William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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DEVASTATING – AT 8:53 A.M. ET:  Related to our first post, just below, is Obama's total mishandling of the horror in Syria, where more than 60,000 lie dead, with tens of thousands of others turned into refugees.  Once again, by the way, we see the indifference of the left, led by a very indifferent president.

And, once again, the liberal editorial page of the Washington Post declares its independence and refuses to parrot the Obama party line.  It goes after the Obama administration in blunt terms that give us the belief that some liberals have kept their self-respect: 

Not only does it refuse to provide weapons to moderate rebel fighting units — which complain of shortages even as materiel pours in to jihadist groups — but it claims it is legally barred from giving even non-lethal aid directly to the Syrian National Coalition. U.S. humanitarian aid goes to private groups such as the Red Crescent or, worse, the United Nations, which passes much of it along to the regime.

In speaking about Syria in recent days, Mr. Kerry and President Obama described not a strategy for stopping a bloodbath that threatens vital U.S. interests but rather a series of excuses for inaction. In an interview with the New Republic published over the weekend, Mr. Obama wondered how to “weigh” the thousands dying in Syria against the thousands being killed in the Congo, as if all wars are of equal importance to the United States or the inability to solve every problem means America should not help even where it can.

Not for the first time, Mr. Obama also asked whether U.S. intervention could “trigger even worse violence or the use of chemical weapons.” The president asked the same question a year ago, and the answer is now known: In the absence of U.S. action, the violence grew far worse and the Assad regime moved dangerously close to using chemical arms.

The United States could do much to shape the course of events in Syria without using American troops. It could begin providing aid directly to Syrian refugee organizations and civilian councils inside the country, as France has done for months. It could provide arms to moderate rebel factions, so that they can compete with the jihadists and so that they will look to the United States when the war is over. Continued passivity will ensure that the crisis in Syria continues to worsen — along with the consequences for the United States.

COMMENT:  That is pretty tough stuff, but I doubt if it will have much effect.  This is a neo-isolationist administration dressing up its isolationism in idealistic terms.  We've gone down this road before, with catastrophic results.  But with super-egos in the White House and the secretary of state's office, I don't see much hope for change. 

Add to our fractured foreign policy a defense plan that looks to make drastic cuts in our military readiness, and you have the perfect storm.  One thinks of military maneuvers in Louisiana in 1940, when our army ranked 15th in the world, and was so short of equipment that it ran cars around the maneuvering area with signs saying TANK plastered on their sides. 

Policies like this never lead to peace, except the peace of the defeated.  We are paying a price for our re-election of Barack Obama and the grossly negligent journalism that made it possible.  We are also paying a price for a generation of mis-education in the schools, which has taught too many Americans that their country is part of the problem, not the main part of the solution.

January 29, 2013