October 23, 2013

"We spent so much damn time navel gazing, and that’s the tragedy of it" — it, being Syria.

A former senior White House official, quoted in a NYT piece navel-gazingly titled "Obama’s Uncertain Path Amid Syria Bloodshed."

This article marks the return to the topic of Syria, which had dropped out of public consciousness, like a lot of other things that are waiting to be rotated back in.

The article at the link is long and detailed. You should read the whole thing. Watch for Hillary Rodham Clinton arguing for the United States to get "skin in the game" and Samantha Power saying "if you had met the rebels as frequently as I have, you would be as passionate as I am." Obama, by contrast, comes across as brooding and indecisive.

IN THE COMMENTS: MadisonMan said:
Obama's Uncertain Path Amid Benghazi Attack

Obama's Uncertain Path Amid IRS Scandal

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I said:
Yeah... "uncertain path amid"... how hard did they need to think to come up with that?

It's such an all-purpose excuse for the President's failures. And so weird. "Path Amid Bloodshed"... that's one of these concrete images that don't really look right in the mind's eye. "Path" is metaphor, but what is a "path amid bloodshed"? We're asked to picture him — what? — walking around pools of blood?

"Amid" suggests standing still and being confused. "Path" suggests he's going somewhere.

The word "path" seems to give too much credit.

The word "amid" seems to suggest that he's not responsible for anything.
The NYT's uncertain path amid presidential failure.

47 comments:

rhhardin said...

Obama should come off as a moron, which he is.

damikesc said...

Of course Power is passionate. She hates Jews as much as the jihadist rebels in Syria do.

Why do Democrats want to spill blood for no actual benefit to the country in a country that poses, literally, no threat to us?

Ron said...

Obama as Hamlet? Huh.

It seems like everything is now a Halloween Fun House...Syria! Shutdown! Obamacare!

Are we scared into submission yet? or just jaded?

Bob Boyd said...

I told a friend getting involved with another woman wasn't worth the risk of destroying his family.
He essentially said, "if you had met my girl friend as frequently as I have, you would be as passionate as I am."

MadisonMan said...

Coming soon:

Obama's Uncertain Path Amid Government Shutdown

Obama's Uncertain Path Amid Obamacare rollout

Obama's Uncertain Path Amid Budget Negotiations

Ann Althouse said...

I read that Samantha Power quote to Meade and he said it sounds like something Patty Hearst would have said about the Symbionese Liberation Army.

MadisonMan said...

Obama's Uncertain Path Amid Benghazi Attack

Obama's Uncertain Path Amid IRS Scandal

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Robert Cook said...

It's traditional in America to depict politicians who are not ravenous for war as "indecisive," if not outright cowards or traitors.

However, Obama has plenty of blood on his hands already.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah... "uncertain path amid"... how hard did they need to think to come up with that?

It's such an all-purpose excuse for the President's failures. And so weird. "Path Amid Bloodshed"... that's one of these concrete images that don't really look right in the mind's eye. "Path" is metaphor, but what is a "path amid bloodshed"? We're asked to picture him — what? — walking around pools of blood?

"Amid" suggests standing still and being confused. "Path" suggests he's going somewhere.

The word "path" seems to give too much credit.

The word "amid" seems to suggest that he's not responsible for anything.

paminwi said...

Sounds like the Saudis are kind of PO'd at us, too about how Syria was handled.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2472680/Saudi-Arabia-severs-diplomatic-ties-US-response-conflict-Syria.html

El Pollo Raylan said...

The product of Obama's position and direction on any given topic is profoundly uncertain and unknowable. Even by looking at it carefully we perturb it.

Ann Althouse said...

"It's traditional in America to depict politicians who are not ravenous for war as "indecisive," if not outright cowards or traitors."

Yes, and the fear of that characterization prompts bad leaders to ham it up for us in the Theater of Decisiveness. Remember Obama with his list of drone strike targets. He points and shoots as needed.

Oh, look at me. I'm depicting a politician!!

But Obama told you not to look at those bloggers. Please simply know that this thoughtful, well-meaning man is doing his best in a very complex situation, a situation that cannot possibly be completely understood within any human lifetime.

