Leave it to those patriots at Fox to take the news that a possible diplomatic and political resolution may have forestalled a military strike against Syria - and hype it as some kind of loss and bad news for President Obama.
President Obama sat down for a rare interview on Fox News Monday night (9/9/13). Although the interview aired on Special Report, Obama was interviewed by Chris Wallace and not its host, Mr. Interrupter, Bret Baier.
Wallace first asked about Syrian President Bashar Assad saying there will be repercussions if the United States strikes Syria. Wallace said chidingly to Obama, “The fact is, you don’t know what happens after you order a strike.”
Obama was not thrown by the question. He replied,
Actually we know what Assad’s capabilities are, and Mr. Assad’s military capabilities are significant compared to a bunch of opposition leaders, many of whom are not professional fighters. They’re significant relative to over 400 children that were gassed. They’re not significant relative to the US military.
Some of their allies, Iran, Hezbollah, do have the capacity to carry out asymmetrical strikes, but keep in mind that even Assad’s allies recognize that he crossed the line in using chemical weapons. Iran, itself, was subjected to chemical weapons use by Saddam Hussein. Their populations remember what terrible weapons these are. There is a reason why almost the entire international community has signed a ban on chemical weapons even during hot wars, and it’s because they’re indiscriminate, and so my narrow concern right now is making sure that Assad does not use those chemical weapons again.
Then Obama - not Wallace - brought up the possible accord:
We’ve seen some indications from the Russians as well as the Syrians today that they may be willing to look at the prospect of getting those weapons under control, perhaps even international control, and getting them out of there where they could be vulnerable to use by anybody.
…I think it’s fair to say that we would not be at this point without a credible threat of a military strike, but I welcome the possibility of the development, and John Kerry will be talking to his Russian counterparts. I think we should explore and exhaust all avenues of diplomatic resolution of this.”
After adding that he thinks it's important "to keep the pressure on,” Obama said he was going to “make sure that this does not change the calendar of debate in Congress.” However, Obama also said he has “no expectation” Congress would finish its deliberations “over the next week or so.” He acknowledged, “Clearly, it’s going to take more time partly because the American people aren’t convinced. …(W)e will pursue this diplomatic track, I fervently hope that this can be resolved in a non-military way, but I think it is important not to let the pedal off the metal.”
Wallace asked, “Had you discussed this when you were in St. Petersburg with President Putin - the idea of Russia intervening to try to get them to turn over their chemical weapons or do you worry that this could be the Russians …trying to throw a monkey wrench into this whole process?”
Obama answered, “I did discuss this with President Putin. This is something that is not new. I’ve been discussing this with President Putin for some time now. The last time we were at a G20 meeting in Los Cabos last year, I suggested the need for the United States and Russia to work together to deal with this particular problem.”
So in other words, this is a breakthrough that has been in the works. The Washington Post reported something similar:
Obama said in an interview on “PBS NewsHour” Monday that he had discussed the possibility of international monitoring with Russian President Vladimir Putin at last week’s Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg.
(A) senior State Department official said (Russian Foreign Minister) Lavrov had previously discussed the idea in conversations with Kerry, including a telephone call as recently as Thursday, but never in the context of the proposed U.S. military action.
Furthermore, the Post noted that Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham thought the move by Russia and Syria was “only because Assad feels the threat of military force.”
Obama told Wallace, “I think that we should be able to get a fairly rapid sense of how serious they are. We have the UN inspectors that are going to be issuing a report fairly soon, I think in parallel with some of the debate that’s taking place in Congress. We are going to be immediately talking to the Russians and looking for some actual language that they might be proposing. The UN Secretary General has expressed an interest in working with us on this. And so we’ll put this on a fast track.”
But there was no sign of hope or relief from Wallace. Instead, he “balanced” this positive development with a lengthy “Cavuto Mark” of a question:
How much responsibility do you think you bear for (public and Congressional) opposition? For two years, you said we did not have a direct national security interest in Syria. …You did not seek Congressional approval until you decided that you did. You talk more about what you’re not going to do in Syria than what you are going to do, and today, John Kerry said that any attack would be ‘unbelievably small.’ The Chairman of the House Intelligence, Mike Rogers, says that you have done, the White House has done a bad job of explaining, that this has been a mess.
Obama answered diplomatically but also pointedly: “OK, that was a long question. Let’s see if I can keep the answers shorter. …This is a very difficult situation in Syria. Everybody understands that. I continue to believe that there is not a military solution to the underlying conflict which is in part sectarian, and that the American people are right not to want to have us entangled in a sectarian civil war inside of Syria, but I have also been consistent in saying that the ban on chemical weapons is something that does affect our interest directly.”
Then, as soon as the interview was over, Wallace got together with Baier for a minute or so of criticism of Obama. Wallace said, “This looked to me and felt to me like a president who had been heading for a crushing defeat on Capitol Hill and suddenly saw something, ‘Here is a way out’ and grabbed it.”
As if grabbing at a diplomatic solution is a bad thing.
It doesn’t matter what Obama does – the talking heads at FOX "news will criticize him. He could find a cure for cancer and they would spin it as “how dare Obama take away our God-given right to die from cancer”. They go out of their way to frame their segments in such a a way that Obama is always put into a no-win situation.
They exclaimed that Obama had better come to Congress before striking Syria. And then when he decided to bring in Congress on the matter, they decry him as weak for doing it. On FOX “news” I heard several say that Obama needs to come before the American people to better explain his position on Syria. Yet, when it’s announced that he’s going to address the folks via a prime time speech, they mockingly ridicule him for it saying that his speech isn’t going to change anyone’s mind so it’s basically a waste of time.
It’s all snark and derision towards Obama no matter what he does – and it’s by design via a joke of a “news” network that actually dares to refer to itself as “fair & balanced”.
“Time to bring back that one question: When the hell is Ailes reining this in?!”
Here’s my answer: when you see cows dancing the bossa nova.
Time to bring back that one question: When the hell is Ailes reining this in?!
We jes kent say nuff bad thinks ‘bout O’Bumer. Lord knows we try!!!