So, today, as Secretary of State, John Kerry, reeled off the reasons that the United States should find itself embroiled in a civil war in the Middle East, as Vladimir Putin weighs his responses, and as Obama declares that the U.S. will go it alone if they have to, the world waits. The world seems to split into a few different camps .
Some wonder who actually used the poison gas that killed thousands of Syrians (despite Kerry’s swearing that he is positive it was Assad’s men, not rebels). Some wonder, why now? Suddenly, gas is a thousand deaths too far? Yet others may wonder why there is not more pressure on the U.N. to provide peacekeepers, or to investigate if it was actually gas used, or to hold a vote, in the face of an assured Russian veto, to allow nations to intervene.
Here at home, there are any number of Obama administration scandals that a person could point to, that would easily take a backseat to a brand new war. While the country is war-weary, the men that do the fighting are fathers, sons, and brothers, and using them as some sort of executive strike force would lose far more respect for the president than allowing most of the scandals to run their course. Of course, that takes for granted that this administration still has respect left to lose.
As it seems now, any Syrian actions will revolve around the use of tomahawk cruise missiles, which cost around $1.4 million per launch. The odd thing about a new attack (or kinetic military action, as they are now known), is that the president may have waited so long to act, he has excuses no matter the outcome. Perhaps that is what the delay was all about – coming up with explanations to describe what has happened, no matter what happens.
Plan A: Obama orders $140 million worth of missile strikes (probably a very low total estimate of what strikes would actually cost), and they will have little to no effect on the man who Obama intends to punish, Bashir Assad. Assad has already had plenty of time to move the missiles and other weapons that Obama would ostensibly target. So, the missile strikes would amount to little more than another giant waste of money and manpower, and accomplishes nothing…Except anger Russia and Iran. For his part, Obama stresses how he only had the most positive outcome in mind. He was trying to do the right thing.
Plan B: Obama orders his strikes, and through either bad intelligence or some other missile snafu, a strike hits a Russian or Iranian-owned building or other concern. In that scenario, I would anticipate a quick reaction of the administration to be to throw money at the problem, to quickly make it go away. For Russia or Iran’s part, they could probably take the issue to the United Nations, and seek to shame the United States. As a result, the U.S.’s standing in the world gets tarnished again. Obama says it was an unfortunate event, (and without mentioning the payoff) he is glad that the country who suffered the loss decided against any “rushed actions”, and that the countries have something to build on now.
Plan C: Obama orders more extensive actions than just a missile strike. This not only entails aircraft, both fighters and bombers, it also risks pilots’ lives – something that missiles do not do. One can only guess how an angry Assad, unjustly attacked (in his eyes) would treat a downed American pilot. In that case, who does Obama turn to, being allied with Al-Qaeda elements and France, for diplomatic channels to get the pilot released? Once he figures out the magic word (or amount) I would expect Obama to spin the achievement of his State Department.
When you are a Teflon president, there is little worry of having a scandal or war failure attach to you. With the ongoing scandals having little effect on Obama so far, it may have only emboldened him to act more brazenly than he might have previously. With so many yes-men in place, willing to fall on a sword for you, what is the your source of critical thought or reflection of your actions? Having only been told positive things about your actions, while having a press that minimizes negativity, warranted or not, is not good for a leader. Of the many things that Barack Obama has done, and has taken upon himself to enact via executive order, this should truly bear the title of Obama’s War, regardless of outcome.