The one thing we can all agree is that we sure have sufficient scandals, deceptions, and lies coming from various agencies in the Administration as well as from Cabinet Secretaries. The list includes Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting conservative and pro-Israel organizations, FBI spying on media outlets and reporters, and the combined force of the Justice Department and the FBI charging a Fox reporter with treason in order to subpoena his and his parents’ emails and phone records. The good or bad news, depending on your political leanings, is that these investigations will result in partisan posturing and sniping but nothing more. There might be Impeachment charges but no conviction is possible. The only real positive is that as long as these investigations continue the Congress will be kept sufficiently busy thus having the side effect of preventing their proposing new legislations or doing other damages to our society. The main drawback is the news will be full of self-righteous politicians from both parties giving their slant on the hearings ad-nauseum. Both sides will accuse the other of blowing things out of proportion or obstructing the investigations. One side will claim the other side is exaggerating the seriousness and claim everything is old news and no longer of any real importance while the other side will talk in solemn tones attempting to portray everything in dire terms full of foreboding. Of all the questions and suspicions from all these presumably end of the world ending scandals there is only one I really wish to demand an answer for. That question is with who did the stand-down orders for the numerous units who were ready, and in two cases were boarding aircraft to transit to Benghazi, even while the firefight was still ongoing and our people were still screaming for backup informing whoever was monitoring that they had laser-painted the targets that threatened them. The person or people responsible for leaving our people out to die in Benghazi are even more reprehensible than those who were responsible for arranging for the security of the Consulate and other facilities, especially on the anniversary of 9/11. Both sets of people should be held criminally responsible and face charges and if they are in the military they deserve a General Court Martial.
In the meantime, these hearings which have the total attention and taking up the time of the Congress will very possibly allow President Obama to take actions in Syria that have the potential to lead to a wider conflict. The visit by Senator McCain to the Rebels inside Syria as well as in Turkey was very similar to the lead up to the imposition of the No-Fly Zone being imposed over Libya. As we might remember, that No-Fly Zone escalated well beyond simply preventing Gadhafi from using his airpower and included bombing of his assets on the ground starting initially with targeting armor and eventually attacking the bases, especially those around the government headquarters in the Libyan Capital City of Tripoli. There were even reports of troops on the ground in Libya though most reports limited these to being British Special Forces. Taking such steps in Syria against Bashir al-Assad carries with them the potential for serious escalations as a response. There have been warnings from the Russians as well as the Iranians, both who have threatened severe consequences should the United States or NATO interfere in the Civil War ongoing in Syria. Whether Congress would take note of such an intervention being prepared with so much of their attentions focused so completely on the investigations leaves some doubts. Such an oversight could prove to be disastrous should President Obama choose to intervene in Syria. The fact that there are all these investigations being held by the Congress, the President might believe that by joining a European sponsored intervention in Syria where he could again claim to be leading from behind, that such a move would divert the attentions of the press and the people from the scandals. Such a move would be similar to the “Wag the Dog” scenario that many accused President George W. Bush of employing when he invaded Iraq. The major difference is that when President Bush invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein there were no threats from Russia or Iran such as President Obama has been given should he interfere in Syria. Where it is unlikely that Russia would respond using direct military force, they would very likely supply al-Assad with the S-300 antiaircraft missile systems earlier than currently scheduled. The S-300 missile system should not be taken lightly as it is one of the preeminent antiaircraft systems in the world today. Iran, on the other hand, would be very likely to take actual military steps in responding to any United States or European intervention in Syria. Such actions that Iran might take would include options of attacking United States assets remaining in Iraq, the United States fleet in the Persian Gulf, missile attacks on Israel, and terrorist attacks on American, European and Israeli targets worldwide. Any of these responses could easily result in a broader conflict which then might spiral completely out of control and ending who knows where. The Middle East currently resembles the driest tinderbox of recent memory and is just waiting for the right spark which would result in an all-encompassing conflagration. That is a threat which would be best untested.
Beyond the Cusp