There are days when you wonder why they bother. In two paragraphs, the New York Times – by helpfully conveying Team Obama’s message exactly as intended – inadvertently demonstrates why the Obama policy is a self-cancelling exercise:
Qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to govern, and it is time for him to go without further violence or delay,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters after a special meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council. “No option is off the table,” she said, adding “that of course includes a no-fly zone.”
But officials in Washington and elsewhere said that direct military action remained unlikely, and that the moves were designed as much as anything as a warning to Colonel Qaddafi and a show of support to the protesters seeking to overthrow his government.
It’s the last sentence that bears examination. “Direct military action remained unlikely.” “The moves were designed as much as anything as a warning to Colonel Qaddafi.” If the, er, cognitive dissonance hasn’t registered with you, I recommend reading it over three more times.
A warning is about something you will actually do. When you tell the “warnee” that you’re probably not going to do it, that you’re “just” giving him a warning, he doesn’t take that as a warning. He takes it as a bizarre, perhaps annoying exercise in irrelevance on your part.
Dyer has difficulty understanding that the point of warning is not actually doing what you’re threatening to do. If I point my Oklahoma shotgun at you and say, “I’m going to shoot you if you take another step,” I may very well consider it very highly unlikely that I’ll have to discharge both barrels on ya. It’s my reluctance to put another notch on my stock that leads me to offer a warning.
The Obama Admin “warning” is that it currently has no plans to intervene militarily or to take other unspecified escalated steps against Xadaffy & Co. You don’t have to have read Cold War era nuclear war game theory treatises to reach this perfectly simple conclusion. It could be, however, that reading those treatises – either that or, more likely, living in a state of constant anxiety over insufficient anti-Obamaism and bloody-mindedness – can render even the totally obvious, re-read three times or not, impossibly obscure.