Monday, August 20, 2012

Edit Much?

An Article in yesterday's Bloomberg.com  is dramatically entitled

Obama Says Any Chemical Weapon Use In Syria ‘Red Line’ For U.S.

The authors, Margaret Talev and Zahra Hankir, imply that some hard lines are being drawn in Washington, and lead readers to expect that an ultimatum has been delivered.  Almost immediately though, the article departs from the message of the headline and begins to soften those hard lines.  
President Barack Obama said any discovery that Syria’s chemicals or biological weapons are being moved or used may shift his position of not ordering U.S. military engagement in that nation’s upheaval “at this point.”
But even this appears to be a misrepresentation of the President's words.  "Any discovery," of, "any"  movement, or "any" use is definitive, but the word "may" implies that things aren't nearly so cut and dried. "At this point," indicates that at another point - tomorrow, or after lunch, or next week - things may be entirely different.

By the time we get to the President's actual words, we see that things are even less clearly defined than the headline would have us believe.
A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” the president told reporters yesterday in a news conference at the White House. “That would change my calculus."
The "red line" is not "any" use or movement.  The truth of the matter is that it will take "a whole bunch of use or movement." How much, exactly, is that? The amount is intentionally undefined, as is the reaction of the U.S. in the event that whatever limit constitutes "a whole bunch" is exceeded.  We go from the authors' interpretation of the President's statement, which is that," any use/movement" may shift U.S. policy of not engaging militarily to, the President's actual words, which announce that a "whole bunch" of use/movement will "change" my "calculus."  There's quite a difference there.

Doesn't anybody edit this stuff?

1 comment:

Ran said...

"My calculus." Not "this administration's" or "our calculus."

We are to believe that the CFWOT who could not and would not make a decision on UBL - and had it made for him while our GinC was out on the links - has a personal "calculus" and will determine when the threshold "bunch" has been crossed in Syria?

Right. Another question: Where is Syria going to park its WMDs? Return them to Iraq and Iran? (We know where the MB will park them.)