The Secretary of State, his emotional appeal to populist empathy using hundreds of YouTube clips showing the alleged aftermath of a chemical attack but not one piece of evidence proving Assad launched said attack, falling on deaf ears and eyes, has revised his track for a Syrian intervention. The latest spin from John Kerry: the Syrian attack would be "unbelievably small" as he characterized it today at a London press conference. Or, in the parlance of our times, "just the tip."
Bloomberg adds: "We’re not talking about war, we’re not going to war." He spoke of a “limited, very targeted, very short-term effort." This happened while Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem left for Moscow today, seeking a joint approach with Russia to defuse Western assertions that the Syrian regime is using chemical munitions against its own people." In other words: Gazpromia refuses to be denied the "most unfavoured nation" status when it comes to being the marginal supplier of natgas to Europe.
This is happening while the full court press for a war continues, culminating with the Charlie Rose interview to air in full today, and which we summarized yesterday:
As President Barack Obama took his case to the U.S. public, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did the same. In an interview with CBS News correspondent Charlie Rose, Assad denied a role in the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus that the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 people.
According to Rose, Assad said there is no evidence that Syria had a chemicals arsenal or used it against its citizens. CBS will broadcast excerpts of the interview this morning and the full interview will air on Rose’s Public Broadcasting System show tonight.
U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague, who briefed the London press with Kerry, warned not to “fall into the trap of attaching too much credibility” to Assad’s declarations.
As for the Kerry statement, it seems that once in a hole, the thought of stopping the digging has not crossed the mind of the Swiftboat expert, and has already generated a strong response from such neocon warhawks as Bill Kristol and Mike Rogers. Politico responds:
Secretary of State John Kerry came under fire on Monday for saying a strike in Syria would be “unbelievably small,” with prominent conservatives saying it’s more evidence of how badly the administration is making its case for military intervention. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, supports a strike on Syria, but criticized Kerry’s comments.
“I don’t understand what he means by that,” Rogers said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday. “I don’t think describing the size or effort of what our target sets are or what ship fires what missile is in our national security interest, candidly. And again, this is part of the problem. That’s a very confusing message — certainly a confusing message to me that he would offer that as somebody who believes this is in our national security interest.”
Rogers was asked about the remarks from a press conference by the secretary in London on Monday, where Kerry said: “We will be able to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war. That is exactly what we are talking about doing – unbelievably small, limited kind of effort,” according to reports.
Bill Kristol also said Monday on “Morning Joe” that Kerry’s comments have him concerned about getting conservative support for an attack.
The conservative editor of The Weekly Standard said he supports the resolution before Congress and has tried to advise the administration behind the scenes on convincing conservatives, but the outreach has him concerned.
“I am worried, though, the administration has done such a bad job of making its case,” Kristol said. “John Kerry in London to reassure the British and Europeans said … we’re not talking about war. It would be very targeted, very short-termed. Then he said it would be an ‘unbelievably small,’ limited kind of effort.’”
“Now we have the secretary of State saying, ‘Well, we went to Congress, it was so important to go to Congress, for an unbelievably small limited strike.’ Even I can see why reasonable people on the Hill, and I think it’s unfair to characterize them all as isolationists or irresponsible, reasonable people on the Hill can say is that really better than nothing?” Kristol said.
The answer is simple: the whole point of the "unbelievably small" provocation is to launch another (false flag) retaliation, ostensibly against Israel, which then results in a quite believably large escalation, that drags the entire region in the conflict, and results in hundreds of billions in budget busting, and Untaper unleashing, defense spending, not to mention the change of the Syrian regime with one willing to support any and all Qatari-gas pipeline plans.
It really is not that complicated.
As to whether Obama will proceed with a strike if he gets only Senate support, which is also questionable but far more likely than getting the House to back him, we will almost certainly know before the end of the week.