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Monday, September 16, 2013

New York Times Editorial, "The Syrian Pact": Will Pradva Purchase the Morally Bankrupt New York Times?

Did you listen to Obama's interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Friday (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/09/full-transcript-president-obamas-exclusive-interview-with-george-stephanopoulos/), during which Obama responded to claims of of confusion and incompetence surrounding his foreign policy? Note the president's stuttering interchange regarding Syria:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:

Senator Corker, Foreign Relations Committee, said– you’re not comfortable as Commander-In-Chief, it’s like watching a person who’s caged. The president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haas, “Words like ad-hoc, improvised, unsteady come to mind. This is probably the most undisciplined stretch of foreign policy in your presidency.” What do you make of that?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

Well– you know, I– I– I think that– folks here in Washington– like to grade on style. And so had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and– linear– they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy.

Well, Obama managed to roll out something that was lumpy, undisciplined and also disastrous, and after listening to his explanation, I found myself asking, is America's president delusional or just deceitful? Perhaps, as Obama's talk show host David Letterman recently observed (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/09/05/letterman_on_obamas_red_line_for_syria_the_guy_has_learned_how_to_bullshit.html):

"So, it's taken him five years, but finally the guy has learned how to bullshit."

How reassuring.

Today, after reading an editorial by The New York Times entitled "The Syrian Pact" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/16/opinion/the-syrian-pact.html?_r=0), I find myself also asking, Is this newspaper's editorial board delusional or just deceitful? Or perhaps it can also be observed with respect to the Times, "It's taken them 162 years, but finally these guys and girls have also learned how to bullshit."

Let's have a look at this latest steaming horse apple cooked up by their editorial board:


"The United States-Russian agreement to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal is remarkably ambitious and offers a better chance of deterring this threat than the limited military strikes that President Obama was considering.

Even so, the task of cataloging, securing and destroying President Bashar al-Assad’s poison gas cache — which Washington and Moscow have estimated at 1,000 tons — is daunting. It will require vigilance and commitment by the United Nations, with success ultimately dependent on the cooperation of Mr. Assad, whose forces are responsible for most of the 100,000 deaths in the brutal civil war, including what the United States says were more than 1,400 deaths in a chemical attack in August."

The agreement is "remarkably ambitious," and the task is "daunting"? Oh really? As was previously reported by the Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/world/middleeast/syria-talks.html?pagewanted=all):

"'This situation has no precedent,' said Amy E. Smithson, an expert on chemical weapons at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. 'They are cramming what would probably be five or six years’ worth of work into a period of several months, and they are undertaking this in an extremely difficult security environment due to the ongoing civil war.'"

Or stated otherwise, implementation of this "agreement" is not "doable." The Times editorial continues:

"The agreement avoids imminent American military action, but Mr. Assad will be responsible for providing security for United Nations inspectors, as well as access to sites and information. If he fails to dismantle his program, the Security Council resolution would authorize punitive measures. President Obama has said that American military action is still on the table."

Hmm, a mass murderer is now responsible for implementation of a "pact," which is counter to his own interests, but he can nevertheless be expected to abide by its terms. After all, if he doesn't comply, he is being faced with . . . ? Oh, that's right, he is not being faced with anything tangible or substantive.

The Times editorial states regarding Putin's diplomatic coup:

"President Vladimir Putin of Russia has undoubtedly elevated his stature in the Middle East with this diplomatic move. But he is now on the hook as he never was before to make sure that Mr. Assad does not use chemical weapons. Mr. Putin has drawn a line at poison gas, but it will be cynical and reprehensible if he continues to supply Mr. Assad with conventional arms, which have killed the vast majority of Syria’s civilian victims."

Putin is "on the hook"? Yeah, right. If Assad again uses chemical weapons, Putin will again pin the blame on the rebels. "It will be cynical and reprehensible if [Putin] continues to supply Mr. Assad with conventional arms"? And I suppose this former KGB official is not already "cynical and reprehensible"?

