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Obama is far from building convincing case for war with Syria

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Between Democratic loyalists and Republican hawks, it’s looking more likely today than it did last Saturday that President Obama will get the approval of Congress for military strikes on Syria.

Good thing for him, too. He’s betting the prestige of the office on it.

Republican House leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor fell in line with the president this week, as have other high-profile Republicans.

Georgia’s two Republican U.S. senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, also support a strike.

It’s a good bet many otherwise dovish Democrats will back Obama, too, in order to avoid having the president be “shamed and humiliated on the national stage,” as nonvoting District of Columbia congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton put it.

It’s a little late for that, given the fact that the mere delay until Congress returns in full next week has led the country’s enemies to crow about Obama’s weakness and vacillation.

The president’s equivocation in his Saturday announcement that he’ll seek congressional approval for military action also stood in stark contrast to Secretary of State John Kerry’s impassioned rallying cry for action just a day before.

It’s interesting that some are willing to support a Syrian strike with what appears to be less evidence than was obtained against Saddam Hussein. And we all know how that turned out.

We also agree with folks such as Isakson and Chambliss that if the president was going to ask for Congress’ marching orders, he should’ve called it into session this week rather than wait until the next.

Most of that will be quickly forgotten, however, should Congress go along with him and the real shooting starts. Moreover, the delay may be changing the outcome: It’s possible Congress would’ve given the Syrian strike a thumbs-down if asked this week; the intervening days give the Obama administration the opportunity to build the case.

Building the case – with Congress, with our allies and with the American people – should’ve preceded all of this. And Mr. Obama should never have bandied about talk of Syria crossing “red lines” by using chemical weapons unless he was quietly assembling an army of supporters. He has mismanaged this crisis horribly from the get-go.

South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan speaks for many of us.

“I’m canceling my meetings tomorrow to head back to D.C. to participate in hearings on the president’s request for the use of military force in Syria,” he wrote earlier this week on his Facebook page. “I’ve yet to see how military intervention in Syria is in our national interest, nor have I heard a good argument for why we should aid the al-Qaida-backed Syrian opposition.”

But again, Congress may end up bailing out the president.

If so, we hope they are in possession of compelling information they can’t disclose to the rest of us, because on its face a strike on Syria looks like a potentially catastrophic mistake – a joining in, and an escalation of, a war in which our national interests are either nonexistent or non-negotiable. It seems no-win to us.

We don’t deny the horror of chemical weapons or the need to crack down on their use. But why should the U.S. go it alone, or nearly so – particularly when the former president was excoriated by the current one for supposed unilateralism?

And, as one California Democrat wondered aloud, have we really exhausted all possible peaceful means of upbraiding the Syrian regime?

We look forward to the president making a case for war. Right now, he’s nowhere close.

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grouse
1635
Points
grouse 09/04/13 - 10:48 pm
0
1
In other words, The Chronicle
Unpublished

In other words, The Chronicle is saying, "we don't like the President whether he does or he doesn't." The narrative is "the President is wrong"...The Chronicle is just waiting for a decision is made to decide which tangent to proceed with...

Rhetor
999
Points
Rhetor 09/05/13 - 05:37 am
6
17
OK, sure

I tend to agree with you but, then, I'm a progressive Democrat.
What amuses me, however, is that for weeks many Republicans have been beating the war drums. But, as soon as President Obama said he wanted to bomb Syria, many of them changed their minds for no apparent reason except a driving compulsion to disagree with whatever Obama wants. Anyway, I'm so glad, no matter how strange the circumstances, to see that the Republicans and the ACES are suddenly becoming a bunch of flaming liberals. There may be hope for you yet! So, have an extra-great day.

shrimp for breakfast
5422
Points
shrimp for breakfast 09/05/13 - 05:54 am
12
1
I don't get it

It's like we're telegraphing to Syria our intentions way before any action is to be taken. I've never seen such mismanagement of something so serious as bombing another country. The world is probably laughing at us. To bomb or not to bomb, that is the question. Syria we'll let you know sooner or later. Don't worry we'll give you the whole itinerary before we do anything.

