Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Aftermath -- September 17

Broadcast media has been filled with a variety of "aftermath" stories for the past several hours.  The Syrian chemical weapons boil has been lanced, another mass shooting in Washington leaves plenty to chatter about and rescue operations continue following record floods in Colorado. I hope no one says anything really important because it will be lost in a pile of forensic reports filled with more questions than facts. Oh, well...
The deal looks like a humiliation for Obama – but what happens if it starts to unravel?
Whichever analogy one chooses, the conventional wisdom is hardening:Vladimir Putin has judo-flipped, checkmated and floored Barack Obama this week with a plan to inspect and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. For the sceptics, this was the diplomatic equivalent of polonium-210 in Obama’s teacup; Russia has sucked the Americans into a needless distraction, buying time for Assad and leaving Syria’s rebels adrift. 
In many respects, this deal doesn’t change much. Russia will continue to arm and fund the Syrian regime as it consolidates its rump state. The US will continue its tepid support for rebels, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar their more enthusiastic contributions. If Syria’s most obscene weapons can be taken off the battlefield, good. If not, our powder stays dry.
My take: The core foreign policy message of the Obama presidency is simple. We are not the world's policeman. (That's what everybody says until something happens they don't like, then depending on who's ox is being gored, they are ready to wage war.) Syria is the exclamation point at the end of that sentence.  
So Republican super-patriots, neocon war-mongers and others who want to bully other countries (Tea Party types who don't like treating non-Americans with civility and old-fashioned diplomacy, I'm looking at you) -- put a sock in it.

This is priceless. Don't miss it.  

From the Atlantic Wire, Everything we know and don't know about the lone gunman...

Lots more at the link,  including this...
Update (9/17): According the Associated Press, Alexis was treated by the Veterans Administration for "serious mental illness," including paranoia, sleep disorders, and delusions like 'hearing voices.' He was also reported discharged from the Navy Reserves honorably, but after a "pattern of misconduct."
He was discharged from the military in 2011. Alexis was a full-time military reservist from 2007 until 2011. The Navy released a summary of his military records on Monday, which outlines his time there. Here's more from the Guardian's Spencer Ackerman:

Alexis, whose home of record is listed as New York City, was a Navy aviation electrician's mate 3rd class. From February 1 2008 until his detachment from the Navy on January 31 2011, Alexis was assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 46, in Fort Worth, Texas....According to a Navy document, Alexis is not listed as having served overseas, but is listed as receiving the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
While his last known residence was Fort Worth, Alexis was born in Queens, NY.
Am I the only one who sees a gleaming, sparkling, flashing red lights connection between the absence of a national firearms registry control system, and a breathtaking, literally world-class number of crazy people killing other people with guns????

How long will it take?
That's enough for this morning.
After the tensions of the last few days everything seems anticlimactic.

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