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Thank you British citizens

Pretty amazing news on Syria last night. And if i had any class at all, i'd leave it at that and just be thankful that our involvement in a war seems to have been stopped, whoever gets the credit.

But i've been reading the comments on TPM's site, where people are saying that this was Obama's plan all along (the 11-dimensional chess argument)(P.S. these same people were previously arguing that we absolutely had to bomb and anyone who disagreed was a moral monster). And the idea that this was Obama's end goal is just crazy. What happened is that the administration intended to bomb. But when the British parliament failed to approve it, it was a major blow to us. Obama punted by going to Congress so that, without any partners, he'd have some sort of authority for this. And Congress balked due to the overwhelming and surprising reaction from voters of all political strips. It was definitely not going to pass in the House (there were 230+ confirmed No votes, and Josh Marshall snarkily said that Obama would need 150% of the remaining undecideds to win). And as of last night even the Senate seemed unsure, with Reid delaying the scheduled vote at the last minute.

Meanwhile, John Kerry made an offhand sarcastic remark in response to a journalist asking the question "Is there anything at this point that his government could do or offer that would stop an attack?".

Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week - turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting (of it) but he isn't about to do it and it can't be done...

A statement by the State department confirmed this was a rhetorical argument, not a serious proposal:

Secretary Kerry was making a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons he has denied he used," a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

His (Kerry's) point was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago. That's why the world faces this moment.

But then Russia took the remark at face value and proposed the deal, getting Syria on board. And with Obama facing a sure defeat in congress, they jumped on the life raft.

So it's absolute fantasy to think that this was Obama's plan all along. They were pushing this war hard, making Munich comparisons, having multiple arm-twisting sessions with the progressive Dems in Congress, etc.. It was only thanks to the major surprise resistance that they ran into that they are now going with a diplomatic solution.

And i guess the reason i feel a need to respond to people in the bowels of TPM comment boards is because i thinks it's important to recognize that this was stopped by ordinary people who are sick of the constant wars we are getting into. Primarily British citizens, because if Parliament had authorized it, this would have never went to Congress. But the deluge of calls that US reps got from their voters was the final nail. Surely governments the world over are already analyzing this and making sure it never happens again. But this one time, people stopped a war, and that's huge.

[Two caveats: 1) Of course, there is still a civil war in Syria and that is a tragic thing. As Josh Marshall says here, having a UN presence in Syria may mitigate the war to a degree (much more than us dropping bombs would have), but there's still a war going on. So when i say "stopped a war" i'm talking about the US attacking another country, not the civil war that's already going on.

2) This deal isn't finalized yet and it may still fall apart. But as Marshall also says in that last link, at this point Russia "owns" this now, though, so most likely it won't come back to the US threatening to bomb. Here's hoping, anyway.]

By fnord12 | September 10, 2013, 10:16 AM | Liberal Outrage