Kerry Suggests Assad Has One Week To Avoid Attack While Promising Obama Only Wants An “Unbelievably Small” Military Campaign

220px-John_Kerry_official_Secretary_of_State_portraitWe previously discussed the curious step of President Obama seeking approval for a new war while insisting that he does not need such authorization to attack Syria. Now, Secretary of State John Kerry has referred to a one week period for Syria to comply with U.S. demands or presumably face an attack. It so happens that the Senate is set to vote this week, but opposition in this country is extremely high to yet another military intervention by the Administration. Moreover, unsuccessful in his earlier pitch for a free war, Kerry is now trying to sell the world on an “unbelievably small” military campaign. The U.S. seems to be saying that President Obama just needs the world to let him attack briefly to show that he cannot be dismissed or mocked in his earlier red line announcement.  However, Kerry suggested a new red line in turning over control of the weapons and Russia has now announced that it will ask Syria to put chemical weapons under international control. That would undermine further the U.S. rationale for war if Russia says that it is moving to comply with Kerry’s demand. However, State Department handlers are trying to again walk back from the Secretary’s public statements.

Kerry was speaking on Monday alongside his British counterpart, William Hague, when he set a new red line for war. He said “Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week – turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting (of it) but he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done.”

As has become a common scene with Kerry, a team of State Department officials quickly rushed in to clean up after his latest slip. The Department insisted that the reference to a week was merely “rhetorical,” though the Administration continues to insist that Obama could simply ignore a negative vote in Congress.

I previously represented members of Congress in challenging Obama’s intervention in the Libyan civil war without a declaration from Congress. In the case, President Obama insisted that he alone determines what is a war and therefore when he needs a declaration. Since the court would not recognize standing to challenge the war, it left Obama free to engage in war operations in any country of his choosing.

While Kerry conveyed a week deadline and did not indicate any restriction on unilateral U.S. action, the State Department asked people to ignore his precise words and just take the statement as an attempt to show that Assad has “a history of playing fast and loose with the facts.” Of course, as opposed to those how play fast and loose with words.

I particularly liked the comment for Hague when asked about the decision of Parliament not to allow Britain to enter another American-led war. Hague responded that “[t]hese are the two greatest homes of democracy and we work in slightly different ways and we each have to respect how each other’s democracies work.” Yes, the difference appears that the British government respects the need for a legislative consent for war while the United States now has an unabashed Imperial Presidency.

Source: Guardian

152 thoughts on “Kerry Suggests Assad Has One Week To Avoid Attack While Promising Obama Only Wants An “Unbelievably Small” Military Campaign”

  1. I guess you missed the Mali connection. Radical Muslims got their hands on Lybian weapons after & because of the air strikes. US & allies made no effective attempts to avoid this. France bailed their asses out.Overthrowing Qadaffi… so what? The world would be safer with a regime change in Israel & the USA. There are always big lies floating around on truly great people, like Ron Paul. Same with Hubbard. Shame on you, Randyjet for buying into those lies. I see Rand Paul bashing going on now that he is moving in that direction. They like to bash libertarians for witholding handouts on Huricane Sandy but ignore the overall philosophy & policy which would put affluence there & strengthen it. It might seem odd liking Paul & Kuscinich, one considered right & the other left, but the doctrine of a benign monarchy still applies. Netanyahu appears to be the most responsible polititian for 3/11/11. As Israeli company was drilling on the fault line. What happened next is too incredible to believe (if you don’t know Illuminati history & think that 9/11 was just a bunch of ragheads). I heard he had his psychiatrist killed; in this case the psychiatrist was saner than the patient & spoke up, not wanting to risk the planet in WWIII.

  2. The ‘success’ of the Lybia strikes is very dubious. Muslim terrorists in Mali was one outcome. Bush Snr, Netanyahu & Obama are worse foes than Kadafi. It was good to see Kusinich’s name in one of these posts. I’m more of a Ron Paul supporter but the two have better foreign relations policy than any other American politicians.

