And also familiar. From the Guardian’s live blog of Susan Rice’s comments this afternoon:
Rice makes the credibility argument:
“Failing to respond could indicate that the United States is not prepared to use all the tools necessary to keep our nation secure… [it] would raise questions around the world as to whether the United States is truly prepared to use the full range of its power.”
“Other global hotspots might flare up,” she says.
“Most disturbingly, it would send a perverse message to those who seek to use the world’s worse weapons, that you can use these weapons blatantly and just get away with it,” Rice says.
Rice says that diplomatic efforts have been exhausted:
“We and others have already exhausted a host of other measures aimed at changing Assad’s calculus… these efforts have not succeeded.”
Rice is starting to sound downright Cheney-esque. She says Assad gassing east Ghouta could “threaten our soldiers in the region and even potentially our citizens at home.” (emphasis added)
New America Foundation president Anne-Marie Slaughter introduces Rice. She begins. Rice says it’s in the US interest to conduct “limited” strikes against the Assad regime.
She said the chemical attacks in Syria are a “serious threat to our national security.” (emphasis added)
She says she’ll explain why “it is in our national interest to take limited military action to [deter] future use” of chemical weapons.
Here’s a Rumsfeld-esque phrase: “Opening a door to their use anywhere threatens the United States and our personnel everywhere.”
There are (arguably) defensible arguments for bombing Syria, but since they’re not playing in Peoria, the administration has decided to switch to the indefensible ones.
Perhaps the new Russian initiative will allow for face-saving all around.