As acknowledged by Jeffrey Goldberg in a Bloomberg article entitled "New Syria Agreement Is a Big Victory. For Assad." (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-15/everyone-wins-with-new-syria-agreement-except-syrians-.html):

"By partnering with Russia and the West on the disarmament process, a process that is meant to last into 2014 (and most likely won’t be finished for years, even if it is carried out in good faith, which is a big 'if'), Assad has made himself indispensable. A post-Assad regime wouldn’t necessarily be party to this agreement, and might not even go through the motions. Syria, post-Assad, might very well be more fractured and chaotic than it is now, which is to say, even less of an environment in which United Nations weapons inspectors could safely go about their work. The U.S. now needs Assad in place for the duration. He’s the guy, after all, whose lieutenants know where the chemical weapons are.

This agreement represents a victory for Putin for fairly obvious reasons: He is the leader of a second-tier power who has nevertheless made himself into the new power player of the Middle East (he’s heading off to Iran now for discussions on its nuclear program). He has shown up an American president, and he will be considered, by the perpetually naive at least, to be something akin to a peacemaker, when, in fact, he’s a bloody-minded autocrat."

In case you didn't know, Goldberg is one of Obama's best media friends. Yup, this is all one big disaster.

Next we are told by the Times:
 
"President Obama deserves credit for putting a focus on upholding an international ban on chemical weapons and for setting aside military action at this time in favor of a diplomatic deal. The Syria crisis should demonstrate to Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, that Mr. Obama, who has held out the possibility of military action against Iran’s nuclear program, is serious about a negotiated solution. Mr. Obama’s disclosure that he had indirectly exchanged messages with Mr. Rouhani was encouraging."

Obama's wavering, amorphous policy vis-a-vis Assad, which will one day be written up in "Profiles in Cowardice," will encourage Iran to reach a peaceful negotiation regarding its nuclear weapons program? Cut the crap! Iran has learned that "As President of the United States, Obama does bluff" (see: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/obama-to-iran-and-israel-as-president-of-the-united-states-i-dont-bluff/253875/).

The editorial concludes:

"There are many uncertainties ahead, including what the administration will do to support the Syrian opposition. Now that Russia and the United States have reached a deal, there’s reason to hope this cooperation will help advance an overall peace settlement for Syria."


Which brings us back to the title of this New York Times editorial: "The Syrian Pact." A "pact"? Like the "Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact" or a pact with the devil? In any event, there is no reason whatsoever to hope that Assad, a mass murderer, will abide by its terms.

Make no mistake about it: The New York Times long ago lost its credibility, and for the sake of good order, it should now toss aside its ethical journalism handbook and proudly advertise itself as the semi-official mouthpiece of the Obama administration. The Times is morally bankrupt and failing financially, but maybe, after its publication of Putin's propaganda opinion piece (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2013/09/vladimir-putin-plea-for-caution-from.html), Pravda might be willing to buy a controlling interest and keep it afloat for a few more years.

4 comments:

  1. Meanwhile,back in Syria,Assad's forces pummel the rebels with conventional weapons-business as usual..Dead is dead in any way that you look at it,but the world gazes aside,for only those 1.5% killed by the regime using gas are reconized,the remaining tens of thousands...no matter.

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  2. Oh Jeff, don't have me started. I was fuming yesterday and after I'd read about Obama's happiness with the outcome in Syria, I asked exactly the same question: "Is he delusional?" What if, if we have a madman in the White House?
    I hope he isn't, but it doesn't change the fact that this country and the world and babies in Syria and elsewhere are in trouble.
    Emptysuitness can go just this far. If we survive, America has to return the content.

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  3. Correction:
    Sorry, Jeff, I apologize for my sloppiness (I am accustomed to the forums with the edit possibility and yes, English is my 7th and yes, I am absentminded). There several problems with my comment (Anon at 5:01), but I'd like to correct the last sentence to make my point clear:
    "If we survive, America has to return TO the content."

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  4. Alas,we also have a President who thinks that the his actions,even should they prove bad,receive extra credit from the Washington community,because of his "style".
    .....Where does one begin with addressing that notion???

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