Blurred Line? Really? What a Perfect Analogy

As Barack Obama’s relentless pursuit of a violent intervention in Syria continues, cliches have been tossed out freely in each new segment of the corporate news cycle. We had “credibility” for quite some time, and then yesterday there was “go it alone” (see the capsule summary for this article on left of page for “go it alone” phrase) when David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote authorizing British cooperation in military action yesterday afternoon. But an article published last night by the New York Times provided, whether intentionally or not, the perfect analogy for Obama’s drive for war in Syria. When I tweeted it last night, the title for their article was “Military Analysis: Aim of a U.S. Attack on Syria: Sharpening a Blurred ‘Red Line’”. That phrasing immediately calls to mind the latest pop misogynistic hit “Blurred Lines”. [The “unrated” version of the video is definitely NSFW.] The Times has now changed its phrasing somewhat, with the latter part of the headline reading “Restore a ‘Red Line’ That Became Blurred”.

Okay, so by changing their phrasing, the Times appears to be signalling that they didn’t mean to draw a parallel with the song, but I still feel it is a perfect fit for the situation. The lyrics are a disgusting collection of violent sexual suggestions for what the artist wants to do to a “good girl”. And that seems to fit so well for what Obama wants to do to Syria (while Assad certainly doesn’t fit as “good”, the innocent civilians who will die do fit): “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two”. And if that isn’t enough, we even get this in the music video:

Who has a big d.

Doesn’t this strike, when all is said and done, amount to nothing more than Obama proving he has a big d? When even large numbers of military officers are now openly questioning the wisdom of an attack, and insisting that it will spiral inevitably into a larger regional war, Obama’s determination to proceed is all about the size of his d.

Granted, in the LA Times yesterday, there was an anonymous suggestion that Obama only wanted an attack “just muscular enough not to get mocked”, but from where we simple taxpayers sit, mocking seems the only tool we have left for trying to prevent one atrocity leading to many more under the guise of good intentions.

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.
15 replies
  1. Neil says:

    Do Turkey and Saudi Arabia want the US involved militarily in Syria?

    I remember King Abdullah Hussein of Jordan addressing a joint session of Congress and warning the US that our war on Iraq threatened to engulf the region in a broader war. He has that concern but maybe he thinks US military attacking Assad would contain the war or expedite it and minimize the flow of refugees, who Jordanians welcome but who cause a strain in Jordan.

    Recently, King Hussein has explicitly said the US has no permission to stage war on Assad from Jordan.

    The story goes like this: Turkey, Saudi and Jordan want the US to attack Assad but must pretend they don’t, Richard Engle reported this morning, I don’t know what to make of it.

    It’s sickening that the Obama Admin has used “intelligence” about the use of chemical weapons as political tool. That’s the one tactic they should have known not to make a critical issue.

    It’s also surprising that Obama Asmin wants to punish but ssems to have no plan beyond that, no goal, no answers for step 2.3.4 and 5.

  2. der says:

    Obama may be a narcissistic sociopath but he is not a king. I see a President easily manipulated by the taunts of the Pentagon, much like Bush, Sr was pushed into the Gulf War by Margaret Thatcher (“don’t be a pussy George”).

    – “The facts were clear and unambiguous. Headlines read: “An Automatic Strike Isn’t Endorsed” (Wall St. Journal); “U.N. Rebuffs U.S. on threat to …. if it Breaks Pact” (New York Times); etc. Britain’s UN Ambassador “privately assured his colleagues on the council that the resolution does not grant the United States and Britain an ‘automatic trigger’ to launch strikes against …. if it impedes” UN searches. “It has to be the Security Council who determines when to use armed force,” the Ambassador of Costa Rica declared, expressing the position of the Security Council.

    Washington’s reaction was different. U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson asserted that the agreement “did not preclude the unilateral use of force” and that the U.S. retains its legal right to attack ……. at will. State Department spokesperson James Rubin dismissed the wording of the resolution as “not as relevant as the kind of private discussions that we’ve had”: “I am not saying that we don’t care about that resolution,” but “we’ve made clear that we don’t see the need to return to the Security Council if there is a violation of the agreement.” The President stated that the resolution “provides authority to act” if the U.S. is dissatisfied with ….. compliance; his press secretary made clear that that means military action. “U.S Insists It Retains Right to Punish ….,” the New York Times headline read, accurately. The U.S. has the unilateral right to use force at will: Period.

    (Rogue States Noam Chomsky Z Magazine, April, 1998)

    Games the same just the players who are different.

  3. joanneleon says:

    I’m really getting tired of the messaging out there, painting this a a reluctant president who is launching a mission that has no real objective.

    I hear all kinds of people expressing their confusion about it, saying that it makes no sense, and that it’s about credibility and lines that should never have been drawn. If it makes no sense, do they ever stop to think that the messaging is a lie, meant to cover up something else?

    I see a very clear mission. It’s the same mission that we and our allies in this have had for more than two years. In fact, it’s the same mission that this country has had for twelve years. The objective is to overthrow the Syrian government and to destabilize the region, so that it can be remade by people who have done it before and with some Gulf partners. Why is this so confusing? Why are so many people allowing themselves to be affected by the obfuscation. The Pentagon has already said they’re going to take out military targets. Why? So that the paid mercenary jihadists can defeat the Syrian military!