carcraft
25191
Points
carcraft 09/05/13 - 06:35 am
9
3
NO

The only reason Republican hawks have been beating the war drum is because Obama shot off his alligator mouth and his canary butt couldn't carry the weight. Obama really has two problems. Launching millions may billions of dollars in ordnance will deplete military supplies and with OBAMA'S sequester resupply will require special congressional funding. The other problem is the objective. Military action requires a clear objective. You do not risk troops and spend millions and deplete resources because you think that is just the thing to do. Fire bombing Dresden Germany was punishment to the Germans for the Blitz on London. Lobbing a few cruise missiles like Clinton did to Ben Lauden, not the same. So what is our objective? Topple Assay? Really? That worked well in Libya and Egypt! Degrade Assad's power, to what point and how do we know? Next well will nation building with troops on the ground to stabilize, gee that worked well in Afghanistan and Iraq!

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 09/05/13 - 06:53 am
0
0
Unlike the previous wars that
Unpublished

Unlike the previous wars that Bush started... we have to have the EVIDENCE that Syria did what they have been accused of doing. The UN is processing that information and will inform the world of the findings once done. Hear-say and other mess is what started the Iraq war (you know.. the war that was started on the notion that Iraq had WMD which turned out to be untrue at the time).

deestafford
26316
Points
deestafford 09/05/13 - 07:07 am
9
2
Total Ineptness

is what obama is showing. If he were going to do something about the chemical strike he should have attacked with missiles very forcefully and strongly and then announced from the Oval Office after he did it and why.

As it is the Syrians have moved they weapons in among hospitals and schools and dispersed the other military and logistical targets and assets where we can't hit them without significant civilian casualties.

He has acted as he has because he wants to be seen as agonizing over the decision in order to get sympathy from his low information/worshiping followers. In reality he has never made a timely decision on anything that did not have to do with race or homosexuals. Everything else he showed his lack of experience in decision making capabilities.

Yesterday in the House hearings the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs could not even tell what the mission was when he was asked by one of the congressmen.

I'm still not sure which side is responsible for the chemical attack. It would not be beyond the AlQuada to do the attack so it would be blamed on Assad. I really don't see what Assad would gain by the attacks. When Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds that was against a different ethnic group whereas Assad is of the same ethnic group as those gassed.

jack234
719
Points
jack234 09/05/13 - 07:12 am
3
12
Republicans, be careful what

Republicans, be careful what you ask for. You wanted the debate, you got it. Now the ball is in your court. You decide. Mr. President, that was a smart move. The president wins regardless of the vote. I will support the president either way because that's what we do as a united people when faced with international issues that we don't ignore.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 09/05/13 - 07:37 am
7
3
Beating the war drums? Who?
Unpublished

Beating the war drums? Who?

ymnbde
9553
Points
ymnbde 09/05/13 - 07:38 am
6
1
Benghazi matters

lies, especially such incompetent ones (it was the video!) matter
and the lies and the incompetence mean this regime can't be trusted
the SyrianRussian govermedia already has video of the dead children we're going to bomb
the sobbing mothers and the angry funeral processions
that "activist" muslims all over the world will see
will they believe it's just "workplace violence?"
incompetence has consequences
they have to go beyond a preponderance of the evidence
perhaps they should take their case to a civilian court
and get permission from them?

Gary Ross
3346
Points
Gary Ross 09/05/13 - 08:06 am
8
1
The best way to accomplish peace...

...is to bomb the heck out of Syria? To impose our will on a country in the middle of a civil war? To support the al-Qaida-backed Syrian opposition? Yeah, that makes a lot of sence all right. Especially coming from an administration who with every opportunity is trying to cripple America.

War should be the last resort, not the first reaction. What is this teaching our young people?

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 09/05/13 - 08:09 am
11
3
Give us the names of the
Unpublished

Give us the names of the Republicans who were beating the "war drums" to attack Syria and are now against war. Provide the names of the "hawks who are now doves" It's easy for you liberals to just make statements that are not true, and hope people believe it, isn't it?

seenitB4
85384
Points
seenitB4 09/05/13 - 08:09 am
5
2
Clouded vision

This is not about the President....this is about chemical weapons used on us at some time.
I put my thoughts on r/r today ...so i won't repeat here....we are sitting ducks quacking our mouths off & can't see the forest for the trees...God help us all.

myfather15
54358
Points
myfather15 09/05/13 - 08:24 am
5
1
Rhetor

"But, as soon as President Obama said he wanted to bomb Syria, many of them changed their minds for no apparent reason except a driving compulsion to disagree with whatever Obama wants."

