Friday, September 06, 2013

Cruising the Web

Charles Krauthammer has a striking comparison to how Obama has behaved towards Syria and how Israel has acted towards them.
Here's how deterrence works in the Middle East.
Syria, long committed to the destruction of Israel, has not engaged Israel militarily in 30 years. Why? Because it recognizes Israel as a serious adversary with serious policies.
In this year alone, Israel has four times launched airstrikes within Syria. No Syrian response. How did Israel get away with it?
Israel had announced that it would not tolerate Assad acquiring or transferring to Hezbollah advanced weaponry. No grandiloquent speeches by the Israeli foreign minister. No leaked target lists. Indeed, the Israelis didn't acknowledge the strikes even after they had carried them out.
Unlike the American president, they have no interest in basking in perceived toughness. They care only about effect. They care about just one audience — the party to be deterred, namely Assad and his allies.
Assad knows who did it. He didn't have to see the Israeli prime minister preening about it on world television.
And yet here is Obama, having yet done nothing but hesitate, threaten, retract and wander about the stage, claiming Wednesday in Sweden to be the conscience of the world, upholding not his own red line but the world's. And, incidentally, Congress' — a transparent attempt at offloading responsibility.
He certainly isn't demonstrating wartime leadership.
War presidents don’t quibble. They don’t leak. They don’t go AWOL. They aren’t dispirited or downbeat. They aren’t ambivalent about the mission. And most important of all, war presidents are never irresolute.
Not an inspiring leader to rally the country behind whatever it is he is attempting to do in Syria.

And John Kerry's assurances on the make-up of the Syrian rebels does not seem to be supported by what intelligence and private experts are saying. That's certainly a worry. Think about how the administration got wrong its estimation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

And Obama has misled us about the impact of delay on American plans to attack Syria. He said this past weekend that our ability to execute an attack was "not time-sensitive." Apparently he was basing this on something Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, told him. But that is not what Dempsey said before the Senate this week. And at least we've given Assad time to move in his civilian hostages near potential bombing targets.

Jonah Goldberg is looking in vain for the hidden genius in Obama's actions on Syria.
Obama doesn’t believe he needs authorization from Congress to strike Syria, he just wants it. He’s like a kid desperate for a prom date, but too vain to admit it. In Libya, Obama had the U.N. and NATO on each arm, so he didn’t bother with asking the dog on Capitol Hill for a date. But now, faced with the prospect of going it alone, he’s in effect telling Congress, “Hey, it’s not like I need your company, but you’d be crazy not to go to war with me.”

Whoops. As even Nancy Pelosi’s own grandkid now knows, we mustn’t call it a war. “The president is not asking you to go to war,” Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress. He’s merely asking them to authorize a sustained cruise-missile attack on military installations to “degrade” the regime’s “capabilities.”

But, according to Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey, no one has asked the military to do anything that might change the “momentum” of the Syrian civil war. This is like saying you’re going to attack a runaway car barreling toward a crowd of kids, but do nothing to actually, you know, slow it down. What good does it do to trash the radio and rip out the cup holders on an out-of-control car?

Meanwhile, according to numerous accounts, Assad is moving military assets into civilian areas and civilians into military areas, even as the Obama administration insists it makes no difference militarily to wait for Congress to debate. That’s not just stupid; it’s an outright lie that will be fact-checked with blood.

I understand the attraction the buddy system has for a man who, as a state legislator, perfected the art of voting “present” on hard questions. But it’s hard to see this as anything other than rank political cowardice.

The buck stopped with Truman. For Obama, the buck is kryptonite.

In Stockholm on Wednesday, the president said that the credibility of the world, America, Congress, and the international community is on the line. Everybody is on the hook for his red line, except for the one person who actually drew it.
Here's a history of mission creep involved in American military involvement.

The Department of Education is trying to do some rigorous research into what works in education. They're finding that most education studies are worthless. Basically, we have little idea what works and how it can be replicated.

Check out how much you know of current events through this Pew poll compared to the rest of the American public. I did fine well except not knowing the percent of women in the Congress.