    1. The LIbyan air attacks were very successful in achieving their aim, the overthrow of Qadaffi. The object was not to unify and pacify Libya. As for Ron Paul, he is a racist, anti-civil liberties, and hates virtually everything Lincoln did. So as long as you are willing to own up to those positions, fine.

  3. Randyjet “As for your protest that you did not say a rush to war, it is simply not true. You did NOT say a slippery slope to war, you did not say a possibility of a war, you said “A RUSH TO WAR”. Those are YOUR words, NOT my interpretation or strawman. ”

    Actually Randyjet is correct and my remarks are even worse than he describes.

    In my comment “bigfafmike 1, September 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm”

    I wrote “In any case I have never claimed that Obama wants a war. ”

    Then a few lines later I wrote “I think both these questions are secondary to the immediate question related to the rush to war with Syria.”

    What could possible be going on here? How can the reader make any sense at all.

    While that kind of writing has to be confusing to the reader, in retrospect, it is clear to me what I did wrong.

    I have used the word ‘war’ to refer to ‘wider war’ in one sentence and to ‘limited strike ‘ in another sentence.

    If I had been writing more carefully or editing more thoroughly I would have written something like:

    “I have never claimed that Obama wants a wider war…. These questions are secondary to the immediate question related to the rush to conduct a limited strike on Syria.”

    The two original sentences are simply a blunder that resulted from not re-reading my own words carefully before I posted.

    In any case let me try to clarify this unfortunate situation.

    Neither ‘limited strike’ nor ‘wider war’ are well defined.

    Nevertheless, I think good examples of ‘wider war’ would include Viet Nam, First Gulf War, and our more recent experience in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Examples of limited strikes would include Lebanon 1983, Libya 1986, Afghanistan and Sudan 1998, Iraq at various times including 1993, 1996 and 1998.

    So if the question is: Was Obama during the period after the gas attacks of 08/21/13 till he turned the matter over to congress on 08/30/13 trying to lead this country to attack Syria in a limited strike? My answer is yes, definitely. I believe the president was in a mad reckless rush to bomb Syria.

    If the question is: Does Obama have the intention, a plan, or a hidden agenda to take the US into a wider war in Syria? My answer to that question is, no. The president has stated that is not his intention and, for now, I take him at his word on this matter.

    However, I have stated before and I still believe that history has demonstrated the great risk of limited strikes leading to wider war. I believe that risk applies to US action in Syria as well.

    I hope that clarifies the meaning of my previous post and my belief.

    Thank you all who read my remarks here. Thank all of you who care enough to respond. And special thanks to Randyjet for pointing out a contradiction that I should not have let slip through.

    I anyone has further questions or comments I would be please to respond to them here.

    1. Thanks for your post and your error was rather small in comparison with others. If you have not seen the Colbert report on Rand Paul, I would recommend it to see a truly incomprehensible daffy and ludicrous performance by Paul. It is scary to think that this fool is a Senator, and worse, somehow got licensed as a doctor. At least his patients are safe as long as he is in DC.

      While I agree that you did not really think Obama was hoping for a wider war, most of the other posters clearly think that now, he and Kerry are gnashing their teeth, and crying in their beer that they are cheated out of a full scale war. I will not be holding my breath for any apology or modification of their comments. They are all too immature for such a thing.

      I disagree about the cause of the war in Vietnam. It was not a mistake that somehow got away from the leaders. It was a well planned invasion that they thought they could conquer at least the southern half of Vietnam with a minimal number of troops. After WWII, the new French government sent the leading French Gen. Le Clerc to Vietnam to assess the prospects for restoring French rule in Indochina. He reported back that the minimum number of French troops would be a bit over one million troops on the ground. The politicians did NOT like that answer since there was no way France could do that in the post war destruction there. So they opted for treachery, lies, and as big a force as they could afford to do the job. In Vietnam the US committed itself to conquering that country. That is a far cry from anything the US is doing or has tried to do in any place other than Iraq. We all know how that one turned out. The irony of Iraq is that if Bush had listened to the Army leaders, he might have succeeded, but Bush knew he, Cheney, and Rumsfeld knew more about war than any stupid general.

