I was eminently impressed that the speech actually started on time. I was unimpressed that he decided to make his plea from the same spot in which Joe Biden proclaimed that passing Obamacare was a “big f’ing deal“. Trotting down the red carpet to discuss potential military action and a serious international issue just doesn’t work. He started out well, though, making an impassioned plea to Do Something based on the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government
The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children.
And the 110,000 killed by other methods apparently are meaningless.
Let me explain why. If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons.
Why didn’t we act the first time they were used? Most of the early part of the speech was laying out how chemical weapons are Bad, something I think we can all agree with, and he’s worried that the war could spread and they could be used. Something that hasn’t happened. But, this was all a moral plea. Which wasn’t actually all that bad, and delivered in a more presidential tone than Obama usually uses. Then, we ran off the tracks
This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the president, and more and more burdens on the shoulders of our troops, while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.
Seriously? Whining about President Bush? Last time I checked, he obtained Congressional and UN approval for both Afghanistan and Iraq. Last time I checked, 9/11 was launched from Afghanistan.
…and I know Americans want all of us in Washington, especially me, to concentrate on the task of building our nation here at home, putting people back to work, educating our kids, growing our middle class.
Adding campaign material in the speech was a Bad Idea. Especially since he’s been failing at the economy for over 4 years.
Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver. I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force. We learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next. But a targeted strike can make Assad or any other dictator think twice before using chemical weapons.
Funny, Obama forgot to mention Libya and Egypt, the first being a completely failed state overrun in the eastern part by Islamists after using force. And Egypt moved towards an Islamist government after Obama pushed Mubarak out the door, forcing the military to knock the Muslim Brotherhood out and take over. Where was Mr. Obama and his “responsibility”?
Over the last two years my administration has tried diplomacy and sanctions, warnings and negotiations. But chemical weapons were still used by the Assad regime.
Strange, because we did that to Saddam for over a decade, with resolution after resolution passed in the UN and Bill Clinton signing the Iraqi Liberation Act. We gave him one last chance with Resolution 1441. Does this means Obama now supports, retroactively, the use of force against Saddam? He sure made the case retroactively. Let’s back up the speech for a second
But I’m also the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possessed the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress.
Ignoring the fact that we’re a Republic, not a democracy, a distinction a good chunk of the electorate wouldn’t understand, he stated unequivocally that Syria has no other meaning at this time but a moral one. There are no threats to the U.S.
This was Obama’s time to shine, to lead, to make his case. Despite Republican ambivalence towards Obama, I think most on the Right want to support the elected president when it comes to foreign adventures and policy, even after the way Democrats treated George W. Bush for 8 years, never letting politics “stop at the waters edge”. Obama did not seem to move the needle, and I doubt that the polls will change much if at all.