Oh, I cannot stop. I keep depicting a politician.

Bob Boyd said...

I wonder what Powers had to say when George W. Bush made what was basically the same argument regarding his Iraqi rebels in preparation for toppling Saddam Hussein.

RecChief said...

President Chauncey Gardner

The Drill SGT said...

"If a man does not know to what port he is sailing, no wind is favourable."

- Seneca

The Drill SGT said...

"It's traditional in America to depict politicians who are not ravenous for war as "indecisive," if not outright cowards or traitors."

I don't think folks said that of Wilson when he didn't enter WWI in 1914
Nor Roosevelt in 1939
Or Eisenhower in 1953 (Indo-china)

chrisnavin.com said...

He made the argument in Libya for Bush VERY lite, and it's had some unintended consequences.

Syria was kind of Libya lite, where Obama had bad options and seems to have let them get worse. It was send in some black and specOps, send money and aid with severe restrictions and hope for the best.

Even the Syrians don't take the chem wapons talks seriously, and we waited for an autocratic strongman to do a photo op tour and buy Assad time.

Samantha Power and Hillary Clinton (always running) are now champing at the bit to liberally internationalize and intervene.

Meanwhile, b/c of this, oil, and the power vacuum we've created...the Saudis are pulling out.

The Sunni/Shia split is ancient and enflaming further. Tehran plays it's same games with a new move looking for regional domination. Russia plays Cold War chess with a mob boss in charge. Israel's gotta do what it's gotta do.

So far, I don't see a reasonable objective, a strategic vision or enough leadership to really see what that objective might be.

Hoping for the best, preparing for actual events.

SteveR said...

Valerie Jarrett's uncertain instructions to Obama Amid Syrian Bloodshed
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...

Larry Nelson said...

El Pollo Raylan said...
The product of Obama's position and direction on any given topic is profoundly uncertain and unknowable. Even by looking at it carefully we perturb it.


On the uncertainty principle, Einstein believed that randomness is a reflection of our ignorance of some fundamental property of reality. So you see, it is not an Obama failure, but a failure of those observing.

Henry said...

Obama as Hamlet? Huh.

One Shakespeare scholar pointed out that Hamlet could have done better in another play. Switch Hamlet and Othello and Hamlet would have skulked around Venice for five acts without doing anything until he figured Iago out.

Meanwhile Othello would have hacked Claudius' head off in the first scene.

Thanks to weakness and passivity President Obama has managed to avoid worse mistakes.

Such as this:

Two days after his announcement that he would go to Congress for approval of a strike, Mr. Obama met in the Oval Office with Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the two Republicans who are the Senate’s most outspoken advocates of military intervention in Syria. Mr. Obama agreed with the senators that American efforts to arm the rebels had been slow, but told them that the first group of 50 Syrian rebels — trained by the C.I.A. in Jordan — would soon cross into Syria, according to sources familiar with the meeting.

The goal was for that group to train larger numbers of rebels in Syria — expanding the impact of the limited C.I.A. training effort in Jordan. But Mr. Obama acknowledged that having the C.I.A. carry out the training covertly had slowed the pace of the program and suggested that he was considering expanding the program and carrying it out publicly, an allusion to having the Pentagon take over.


The CIA training extremists: What could go wrong?

Of course, typical Obama, the CIA is still at it. They're just doing in the most ineffectual way possible.

Hagar said...

It looks like "the Arab World" - from Morocco to the Chinese border - will come unglued, and the lack of action as well as doing the "wrong thing" by this administration is going to have a lot to do with that.

The Obama crowd thinks and feels Washington is just Chicago City Hall writ large, and the State Dept. and CIA have well-meaning people who have not read "The Looking Glass War" and seen themselves in it, or have mistaken themselves for George Smiley.

The Drill SGT said...

" Hagar said...
It looks like "the Arab World" - from Morocco to the Chinese border
"

Muslim world perhaps. The Arab part ends before Turkey and Iran

Michael said...

"For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?"

1 Corinthians 14:8

Hagar said...

