Jonah Goldberg: Obama pulls a huge bait-and-switch on Syria
In 2003, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz gave a lengthy interview to Vanity Fair that caused a huge uproar, largely because the magazine shamefully distorted what he was trying to say. Wolfowitz explained that within the Bush administration there were a lot of arguments for why we should invade Iraq. Some had to do with the fact that Saddam Hussein was a state supporter of terrorism. Some had to do with how Hussein treated his own people. Others emphasized alleged links between the regime and 9/11. And so on.
The problem with focusing solely on a single issue turned out to be disastrous for the administration, given that the WMD never materialized. It should have been clear to everyone that few important decisions in life boil down to a single issue.
"I'm less concerned about style points; I'm much more concerned about getting the policy right," President Obama told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, in response to the widespread criticism that his foreign policy has been a hot mess of late.
The last few weeks have had more drama than a "Desperate Housewives" franchise during sweeps week. Still, if in some Mr. Magoo-like way the administration has blindly blundered into a policy victory, that's preferable to smoothly sticking the landing on a policy failure.
In his ABC interview, the President repeatedly said that his goal is to do something about chemical weapons: "And what I've said consistently throughout is that the chemical weapons issue is a problem. I want that problem dealt with.
That is a huge bait-and-switch.
Until the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs, the administration was not primarily concerned with chemical weapons. It was concerned with doing whatever it could — short of intervening militarily — to see to it that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad either step down or be forced out. In 2011, Obama said: "For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside." And, a year later: "I have indicated repeatedly that President al-Assad has lost legitimacy, that he needs to step down." And in May at a news conference with the Turkish prime minister: "We both agree that Assad needs to go. ... That is the only way we're going to resolve this crisis. And we're going to keep working for a Syria that is free from Assad's tyranny."
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Johnson honored for sixth NASCAR title - 0
- Kilpatrick leads UNH women past Dartmouth - 0
- UNH, Dartmouth football players named All-New England - 0
- Manchester Monarchs beat Portland Pirates in shootout - 0
- Wildcats shut down Black Bears again - 1
- U.S. preparing for grueling World Cup - 0
- Sports Briefs: No miracle finish for Vonn - 0
- Browns QB Campbell cleared to face Pats - 0
- Bruins defenseman Boychuk's status unknown - 1
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Dave D'Onofrio's Patriots Notebook: Incredible win tempered by loss of Gronkowski - 0
- National champion SNHU booters return home to big welcome - 0
- Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Football team on to SE Louisiana - 0
- Nashua aldermen set to vote on contract for teachers - 0
- Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Let there be Christmas lights - 0
- Plea deal possible in Littleton murder - 0
- New UNH logo draws mixed reactions - 0
- Gilmanton library may shut down if it doesn’t get funding - 0
- Father not convinced girl in video is Abigail Hernandez - 0
New Hampshire Senior News Notes
New UNH logo draws mixed reactions
UNH unveils new 'shield' logo
UNH lecturers seek to unionize
Word of Abby's letter spurs tips of no use