Barack Obama had painted himself into a corner. If he went forward with a Syria strike Republicans would call him reckless and accuse him of being a Muslim for supporting Al Qaeda, which dominates the rebel faction. If he did not, Republicans would call him a gutless wimp and accuse him of being a Muslim for supporting Assad, who allies with Hezbollah. By statute, he already has the authority to launch a military intervention for up to sixty days without Congressional approval, but in light of the breath of public opinion against intervention, he was wise to dump it back in Congress’ lap.
President Obama abruptly changed course on Saturday and postponed a military strike against the Syrian government in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack so he could seek authorization first from a deeply skeptical Congress.
In one of the riskiest gambles of his presidency, Mr. Obama effectively dared lawmakers to either stand by him or, as he put it, allow President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to get away with murdering children with unconventional weapons. By asking them to take a stand, Mr. Obama tried to break out of the isolation of the last week as he confronted taking action without the support of the United Nations, Congress, the public or Britain, a usually reliable partner in such international operations.
“I’m prepared to give that order,” Mr. Obama said in a hurriedly organized appearance in the Rose Garden as American destroyers armed with Tomahawk missiles waited in the Mediterranean Sea. “But having made my decision as commander in chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I’m also mindful that I’m the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.”…
Inserted from <NY Times>
An UP panel discussed Obama’s move.
Now, I have no idea how this will turn out, and must admit to being as surprised as everyone else seems to be. Nobody called this.
Be careful not to use Iraq as a measure of this intervention. Iraq was a Republican war for oil and conquest, part of a Republican plan to conquer eight nations in the Middle East and Africa. The people who brought the intelligence forward were Republican war mongers. Syria is intended to be a limited strike, lasting two days at most, with no boots on the ground. The person who is bringing the intelligence forward is John Kerry, a man with deep ties to the peace movement. I have examined what is available, and I do believe Assad has used chemical weapons.
There can be no doubt that innocent lives will be lost in a US strike. However, if it can degrade Assad’s ability to employ chemical weapons against his people, it may save far more lives than those lost. In addition, it may serve to stop other dictators from using chemical weapons on their people, saving even more lives, while drawing a line and then doing nothing might be a green light to them.
Frankly, I’m not sure which is best, but before we form our individual opinions, we should tale a long, hard look, instead of the usual knee-jerk responses.