Security Adviser Susan Rice: Syria Strike Necessary—and Ineffectual by Design


Here's President Obama's national security advisor, Susan Rice, explaining why a strike on Syria is both necessary and useless:

Leaving Assad's regime unpunished and undeterred puts "Americans at risk of chemical attacks, targeted at our soldiers and diplomats in the region and potentially our citizens at home," Rice said in a speech in Washington as the Obama administration ramped up its efforts to build popular support for limited strikes in Syria….

OK, so shooting some missiles or whathaveyou is totally important. But Rice also guarantees that the strikes will change absolutely nothing.

Strikes would take aim at Assad's chemical weapons stockpiles and potentially "shake his confidence in the viability of his relentless pursuit of a military solution," Rice said. But they would not "aim to topple Assad or on their own to effect regime change" because, "as President Obama has made clear, it is neither wise nor necessary to do so."

Got that?

Given this sort of argument, the question isn't why the vast majority – we're talking 60 percent to 80 percent, depending on the scenario – of Americans are against a Syria strike. It's why anyone is in favor of one.

NEXT: Syria Signals Willingness to Transfer Chemical Arms to International Control, 31 Million People to Remain Uninsured Under Obamacare, Japan Scrambles Jets in Response to Unidentified Drone: P.M. Links

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  1. The Obama Administration: always aiming to thread the international needle. (Just wait until it backfires because Assad logged onto YouTube.)

  2. Given this sort of argument, the question isn’t why the vast majority of Americans are against a Syria strike. It’s why anyone is in favor of one.

    Because when our Demander-in-Chief says “jump” we pull the guy next to us off the floor too.

  3. Strikes would take aim at Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles

    Isn’t that potentially dangerous, blowing up a pile of chemical weapons?

    1. Not when you’re sitting on a submarine 500 miles away.

      1. I meant for the citizens of Syria.

        1. Hu? Who cares about them? They didn’t vote for me.


    2. Wait ’til the wind is blowing east.

      1. Carriers and probably other surface ships have the contamination washdown. Subs got their own version.

    3. It’s the thought that counts.

  4. and the sad reality is that Rice says this with a straight face because she actually means it.

  5. “Ineffectual by Design”

    I’m against the Syrian intervention, but this is really a stupid headline. The purpose of the strikes, as Rice said, is to degrade his chemical weapons and general ability to prosecute protestors with the military. That isn’t ineffectual by design- unless you define degrading chemical weapons capabilities as ineffectual.

    Look, it’s fine if you don’t like the intervention, but trying to paint their arguments differently than they are is silly. Obama wants to punish Assad and make it harder for him to deploy chemical weapons. The strikes are designed to do that. Don’t try to hold them to a standard they haven’t set.

    1. Eh, “Ineffectual by Design” basically sums up the entire Obama administration from day 1.

    2. 100,000 or so people have died in the Syrian civil war. A couple hundred have died from chemical weapons in Syria. Hitting his stockpiles won’t degrade anything.

      1. You are holding the administration to a standard that they have not set- action must stop the slaughter of people.

        Their standard is “Stop the use of Chemical Weapons”. The administration and the world in general regard chemical weapons with more animus than conventional weapons. They are indiscriminate, generally cause huge amounts of suffering and are easily proliferated to terrorists and criminals. More generally, most people concede that killing people is bad, but the method by which you kill a person can make one murder worse than another.

        Reasonable people can and do disagree on this, and that’s fine. But it is stealing a base to just assume that the administration plan is “ineffectual” because it is targeting something other than the prevention of slaughter.

        1. It IS ineffective. Blowing up any ammo dump works by blowing up the ammo; if it didn’t, the unblownup ammo would still be in working condition.

          But blowing up ammo dumps works because the weapons don’t blow up where the enemy lobs them.

          Except in the case of chemical weapons … which disperse their chemicals downwind regardless of where they are blown up.

          It doesn’t necessarily matter if they are binary weapons or not, if the precursors themselves are nasty.

          That’s why the whole plan is delusion and ineffective by design.

  6. Off topic – Norway has a change of government tonight where the socialists have lot by a large margin. The conservative party hasn’t done much else than offer larger budgets and technocratic tweaks though, so I am still not that happy

    1. Same thing just happened in Aussie land.

      Thing is though, what is a conservative in Norway or AU? Probably somewhere to the left of our progressives.

      1. Hmm, IFH could tell you more. But, the last Liberal (i.e. conservative) government in Oz was not progressive although certainly not libertarian. The problem in a lot of the countries that came out of the British system is that the debate tends to be “how should the government be involved” rather than “should the government be involved.”

        One of the ironies in Australia is that a lot of the deregulation & move to market forces was actually put in place by the Labour (i.e. leftist) government in the 1980s.

      2. Same thing just happened in Aussie land.

        According to the stories I read this weekend, the Liberals were hung out to dry for their carbon tax. Wonder if the US Democrats will take note?

