WASHINGTON — With a few exceptions in the past half-century, there has been a simple rule of thumb when it comes to international conflict: America does not use force without Britain at its side.
So when Prime Minister David Cameron was unable to muster the votes in Parliament for support for a strike in Syria — even one limited to stopping the future use of chemical weapons — shock could be heard in the voices of senior White House officials who never saw the British rejection coming.
“Bungled by Cameron,” said one.
“Embarrassing,” said another. “For Cameron, and for us.”
Put aside that Obama's ad lib about using chemical weapons being a "red line" in Syria got us into this mess. And put aside whether Cameron really did bungle the vote in Parliament. A disciplined White House does not have senior officials speaking off the record denigrating a long-time and necessary ally on the eve of starting a military conflict.
Sheesh! Doesn't anyone in the Administration know what they're doing?