September 1, 2013

"The word 'slam-dunk' should be retired from the American national security issues."

Said John Kerry on "Meet the Press" today, when David Gregory asked him: "This is a sarin gas attack, perpetrated by the Assad regime, this is a slam-dunk case that he did it?"

The term "slam-dunk" figured large in the run-up to the Iraq War. Hence the resistance. It should connote certainty, but the meaning got flipped. To use it now is to seem to say: How do we know you're not conning us? And I'm going to assume David Gregory meant the insinuation, because everyone's been making the comparison to the selling of the Iraq War.

24 comments:

Rob said...

It's a pity Tim Russert isn't around. Then we could have heard, "Two weeks ago, Secretary Kerry, you told us it was an open and shut case. Now you tell us it's a slam-dunk case. Which is it?"

RiverRat said...

John Fng Kerry:

How Do You Ask a Man to Be the Last Man to Die in Vietnam?

Me to John Fng Kerry:

How Do You Ask a Man to Be the First Man Man to Die in Syria?

They're both "essentially" civil wars aren't they

St. George said...

Oh, we can be sure it will all be over by Christmas. That's a slam dunk, too.

In the book "What They Fought For," Princeton scholar James McPherson analyzed the letters of enlisted men from the Union and Confederate armies. They most thought they would have a merry adventure, escape the farm for a few months, meet exotic girls, and be home for the holidays.

When Hitler invaded the USSR in June 1941, you know what? He and his generals thought they'd conquer Russia in 3-5 months. US intelligence thought they'd do the job in weeks, according to British historian Ian Kershaw. "We thought it would all be over by Christmas," said one young German officer. (From "Hitler's Charisma" by Laurence Rees.) The Germans got within 12 miles of Moscow when the Russians threw a million men at them. A million.

The purpose of going into Syria has to be to lure the Iranians into attacking us (or make it look like they have done so), so that we can attack that nation to take out its regime and nuclear war-making potential. If Iran gets the bomb, it's not the Israelis who would be most worried, it's the Saudis.

Wars almost always last longer than people think they will and will involve more killing and destruction than people predict, and their ultimate outcomes are utterly unforeseeable.

edutcher said...

The irony is, last time, the weapons were there (and probably some of them are being used now).

That the Lefties now are trapped by use of the term defines irony.

jr565 said...

WHen it comes to intel and assessments even the slam dunk is riddled with uncertainty. There is no such thing as absolute certainty unless you are extremely lucky.

jr565 said...

St. George wrote:
The purpose of going into Syria has to be to lure the Iranians into attacking us (or make it look like they have done so), so that we can attack that nation to take out its regime and nuclear war-making potential. If Iran gets the bomb, it's not the Israelis who would be most worried, it's the Saudis.

It's not just the Saudis, its also Israel and the Western World. Let's not pretend that IRan getting nukes is somehow a neutral act.

Drago said...

St George: "When Hitler invaded the USSR in June 1941, you know what? He and his generals thought they'd conquer Russia in 3-5 months."

And they were right.

What they (the General Staff) could not (or would not) foresee was Hitler's fixation on small and medium sized pockets of Soviet forces to the north of Army Group Center (AGC) and his fears of losing lines of communication with the Ukraine.

All Hitler had to do was allow AGC to plow on into the few remaining soviet armies (which the Germans outnumbered and outgunned in the Center) and then onto Moscow, and the Soviet Union would have collapsed by October.

General Bock (in the Center) in just 2 larger battles around Bialystok and Minsk decisively defeated the Soviets (324,000 POW's and over 2,500 tanks captured).

Moscow was in sight.

And Hitler flinched.

Can you imagine the scenario of a defeated Soviet Union, Stalin deposed and German supply lines unimpeded from the Ukraine and central (west of Moscow) Russia, a defeated France all BEFORE Pearl Harbor?

It's not a pleasant thought.

Drago said...

St George: "The Germans got within 12 miles of Moscow when the Russians threw a million men at them. A million."

Between 22June1941 and 13August 1941 it is estimated that the Germans killed 1.5 Million Russian soldiers, captured over 2.8 million soldiers and severely wounded another 1.5 Million.

Again, all in MILLIONS.

In just under 2 months.

The superior firepower and organization of the Germans would have decapitated another 1 million hastily aggregated, ill or non-trained and underequipped Russian soldiers.

Again, thank goodness Hitler got paranoid and put the brakes to the whole "advance" and allowed the Russians to regroup, dig in and wait for the dead of winter.

RiverRat said...

A quick not sent to my congresscritters from Texas

"Do not support the Obama Syria Resolution.

It's a civil war...let them fight it by their rules of engagement.

