Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke up this week, urging the West to use military force to intervene in Syria. He insisted it’s “time we took a side,” striking against the Assad regime that Blair said is responsible for “an assault on civilians not seen since the dark days of Saddam.”
When I read this, I couldn’t help but think about how little I care what Tony Blair thinks right now. After all, do credibility and accountability still have any meaning at all?
And then yesterday, we heard from one of the few voices who’s even less reliable.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who ushered the U.S. into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, said the Obama administration has not clearly justified an attack on Syria.
“One thing that is very interesting, it seems to me, is that there really hasn’t been any indication from the administration as to what our national interest is with respect to this particular situation,” Rumsfeld said in an interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto.
Now, I imagine there are plenty of fair-minded folks who may find the observation compelling. Does military intervention in Syria advance our security interests? Has President Obama presented a compelling justification for the use of force?
But sometimes the messenger is at least as important as the message – and listening to Donald Rumsfeld complain about an administration failing to fully and persuasively justify a military attack makes the former Defense Secretary a first-ballot inductee in the Chutzpah Hall of Fame.
If Rumsfeld is out of the penalty box and welcome to appear in public again, at an absolute minimum, he should avoid claiming any degree of credibility on the use of force or the wisdom of military strikes.
That is, unless he wants to be laughed at.