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Monday, December 19, 2016
Aleppo's Blood on Obama's Hands
Daniel John Sobieski
President Obama, have you no shame? Your Middle East policy, indeed, your whole foreign policy has been a disaster. How dare you say after the slaughter in Aleppo and the genocide in Syria, that you did the best you could.? CNBC reported the statement President Obama made as he washed his hands of all guilt and responsibility:
"With respect to Syria of what I have consistently done is taken the best course that I can to end the civil war and having also taken into account of the long-term national security interest of the United States," he said[.]
... "Unless we were all in and willing to take over Syria, we were going to have problems," Obama said in the news conference, noting that it would have required "putting large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground, uninvited, without any international law mandate."
... "Responsibility for this brutality lies in one place alone: with the Assad regime and its allies Russia and Iran. And this blood and these atrocities are on their hands," Obama said.
No, the responsibility for this horror lies with Obama, and the blood of Aleppo is on his hands. It is he who drew the red lines in Syria, claiming that there would be consequences if they were crossed. It is he who said Assad must go. There were no consequences, and Assad, protected by Russia, is still there.
Syria's chemical weapons are on the move, their precursor chemicals having been mixed, a crossing of a line drawn by President Obama Aug. 20 when he said "a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized." So our resolute president decides to draw another line – that if Syria's Bashar al-Assad makes use of those weapons, presumably against his own people or neighbors, he will face "consequences." ... Obama's appeasement has come home to roost. Assad remembers how Clinton, appearing on CBS' "Face The Nation," dismissed the idea of U.S. military action or regime change in Syria, claiming that unlike Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, Assad was considered to be a "reformer" by "many of the members of Congress."
Apparently neither Mrs. Clinton nor Defense Secretary Robert Gates sees Syria as an outlaw nation. Both said Sunday that Syria was different from Libya and that we would not be lobbing cruise missiles into Damascus in another "humanitarian" effort.
"Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he's a reformer," Clinton said without disputing the assessment. She also drew a distinction between Libya's use of tanks and aircraft against its protesters and "police actions, which, frankly, have exceeded the use of force that any of us would want to see."
Obama and Clinton intervened in Libya to prevent the slaughter of civilians, turning Libya into a failed state and an incubator of terrorism. Yet both did nothing to prevent the slaughter in Syria when they could have easily. We sacrificed four brave Americans at Benghazi in pursuance of this failed policy.
Why did we do nothing in Syria? Perhaps for the same reason we did nothing to prevent Russia's invasion of Ukraine – the Iran deal. Obama, who once promised Russia's President Medvedev more "flexibility" after Obama's re-election, didn't want to offend Putin. He needed Russia's help in securing the Iran deal. Taking out Assad would have offended Tehran. So Obama and Clinton sacrificed both Ukraine and Syria to get the Iran deal and put $150 billion in the hands of Iran, a state sponsor of terror and a mass murderer of U.S. troops in both Lebanon and Iraq.
This reformer moved his chemical weapons, and Obama did nothing. He used his chemical weapons, and Obama did nothing. Seeing no resistance, Russia moved in to protect Assad and safeguard its access to the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean.
Obama could have done a lot, and it did not involve ground troops. He could have parked an aircraft carrier, 90,000 tons of American diplomacy, off the Syrian coast. He could have ordered air strikes and destroyed the Syrian air force in 24 hours. Then he could have established a no-fly zone protecting a safe haven in Syria. He could have prevented the slaughter in Aleppo, as well as the flood of refugees into Europe. But he didn't.
The rise of ISIS, which Obama calls ISIL so he can omit the "S" that stands for Syria, is a direct result of the vacuum he created In Iraq by his precipitous withdrawal after victory had been won.
President Bush left a stable Iraq, one where Shiites and Sunnis had learned to coexist and resist a common al-Qaeda enemy. There were free and fair elections, and we all remember the pictures of Iraqi women holding up their purple fingersindicating that they had proudly voted. Now we have the mass graves of ISIS, beheadings, and what can only be called the ethnic cleansing of Christians.
It is a myth, as the White House now claims, that President Obama inherited an Iraqi mess from President Bush and had no choice but to withdraw U.S. troops in the absence of a status of forces agreement. The problem was not that Iraq and Prime Minister Maliki wanted the U.S. to leave, but that the force Obama wanted to leave was just too small. As Patrick Brennan has written in National Review:
These claims don't jibe with what we know about how the negotiations with Iraq went. It's the White House itself that decided just 2-3,000 troops made sense, when the Defense Department and others were proposing more. Maliki was willing to accept a deal with U.S. forces if it was worth it to him – the problem was that the Obama administration wanted a small force so that it could say it had ended the war. Having a very small American force wasn't worth the domestic political price Maliki would have to pay for supporting their presence. In other words, it's not correct that "the al-Maliki government wanted American troops to leave.
Obama destroyed Libya for no good reason and sacrificed Syria so that he could pursue the dangerous and flawed Iran deal. He created the vacuum ISIS filled in Iraq and Syria. The blood of Aleppo is on nobody's hands but his.
Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.