      The First Gulf War was a success because it stuck to its UN mandate and simply kicked Iraq out of Kuwait. Also, Bush I listened to his military leaders, and took their recommendations seriously. Afghanistan is a UN sanctioned US/NATO operation. It is as screwed up as the rest of that country, and there is probably no near solution or end that will be nice and tidy. What Obama did in Libya is a good example of how air power can be used and not result in a wider war. Then as you posted many other similar actions have taken place around the world. In life there are NO ironclad guarantees of anything, especially in war, but while acknowledging that, it does not make a whole scale war a likely thing under these circumstances and conditions.

  4. Darren Smith,

    I see where Secretary’s Kerry’s State Department has gotten involved in supplying Al Qaeda in Syria. That worked out so well in Benghazi, Libya. Nothing like putting a target on the backs of our … ahem … “diplomats.”

  5. Flip-Flop is certainly the shoe of choice for the administration.

    I will concede that for all his blunders recently, I have to at least give some credit to John Kerry in the respect that he must follow what the president orders him to say even if he doesn’t agree with it. He could say one thing based upon his experience only to have the president not like it and force him to change his position or vice versa.

    At least John Kerry was a combat experienced Naval Officer so I can respect that he has first hand knowledge of what war is about. Moreso than many of those pogues and chickenhawks in the administration who can sit in their fancy dinner tables and reign warfare down on a population oblivious and ambivalent to the suffering others will face by those decisions.

  6. Good thing our CIA and JSOC operatives don’t wear boots that touch the ground in Syria. Otherwise, the dirty little truth might make one barefaced liar out of our lying commander-in-brief and Secretary of Stale (not a misspelling). As expected, the missions have already started creeping the more our swell Al Qaeda allies lose. But if our CIA and JSOC operatives wear loafers, wingtips, sandals or flip-flops that touch the ground in Syria as they aid and comfort Al Qaeda, then I suppose that would mean something entirely different and defensible to our American President who doesn’t do body counts except when he finds it politically convenient to do so.

    What a bloody, incoherent fool.

  7. Putin wrote directly to the NY Times, concerning Syria.

    It’s ridiculous that Putin, who’s regarded as a tyrant, makes more sense on this subject, than do our “leaders.”

    I can’t imagine Kerry discussing Syria with this guy.
    Kerry’s mantra, “We’ll hit them if they don’t do what we want, as soon as we want it,” is childish, and so typical of the U.S.A.

    I’m agnostic on whether Putin is speaking genuinely, and on who released the chemical weapons in Syria.
    How the hell would I know?

  8. From The Washington Post (10/11/2013):

    “The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.”

    Well, fellow Crimestoppers, President Obama and Secretary Kerry have made it clear on multiple occasions that they would go ahead with their war of aggression on Syria, no matter what the American people or their Congressional representatives want. Can’t say they didn’t piss in our faces and call it “rain.”

    But they’ve made this war for the children, you must understand. For the children …

    U.S. weapons reaching Syrian rebels

  9. The Obama administration’s objective, horrible as it sounds, is basically to help maintain a stalemate.” — Christopher Dickey, “Up to Speed: Five Things You Need to Know on Syria,” The Daily Beast
    (Sep 3, 2013 4:45 AM EDT)

    Rationalization: This fallacy consists in using plausible-sounding but usually fake reasons to justify a particular position that is held on other less respectable grounds.” T Edward Damer, Attacking Faulty Reasoning.

    The arguments for launching a “limited” U.S. war of aggression against Syria founder most fundamentally on the fallacy of rationalization. Stated simply, the U.S. government wishes to pursue a policy that it cannot openly admit to the American people, much less the more sophisticated and skeptical world at large. The U.S. wants the regime of Bashar Al-Assad to lose. The U.S. also wants the Muslim Brotherhood to lose. But the U.S. wishes for both of them to lose while not allowing either of them to win. This cynical policy will not win the support of the American people who would like to see the killing and dying stop, while their own government wishes for it to continue indefinitely. Hence the rationalizations by the Obama administration concerning chemical weapons when the actual policy remains too ugly and vicious to bear public enunciation.

