|“Mister Yungbluth, you have met your stretch goal.”|
I apologize for my artless segue into my perspectives on Syria. I know you are waiting to hear them, but I do try to keep the focus of this website on the comics. However, I can hardly worry about drawing whilst I feel I am being sucked through a wormhole straight back to 2003.
It is amazing to hear the dialogue from both the public and politicians on this matter. You’d think Bush had never left office! Weapons of mass destruction, ultimatums, claims that Muslims “have been at war for thousands of years”, plans to redraw the Syrian map proffered by people who probably just learned that Syria isn’t a lemon-lime soda, the sweating of blood over American prestige, and so many repetitions of the term “boots on the ground” that I swear I’ll grind a boot into the face of the next pundit who mentions it.
And then there is the central question: we just got through fighting a war over imaginary WMDs. Can we really afford to do nothing when faced with the real McCoy?
I can scarcely believe we are at this crossroads. Something tells me that Obama has fucked up bad. Too much intervention in Libya, or not enough elsewhere. Either way, for Syria to have called our bluff on the “red line” (a term I feel will now figure prominently in Obama’s legacy) suggests that someone’s head wasn’t in the brinksmanship game.
I can’t know, of course, but I genuinely suspect that Obama wanted to sit out Syria and let the bad guy win if he must. The “red line” was practically an invitation to Bashar al-Assad to Hulk-out on his population with as many explosives as he wanted. Could he really have been desperate enough to do exactly the one thing that would pull the US in?
Then again, Assad may be cannier than we think. Who amongst us expected that Obama would throw the decision to Congress? This is just the kind of pussy legalism that Assad has no concept of, except in the negative. With England tapping out, Assad may think he’s just snookered the whole of Western civilization.
But Obama, having clearly overplayed his hand, really has only one option left. And if Congress gives him the nod, I think we can expect much, much more than just some cursory punishment. Make no mistake: a vote for use of force against Syria is a vote for war.
That, at least, is clear. Presidents don’t ask Congress to weigh in the bomb-dropping unless the commitment is going to be major, and he wants all hands on deck (as well as extra fingerprints on the gun). Obama can’t have the Tea Party pissing in his face every Sunday morning from now until the end of his term when this promised teeny weeny show of force turns into something much more decisive. But even John McCain, who likes missiles so much he probably has Cindy peg him with a silicon ICBM strap-on, has waved the “impeachment” stick at Obama if he should decide to put a single soldier in harms way.
Impeachment, of course, is the latest pathetic threat by the Tea Baggers to distract from their lack of any fucking agenda whatsoever. It just goes to show you what kind of national unity we can expect in this crisis when supporting the president means having to threaten to throw him out of office.
Of course, Obama will have the GOP’s nuts on the grill long before that could occur. The right wing is finally going to have to get behind the president on something, or else admit that they have no interest in standing up to chinless, mustachioed villains anymore. The Tea Baggers are about to vote for their first war. If they don’t, they’ll be doing something much worse then bowing before King Abdullah, and they’d be snubbing Israel in the process. Of course, this war will have to be paid for, putting the conservatives in such a delicious predicament that the entire bloody, futile exercise will almost be worth it.
You can forget about words like “limited” or “surgical”. A quick in-out is a fantasy. We have already seen the Obama doctrine at work, courtesy of Libya. We’ll pretend to be Florence Nightengale, then we won’t stop until there is YouTube video of Assad being lynched. If we start dropping missiles on Syria, we will have no choice but to obliterate as much of his military as we believe will allow the rebels to turn the tide. Anything less, and there is no reason why Assad won’t use sarin again.
Assad must know this. Why did he call our bluff?
Where did we get our intelligence on this gas attack again? Twitter?