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  •  Imo it's likely that Obama actually means what he (4+ / 0-)

    says on this...that he (and others) see chemical weapons as a red line that must not be crossed, and that he (and others) thinks that those who use them should pay a price.

    One can disagree with this but I don't see any evidence so far that it's not what he's thinking.  Do you?

    He's certainly aware of the disaster Cheney wrought in Iraq, and I think we can assume that isn't what he's doing.  Certainly not with a two-day missile strike.

    •  I would say one reason Obama drew the red line (7+ / 0-)

      where he did was because of the MIC.  When the Bush administration was selling the war in Iraq, they began by using the imagery of a "mushroom cloud" in American streets.  We don't need the next attack to be not a bomb but a mushroom cloud.  Over and over they repeated that.  

      But when push came to shove, no one really believed hussein had nuclear weapons.  So the goalposts were moved.  Now we had to worry about "weapons of mass destruction" in the hands of terrorist.  And what were those weapons?  Nuclear, biological and chemical.  Chemical was key, because that was the weapon Hussein was most likely to have.  So we hyped up the fears of chemical weapons.  We started to equate them with large scale nuclear and biological attacks.  And the Washington consensus became, chemical weapons are weapons of mass destruction, just as bad as biological or nuclear.  

      And so it remains today.  Obama, the serious statesman, has to drawn the line at the use of chemical weapons.  You can slaughter each other until you're blue in the face, but don't use chemical weapons!

      •  Yeah (12+ / 0-)

        What aadrvark is missing is that Obama is operating according to unwritten code that the MIC has helped to write, a code that pushed him to "get tough" on Assad and then draw the red line. Of course, Obama made clear he would abide by the unwritten code and so was able to become president. Anyone who expresses an unwillingness to use military force when it's "supposed to be" used doesn't get to control the military.

        And so, because of the code, the US is going to because it can't not go to war.


        Step 1: How can the President not at least condemn [Regime X] publicly for its abhorrent actions?  A public condemnation is the very least the President can do.  It wouldn’t cost much, but it would be an important show of our resolve and support for freedom!

        Step 2 (with Regime X still in place): So what, the President condemned the regime publicly with some harsh words and called it “illegitimate.”  Words are cheap and inconsequential.  We need sanctions and coordinated efforts to isolate the regime. That will do the trick!

        Step 3 (with Regime X still in place): Sanctions? Regime isolation? Is that all the President is going to do in the face of Regime X’s perfidy?  Those timid jabs will never work, and the President’s dithering will make us look weak and lacking in resolve. Our enemies will be emboldened.  The President must use our military to deal a swift blow.  No one is advocating a prolonged occupation, just a decapitation maneuver, and then a rapid hand off to the indigenous forces for democratic change.

        Step 4 (with Regime X toppled by our military):  Now that we’ve committed our military, and brought about regime change, we have a moral obligation to see the mission through to the end.  Besides, if we withdraw, chaos will erupt and our enemies will fill the vacuum.  We owe it to the locals, we can’t afford to lose face, we can’t show weakness and our credibility depends on staying until a relatively stable, friendly nation emerges from the rubble.

        Step 5 (repeat as needed): We’ve turned the corner, shifted the momentum and victory is within reach.  The next six months should prove decisive.

        Step 6: I was critical of the handling of this military action from the beginning. I would have conducted the operation differently.  Regardless, no one ever said it would be quick or easy. But the difficulties encountered don’t discredit the policy!*

        •  That's pretty CT, david (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FG, Aquarius40, 6412093

          Obama was "permitted" to become President?

          I'm on a mission! Testing the new site rules.

          by blue aardvark on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 09:07:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Here's a good article (4+ / 0-)

          I've always taken the term MIC to refer to the entire complex of government and industry, and the incestuous relationships between the enormous bureaucracies of intelligence and defense on one side and industry on the other, which extends from supplying sundries like toilet paper to oil, aircraft carriers and jets.

          Personnel will move back and forth between private and government employment, and the entire body of lobbyists, various government institutions and a gaggle of corporations is the "complex", the entire cost of which is ENORMOUS.