@Drill Sgt.

"The Arab World" in quotation marks, and the former Persian and Ottoman empires being very much parts of what I mean. "Muslim World" is too large, since "East of Suez" may stay out of it. For all the yakking about religions, here on earth it is still about money, sex, and power.

Robert Cook said...

RE: The Drill SGT @ 9:16 am

"I don't think folks said that of Wilson when he didn't enter WWI in 1914
"Nor Roosevelt in 1939

"Or Eisenhower in 1953 (Indo-china)"



I'm not talking about "folks;" I'm referring to those in the power and financial elites who advocate for war in order to aggrandize their own and America's power and wealth...and the organs of propaganda who convey their message to the public.

You're also talking about a world that's long dead, and periods where we were not at war, and war fever had not become infectious; we have been at perpetual war--by one means or another--for the past couple of decades or longer, and advocates of war are ever present and all too quick to deride those within or without Washington who oppose war as weaklings, traitors, friends of our enemies, etc. There is now a media organ--Fox News Channel--that serves as just such a permanent advocate for war, and media personalities such as Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer who appear on all the "public affairs" programs who are perpetual cheerleaders for war.

traditionalguy said...

The Saudis are not going to wait any longer on Obama to stop Iran's Nuclear attack force that Obama&Jarrett have spent 5 years accommodating to while lying that they want to stop Iran.

Israel and Saudi will now have to carry that load alone...well maybe not alone since Putin wants to replace the USA's influence in the area any which way he can and Obama has already given him Egypt.

Illuninati said...

"President Obama had signed a SECRET ORDER [caps mine] in April — months earlier than previously reported — authorizing a C.I.A. plan to begin arming the Syrian rebels. But the arms had not been shipped,"

It sounds as if Obama has plan for Syria but it has not worked out according to expectations. He secretly signed an order to arm the rebels months ago. It is unfair to claim he is unable to decide which side to back. In this case, it appears that his incompetence is his inability as a leader to insure that his plans are executed.

Many Egyptians claim that Obama and the C.I.A. have been backing the Muslim Brotherhood against the rest of Egyptians who wish to live in a less radical society with some secular freedoms rather than a total Sharia hell. Perhaps they are correct. We know that one of Hilary Clinton's closest aids, Huma Abedin, has close family connections in the Muslim Brotherhood and through her friendship with Hilary she was in a position to influence US foreign policy. Perhaps the Egyptian people will succeed in their bid to live somewhat free because of Obama's incompetence as a leader.

People on the left/neopagans don't like to see videos of the beheadings which are apparently posted by the rebels in Syria for propaganda purposes. They maintain that those videos have nothing to do with Islam. According to them those beheaders are just a few rogues whereas if one Tea Party member utters a racial slur that is enough evidence to brand the entire Tea Party racists. Obviously the rebels don't agree. They wouldn't post those videos if they were ashamed of that type of behavior. For them beheadings are a strategy to instill fear in their enemies. They know they can behead with impunity because the left/neo-pagans have their back and will ensure that they experience no negative consequences for their crimes.

Freeman Hunt said...

I love odd mental images produced through writing. I had imagined a meandering path around profusely bleeding people with Obama picking his way daintily and uncertainly through.

Freeman Hunt said...

I love odd mental images produced through writing. I had imagined a meandering path around profusely bleeding people with Obama picking his way daintily and uncertainly through.

Hagar said...

I think Iran will eventually feel strong enough to "anschluss" Iraq, and after that it is anyone's guess what will happen and where it might end.

cubanbob said...

Let's volunteer Power and H.Clinton to the "freedom fighters". There's no downside whatsoever.

Unknown said...

IN THE COMMENTS: MadisonMan said:

Obama's Uncertain Path Amid Benghazi Attack

Obama's Uncertain Path Amid IRS Scandal
...

His most certain path to date has been that Trayvon could be his son.

Richard Dolan said...

For topics, peoples and places that don't concern O-man, that 'uncertain path' is not all that uncertain: it leads directly to the exits. He has little interest in fighting any enemy other than Republicans, and is only interested in finding some anodyne formula that will let him disengage from problems elsewhere so as to concentrate on the only war he wants to fight.