If either side threatens or attacks our allies or compromises material US or Global interests...an·ni·hi·late both sides and let Allah sort it out.

Or let the coward-in-chief face the domestic political fallout alone.

A highly decorated Vietnam Riverine Combat veteran."

Titus said...

Mass is one of the most Jewish states in the U.S. too.

But not the pube kind but rather the libtard kind.

You can't swing a cat wthout hitting a Jew here.

We are totally kosher.....and rich, natch.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

edutcher said...The irony is, last time, the weapons were there (and probably some of them are being used now).

Yep, I've always thought Sadam's WMDs nobody could find - and Bush took so much heat on account of - were moved from Iraq to Syria in the month after our friends the Turks reneged on letting us transit their country.

bpm4532 said...

We have no interest in Syria. Where was the moral outrage when 100,000 were killed? Obama is only thinking about 2014 and how he can blame Congress (i.e., Republicans) either way things would have turned out. Striking in Syria has no benefit for us and will only make matters worse in the Middle East.

Harold House said...

I think we could retire David Gregory to the land of fluff.

Hagar said...

On Fox News Sunday today Joe Lieberman said that in his 24 years in the Senate, he could not remember a President pulling anything like this.

I have tried to think back over all of them, from George Washington to George W., and I cannot remember reading about any of them, threatening to go to war without making it clear that it was going to be a war to the finish.
The nearest thing would be George H.W. Bush aiming to "liberate" Kuwait and stop there, but even he made it clear that Kuwait was going to be cleared one way or another.

And that also turned out to be a mistake; in hindsight he should have gone to Baghdad and finished the job.

Drago said...

Hagar: "The nearest thing would be George H.W. Bush aiming to "liberate" Kuwait and stop there, but even he made it clear that Kuwait was going to be cleared one way or another."

The reality is that the liberation of Kuwait was as far as the UN security council was willing to go, thus that is what became the "HW" defined and announced objective of GW1.

He was going along with the "global test" long before Kerry articulated (if you can call it that) his version of the "global test".

Of course, over the last couple of weeks we can see that Kerry never really believed that either.

Big surprise.

jr565 said...

Bpm4532 wrote:
We have no interest in Syria. Where was the moral outrage when 100,000 were killed? Obama is only thinking about 2014

yes Obama waited too long. But that's no reason for repubs to abandon the idea that we need to respond to Syria.
This reminds me of the argument that libs made about Iraq when on one hand Bush was a monster for invading Iraq, yet on the other hand we were also monster for being their allies in the 80's during the Iran/Iraq war.
If we are to be villainized for siding with Iraq, then lets credit Bush with changing the policy.

Yes, Obama was silent when Syria killed its population, but now republicans should be silent and non supportive when Syria does even worse?
Go all the way back to the concept of the war on terror. Iraq and Syria play a huge part in that. So lets not pretend like Syria has nothing to do with us. Nows not the time to become isolationists.

Tony Ciarriocco said...

Let's retire "whole bunch" as well.

jr565 said...

Hagar wrote:
And that also turned out to be a mistake; in hindsight he should have gone to Baghdad and finished the job.


If we had finished the job then we would have nipped the problem in the bud. Instead we set up a containment that drew us further into the Middle East, and required us to sanction Iraq, and the UN to pass endless resolutions agai st Iraq. And it made us look like we couldn't actually deal with disarming a country. We needed up propping up Sadaam's regime for close to ten more years, all because we had this idea that containment meant stability.
And yet, we ended up having war anyway. When we knew back in 1998 that regime change was the only course of action that would remove the threat. We didn't act and the situation was worse.
We have that same problem with Syria an Iran. We can dawdle all we like, but if we think that containment will work its just going to lead to strengthening of both Syria and Iraq, and hence, when the war comes it will be worse.

The Godfather said...

Using any phrase that reminds people of the Iraq War has got to be the stupidest thing that the advocates of attacking Syria could do -- unless they really DO want Congress to turn down Obama's request.

bpm4532 said...

John Kerry should be retired

wildswan said...

I think that Assad and Obama should fight it out mano a mano. Winner gets to fight the next leader to start a war, civil or otherwise, in his / her own country or out of it. And so on. The rest of us would pass the popcorn.

Michael The Magnificent said...

I think everyone is expecting the Republicans to do the adult thing and vote against allowing Obama to follow through on his "red line" threat. He'd then blame the Republicans for each subsequent death in Syria.

A better idea, I think, would be for the Republicans to all show up and vote Present. Let Obama and the Democrats own this.

lge said...

Yes, "slam-dunk" is WAY overworked.

So is "boots on the ground." Although maybe we could just send a bomber over and drop a load of boots on Syria and then forget the whole thing.

And while we're at it, is there any way we can get rid of the term "ginormous"?