MUHAMMAD: The President Has Been 'O-bamboozled'

Askia Muhammad | 6/19/2013, 3 p.m.
The fact of the matter is that if this matter is left to “the Syrian people” to decide, the U.S. ...
Askia Muhammad

Ordinarily I take offense at what seems to me to be ad nauseam attacks on President Barack Obama by certain critics, who could easily be labeled “all the usual suspects.” But now, I am one of them.

Mercilessly from the right, and unmercifully from the left, the president’s policies are under fierce attack.

Right wingers are hypocrites in their attacks because Obama has frequently been condemned for embracing some of the very policies they loved, when President George W. (for worst in history) Bush invoked them.

Left wingers are naïve because they just don’t understand the enormous responsibility of governing, and dealing with the pressures placed on whoever is the occupant of the Oval Office by the Military Industrial, Big Oil, Big Pharmaceutical, Prison Industrial, Big Bank, Agri-Business forces which have unfettered access to the presidency around the clock.

I didn’t think it was very funny the first time I heard someone refer to this president as “G.W. Obama” because he has mimicked so many of the infernal policies of his predecessor, but now, here I am ridiculing the guy myself, declaring he has been “O-bamboozled” because he has stepped into the same pit of Middle East quicksand which doomed President Bush-43, that is manufacturing evidence about so-called weapons of mass destruction – in this case chemical weapons – then trying to convince the world of its validity, in order to justify an inherently flawed policy, so that U.S. military force can be applied to bring about a desired diplomatic solution.

But unlike G.W. Bush, G.W. Obama does not have a Secretary of State Colin Powell who he can trot out before the United Nations to deliver phony “proof” that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has in fact used WMD against opposition fighter, fighters Assad labels “terrorists.” No, Obama is articulating the trope himself, not even trying to get the U.N. in on it this time. For good reason.

The U.N. says more than 90,000 people have been killed in the conflict and a UNICEF report documented the heavy toll on the country’s children. The report blamed both government and opposition forces and found that “Syrian children are killed or injured in indiscriminate bombings, shot by snipers, used as human shields or victims of terror tactics.” So far, so good.

But then, the Obama administration cited evidence of the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons as part of its decision to increase military aid to opposition forces. White House official Ben Rhodes said that revised U.S. intelligence assessments have found government forces used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year, but Rhodes did not make the specific evidence public.

Here’s where it gets tricky: a U.N. investigation found probable evidence of chemical weapons use, but did not attribute it to the regime or to the opposition. And up until a couple of weeks ago, President Obama could not offer in certainty that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons, thereby crossing the rhetorical “red line” (which someone must have told the president to declare) so that the U.S. could justify getting involved in the conflict.