If you DO NOT learn from the past, you are doomed to repeat it!! What did we LEARN from Egypt and Libya? We LEARNED that Al Qaeda is the ACTUAL group fighting these "revolutions"!! Now, ask yourself WHY, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood want Assad out of power!! You MUST ask this question before ASSISTING THEM!!

These two groups ARE OUR ENEMY, and ARE the ones attack US on 9/11. They are our enemy even more than Assad and the Syrian government!! So, how is it so many liberals AND republican's are so quick to bomb Assad!! No, chemical weapons SHOULDN'T be used, but don't you think it's possible this was done to DRAW us into the fight? If Assad KNOWS America and the world will come down on him, WHY would he used chemical weapons??? WHY!!!

This Civil War has been going on for 2 years and Assad's government is WINNING!! They are kicking the crap out of the opposition!! So, if you're the leader of Syria and you have a rebellion, BUT there is no SERIOUS threat, because you're military is DEFEATING THEM; WHY OH WHY would it make sense to use chemical weapons and bring the attention of the world, TO YOU???

Assad using chemical weapons; while he is winning the fight, would be picking a fight with the USA, the UN and entire world; besides the few Countries that support him.

That would be like me picking a fist fight with a grizzly bear; it makes NO SENSE!!! But we (USA) are so quick to jump into this, sense the chemical weapons were used.........hhhmmmmmm; something to think about!!

myfather15
54358
Points
myfather15 09/05/13 - 08:28 am
4
2
But liberal's don't want to

But liberal's don't want to think about WHY!! Obama said we need to bomb Syria and they blindly follow every word he says!! Their messiah!!

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 09/05/13 - 08:30 am
6
2
"My how the hawks become
Unpublished

"My how the hawks become doves. Sequester?"
Bod, you must have VERY SHORT memory. The lying, racist, America hating Marxist/communist in the WH was the one that suggested the 'Sequester'.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 09/05/13 - 08:38 am
0
6
Quote from editorial

"It’s a good bet many otherwise dovish Democrats will back Obama, too, in order to avoid having the president be “shamed and humiliated on the national stage"

Yesterday, Obama stated; and rightfully so; that it would not be his credibility tarnished, BUT the whole free world if we did not act on Syria's breaking of international law.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 09/05/13 - 08:42 am
0
4
Quote from editorial

"Republican House leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor fell in line with the president this week, as have other high-profile Republicans"

WHY IS IT that people don't believe these Republicans can't just be following McCain's lead because he knows war first hand??

corgimom
31170
Points
corgimom 09/05/13 - 08:43 am
4
4
"If he were going to do

"If he were going to do something about the chemical strike he should have attacked with missiles very forcefully and strongly and then announced from the Oval Office after he did it and why."

Um, you mean the President of the US has the right to order a surprise attack on another country whenever he feels like it, when nobody in that country has done anything to the US, without anyone's approval?

Are you SURE that's the position you want to take, Dee Stafford?

I don't think that's a very good idea, do you?

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 09/05/13 - 08:48 am
0
4
Quote from editorial

"It’s a little late for that, given the fact that the mere delay until Congress returns in full next week has led the country’s enemies to crow about Obama’s weakness and vacillation"

If this comment is refering to the fact that The Syrians have probably moved the chemical weapons, you are probably correct. But don't you think that our spy satilights have followed ALL of The Syrians' prepartions for an American strike??

Little Lamb
45282
Points
Little Lamb 09/05/13 - 08:54 am
4
1
Puzzling

I am puzzled by John McCain's desire to have the Al Qaeda-backed rebels take over the government of Syria. Is Al Qaeda now our friend?

