The Easy-Come Contradictions of Obama

President Barack Obama often praised for his oratorical brilliance found himself backed into a corner by his own words. He had drawn a line in the sand and promised dire consequences to the government of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad if he dared to cross that line. Then came several allegations that the Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons. The recent alleged large chemical attack in a suburb of Damascus seems to have provided Obama with the grounds to intervene. Sane observers hold that Assad would have to be completely insane to use chemical weapons while the US is waiting for a reason to intervene. So the questions appears to be: Is Assad insane? Or: Is this a false flag operation?

Obama appears convinced. He spoke publicly with strong voice, but the words were weak.

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Obama: Yesterday the United States presented a powerful case that the Syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people.

No, the US presented no evidence, and no evidence is no case. The so-called case is based on the high confidence of its intelligence sources. These same intelligence sources expressed high confidence of Saddam Hussein’s government possessing weapons of mass destruction and a genocide was perpetrated by the US based on cooked intelligence.1

Obama: And all of this corroborates what the world can plainly see — hospitals overflowing with victims; terrible images of the dead.

The world can see the images of dead bodies; this true. The world cannot see who committed the murderous act.

Obama: … young girls and boys gassed to death by their own government.

Again, this is an assertion without an iota of evidence. A report out of Ghouta cites witness testimony pointing the finger at the insurgents and Saudi Arabia.2

Obama: This attack is an assault on human dignity.

How many times has the United States launched attacks that were an assault on human dignity? When is war not an assault on human dignity?

Obama: It also presents a serious danger to our national security.

Again, another assertion. How does a massacre in Syria affect the US national security?

Obama: It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.

Just as the US made a mockery with its use of chemical weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq? Does not the mere fact that nations stockpile chemical weapons make a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons? Why stockpile weapons if you cannot use them? So how about making it a global prohibition on the possession of chemical weapons?

Obama: I’m confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out.

Again where is the evidence of the Assad regime using chemical weapons? Where is the intelligence? Obama is asking the American public (and people elsewhere in the world) to accept a military response based on his say-so. This is called hearsay in the judicial system and it is, generally, inadmissible in American courts. Apparently Obama considers himself above the law, as is further supported by his bypassing the United Nations for authorization to launch any attack.

Obama: But having made my decision as commander-in-chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests.

Why does Obama not have the integrity to explain to the people what those national security interests are? If he is so confident of this being in the national security interests, then please explain.

Obama: In the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with the information they need to understand what happened in Syria and why it has such profound implications for America’s national security.

Share with Congress, but what about the people? What about Obama’s rhetoric of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Obama: I’m confident in the case our government has made without waiting for U.N. inspectors.

If Obama is so confident, then why contradict himself? Since he stated “our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now,” then why not wait on the UN inspectors?

Obama: I’m comfortable going forward without the approval of a United Nations Security Council that, so far, has been completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold Assad accountable.

In other words, Obama is comfortable with violating international law.

Obama: But if we really do want to turn away from taking appropriate action in the face of such an unspeakable outrage, then we just acknowledge the costs of doing nothing.

What are the costs of doing nothing? The costs of doing what Obama is proposing is adding to the carnage: more human deaths, and this argument comes form a Nobel Peace laureate. The bathos is immense.

Obama: Here’s my question for every member of Congress and every member of the global community: What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?

Here’s my question for Obama: What message did you send when you ignored the war crimes by the Bush-Cheney regime, even had the Department of Justice look into granting immunity to the war criminals? You previously stated your “belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards” in justifying overlooking war crimes by Bush-Cheney. Again Obama’s contradictions are on display because the Syrian massacre already happened, so why not look forward? The inanity of Obama’s logic is transparent. As an aside, I certainly will not argue against Assad being a dictator; however, will Obama henceforth be just as honest and forthrightly refer to Abdullah in Jordan and Abdullah in Saudi Arabia as dictators; will he call the rulers in Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, and Qatar as dictators, as he calls Assad? Also since the Syrian government is a regime, then does not the same designation apply equally to so many US allies in the Middle East?

Obama: What’s the purpose of the international system that we’ve built if a prohibition on the use of chemical weapons that has been agreed to by the governments of 98 percent of the world’s people and approved overwhelmingly by the Congress of the United States is not enforced?

Mr Obama, what is the use of the international system that has been built – the UN, sitting in New York – if you bypass it and international law? The contradictions pile up.

Obama: Make no mistake — this has implications beyond chemical warfare. If we won’t enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules?

Mr Obama, there is no mistaking your unwillingness to take action whenever Israel engages in heinous acts (occupation, siege of Gaza, murderous attack on Mavi Marmara, Operation Cast Lead, bombardment of Lebanon, etc.). So where is your enforcement of accountability, your resolve to stand up to all others who flout fundamental international rules? Or is accountability a pick-and-choose scenario in your worldview?

Obama: To governments who would choose to build nuclear arms?

Where is your opposition to Israel’s nuclear weapon stockpile, and to your own nuclear weapon stockpile?

Obama: To armies who carry out genocide?

This comment comes from a president whose country’s ambassador to the UN said killing half a million was a price worth paying for the US? Whose army (again bypassing the UN) caused the deaths of about a million Iraqis?3

Obama: We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us.

Another contradiction: Does this not equally hold true of the UN Charter to which the US is a signatory?

Obama: I will ask those who care about the writ of the international community to stand publicly behind our action. If you care about the writ of the international community, then you will seek authorization from the UN.

It seems crystal clear that Obama backed himself into a corner with his redline braggadocio. Obama was left with pie on his face after the state-corporate media blared that Assad had crossed his redline. The Congress stood up to Obama’s professed “belief” that he had the authority to attack another nation without Congressional imprimatur, as required by the constitution, and Obama climbed down. However, the US Constitution also holds that US treaties are “the supreme law of the land.”

Obama: But we are the United States of America, and we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus.

Why turn a blind eye when it comes to your own atrocities? To Israeli atrocities? The atrocities of other allies?

Obama: … we built an international order and enforced the rules that gave it meaning.

Now, Obama wishes to bypass the international order of the UN; it is Obama that undermines further the rules. It is rather contradictory to speak about glowingly about the international order and its rules and then participate in rendering it all rather meaningless.

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Obama came forth because he was forced to by the Congress, and he came forth with inane words, featuring many contradictions and assertions. Can such a speech be taken seriously when asking to launch a military attack — an attack meaning humans will die? And who knows what the consequences will be from such a provocative act? And is it really in the national security interest of the US?

UPDATE: Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to US secretary of state Colin Powell, also posits the possibility of a false flag against Syria run by Israel.4

  1. Read the compelling case for genocide in Iraq by Abdul Haq al-Ani and Tarik al-Ani, Genocide in Iraq: The Case against the UN Security Council and Member States (Clarity Press, 2013). Review []
  2. Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh, “EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack,” MintPress News, 29 August 2013. []
  3. See Kim Petersen, “Genocide in Iraq: The Numbers Tell the Horrific Story of a Lying Government and Complicit Corporate Media,” Dissident Voice, 16 October 2006. []
  4. See Chemi Shalev, “Former Bush administration official: Israel may be behind use of chemical arms in Syria,” Haaretz, 28 August 2013. Requires subscription. []

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