I am told by current intelligence officials that President Obama intends to bomb Syria in the coming days--with or without Congressional approval. With the whip count in the House of Representatives looking worse and worse for the war party, the White House is pressing Harry Reid to rush the Senate vote, perhaps as early as Monday evening, Sept. 9, the day that the Congress returns to Washington and the debate is scheduled to begin. If Obama can get a Senate majority, sources close to the White House say that he will order strikes before the House can get started. Perhaps this is why Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is saying that a House vote is unlikely before the week of Sept. 16, given that passions are running so high on the issue. The reality is that opposition in the House is growing and the chance of a "yes" vote from the GOP-led lower chamber is well below 50 percent.
President Obama's problems go way beyond the Halls of Congress. He is facing three daunting problems with his Syria war scheme, according to one senior US intelligence officer. First, the case that Assad ordered the chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 is, at best, circumstantial. A triangulation of intercepts by Israeli, German and US sigint agencies has been pitched to Congress as "proof" that Assad did it. But the case is flimsy and, ultimately, is all based on interpretations of conversations involving Syrian military commanders, Iranian diplomats and Hezbollah leaders. Clearly the American people are also unconvinced, as the opposition to any military action is polling well above 80 percent in most recent polls.
Second, even if President Obama were to win support of one or both Houses of Congress, any US unilateral action without approval of the United Nations Security Council is a violation of international law. Obama is about to order a war of aggression which is explicity barred by the UN Charter.
Third, in his private White House meeting on Monday with Senate hawks John McCain and Lindsey Graham, President Obama assured them that the planned bombing campaign would indeed alter the military balance on the ground in Syria in favor of the rebels. The President told McCain and Graham one thing behind closed doors, while professing that his military plan is merely a punishment and deterrent to assure Assad won't ever consider using chemical weapons again in public. Remember that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates resigned from the Cabinet over the decision to establish a no-fly zone over Libya on "humanitarian grounds." Gates was correct when he warned that a no-fly zone is an act of war and that once the combat begins, it only ends with regime change. Is the President lying to McCain and Graham to get their critical support in the Senate or is he lying to the American people when he says that the objectives of the military operation are strictly limited?
The Obama flight forward in Syria is also premised on the belief that the Assad government and its allies will sit back and do nothing in retaliation for US strikes. Is there any basis in reality for this assumption? When Secretary of State John Kerry, testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday tried to dismiss the al-Qaeda penetration of the Syrian opposition, Russian President Vladimir Putin was so angry that he publicly called Kerry a liar. US intelligence estimates, that Kerry has clearly seen, warn of the degree of penetration of the Syrian rebel forces by radical jihadists who hate the United States. Under pressure, Kerry admitted that 15-25 percent of the rebel fighters are jihadists. Is there a Special National Intelligence Estimate on how the Russians or the Iranians or Hezbollah will respond to Obama's US missile barrage? The answer is "no."
Yet President Obama has taken it as an article of blind faith that there will be no retaliation for the so-called "limited" US strikes that he could order at any moment after the Senate vote early next week. This President, who knows nothing about military affairs, is bringing the United States to the brink of what could rapidly escalate into world war. It seems that 80 percent of the American people are smart enough to realize that and want nothing of it. In his remarks in Sweden earlier this week, President Obama was at his Narcissistic peak, proclaiming that "history" has drawn the red line on Assad's use of chemical weapons and that he is merely acting as the messenger and executioner of "history's judgment."