The worst argument for Syrian intervention yet

The worst argument for Syrian intervention yet

by digby

Is this really supposed to persuade anyone who's been sentient since 2002?
Along with providing more help for the Syrian rebels, McCain and Graham pressed Obama to sell the Syrian intervention to the American public. To that end, Obama on Tuesday pressed the argument that Syria’s chemical weapons use is a threat to the United States and its allies because of the possibility of transmitting not only chemical but nuclear weapons to other nations and rogue groups.

”That poses a serious national security threat to the United States and to the region, and as a consequence Assad and Syria needs to be held accountable,” Obama said. “We recognize that there are certain weapons that when used, can … can end up being transmitted to non-state actors and can end up posing a risk to allies and friends of ours like Israel, like Jordan, like Turkey and unless we hold them to account also sends a message that international norms on issues like nuclear proliferation don’t mean much.”
Every day the president is sounding more and more like George W. Bush at his most fatuous. Conflating Syria's chemical weapons with nukes is right out of the neocon propaganda handbook. If they want to do this to preserve international norms against the use of poison gas, then they need to make that case honestly. This is embarrassing and, frankly, insulting.

There is no threat to US national security in anything but the most abstract way. Moreover, in Syria, it's highly likely that if the Assad regime is displaced, the chemical weapons really will get into the hands of some very dicey people who could turn them on our allies. What in the world are they talking about?

And anyway, if that's the real rationale, get ready for the Pakistan invasion:
A 178-page summary of the U.S. intelligence community’s “black budget” shows that the United States has ramped up its surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear arms, cites previously undisclosed concerns about biological and chemical sites there, and details efforts to assess the loyalties of counter­terrorism sources recruited by the CIA.

Pakistan appears at the top of charts listing critical U.S. intelligence gaps. It is named as a target of newly formed analytic cells. And fears about the security of its nuclear program are so pervasive that a budget section on containing the spread of illicit weapons divides the world into two categories: Pakistan and everybody else.
So let's bomb a different country. Hey, it worked out so well before.

I honestly don't understand the administration's behavior. I have had my issues with Obama over the years but I am very surprised, nonetheless, to see him using this kind of rhetoric to justify a military action in the middle east. I  did not expect him to go down that road, at least. He knows very well that this is an absurdity. Just because McCain and Graham (and apparently Pelosi!) advised him that he has to make absurd bellicose arguments about American national security to sell this thing to the American people doesn't mean he has to do it.

The Iraq debacle obviously changed absolutely nothing.