As the human tragedy grows in Aleppo, Syria, pressure is growing on the Obama administration to own up to its responsibility in the crisis, and it boiled over during a State Department press conference Wednesday.
Associated Press reporter Brad Klapper confronted State Department spokesman John Kirby with a lengthy description of the pattern of failures they have been repeating about Syria.
Here's how it went:
KLAPPER: You failed repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again, which is a combination of trying to bring together people in some sort of talks with an imperfect ceasefire. Then when things go badly you get really angry and accuse them of war crimes or crimes against humanity and then nothing ever changes.
You haven't succeeded once. You've talked about successes sometimes with Russia which looks to everyone like tactical retreats and momentary pauses. So what are you doing differently to prevent more of the same?
KIRBY: Failure is in the belief that this war can be solved militarily, and the failure is on Russia for not putting the proper pressure on the Assad regime to stop the brutality, the gassing, the surrender, the starvation of their own people.
The failure is on part of the regime and its backers including Russia and Iran for the way they continue to try to find a military solution to what should be a political one. That's the real failure here and the Syrian people are caught in the crossfire, quite literally.
Kirby attempted to deflect the blame onto Russia and Iran in order to relieve President Barack Obama of all responsibility, which only animated Klapper to chase after him more:
KIRBY: You talked about the United States failure when I would say that the international community has remained focused on trying to bring about a better outcome in Syria, and yes, the United States is a leader in that effort -
KLAPPER: You speak for the United States and you have a specific, as the most powerful country in the world, have a specific responsibility in the world and you can push that over to the international community—
KIRBY: I'm not!
KLAPPER: The United States has failed in this, do you disagree?
KIRBY: What I disagree with [laughter] is where the failure lies. The failure lies on the part of the regime and its backers to act with any sense of moral standards for human behavior.
Kirby was simply unwilling to say that the Obama administration has failed in any respect whatsoever, and instead tried to pin the crisis on the international community, Russia, Iran and Assad — anyone but Obama.
What Kirby is making clear is that the president will take absolutely no military action to relieve the human misery in Syria. Instead, they will continue the pattern of diplomatic failure in an attempt to preserve Obama's legacy and run the clock out.