Dear President Obama:
I have a solution for your national and personal problem. In significant part, the solution is your handlers’ brain child, so it will be easy for you and them to understand. Everyone else will also get it, although there is doubtlessly a whole secret society of people who in various statements and ways will pretend they don’t.
The US media and their handlers communicate that, if it does not take military action to punish Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons in its civil war, America will be seen as weak, resolveless, and encouraging future such behavior. You personally will be seen – so the people prodding you to bomb the Syrians say – as weak, irresolute, etc. because you painted the red line of weakness, irresolution, etc.
Obviously naked stupidity is the emperor right now, but it does not have to be revealed and dispatched in order to resolve the immediate Syrian situation.
Please just get out your red paint, or your red crayon, again. Draw a red line for each downside of not shockandaweing the Syrians. If there’s something secret — such as if you promised the Israelis or the Saudis you’d bomb Syria if they’d engineer a sarin catastrophe in Damascus while the UN inspectors were in town — then clearly you can’t include the downside of breaking that promise in the downsides listed.
But let’s say you conclude that the downsides would be that people would say that America looks weak, that America’s enemies are encouraged, that you’re weak, or you’re an idiot for ever painting such a red line, which actually encouraged war mongers no end. Simply paint some more red lines. It is not hard; none of these things are true.
Spell it out that saying you’re weak, or the US is weak, is crossing your red line. Anyone saying you lack resolve is crossing another of your red lines. Anyone saying that you doing the safe, courteous and wise thing – in this case, nothing — encourages America’s enemies is crossing a very bright red line.
With this strategic plan, you will actually know who is doing these things. There will be no fog of war as in the Syrian gassing. You won’t have to allege that the people you want to tomahawk are making these kinds of statements, you’ll have real evidence. I’m pretty sure Senator McCain said these sorts of things just today, and I’m certain you have his exact location. The NSA gets everyone’s communications, so it should not take more than a few days to identify — with no alleging or fudging necessary — exactly who is doing these things and crossing your red lines.
Probably the people who would most obviously attack you or attack America for not doing something really stupid by unlawfully attacking the Syrians would be the very people urging you to commit that abomination. So if they cross any of your many red lines, boom! And if you cross a red line yourself, and say that America lacks resolve or some such inanity, well you know what to do.
I wouldn’t say, and I certainly don’t believe, that if you don’t heap death and destruction on the Syrians, you would be weak, or America would be weak, or that people with gas would be encouraged to kill people who don’t have gas. So please don’t drone my wife and me. Draw some more red lines, ones that make real sense.
Your red lines will eliminate all the downsides for not bombing Syria because no sane people, or even your hawks, are going to cross them. They aren’t going to say you’re weak or America is weak if they know you’ll turn the US military machine on them if they say it.
In any case, God help you. And God help us.
2-46298 Yale Road
Chilliwack, BC V2P 2P6