Over the course of the last couple weeks, since the use of chemical weapons and gassing of Syrian civilians, Barack Obama has been struggling with exactly how his office is supposed to handle such things … and saving his own face to the world.
He has been called out as an “amateur”, and even one of his biggest supporters in his own party in the Congress has just called him “embarrassing”. All roads lead to Obama’s “Staggering Incompetence”…
It’s reported that President Obama was ready to order a military strike against Syria, with or without Congress’s blessing, but “on Friday night, he suddenly changed his mind.”
In light of all this, it’s worth posing a few questions:
1. Why didn’t the president seek congressional authority before the administration began to beat the war drums this past week? Did the idea not occur to him? It’s not as if this is an obscure issue. When you’re in the White House and preparing to launch military force against a sovereign nation, whether or not to seek the approval of Congress is usually somewhere near the top of the to-do list.
And why has the urgency to act that we saw from the administration during the last week–when Assad’s use of chemical weapons was referred to by the secretary of state as a “moral obscenity”–given way to an air of casualness, with Obama not even calling Congress back into session to debate his military strike against Syria?
2. The president didn’t seek congressional approval for his military strike in Libya. Why does he believe he needs it in Syria?
3. Mr. Obama, in his Rose Garden statement on Saturday, still insisted he has the authority to strike Syria without congressional approval. So what happens if Congress votes down a use-of-force resolution? Does the president strike Syria anyway? If so, will it be an evanescent bombing, intended to be limited in scope and duration, while doing nothing to change the war’s balance of power? Or does the president completely back down? Does he even know? Has he thought through in advance anything related to Syria? Or is this a case of Obama simply making it up as he goes along?
This latest volte-face by the president is evidence of a man who is completely overmatched by events, weak and confused, and deeply ambivalent about using force. Yet he’s also desperate to get out of the corner he painted himself into by declaring that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would constitute a “red line.” As a result he’s gone all Hamlet on us. Not surprisingly, Obama’s actions are being mocked by America’s enemies and sowing doubt among our allies.
What explains this debacle? It’s impossible for us to know all the reasons, but one explanation appears to be a CYA operation.
Michael Yon Online: “Outrage Is Not A Strategy”
JustOneMinute: “Afraid To Lead – The Man Who Would Be … Present”
PJ Media: “What The Hell Is Going On?”
Politico: “How not to run a foreign policy”
Nile Gardiner Telegraph UK: “Barack Obama is proving an embarrassing amateur on the world stage compared to George W. Bush”
Also, missing this time around are all those anti-Iraq war voices yelling at the Bush administration to allow for more and more U.N. sanctions and resolutions instead of invading the country. Do we really, out of national security, need to do anything with Syria, or is it that we have to help Obama out of the corner he painted himself into? I rather we stay out, not the least of which reason is the fact the Pentagon last week said we just don’t have the funds for any military operation there (Remember, our military continues to take sharp cuts under the ‘sequester’). I do not support Assad, but I do know the “rebels” are not the good guys either, by any stretch. There are unanswered questions and mixed reports/sources about where these weapons came from, what they were, and exactly who used them. I also know there were far more innocent people killed in the 2009-2010 “Green Movement” in Iran than died in Syria from chemical weapons. I do know there have been far more slaughtered in genocide in the Sudan over the last 16-17 or more years with forced starvation, machetes, beheadings, hangings, guns, burning alive, etc. than died in the recent Syrian gassing. But we have felt no need to intervene. I still stand by my view that we went into Iraq because, in addition to the U.N. violations and the WMDs Saddam did have (no matter what’s been said), his biggest WMD was his limitless wealth and eagerness to fund more 9/11 attacks on the United States here at home and abroad. He was already negotiating with terrorist leaders, in addition to funding suicide bombings in Israel. But whether or not you agreed with Bush’s invading of Iraq he did go about it the correct way, and was resolute in his decision-making. Obama, not-so-much.
This is what happens when you throw out the rules book/manual (U.S. Constitution) to your job/position … and then decide to CYA by reverting back to the manual and running to Congress so you can shrug your shoulders and throw up your hands, deflecting the “co-ownership” decision-making responsibility on them, ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But the Syria issue is not Obama’s only Constitutional problem these growing days…
CATO Institute: “Odds Now Growing Our Constitution Will Pulverize Obama”
Anyhow, now that Obama has positioned himself with his wandering over to the Congress on Syria, AoSHQ notes the MSM is acting as if the guy is doing something, like, historic. Never mind Pres. Bush took months with the United Nations, and went to the U.S. Congress, before invading Iraq … and he had our allies on his side.
FLASHBACK: Leon Panetta 9/2012 – “Some Syrian Chemical Weapons Have Gone Missing”