The policy is geopolitically indefensible (rattling allies, empowering Iran) and immoral. Yet, Power declares, “President Obama has put in play every single tool in the toolbox, short of military action. It is the most heartbreaking circumstance confronting us today. . . . I’d be careful about suggesting we are not taking the atrocities seriously. This is something the president gets briefed on every day. He’s always asking what we can do.”
It is not so heartbreaking, however, to have acted sooner or more robustly. What he can do? She must be daft to see this as true concern rather than moral evasion. (What does she tell him I wonder? Does she give him a list of options or shake her head in sympathy telling him, “That’s a hard one. Yes siree.”) And, as the Politico reporter points out, she sets up a false choice:
However, Power suggested that the main policy alternative was a U.S. invasion of Syria. “Reasonable people have agreed to disagree about whether invading Syria is a good idea for the United States,” she said.While other prominent figures in the bureaucracy pushed for more aggressive U.S. action in Syria, Obama and aides close to him have put up the greatest resistance to U.S. involvement, administration officials said.
The woman who made a career of urging stronger support for human rights, winning a Pulitzer Prize in the process, is reduced to spinning for a disastrous policy that has allowed more than 100,000 souls to perish, seen the return of polio and watched millions of refugees flood into other countries. Surely she knows this. Surely she knows the president could have acted sooner.
It temporarily might make her feel better to recite her talking points, but like the officials in power during the Rwanda genocide and Srebrenica mass murders, she now is among those who defended inaction when thousands of lives might have been saved. She — and everyone in the administration who defended the president’s mockery of the admonition “never again” — will be held to account, if only by history. If everyone gets one line in history, hers will be: Spun for Obama, did nothing for Syrians.