    So, once more with feeling: the U.S. government lies through its teeth when it claims to want a war to save the children from gas when it doesn’t give a damn how many of them die from other weapons too numerous and varied to count. Rationalizations do not qualify as “reasons,” and so we do not admit them as constituents of a logical argument.

  10. So far the U.N. has worked to prevent the United States from launching a war of aggression against Syria, a nation that has not attacked or threatened the United States. May the U.N. continue to work as designed.

    Perhaps the example will even motivate the U.S. Congress to work as our Founders designed it to work: namely, to prevent military adventurism by an executive branch keen to use war as a means of usurping more and more arbitrary power over the American citizenry.

    Way past time to severely downsize the behemoth U.S. military. Its sheer size and apparent — although overrated — power have proven too tempting an instrument of tyranny for the little men and women who typically infest the government of the United States.

  11. I’ll ignore the Marxist-Leninist comment; equates to a proud Nazi holocaustist. When & for what did Obama get the Noble peace prize? I’m totally against BO on 95% of his actions but the Rusian /Syrian response is laudable to his actions in this case. However, I wish the idiots commenting on the media would consider the dead, dying & badly injured, rather than ‘who saves face’ politically.

    1. I will go one better, and say I am a proud Marxist Lennonist. Remember the Firesign Theater?

  12. Somebody beat me to it:

    From Counterpunch (September 11, 2013)

    I Ain’t Gonna Fight Obama’s War No More
    (Lyrics to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm”)


    I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more
    No I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more
    He hands me a nickel
    He’s lookin’ kinda strange
    Then he asks me with a grin
    How I like that kind of “change”
    The NSA kicks down my door
    No I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more

    I ain’t gonna pay Obama’s debt no more
    No, I ain’t gonna pay Obama’s debt no more
    Can’t afford to pay for college
    So I joined the brave and few
    Went from New York University
    To Depleted U.
    Then they took my home and foreclosed on the store
    I ain’t gonna pay Obama’s debt no more.

    I ain’t gonna fire Obama’s drones no more
    No I ain’t gonna fire Obama’s drones no more
    His Secretary of State
    Who was once against the war
    Now says “let’s bomb Syria”
    From submarines off shore
    Kerry’s a clone of Colin Powell — been down this road before
    No I ain’t gonna fire Obama’s drones no more

    I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more
    No, I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more
    Overseas they loved him
    Now they open up their eyes
    And wonder if it’s too late
    To take back the Nobel Prize
    Be careful of world leaders you adore
    No, I ain’t gonna fight Obama’s war no more

  13. “But if I can offer a friendly word of advice, you would be much more persuasive if you criticized things I actually said and positions that I actually hold.” — bigfatmike to randy rooster

    A very good and friendly word of advice, bfm, but for randy rooster to criticize things you actually said and positions that you actually hold, he would have to (1) recognize them in the first place, and (2) possess the ability to criticize what he recognizes. In my opinion, randy rooster simply takes what others say as a stimulus to regurgitating talking points supplied to him by neoconservative “belief tanks.” You know, “like think tanks only without the doubt,” as some clever person once said.

    Good and clear responses on your part, by the way.

  14. Bob Kauten,

    As you know, “American exceptionalism” simply assumes that rules meant for others do not apply to the United States. Therefore, so-called CW “red lines” applied to Syria have nothing to do with CW “red lines” not applied to U.S. client Saddam Hussein during the Reagan administration.

    Honest people like you would probably call this obvious double-standard, “rank hypocrisy.” Apologists for unilateral U.S. militarism, on the other hand, don’t call it anything. They don’t even acknowledge its existence. They arrogate to themselves the power to just bulldoze over any logical or principled objections to U.S military blundering as the sole recognizable aspect of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. (And I use the word “policy” with all due respect to the irony involved.)

Comments are closed.