Wait, Mr. Tech Savvy President still uses a Blackberry? Maybe he can try to sign up for ObamaCare with it. This item from the New York Times chronicling Obama’s Syria debacle (remember when that was his top focus less than two months ago?) shows someone barely functional, completely out of touch and basically a figurehead bystander to events swirling around him. Maybe he was reading messages about the test failures about the ObamaCare website.
With rebel forces in Syria in retreat and the Obama administration’s policy toward the war-ravaged country in disarray, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived at the White House Situation Room one day in June with a document bearing a warning. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria had used chemical weapons against his people, the document said, and if the United States did not “impose consequences,” Mr. Assad would see it as a “green light for continued CW use.”
President Obama had signed a secret order in April — months earlier than previously reported — authorizing a C.I.A. plan to begin arming the Syrian rebels. But the arms had not been shipped, and the collapse of rebel positions in western Syria fueled the atmosphere of crisis that hung over the June meeting.
Yet after hours of debate in which top advisers considered a range of options, including military strikes and increased support to the rebels, the meeting ended the way so many attempts to define a Syrian strategy had ended in the past, with the president’s aides deeply divided over how to respond to a civil war that had already claimed 100,000 lives.
The State Department’s June warning, laid out in a document obtained by The New York Times, proved to be prophetic. A devastating poison gas attack on Aug. 21 killed hundreds of civilians, touching off a crisis that brought the United States close to launching military strikes in Syria and that ended only when Mr. Obama seized on a Russian-sponsored agreement to secure Syria’s chemical weapons.
Now, two years after Mr. Obama publicly declared that Mr. Assad had to go, he is banking on the success of that Russian-initiated plan — which relies on Mr. Assad’s cooperation and which the Syrian president offered in a recent interview as a convenient shield against American intervention.
God help us if we’re every attacked on our soil while this rube is still in office. He’s barely lucid. This more than anything sums up how detached he really is.
Even as the debate about arming the rebels took on a new urgency, Mr. Obama rarely voiced strong opinions during senior staff meetings. But current and former officials said his body language was telling: he often appeared impatient or disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum.
In private conversations with aides, Mr. Obama described Syria as one of those hellish problems every president faces, where the risks are endless and all the options are bad. Those views would then be reflected in larger groups by Tom Donilon, the national security adviser, and Mr. McDonough.
He’s made himself a victim. Incredible.