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Actual quote in LA Times story: Obama seeking Syria response ‘just muscular enough not to get mocked’

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By Doug Powers  •  August 29, 2013 01:43 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

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Being a Nobel Peace Prize winner trying to show you mean business is a tricky thing, because dancing that fine line between Rambo and Gandhi can be politically dicey. This quote in an L.A. Times story, while coming from the oft-quoted and occasionally unreliable “anonymous official,” does make sense because it best sums up the pickle Obama has put himself in over Syria:

Some experts said U.S. warships and submarines in the eastern Mediterranean could fire cruise missiles at Syrian targets as early as Thursday night, beginning a campaign that could last two or three nights. Obama leaves next Tuesday for a four day trip to Sweden and Russia, which strongly supports Assad’s government, for the G-20 economic summit.

One U.S. official who has been briefed on the options on Syria said he believed the White House would seek a level of intensity “just muscular enough not to get mocked” but not so devastating that it would prompt a response from Syrian allies Iran and Russia.

“They are looking at what is just enough to mean something, just enough to be more than symbolic,” he said.

A mockable response, for example, would be to launch cruise missiles at Syrian industrial targets, trash their economy and code name the operation “Recovery Summer,” but avoiding such mockery is why that concern is reportedly being addressed at the White House. Basically the administration is asking themselves the question “does this war make me look fat?”

Obama said last night he hasn’t made up his mind yet, but I think he’s leaning in the direction of attack, because he’s gone really gray for this one:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxyBKKYPT4c&w=420&h=315]

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: Barack Obama, Health care, New York Times, Paul Krugman