Monday, September 09, 2013

Cruising the Web

BuzzFeed has some fun noting all the peace-loving celebrities who were quite happy to publicly excoriate the Bush administration about the war in Iraq, but who are silent now on Syria. But Ed Asner reveals one reason why they're
Radical-left actor Ed Asner was blunt with Paul Bond of The Hollywood Reporter about how celebrities won’t be mobilizing against military actions launched by Barack Obama: "A lot of people don't want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama," he said.
How delicious that their own manipulation of charges of racism against anyone from Hillary Clinton to Republicans who dared opposed Barack Obama has now come back to haunt them.

How prescient Joe Biden was - he predicted last year that, if Romney won, we'd go to war with Syria. If Romney had won, would U.S. credibility be at stake if Assad crossed Obama's red line? It's so confusing how to measure gains and losses in national credibility. The more we talk about preserving the nation's credibility, the less credibility we have. And does ambivalence about our own credibility weaken it in the world's eyes?

George C. Edwards, a professor of political science looks at the history of presidential speeches aimed at changing public opinion on foreign policy and notes how rarely they sway public opinion. And Obama has had diminishing returns on his public appeals since his first term. He certainly hasn't swayed the public to believing that Obamacare was a great idea.

Obama is missing all the elements a good strategic plan for his attacks on Syria.
Moral outrage doesn’t constitute a comprehensive strategic plan, which is needed to prosecute a just war without causing more harm than good. Strategic thinking involves four key aspects: (i) useful, durable objective(s); (ii) the selection of targets creating the conditions necessary to realize strategic objective(s); (iii) adherence to a timeframe that will lead to success, while depriving the opponent of the ability to react; and (iv) exit planning to transition effectively from success or failure....

Nor does inaction send the wrong signal. Thugs like Assad know what the U.S. military can do, the threat of which will be nullified politically by ineffectual strikes.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. stands almost alone at present since few nations want to join a coalition of the witless. Hopefully, President Obama’s decision to seek Congressional authorization will precipitate in-depth discussions of the above questions. Let’s avoid the needless pain suffered in past wars due to failures in strategic thinking. As John Quincy Adams warned: “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”
No wonder support for such an attack is waning as people come to be aware of how little planning for any of those elements has been done for those four strategic goals.

Norman Podhoretz analyzes how Obama has been successful if his goal is to weaken American power abroad.

If all Obama wants is a "shot across the bow," what would he do if we strike Syria and Assad goes on to use chemical weapons again?

The administration's efforts on lobbying Congress on Syria have been weak and misguided.
If anyone in the Obama administration thought having former Democratic representative Jane Harman appear on NBC’s Meet the Press to support the Syrian war resolution was a good idea, he must be cringing now.

Harman, a former congresswoman from California who now runs the Woodrow Wilson International Center, weighed in on why so many in Congress were resisting a vote to authorize force in Syria: “All these folks in both parties, especially in the House, are worried about being primaried. The base in each party is against this. . . . So these folks think that their reelection . . . matters more than perhaps taking a principled stand.” When challenged on this by NBC’s Chuck Todd, she doubled down: “They want it to pass, Chuck. They just don’t want to vote for it.”

In other words, one of the most prominent advocates of President Obama’s Syrian resolution basically called out many members of Congress as cowards. I have heard from three House members who were appalled at this as a lobbying tactic. “We’re elected in part to represent our constituents, and she makes listening to 90 percent of them a sign of cravenness,” one member texted me. “Dale Carnegie this is not.”
And his aides haven't built up any sort of rapport with members of Congress, particularly the Republican members of the House so it's difficult to persuade them now.
The administration has made other glaring missteps in its outreach efforts to Congress. Take Representative Adam Kinzinger, a former U.S. Air Force pilot who was stationed in Iraq. He is one of only eight House Republicans to firmly support the Syrian resolution so far. But he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’s This Week on Sunday, “I don’t even know who my White House liaison is.” He said: “My office actually reached out to the White House and said, ‘Hey, we support the strike on Syria, we’re going to help you round up support if you need it.’ I haven’t heard back from the White House yet. . . . I haven’t heard back from anyone.” The almost complete failure of the White House to build lasting ties to Capitol Hill is coming home to roost, he says: “You can’t begin to build a relationship with Congress for the first time when you need their support on something like this.”
Carol Platt Liebau attended a Connecticut town hall for two Democratic politicians and notes questions that people had there that just weren't being answered by the Obama push for attacks.

Even Maureen Dowd is ridiculing the President's push for attacks.
THE winner of the Nobel Peace Prize had been up late pleading for war.

The president looked exhausted as he met the press in St. Petersburg on Friday. The man elected because of his magical powers of persuasion had failed to persuade other world leaders at dinner the night before about a strike on Syria.

He said he had told his fellow leaders, “I was elected to end wars and not start them.”

But in life, and especially in Washington, people sometimes end up becoming what they start out scorning.
Contrary to Nancy Pelosi's promises, Obamacare is making it more difficult for artists, writers, musicians, actors, and other creative types to get health care coverage.

President Obama talks about bypassing the "usual hocus pocus" of the United Nations. If only liberals truly understood that there is nothing magical about the U.N. Now he's having to emulate George W. Bush's "coalition of the willing."

The members of the graduating class of Harvard Business School have been guinea pigs in an experiment to change whatever necessary to encourage female success. After reading this long discussion of what the Harvard faculty has done in pursuit of this goal over the past two years, I can see why women would like to be in the program. Men...not so much.