        1. Wonder if the US Democrats will take note?

          Democrats in this country like to cherry pick when they use the phrase, “But Europe does it!”

          Great, legalize drugs, lower the drinking age to 18 and let me drive at 100mph on the freeway.

        2. It was the Labour Party which proposed the carbon tax. The Liberal Party are the right of center party.

      3. Conservatives in Norway are probably like “Conservatives” in most of Europe. Defined by fierce nationalism, disdain for Jews and other foreigners, but in love with wefare and/or social benefits for people who look like them.

        Free marketers in Europe are probably serious marginal kooks.

        1. Not to reply to myself, but to reply to myself, of course some people might say it’s the same thing here, and increasingly, correct.

          Democrats and Republicans are largely becoming the same party of bigg(er) government. Mainstream GOP doesn’t mind welfare, corporate welfare and big government to ‘nudge’ us towards proper decisions, and a disdain for immigration.

          Small government free market conservatism is splitting hard away from the GOP and going full-on libertarian, because the GOP doesn’t want that free-market nonsense!

          1. They sure do love that thing they disdain.

  7. The absolute arrogance of these fucknozzles is astounding.

    Leaving Assad’s regime unpunished…

    Who the fuck died and made you king of Terra? Who the fuck do these assholes think they are?

    1. We are the Chosen Ones, the Exceptional and Indispensible.

      1. The ones we’ve been waiting for…

        1. The heroes the world deserves, but not the ones they need right now.

    2. He thinks he’s smarter than his policy advisers; a better speech writer than his speech writers; a better wife than his wife.

  8. Leaving Assad’s regime unpunished and undeterred puts “Americans at risk of chemical attacks, targeted at our soldiers and diplomats in the region and potentially our citizens at home

    BS. Lot’s of BS. Everyone out there knows that if you chemical attacked the US or its people you’d get hit with overwhelming force. Look what we did to Iraq just because we thought Saddam might possibly have some WMDs and maybe an inkling of a desire to use them. Look what we did to Afghanistan just because it supported a group that attacked us with our own planes. This reason is BS. Leaving Assad’s regime unpunished just shows the world that occassionally we are willing to butt out of other peoples’ business.

    1. are you sure there would be overwhelming force if teh US was hit under this president? He’s from the party that has spent a decade rewriting history, pretending that neither any Dems support war in Iraq, nor did Saddam have and use WMD, dead Kurds notwithstanding.

    2. By her reasoning, the use of conventional weapons in Syria puts Americans at risk of conventional attack. Hell, by that logic, violence of any kind anywhere at any time puts Americans at risk of violence. Might as well give everyone a little Tomahawk chop.

  9. Something something TENNIS BALLS!

  10. If any Reasonoids in the PHX area want to help put the kibosh on this foreign policy adventure, I will be at Congressman Ed Pastor’s office (411 N Central Ave. Ste 150, Phoenix AZ) this afternoon (4:30PM AZ Time) with a delegation of concerned citizens. Folks affiliated with, Occupy Phoenix and the Arizona Liberty R3volution will be there to let him know that the people of AZ CD7 are opposed to a strike on Syria.

  11. OT: The horrors of global warming…


    I find it sad that so many that think the gov’t needs to Do Something about GW/CC think that the only defense of action is that anthropogenic climate change exists. They don’t ask the other, important questions:
    1. Is it significant?
    2. Does it cause significant harm?
    3. Is putting resources toward fighting GW/CC better than putting resources toward something else (child hunger, malaria, etc.)?

    WRT #2, nobody ever thinks it could be beneficial…

  12. If his left arm is anywhere as long as it appears in that pic, he should be able to reach all the way to Syria and slap Assad himself.

    1. Obama has a long-distance relationship with The Stranger.

  13. Susan Rice also thought that Iran would support striking Syria because they would be so upset at the thought of using gas. Rice and Power are perhaps the two dumbest people ever to hold important positions in the US government. No amount of ridicule and disdain is sufficient for them.

    And thank God Power and Sustein never had children. Their kids might have been the most dangerously ignorant people in the history of the world.

  14. I stand in befuddled horror at what passes for strategic thinking in this administration. We should be unconcerned about unleashing the US military might because on Syria because our own troops will not be in harm’s way and we don’t really intend to do much damage to Syria’s military capability. I can only think tat this is the foreign policy version of not keeping score in little league games because trying to achieve tangible goals is just mean

  15. Leaving Assad’s regime unpunished and undeterred puts “Americans at risk of chemical attacks, targeted at our soldiers and diplomats in the region and potentially our citizens at home,” Rice said…

    Syria has no soldiers in the region of the U.S. but the U.S. has plenty of soldiers in the region of Syria. So who is threatening whom? The same could be said for Iran back when the hysteria to “Bomb Iran” was in full blossom.

    1. The hysteria of people saying we were going to war with Iran any day now, seriously, you watch?

      That was, what, 2004?

      :points and laughs:

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