Friday, September 06, 2013


Peggy Noonan has looked at President Obama's plan to attack Syria and tells us today that she's against it, citing a favorite authority:
After 10 days of debate in Europe and America, the wisest words on a path forward have come from the Pope. Francis wrote this week to Vladimir Putin, as the host of the G-20. He damned "the senseless massacre" unfolding in Syria and pleaded with the leaders gathered in St. Petersburg not to "remain indifferent" -- remain -- to the "dramatic situation." He asked the governments of the world "to do everything possible to assure humanitarian assistance" within and without Syria's borders.

But, he said, a "military solution" is a "futile pursuit."

And he is right. The only strong response is not a military response.

... a military strike is not the way, and not the way for America.
Curiously, Noonan never acknowledges that just this past April she was in favor of a U.S. attack, and was angry at Obama because he was sure he wouldn't drop bombs:
... there is growing evidence that Mr. Assad is the first known leader to use chemical weapons since Saddam Hussein murdered his own people in the Kurdish city of Halabja in 1988. The Syrian attack violates red lines Mr. Obama personally laid down. And now the Administration will ... go to the U.N.?

At Turtle Bay, the U.S. will need permission from Syria's protectors in Moscow and Beijing merely to begin an investigation. If such a probe does get launched, it is unlikely ever to reach the site of the attacks in safety. At which point -- several months, if not years, down the road -- proof of the attacks will be all-but impossible to come by. Surely Mr. Obama and his military advisers know that it is impossible to gather from a battlefield the kind of proof needed beyond a reasonable doubt in a courtroom....

Mr. Obama has strived mightily to avoid intervening in Syria, despite his repeated demands that Mr. Assad "must go." The Administration's U.N. gambit looks like one more way to avoid doing something it promised it would do if chemical weapons were used. Presidents who are exposed as bluffers tend to have their bluff called again and again, with ever more dangerous consequences.
Yes, a right-winger is a hypocrite on this issue. I'm sure you're shocked.

In today's column, Noonan doesn't acknowledge her own hypocrisy, but if she ever does, she can't fall back on "The Pope made me do it!" as an excuse for her conversion to pacifism, because the Pope called for a non-violent resolution in Syria a month before she rattled the saber, on March 31:
Speaking in front of some 250,000 people from around the world in the Vatican, Francis prayed for "dear Syria, for its people torn by conflict and for the many refugees who await help and comfort".

"How much blood has been shed! And how much suffering must there still be before a political solution to the crisis will be found?" he said.
Elsewhere in today's column, Noonan writes this about American resistance to an intervention:
What are the American people thinking? Probably some variation of: Wrong time, wrong place, wrong plan, wrong man.
But somehow, for her, it didn't seem to be the "wrong time" and "wrong place" a few months ago. I would have thought that moral law, as laid down by the Pope, would have been absolute.

But back then it looked as if Obama didn't want war, so he was for it. Now he does want war, so she's against it.

The only absolute moral law for right-wingers is "Obama sucks."




Victor said...

Peggy, that ding-a-ling, is a reliable bell-weather for what the Reich-Wingers "think."

Of course, anyone can play this game.
Find out what Obama wants to do, and predictably, they are against it.

However, by tossing the ball back to Congress, the President has opened up some more rifts in the Republican Party.

You now have an additional schism - the McCain's, who want to bomb, and the Paul's who probably don't - and all of the Republicans in between, who want to bomb furrin' lands, but can't reflexively jump to that conclusion, because that's what that "Blah" Kenyan Usurper wants to do.

I don't have a clue as to what we, the US, should do. And thankfully for everyone else, I'm not responsible for our actions.

This seems more like a matter for the UN.
However, Russia won't go along with any action, because Assad is Putin's pal, and Syria is Russia's ally.

And so, all I can say is, grab some popcorn, sit back, and watch the Republicans fight amongst themselves.
Hopefully, to the death.

Never Ben Better said...

Gawd. I'm trying to care abut the hypocrisy, and the oppositional defiant disorder it springs from, and I. Just. Can't. Anymore. It's so relentless, so mindless, so nakedly unprincipled (however furiously it drapes itself in pieties), that my Outrage-O-Matic is plumb wore out.

You guys will just have to go on without me. I'm going to lie down here and give up.

JustOneMinute said...

"Hypocrisy" refers to a gap between behavior and professed norms; you probably want to accuse Ms. Noonan of intellectual inconsistency.

As to whether that charge sticks, well, circumstances have changed. In April her point was that Obama needed to move past the endless talking stage; her column has no specific call for bombing or military action, just an exhortation to Obama to do whatever he had in mind to enforce his red line (arm rebels, stricter sanctions, what?).

Her current column gives up on the guy:

"Francis was speaking, as popes do, on the moral aspects of the situation. In America, practical and political aspects have emerged, and they are pretty clear.

The American people do not support military action. A Reuters-Ipsos poll had support for military action at 20%, Pew at 29%. Members of Congress have been struck, in some cases shocked, by the depth of opposition from their constituents. A great nation cannot go to war—and that's what a strike on Syria, a sovereign nation, is, an act of war—without some rough unity as to the rightness of the decision. Widespread public opposition is in itself reason not to go forward.

Can the president change minds? Yes, and he'll try. But it hasn't worked so far. This thing has jelled earlier than anyone thought. More on that further down.

What are the American people thinking? Probably some variation of: Wrong time, wrong place, wrong plan, wrong man."

We can't have military strikes on Syria without a leader who has conviction about the value of those strikes. What we know now, and didn't in April, is that we don't have that leader with those convictions. Red line talk notwithstanding.

Steve M. said...

What you and Noonan are really saying, whether or not you admit it: Let's not go to war unless the president is getting a boner anticipating the conflict. And thinking he's such hot shit nothing can really go wrong.