The assumption is that the U.S. must act if someone has committed crimes against humanity — an untenable proposition that would swiftly drain our resources utterly. But if one accepts that assumption, the idea that Assad is committing crimes against humanity but that there is no hurry to move against him is absurd on its face, and is a clumsy attempt on Kerry’s part to cover for his feckless boss’s retreat in the face of near-unanimous opposition.
“Kerry: I Never Said Syria Response Had to Be Swift,” by William Bigelow for Breitbart, September 1 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):
John Kerry, speaking on Face the Nation, defended Barack Obama’s delay in implementing action against Bashar Assad while he goes to Congress for authorization.Â
Host Major Garrett asked,Â “I know you believe the president’s decision to seek congressional authorization is courageous, but isn’t it bowing to a political reality that had been communicated to the president late this week that there would be significant congressional backlash if he didn’t give Congress a role, and that backlash, in part, reflected the inability of the Administration to make its case this past week?”
Kerry responded that President Obama had not shown any weakness by deferring to Congress on military action in Syria:
I disagree with that premise in all accounts. The fact is that the president clearly had sufficient case presented to the American people that Assad had engaged in outrageous crimes against humanity, and that it was vital to take steps. I think the president realized in consultations with the Congress that people wanted to weigh in. and he believed after thinking about it that the United States of America is much stronger when we act in concert. Rather than have the debate after an attack be all about our constitutional process or “did the president abuse his power” or was it correct and have weeks of sort of being torn apart about that, the president felt it was much more important for us to act with unity of purpose and in a concerted way. I think that this is not just a great decision, I think it’s the right decision. Since when is it wrong for the President of the United States to askÂ Congress, the elected body that represents the people of America, to weigh in?
When asked about the fact that the action has been delayed for a couple of weeks and if he was “disappointed that your advocacy for a swift response was overridden,”Â Kerry objected to the idea that he had called for a hasty response:
I did not advocate in any way that the response had to be swift. In fact, I often said we need to take time to do certain things. I”m not going to go into the deliberative process and tell you what I said or someone said to the president of the United States….”