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 09/05/13 - 08:56 am
1
5
Quote from editorial

"The president’s equivocation in his Saturday announcement that he’ll seek congressional approval for military action also stood in stark contrast to Secretary of State John Kerry’s impassioned rallying cry for action just a day before"

Better late than never to try and get approval from congress! I believe you could go even further and say Obama was just following the lead of Britian's Priminister. Granted, Obama's timeing IS WAY OFF, but now he will have THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE on Amarica's side!

jimmymac
36955
Points
jimmymac 09/05/13 - 08:58 am
1
0
SYRIA
Unpublished

I can't see why Assad would want to use chemical weapons on people he's defeating with conventional weapons. Something stinks here and I think Al Qaeda is involved trying to bring in international intervention. Stay out of that mess and let the other Muslim countries take care of their problems.

allhans
23531
Points
allhans 09/05/13 - 09:01 am
6
1
I am still stunned from

I am still stunned from hearing Obama tell the media (meaning the whole world) in Sweden that he was not the one to draw the red line.

God save us.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 09/05/13 - 09:03 am
0
6
Quote from editorial

"We also agree with folks such as Isakson and Chambliss that if the president was going to ask for Congress’ marching orders, he should’ve called it into session this week rather than wait until the next"

I agree with this statement! Again, Obama's timeing is way, way off! An event of this magnitude should have warrented the call-back of congress. Many people are saying this whole afair is very telling on Obama's foreign policy, BUT the whole free world needs to back him NOW!

justthefacts
21359
Points
justthefacts 09/05/13 - 09:03 am
7
1
allhans

Yeah, he ran from that one didn't he. But then, nothing is his fault.

Bizkit
30698
Points
Bizkit 09/05/13 - 09:13 am
8
3
Assad has been our ally and

Assad has been our ally and has maintained a secular functioning govt. I don't condone his actions but he would better than a coming theocracy. I noted Putin called Obama a liar-and I think he is correct. This is what we get when we elect a community organizer with no experience as a leader. Now Obama could be brilliant (which he isn't except in his own mind), charismatic (which he is), but that doesn't make one a leader. Obama doesn't have leadership qualities-which is obvious. Yeah there are some hawk Rep but also hawk Dem (they did support both wars with the same information that we and our allies had). But this is Obama's he owns this-he can't blame Bush as usual. We should call this "numbskull diplomacy". Obama doesn't really want to do anything but he is afraid to do anything so he goes to Congress in hopes he can pin this on Rep. Shameful. The man has no gonads-I don't know how he has kids.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 09/05/13 - 09:13 am
1
6
Quote from editorial

"Most of that will be quickly forgotten, however, should Congress go along with him and the real shooting starts"

If anybody has forgotten, there were calls from a majority of Republicans to investigate (FULLY) the supposed 6 "scandles" that were amed at Obama's Administration. Quite often, I did not join in the comments on the supposed scandles, because, even though I am a Democrat, I believe there is a lot of validity to some of these "scandles". BUT now this crisis has begun, I will wager that this turning to something MORE important "CHILLS THE REPUBLICANS' JETS" noe that this Syrian thing is OVER-SHADDOWING congress' time!!

Bizkit
30698
Points
Bizkit 09/05/13 - 09:15 am
5
1
My bet at the G-2 Putin will

My bet at the G-2 Putin will bully and beat up Obama for being such a softy and indecisive. Our enemies really see his weaknesses-as does everyone now.

Bizkit
30698
Points
Bizkit 09/05/13 - 09:21 am
3
2
Tbledsoe so you forgot the 6

Tbledsoe so you forgot the 6 "supposed scandals" the Dems wasted time on Bush-memogate, valerie plane, WMD investigation, etc. I don't think any of these are phony scandals-no matter Bush or Obama and there needs to be complete lengthy investigations like still continue with Bush. I know we want know the truth till both are out of office or have passed.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 09/05/13 - 09:23 am
1
4
Quote from editorial

"Moreover, the delay may be changing the outcome: It’s possible Congress would’ve given the Syrian strike a thumbs-down if asked this week; the intervening days give the Obama administration the opportunity to build the case"

The spy satilights have kept up with the changing "lay-of-the-land" as for the timeing arguement. As for the "making the case" issue, Obama DID NOT make any of this up!! Are you suggesting that the evidence was made up??!! Even waiting on the evidence took "military advantage time" away from the "surprise" attack factor. Perhaps waiting on this important evidence trumps the stupid arguement that the chemicals were "acttually used by the rebels.

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