Just a couple of things on my mind this morning. Topics in which I see some correlation. First, there is the horrible situation in Syria, where it is nearly 100 % certain that President Bashar al-Assad or, more accurately, the military in his regime, used WMD (in this case chemical weapons) on its own citizens in an effort to quash a rebellion by opposition forces in August. The fact that the actual combatants in this "civil war" are members of Al Qaeda and other militant Islamic factions notwithstanding, peaceful citizens have died. Claiming the lives of an estimated 1,300 men, women and children these non-combatants have suffered greatly in the crossfire at the hands of their radical President and his Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party.
The world is outraged and should be. America and its allies are appalled. It appears the majority of responsible governments have said to allow this to go unpunished would be a travesty. They agree that to do nothing would encourage other rogue nations, like Iran and North Korea, to continue their pursuit of WMD and even chemical weapons. Of course, as usual, most of them are waiting for America to take the lead, declare their intentions and, even, fire the first salvo.
Two years ago this month President Obama looked like he might be getting some spine for this when he called for the ouster of President Assad. One year ago, he went further and said this:
"We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," the president said. "That would change my calculus. That would change my equation."
Well, the line has been crossed, the evidence collected by United Nations inspectors confirms the use of Sarin gas and has seen the destruction of human life it has caused. So what does our President do? Nothing. At first, he needed more information. Next, he claimed we needed time to positively confirm the findings. Now, he is backing up like a cornered crab, trying to find any hole into which to crawl. He is being criticized, of course, for his inability to make a decision by his political adversaries, but now the world community is questioning his ability to lead as well and saying he is backing down.
To defend himself, this morning during a stop in Sweden on his way to the G-20 Economic Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, in answer to a European reporter's question about why Obama was not taking action against Syria now that Assad had crossed his "red line", our President found his hole.
"First of all, I didn't set a red line," said Obama. "The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world's population said the use of chemical weapons are [inaudible] and passed a treaty forbidding their use, even when countries are engaged in war. Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that in a piece of legislation entitled the Syria Accountability Act that some of the horrendous things happening on the ground there need to be answered for. So, when I said in a press conference that my calculus about what's happening in Syria would be altered by the use of chemical weapons, which the overwhelming consensus of humanity says is wrong, that wasn't something I just kind of made up. I didn't pluck it out of thin air. There's a reason for it."
Oh, I'm sorry. How did we mistake whose red line this was? I did not do that well in Calculus myself, Mr. President, but apparently you failed the course. In your particular calculus, or pattern of reasoning, the equation can be unbalanced and still add up to whatever you say it adds up to, regardless of truth or accuracy. We should be used to that now, I suppose, as we watch the biggest Teflontm President since Ronald Reagan spin his way out of another mess of his own making.
The second topic deals with my absolute disgust at the news that convicted kidnapper and rapist, Ariel Castro, committed suicide in his cell last night by hanging himself with a bed sheet. How in the name of all that is just could this have been allowed to happen? This 53 year-old horror of a man, who was sentenced to life in prison + 1000 years for his unspeakable crimes, gets off way too easy. He did not get the death penalty, which he wanted so he would not have to spend the rest of his life locked up, so he decides and gets the opportunity to fashion his own "hangman's noose" and kill himself. After imprisoning three young women for ten years and raping them repeatedly, this coward couldn't even spend ten weeks in prison. Personally, I think the warden and prison guards, who were responsible for his incarceration, should be fired and never again be allowed to work in law enforcement, but my real sorrow is for those three women whose difficult road to recovery is now on an seemingly endless detour. God Bless them.
How are these two topics connected? Castro's end came with a hangman's noose made from a bed sheet. I am just wondering if Obama's end might just come from the hangman's noose fashioned by his own words. Time will tell.