          Here's some excerpts from the article (emphasis is mine):

          The national-security state continues to grow in size, scope, and influence. In Ike’s day, for example, the CIA dominated the field of intelligence. Today, experts refer casually to an “intelligence community,” consisting of some 17 agencies. The cumulative size and payroll of this apparatus grew by leaps and bounds in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Last July, TheWashington Post reported that it had “become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.” Since that report appeared, U.S. officials have parted the veil of secrecy enough to reveal that intelligence spending exceeds $80 billion per year, substantially more than the budget of either the Department of State ($49 billion) or the Department of Homeland Security ($43 billion).
          The spending spree extends well beyond intelligence. The Pentagon’s budget has more than doubled in the past decade, to some $700 billion per year. All told, the ostensible imperatives of national security thereby consume roughly half of all federal discretionary dollars. Even more astonishing, annual U.S. military outlays now approximate those of all other nations, friends as well as foes, combined.
          Thanks to its allies and abettors, the military-industrial-legislative war complex remains stubbornly resistant to change­—a fact President Barack Obama himself learned during his first year in office. While reviewing his administration’s policy in Afghanistan, the president repeatedly asked for a range of policy alternatives. He wanted choices. According to Bob Woodward of TheWashington Post, however, the Pentagon offered Obama a single path—the so-called McChrystal “surge” of additional troops. As recounted in Woodward’s book Obama’s Wars, the president complained: “So what’s my option? You’ve given me only one option.” The military’s own preferred option was all he was going to get. (Just months before, Woodward himself had helpfully promoted that very option, courtesy of a well-timed leak.)

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 10:14:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly... Defining the MIC down (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZhenRen, LeftOverAmerica

            to just the contractors -  ain't nobody here but us chickens - seems a bit disingenuous.

            The accepted meaning of the term as I've understood it over the past couple of decades encompasses the entire complex of contractors, politicians, oil companies, the intelligence/security apparat (huge and largely unaccountable), and law enforcement down to your local cop tooling around in an armored car wearing full body armor...

            There's none so blind as those that will not see. --Jonathan Swift

            by chuckvw on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 11:35:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  You are positing some kind of war- (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark, erratic, Aquarius40

        promoting continuum of malign intelligence, continuous from the Cheney presidency through Obama's, hyping us up for war.

        I just don't see it this cynically.  Though we sure do have a track record and the arms manufacturers do want to sell their weapons, as the diarist points out, this doesn't look like a big moneymaker for them.

        Are you saying

        So we hyped up the fears of chemical weapons.
        that chemical weapons are not WMDs, or that fearing them is just paranoia fueled by hype?

        Again, one may disagree with Obama's pov or decisions without having to think that he's going through all this to sell a few cruise missiles, or that he's secretly some kind of evil manipulator for the MIC.

        •  No I'm not (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell, chuckvw, Aspe4, LeftOverAmerica
          You are positing some kind of war promoting continuum of malign intelligence, continuous from the Cheney presidency through Obama's, hyping us up for war.
          I'm saying that the Bush administration moved the overton window to make it the US's job to respond to any use of chemical weapons in the Middle East by cleverly invoking the term Weapons of Mass Destruction after 9/11.  Obama is working within this paradigm.
          that chemical weapons are not WMDs, or that fearing them is just paranoia fueled by hype?
          I'm saying WMDs is a term of propaganda created between 2001 and 2003 to hype the Iraq war and still being used today.  I don't remember hearing the term Weapons of Mass Destruction much before 2001.  
          Again, one may disagree with Obama's pov or decisions without having to think that he's going through all this to sell a few cruise missiles, or that he's secretly some kind of evil manipulator for the MIC.
          Agreed.  And of course, my comment didn't say any of that, you came up with that on your own.  
          •  True, sortof. But this doesn't explain why we (0+ / 0-)

            should be any less alarmed by poison gas.  It's not just a paradigm.  It is a weapon of mass destruction, and its use has horrified the world and been banned for almost a century.

            And when one mentions the MIC as the controlling force, one (many here, apparently) is saying Obama is fronting for them, or at least being controlled by them.  Rather than what he says, that we can't allow poison gas to be used.

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