Foreign leaders have all pretty much taken his measure, and know that they are dealing with a cipher. The Saudis are just the most recent. There will, unfortunately, be hell to pay for O's fecklessness.

Unknown said...

Anne wrote: The word "amid" seems to suggest that he's not responsible for anything.
Yes, absolutely agree. Also: "amid" brings to mind "meandering", "floating above" ... those actions for which Obama is famously experienced.

Carol said...

One thing O's figured out is that the American people do not want to get involved in another conflict.

Tank said...

Unknown said...
Anne wrote: The word "amid" seems to suggest that he's not responsible for anything.


Don't forget, he fired the shot that killed Bin Laden.

Henry said...

There will, unfortunately, be hell to pay for O's fecklessness.

Given the hell we've paid for feckness, I'll take my chances.

Robert Cook said...

"The Saudis are not going to wait any longer on Obama to stop Iran's Nuclear attack force that Obama&Jarrett have spent 5 years accommodating to while lying that they want to stop Iran.

"Israel and Saudi will now have to carry that load alone...."


Poor babies, having to carry that load and stop the chimerical "Iran Nuclear Attack Force." Don't worry...it shouldn't be too hard for them, as, unlike Iran, Israel really does have a nuclear attack force, (but...ssshhhh...that's supposed to be a secret!).

Julie C said...

When you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.

Kirk Parker said...

Cookie,

Go read The Savage Wars of Peace -- we've been at some level of warfare for a lot longer than you seem to think.

Robert Cook said...

Kirk Parker,

I'm aware of that, but these last couple of decades our wars have been much more evident and in the public eye. We've become an overtly militarized society, where even our local police forces are barely distinguishable from military forces.

chrisnavin.com said...

Let me guess, Cook, unless you're a libertarian socialist or 'anarcho-syndicalist' like Chomsky, and planning a retreat into anarchy...

maybe you were OK with the Soviets having a 'military industrial complex'

Or maybe you don't like the idea of providing for the common defense because you're an aging revolutionary with sadly all too common agin revolutionary thinking.

cubanbob said...

Robert Cook said...
"The Saudis are not going to wait any longer on Obama to stop Iran's Nuclear attack force that Obama&Jarrett have spent 5 years accommodating to while lying that they want to stop Iran.

"Israel and Saudi will now have to carry that load alone...."

Poor babies, having to carry that load and stop the chimerical "Iran Nuclear Attack Force." Don't worry...it shouldn't be too hard for them, as, unlike Iran, Israel really does have a nuclear attack force, (but...ssshhhh...that's supposed to be a secret!).

10/23/13, 11:53 AM

And the Iranians are spending enormous sums of money on a chimerical nuclear weapons program? Some people will believe anything. I suppose when the Saudi's decide to purchase nukes from our 'friends' the Pakistani's and the missiles to launch them from the Russians or Chinese that also will be a chimerical force. Funny how the Saudi's that truly hate the Israeli's never bothered to get themselves that excited about the Israeli bomb but are now near hysterical about an Iranian bomb.

Lydia said...

From the linked NY Times article:

Even as the debate about arming the rebels took on a new urgency, Mr. Obama rarely voiced strong opinions during senior staff meetings. But current and former officials said his body language was telling: he often appeared impatient or disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum.

Wow. A simply damning portrait of a president. Any president.

John Constantius said...

His most certain path to date has been that Trayvon could be his son.

That and the police "acted stupidly" when they arrested Skip Gates.

Robert Cook said...

chrisnavin.com:

I'm not and never have been a revolutionary, though snowballing events may in due time create a "natural revolutionary storm" absent any directed human planning, wreaking havoc with that which so many Americans believe has been established by God.

Also, the last time we fired a shot or dropped a bomb in self-defense (even if some argue that it was unnecessary) was 1945.

Robert Cook said...

A rundown of current problems that may lead to the "natural storm" I mentioned above.

We need to get our asses out of other countries around the world and try to fix our domestic calamities.

I'm not holding my breath.