Got to forgive presidential and congressional staffers for covering their ears and singing “la la la” at the top of their lungs, as everyone pretends not to be knee-deep in the icky, tricky, sticky Syria situation. You might say Washington is in a Semi-Syrious mode right now. And a Semi-Not-So-Syrious mode. Simultaneously.
Because this whole affair is riddled with enigmas and mysteries enough to make Winston Churchill spin his conundrums right off. And rumor has it, he harbored huge conundrums.
Demonstrating resolve in the face of chemical weapons, Barack Obama weaves through the media like Gumby’s drunken brother in a wind tunnel. Unfamiliar territory for a chief executive who never learned how to play both sides against the middle. For four and a half years, he’s been a facilitator with nothing and nobody to facilitate. All he needed was a facilitatee.
And now there’s a war. Not a leftover war. His war. A new war. Good Obama. Bad Obama. Boots. No boots. Barefoot. 30 days. 300 days. 3000 days. He loves us. He loves us not. Yes. No. Maybe. Better be prepared to give that Nobel Peace Prize back.
The Pied Piper of the Potomac is blowing a patriotic tune, dancing figure-8s up and down the M.C. Escher staircase that is Capitol Hill. Deadly determined to do the right thing; if only he knew what it was.
The intelligence is solid, but we can’t put our sources at risk divulging it. We know what we need to know, but don’t know everything. A red line in the sand has been crossed. Then again, sand is a lousy conductor of paint. Don’t want to go to war but can’t be seen as backing down. Must take military action to advance the cause of peace.
Made his decision but seeking Congressional approval. Doesn’t need it. Wants it. Might use it. Then again, maybe not. Could very well follow their advice or just start bombing tomorrow. Or not. If Joe Biden agrees. Which he will. Probably.
Meanwhile, Republicans are torn between their innate hatred of Obama and eternal love of bombing the crap out of the Middle East. This is an important vote, but not enough to encourage anyone to come back from recess early. Boehner and Cantor approve a limited punitive strike, but other Republicans aren’t obligated to follow their lead. Their smile says yes. But their eyes say no.
Internationally, the president prefers cooperation but is willing to go it alone. The Arab League is fine with it, but can’t give permission. England is not in on this with us, but we might want to call back later. Obama has to punish Bashar Al Assad but doesn’t trust the rebels as far as he could throw Portugal. Worried about rattling sabers but can’t afford to look like a wuss. If he wants to hang with Putin.
And finally, what America really needs to understand; this is all about Syria crossing a line. Then again, it’s mostly about Iran. And Hezbollah. Not to mention Russian and Chinese entanglements. And don’t forget Israel. Or Saudi Arabia. Does the term Afghanistan ring a bell? Qatar? And just on a side note, does Qatar call their national airline – Air Qatar? They should. Syriously.
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