    The “rebels” can’t overthrow Assad. Even with untold amounts of money, arms, training, and US and UK special forces on the ground, they can’t get the job done. So the US has to go in and give them a huge advantage by crippling Assad’s military. Obama can’t go in and take down the Syrian government by himself, just like we couldn’t show our hand in the Egyptian coup or in Libya. The “rebels” have to do it and then the US and gang of colonialists/imperialists put their people in charge, people who will be friendly to our interests and not Russia’s and China’s. Now that’s a whole ‘nother story because their transitional government round table can’t seem to get along or agree that the sky is blue.

    But seriously, why is anyone falling for this nonsense about credibility or manliness or lack of objective or punishing Assad. Actually, “punishing Assad” is the closest thing to the truth.

    To me, this is all really, really clear. So either I’m just way off base or too many people are getting muddled in the propaganda and since I watch and read as little of it as possible, maybe I’m less affected by it. I don’t know.

  4. Frank33 says:

    That phrasing immediately calls to mind the latest pop misogynistic hit “Blurred Lines”

    What a coincidence. President Obama, with his Red Line is plagiarizing the Bushies, who had Lines in the Sand. And “Blurred Lines” is obvious plagiarism of Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up”. But that was not one of the better Marvin Gaye songs. He wrote many “protest songs”, that remain true today, such as “What’s Going On”.

    Mother, mother
    There’s too many of you crying
    Brother, brother, brother
    There’s far too many of you dying
    You know we’ve got to find a way
    To bring some lovin’ here today, yeah

    Father, father
    We don’t need to escalate
    You see, war is not the answer
    For only love can conquer hate
    You know we’ve got to find a way
    To bring some lovin’ here today

  5. dustbunny44 says:

    Alan Grayson said yesterday that Americans aren’t for military intervention in Syria, but the military industry is. I hope that statement helps to frame Obama’s response, because there’s no reason for the USA to intervene in Syria at this time, and any Obama excuse to do so will only outline his ties to (and reluctance to push back) the for-profit war industry.

  6. bsbafflesbrains says:

    If the leader of Burkina Faso used chemical weapons to kill 10,000 of his own people Obama and the MICC he works for would not take notice.

  7. greengiant says:

    @Jim White: There is the Koch brother’s Tea Party with Rush et al, whose sound bites have been for bombings, but the real tea party people on the ground who are against big government want nothing to do with Syria and suspect Obama of arming AQ from Libya to Syria.

  8. bell says:

    @joanneleon:

    hi joan. i think jims viewpoint is a ‘malecentric’ one with the comments about a big D..
    on the other hand, i don’t agree with your viewpoint either. did the intervention in iraq work out the way it was supposed to? has the intervention and war in afganistan worked out? it is hard for me to put aside what looks like a long term game plan to destabilize the whole area and get at the resources of key countries in this area like iran.. syria is like a wall between israel and iran.. don’t you find it most coincidental how this syrian conflict has evolved with usa indirect support for al qaeda for example? i would be wary of making another mess in this same region, although i too would like to see a different world then the one we are living in today.

  9. Valley Girl says:

    Sorry Jim if this is not a sophisticated comment on my part, but I am so totally pissed off at Obama and imho the stupidity of bombing Syria.

    I read the quote following something at earlier. I found another source-

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/08/29/white-house-syria-congress-consult/2730765/

    ~Caitlin Hayden, National Security Council spokeswoman, said the United States would continue to consult with Britain but Obama would make decisions based on “the best interests of the United States.”

    “As we’ve said, President Obama’s decision making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States,” Hayden said. “He believes that there are core interests at stake for the United States. He believes that there are core interests at stake for the United States and that countries who violate international norms regarding chemical weapons need to be held accountable.”~

    –Obama’s decision making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States– JFC

    –He (Obama) believes that there are core interests at stake for the United States and that countries who violate international norms regarding chemical weapons need to be held accountable.”–

    Uh, sure, Mr. Obama. Obviously you missed some of the details of what the US did in Iraq. Falluja in particular.

  10. Carl Weetabix says:

    So I’ve been trying to figure this out:

    – The use of CW needs to be punished.
    – The use of CW is a “war crime”.
    – The use of CW was definitively the responsibility of the Assad regime.
    – We are only going to punish the Assad regime, not “influence” the course of the civil war.

    Ok, I get that, but if the use of CW was a war crime that means the Assad regime needs to be prosecuted, which means they need to be deposed, however we’re only going to “punish” them which means they could still win the civil war, which means the “war criminals” could still be running Syria, but that’s ok as long as “punish” them now (which I assume means we hurt Assad’s regime, not say a bunch of innocent people, which oddly seems more likely).

    So exactly how does bombing them for using CW really help here?

  11. GKJames says:

    You may be right about Obama’s motivation. But I suspect it’s as much a function of his being part of a political elite that doesn’t see the world in any other way. The relentless talk of the need to punish the Syrian regime is at the core of this. Having 100,000 killed by conventional means? Ho hum. Chemical weapons? Whoa! WE (and the Israelis) are the only ones to decide who gets to use those. And given our appalling lack of policy imagination, messaging-by-shrapnel’s the only thing we can ever come up with. And that’s irrespective of who’s president.

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