It’s a fine mess he’s gotten us into

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By John Barnhart

    I’ve heard the saying, “Don’t let your mouth write a check that your tail can’t cash.” Perhaps President Barack Obama should have heeded that advice before he got his mouth in gear and drew his chemical weapons red line last year. He was warning Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad against using chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war.
    The problem is that Assad seems to have decided that this was just more of Barack Obaloney’s empty rhetoric and decided to call his bluff.
    As I mentioned earlier this year, when the first whiff of poison gas came out of Syria, publicly drawing a red line, with warnings of dire consequences if it’s crossed, is dangerous. You had better be ready and willing to actually do something if whoever you warned decides to cross that red line. Assad apparently crossed that red line on a small scale in the spring, and a much larger scale last month with a nerve gas attack that killed more than a thousand civilians, including children.
    Perhaps President Obama is so enthralled with his own words that he thinks everybody else should be equally impressed.. Perhaps he’s been so successful at fooling a majority of the American people with his hot air that he thought the same thing would work on Assad. It didn’t. 
    Once again, President Obama’s credibility is on the line and he has no choice but to take military action, or find his already damaged credibility in ruins.
    President Obama apparently understands that and is planning to take military action. The problem is that, in a brilliant display of typical Barack Obama incompetence, he’s proposing, as of this writing, to do something that’s even worse than doing nothing. It appears, at present, that he wants to launch cruise missile strikes on Syrian targets, but not do anything that will tilt the balance in Syria’s civil war against Assad. What this means is that his missile strikes will accomplish nothing beyond killing Abdul the goat herder, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    What a master stroke of foreign policy! This will surely teach the Iranian mullahs, and any other folks who have anti-American agendas, a lesson about crossing President Barack Obama’s red lines. Yes, it will certainly teach them a lesson, all right. It will teach them that they don’t have to take a word he says seriously. They can feel free to ignore him with no concern about any consequences.
    It would have been great if President Obama had just kept his big mouth shut last year, but now he’s put himself, and us, in a position where we have to take military action against the Assad regime, which means getting involved in a messy civil war. We have no good options and the only thing we can do is make the least bad choice.
    The least bad choice seems to be fully backing the moderate elements among the rebels. The various elements of the Syrian rebels seem to have geographically segregated themselves with the moderates and holy warrior extremists operating from distinct territorial bases. According to an article written in the Wall Street Journal last month, Elizabeth O’Bagy, a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, states that most of the actual fighting against the Assad regime is being done by the moderates while the extremists are primarily working to consolidate their control of their territories.
     At this point we ought to arm the moderates with the weapons they need to knock out Assad’s tanks and shoot down his airplanes and helicopters. Any missile strikes we carry out need to be coordinated with the rebels to make sure we are taking action to degrade Assad’s offensive and defensive abilities and not just kilingl people for no good reason.
    This is a fine mess that President Obama has gotten us into and how it will work out is unpredictable.