The other side of vanity

I wrote about President Obama’s press conference following his meeting with representatives of the Gulf Cooperation Council at Camp David this week in “An uncertain kazoo, cont’d” and John followed up in “Obama’s revisionist history on Syria.” The White House transcript of the entire press conference is posted here. I want to pause briefly over the question Obama took on Syria and the preface to his substantive, extremely misleading response.

Syria is obviously a sore subject for the Great Obama. He threatened military action if the government crossed his purported “red line” prohibiting the use of chemical weapons. The government not only did so with impunity, the government of Syria is back at it. Responding to a question about it, Obama employed pretzel logic and self-invented factoids to acquit himself of error or misjudgment. The Great Obama does not err.

When Obama called on Al Jazeera America White House correspondent Michael Viqueira, Viqueira thanked him and posed this question (video below):

Q On Syria, one of the reasons we’re here is because many of the nations in the region were upset that more than two years ago when Bashar al-Assad deployed chemical weapons, there was no military response as you appeared to promise, no retaliation on the part of the U.S. Now there’s a possibility that Assad has once again used chemical weapons. What did you tell these leaders here who were disappointed last time? And will you use a military response if it’s confirmed that he used chemical weapons again, once again deployed them?

The other side of Obama’s vanity is his pettiness. The man from Al Jazeera America displayed an attitude not fully reverent toward the Great Obama. Viqueira’s bad attitude could not pass without note. The president of the United States accordingly prefaced his substantive response to the question with an in-your-face putdown of the man from Al Jazeera America:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: First of all, Michael, I don’t know why you’re here, but the reason I’m here is not because of what happened in Syria a couple of years ago. The reason I’m here is because we’ve got extraordinary challenges throughout the region — not just in Syria, but in Iraq and Yemen and Libya, and obviously, the development of ISIL; and our interest in making sure that we don’t have a nuclear weapon in Iran….

I trust that readers can sort this out on their own. I will just add this prediction. Obama won’t be calling on the man from Al Jazeera America again any time soon.


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