Who said there is no such thing as an Obama Doctrine? Granted, the president’s foreign policy is as nebulous as his stance on science, but there’s no denying he has one.
Why just this morning the White House asserted that in the absence of “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” (their words), their justification for going to war against Syria (make that waging a strike, then hightailing it out) was the “common-sense test” (their words again).
The administration has used the common-sense test before, on the home front in fact. In February, to prove how devastating an impact sequestration (much beloved of Republicans) would have on border security, the Department of Homeland Security freed dozens of illegal immigrants from its detention facilities in Texas, Florida, and Louisiana. Common sense dictated the move.
Common sense prevailed again in late August when the administration cited YouTube videos as confirmation that the Assad regime was uniquely behind the chemical weapon attacks that killed 1,400 Syrian “rebels.” A DVD compilation of these video clips, which show gassed children twitching and adult corpses strewn about, was shown to senators during a classified briefing on Thursday.
Today, in advance of Obama’s own sales pitch to the nation on Tuesday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to press the case for “targeted, limited consequential action to deter and degrade” the capabilities of Syrian President Bashar Assad “to carry out these terrible attacks again.” Canada’s National Post quotes the top White House aide:
We’ve seen the video proof of the outcome of those attacks. All of that leads to a quite strong common-sense test irrespective of the intelligence that suggests that the regime carried this out. Now do we have a picture or do we have irrefutable beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence? This is not a court of law and intelligence does not work that way. So what we do know and what we know the common-sense test says is he is responsible for this. He should be held to account.
The Syrian government, meanwhile, continues to deny responsibility, insisting rebel forces were behind the attack. The gangland-style execution of captured Syrian soldiers reported by the New York Times last Thursday lends at least a shred of credibility to that claim. If nothing else, it should suffice to counter the administration’s “common sense” position at this point. (A second story, released on Friday, suggests that the footage obtained by the White House is fraudulent, but that report came from Russia Today, a mouthpiece of the Putin regime.)
But all of this is irrelevant. Common sense says so. Just ask the president.
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