Obama: Becoming a Lame Duck?

George W. Bush once flubbed an aphorism (granted, an easy to flub aphorism) about being fooled once, shame on the fooler, being similarly fooled twice, then the shame was on you.1 Barack Obama has turned the scenario on its head. Obama was not fooled by Bush and the neocons pushing for an attack on Iraq. In 2002, while a United States senator, Barack Obama said, “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. … That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.”2 For Obama, invading Iraq would be a dumb war.

The intelligence that made the case for the invasion of Iraq turned out to be fixed.3 On whether to launch a military attack on Syria, Obama finds himself filling the shoes of war president Bush. Obama announced his red line to the Assad regime.4 If Obama’s declared red line was transgressed, then it was well understood that repercussions would follow. By his red line warning, Obama had boxed himself in. Was declaring the red line a smart maneuver?

The recentest reports of a chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb were quickly pinned on the Assad government. With the perpetrator declared, Obama promised a military strike. Given recent history, wouldn’t the smart to do be to await until the findings of chemical weapons inspectors in Syria are released? After all, the US (and its junior partner, the United Kingdom) had not so long ago aggressed Iraq (UN secretary general Kofi Anan called it an illegal invasion.5] and committed a genocide6 based on cooked intelligence relayed by a stenographic monopoly media. If Obama should commit a similar aggression based on unsubstantiated intelligence that is in violation of international law,7 how would that speak to his sagacity?

With nations around the world refusing to back a military response8 and with politicians inside the US homeland asserting the Congressional right to declare war, Obama’s knees buckled. Although saying it was not required of him, he would graciously allow the Congress the opportunity to weigh in beforehand on attacking Syria. Americans responded with war fatigue. Scandalized by the US allying itself with al Qaeda and other gruesome mercenaries, and wearied by an eroding standard of living while the warmongers and their financiers reap the monetary benefits, polls reveal no lust for further warring.9 The public had not bought the war president’s assurance that it was to be a limited strike met without retaliation. The Congress was said to be arrayed against Obama by a whopping 251-26 margin.10 That would amount to a de facto non-confidence motion in the commander-in-chief.

Fortunately, Russian president Vladimir Putin pulled Obama’s bacon out of the fire.

However, the whole affair until now leaves Obama a casualty of his own bellicose rhetoric (and the same goes for his even more bellicose secretary of state John Kerry). Obama put his credibility on the line, contradicted himself many times,11 and – it seems – had to climb down from his stultifying precipice of war.

The warmongering also is a slap down for the Zionist Israel Lobby that egged on the Obama regime to strike Syria. Obama claimed that Syria was a national security interest for the US. That is on its very face a risible proclamation. For Israel, which is occupying the Syrian Golan Heights, it is a sordid, self-inflicted security issue. Americans, however, do not seem to want to continue as Israel’s mercenary army.

The situation in Syria and the wider Middle East is still fluid.

Obama was left precariously situated on his precipice with Israeli Zionists and US neocons pushing him to the very edges of war. Fortunately, Putin came with a ladder.

Even if Obama climbs down, he will not be unscathed. Obama has, by his own hand, brought about relegation to lame duck status for the remainder of his presidency. How smart was that?

  1. See Kim Petersen, “Public Gullibility and the Media,” Dissident Voice, 26 April 2003. []
  2. See Barack Obama, “Against Going to War in Iraq,” 2 October 2002. []
  3. “But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” “Text of the Original Downing Street ‘Memo’,” The Downing Street Memos. []
  4. See Glenn Kessler, “President Obama and the ‘red line’ on Syria’s chemical weapons,” Washington Post, 6 September 2013. []
  5. Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger, “Iraq war was illegal and breached UN charter, says Annan,” Guardian, 16 September 2004. []
  6. Abdul Haq al-Ani and Tarik al-Ani, Genocide in Iraq: The Case against the UN Security Council and Member States (Clarity Press, 2013). See review. []
  7. UN secretary general Ban ki-Moon warned that any such attack would be illegal. See “Syria attack illegal without Security Council approval, UN warns,” CBC News, 3 September 2013. []
  8. Growing Global Opposition To Attacking Syria,” Sleuth Journal, 10 September 2013. []
  9. See Mark Landler and Megan Thee-Brenan, “Survey Reveals Scant Backing for Syria Strike,” New York Times, 9 September 2013. []
  10. See a great interview: “Exclusive: Interview with Congressman Grayson on Syria,” The Real News, 112,13 September 2013. []
  11. Kim Petersen, “The Easy-Come Contradictions of Obama,” Dissident Voice, 1 September 2013. []

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Kim.