The second term lineup in the Obama Administration has a increasingly dove-ish look, more in line with a Commander In Chief whose idea of war is another drone strike. Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, National Security Adviser Susan Rice are the primary examples. New UN Ambassador Samantha Power actually does like U.S. military intervention, but only to stand in the way of genocides and human rights abuses.
So it was interesting to watch Secretary of State Kerry, the anti-Viet Nam war guy, getting all butch on Syria yesterday over the Assad regime’s recent attack on rebel positions with chemical weapons. That latest attack killed somewhere in the neighborhood of six hundred people. For that, we are going to war. Forget the fact that about a hundred thousand have been killed with old fashioned bullets and bombs before the chemical attack. We have our red lines, and we get our blood up if they are crossed.
I see in the latest Fox reporting from White House Correspondent Ed Henry that the upcoming cruise missile attack is not about “regime change”. What hated words those must be if we have decided we’re going to attack the Assad regime but we have no interest in changing it. (These are Bush-era words that seem to retain a toxicity far into the future.)
Then there are those people who talk of an attack on Syria in terms of a decapitation strike, that is, killing the leader.
Don’t expect these hawkish-doves to go that far. Much too icky to speak so harshly. They may actually try it, but they’d never say it.
I don’t think anybody outside the administration has a good bead on what exactly the coming attack is going to look like. Everybody is quite sure there is going to be one, but possibilities abound. It could be a pinprick designed to show that we can do something flashy and headline-grabbing even if ineffective. The attack could be mega-enough to actually shift the outcome of the civil war in Syria, though it seems our hawkish-doves are not so sure they want the rebels actually winning, as the rebel side seems to be morphing into al Qaeda. There there is the aforementioned decap strike. What happens if Bashar Assad is killed? Is his next-in-line better or worse? Who knows?
I anxiously await the attack. I want to see what kind of President we have. I could see a pinprick strike, just to show you don’t cross Obama’s redlines without consequences, even if the consequences don’t amount to much. I could see a decapitation strike. After all, Obama doesn’t hesitate to kill with drones. (Although I’d rush to note that killing a head of state–even a hated one–is much different than droning a raggedy old terrorist.)
Since we don’t know what kind of attack it will be, we can move on to the question of when. Of that, I’m much more certain.
It will not be tomorrow. President Obama delivers his he-had-a-dream speech tomorrow, in the spot where MLK spoke exactly fifty years ago.
President Obama will not let anything….even a small war…distract from that.