal, everyday domestic police work is “war” (according to cops), then certainly bombing a whole other country is some kind of Superwar.

    1. No, see, SWAT teams involve boots on the ground. It’s only a war if the warmaking team experiences some degree of risk to life and limb. Otherwise, it’s just slaughter.

  34. Matt misspelled causus belli.

  35. “There were no American boots on the ground in NATO’s 1999 bombing of Kosovo, either, ”

    But didn’t Jesse Jackson have to go over there to free 3 soldiers that “weren’t there”?

  36. So “we’re” just going to degrade the capacity of Assad to launch chemical weapons by doing what, exactly? Using cruise missiles to destroy the chemical weapons, many of which are no doubt stored in population centers? This is farce.

    Even if he never helms the executive, it’s good to know that Rand is going to be there to needle sententious jackasses like Kerry for a long time.

  37. “The president is not asking you to go to war. He’s not asking you to declare war. He’s not asking you to send one American troop to war. He’s simply saying we need to take an action that can degrade the capacity of a man who’s been willing to kill his own people by breaking a nearly hundred-year- old prohibition, and will we stand up and be counted to say, we won’t do that.”

    Questions for you, Mr. Kerry:

    If Brazil sent a battle cruiser up the Potomac and fired shells at the White House to “send a message” of disapproval for the US “violating international norms” by spying on its president, would that not be an act of war?

    Was is an act of war in 1940 when the Germans engaged in a nightly bombing campaign against Britain, or was that merely an “action to degrade the capacity” of a nation too stubborn to surrender? After all, there were no German troops on the ground in Britain.

  38. I think you left out one quite striking historical error–the claim that “Bashar al-Assad now joins the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein have used these weapons in time of war.” Hitler did many evil things, but one thing he did not, so far as we know, do was to use poison gas in war. On the other hand, both the allies and the Axis did did use poison gas during WWI, so Kerry’s list should include Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George, and Kaiser Wilhelm.

    Kerry could claim that “in time of war” does not actually mean using gas for warfare–and Hitler did use gas, although not Sarin, to kill concentration camp inmates. But then, the U.S. and many other countries have used lethal gas for executions, so on that basis his list expands even further.

    What I find extraordinary is not that Kerry either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that he has accomplished the extraordinary feat of slandering Adolph Hitler, accusing him of one evil thing he didn’t do, but that nobody in the news media seems to have noticed.

  39. Brilliant clarity – such analysis is exactly what is needed and what both Obama and Kerry are working hard to obfuscate.

    Seems they’re both reluctant warriors! (sarcasm)

  40. Goddamned gangster foreign policy. Talk some smack, then when you get ‘disrespected’, pull off a drive by.

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