First President Obama said he did not need Congressional approval to order a military strike on Syria. This after stating a year ago that his “calculus’ will be altered on whether to intervene in Syria if the Assad regime used chemical weapons. He threatened “enormous consequences” if the “red line” was crossed. The Assad regime crossed the red line by using chemical weapons on its people and that left the president in a bind.
Looking for cover, Obama did something totally out of character and embraced the Constitution seeking Congressional approval to use military action. Congress is in recess until September 9 and all indications are there are not enough votes to approve a strike. The president is now facing a credibility gap. He threatened consequences but now appears like the boy who cried wolf on the world stage.
Obama is once again deflecting all responsibility and accountability for his actions. He stated he did not set a red line but the world community did. The president also fell back on his tried and true ways by thumbing his nose at the Constitution and, by extension, the American people. He stated if Congress did not give him the authority to use military force he may unilaterally do it anyway.
Between the screaming talking heads on both sides of the aisle are two important stories. The first is whether the United States should take action against a foreign nation not abiding by the rules. I have long maintained the United States should neutralize any threat to its people before the threat becomes too real. I agreed with President Bush’s decision to go into Iraq and if it is a matter of nationally security I agree we need to strike Syria.
The second item is Obama is doing what he does best: playing politics. If Congress approves a strike, Obama will do a Pontius Pilate. If Congress rejects the request, Obama will blame the Republicans for all the atrocities. The media will no doubt run stories and pictures of impoverished, gassed, homeless, and destitute people. If Obama thwarts the Constitution and attacks Syria with an executive order, he will say he did it for the sake of humanity. The media will once again aid and abet him in this mission.
Regardless, the American people have a weak president. He is averse to owning decisions and wants nothing to bear his name unless it is a Nobel Peace Prize. Ironically, he won that for doing nothing so the stage was set from the beginning. This episode is another example of his ineptness especially when contrasted with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Putin has a clear policy on Syria, but Obama has been vague. Putin has been specific and determined on his policy while Obama is general and uncertain. While a real leader stands up our president is sitting down.