So much for Congress. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Assad government to turn over all their chemical weapons in a week or face attack. The State Department has clarified that Kerry was merely being rhetorical but the message the Obama Administration is sending is once again muddled.

The US secretary of state has said that President Bashar al-Assad has one week to hand over his entire stock of chemical weapons to avoid a military attack. But John Kerry added that he had no expectation that the Syrian leader would comply…

The US state department stressed that Kerry was making a rhetorical argument about the one-week deadline and unlikelihood of Assad turning over Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. In a statement, the department added: “His point was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago. That’s why the world faces this moment.”

A rhetorical argument? Sounds pretty much like an explicit threat that factors out Congress. Perhaps it is time to shelve this sort of the rhetoric until the American people have a chance to weigh in.

Kerry said the Americans were planning an “unbelievably small” attack on Syria. “We will be able to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war. That is exactly what we are talking about doing – unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”

Just a few tons of explosives, promise.

The more the Obama Administration is forced to justify itself, the more pathetic this entire effort appears. Kerry has compared Assad to Hitler, but then says the US will launch an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” For Hitler? For a man who allegedly gasses children? Just a few missile strikes? The argument makes no sense.