Friday, September 06, 2013

Which Way on Syria?

For the last two years I have been wishing that President Obama would do something about the humanitarian crisis in Syria. With hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced, President Clinton's vows of "never again" have been forgotten. So, now that Obama is requesting permission to act do I feel so conflicted about it?

I've been weighing this question for the last few days and I finally realized that this is not even a case of doing the right thing for the wrong reason. He wants to do the wrong thing for the wrong reason.

The President's response has nothing to do with the humanitarian crisis. Worse, it is not really about the use of chemical weapons. What clarified the issue for me was a columnist who pointed out that, had Obama not made a speech last year drawing a red line, he would be making a case before the Hague instead of Congress.

But he did draw the line and, as in Libya, he insists that he has the executive poser to act on that without authorization from Congress. He is going to Congress, anyway but not because of a sudden respect for the Constitution or the War Powers Act. He is going to them for political cover.

So, the President wants to take some form of action, the nature of which is still under debate, because of a speech he gave and he wants Congress to share the blame when it inevitably goes wrong.

No wonder the Pentagon and a majority of both parties are reluctant to support him.

So, while I think that the US should have been supporting the non-Islamic rebels for the last two years, I cannot support Obama's current goals in Syria especially when his administration is unable to state clearly what they are. Congress should vote him down.

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