I heard bits and pieces of John Kerry's statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. It wasn't just his name that gave away his 'Oirish' ancestry. He demonstrated the full range of cant and hypocrisy that you would expect to hear from just about any 'Oirish' politician but being American, of course, it was even bigger and better! There he sat, puffed up with patriotism and faux outrage that some beastly Arab had used toxic weapons to kill people - he was shocked, I tell you, shocked! This from a man whose country spent around ten years defoliating Vietnam with 'Agent Orange' to say nothing of burning what was left with napalm!
One might, if you're soft in the head, have a tinge of pity for a man who only last week was threatening Armagedden on the heads of the Syrian government any minute now because his boss in the White House was, like, really-really cross at having his red line in the sand kicked in his face; but here he was today pleading with the Senate committee to give his boss the thumbs up on what would only be, honestly, a titchy-witchy little smack-and-run that would definitely not bring down the Big Bad Man - so all those grieving parents whose children were zapped by gas and/or chemicals will just have to wait around a bit for vengeance unless, of course, they want to join up with AQ and do the job themselves. Jonathon S. Tobin sums it up better than I can on the Commentary site:
If American credibility is on the line in Syria now that Assad has used chemical
weapons, as Kerry rightly noted, what the administration is failing to
adequately explain is how a military plan that would leave the dictator in place
and with his armed forces largely intact is commensurate with the secretary’s
ringing neoconservative rhetoric about the need for action. The problem is that
having established a rationale for action about chemical weapons and repeating
that President Obama’s policy was that “Assad must go,” how can the
administration pretend that a shower of missiles will be enough to match Kerry’s
“never again means never” stance. Any military response—even a purely symbolic one—would deny Assad the “impunity” that Kerry correctly fears would be the result of American inaction. But the administration’s attempt to justify a
course of action that would avoid any American casualties and could not be
interpreted as a full-fledged intervention and would not do much to destroy
Assad’s main forces seems to be disconnected from the principles the secretary
On the principle of interfering in the internal machinations of other countries, 'Paddy' Kerry is playing an altogether different tune on his 'Oirish' lute from the one he played when he testified before Congress in 1971 when he urged an American withdrawal from Vietnam:
The war will continue. So what I am saying is that yes, there will be some
recrimination but far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the
United States of America, and we can't go around- President Kennedy said this,
many times. He said that the United States simply can't right every wrong, that
we can't solve the problems of the other 94 percent of mankind. We didn't go
into East Pakistan; we didn't go into Czechoslovakia. Why then should we feel
that we now have the power to solve the internal political struggles of this
We have to let them solve their problems while we solve ours and help other
people in an altruistic fashion commensurate with our capacity.
It's not surprising that today he is stressing that no American boots will be landed in Syria because back in 1971 he told Congress that almost as a matter of course American soldiers:
[...] personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
So at least this deeply humane man is saving Syria from the worst aspects of what he would have us believe is Standard Operating Procedure for American soldiers. Instead, he intends to pulverise the place with Trident missiles - so that's alright, then! Well, it's not as though Mr. Assad would move his poisonous chemicals into the middle of highly populated down-town Damascus and then blame the Yanks when their exploding missiles spread it everywhere, would he?
The only slight saving grace that Kerry can use as a veil to cover his own all too obvious ineptitude is that the Republican party leadership under John 'Bonehead' Boehner are actually supporting Obama in his hour of need. All we can pray for is that there are sufficient Congressmen from either party capable of seeing that lobbing a few Trident missiles into Damascus is the worst of all possible actions in that it solves no problems and actually achieves the almost impossible by making matters worse.
Thank you, one and all, for keep the comment threads humming and I just wish I had time to join you more often but life is definitely a tad busy these days.