NY Times: Hey, Obama Really Needs To Follow Through And Strike Syria

The Editorial Board for the Times squishily makes its case that Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack H. Obama should conduct war on Syria, with or without the blessing of the United Nations, forgetting that getting the blessing of the United States Congress might be nice

Responding to Syrian Atrocities

There is little doubt now that President Obama is planning some kind of military response to what the administration says without equivocation was a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government that killed hundreds of civilians. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry began forcefully making the case for action.

Speaking at the State Department, Mr. Kerry said the attack “defies any code of morality” and should “shock the conscience of the world.” He said this “indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders” was a “moral obscenity,” “inexcusable,” and “undeniable,” despite efforts by President Bashar al-Assad and his enablers in Russia to blame rebel forces.

“Make no mistake,” Mr. Kerry added, “President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.” Administration officials said Mr. Obama had still not made a firm decision on how to react, but it would be highly unlikely — if not irresponsible — for him to authorize Mr. Kerry to speak in such sweeping terms and then do nothing.

Here’s the really important part

This time the use of chemicals was more brazen and the casualties were much greater, suggesting that Mr. Assad did not take Mr. Obama seriously. Presidents should not make a habit of drawing red lines in public, but if they do, they had best follow through. Many countries (including Iran, which Mr. Obama has often said won’t be permitted to have a nuclear weapon) will be watching.

That’s their tacit approval for using the US military to attack Syria. We can all be certain that the White House reads the Times, and will see that as approval. But, just to hedge their bets, the Times does expect him to exhaust all diplomatic efforts

Using chemical arms is considered a war crime and banned under international treaties, including the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Geneva Protocol and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Even so, if he decides to use military force, Mr. Obama will have to show that he has exhausted diplomatic options and present a defensible legal justification, and that is not a simple matter. Ideally, the United States would muster a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorize military action. But Russia and China, which have veto power, have long protected Mr. Assad from punishment there and show no inclination to change. It is hard to believe that they would defend his use of chemical weapons, but there is no guarantee that they would not.

Hey, remember when President Bush was able to push the UN for Resolution 1441, which authorized military force against Iraq, as well as received Congressional approval? He gave Saddam plenty of time to comply. Yet liberals had a problem with this. Weird.

A political agreement is still the best solution to this deadly conflict, and every effort must be made to find one. President Obama has resisted demands that he intervene militarily and in force. Though Mr. Assad’s use of chemical weapons surely requires a response of some kind, the arguments against deep American involvement remain as compelling as ever.

And now the Times has taken both sides of the argument. The problem here is not any sort of military strike, it’s what comes afterwards. I won’t dispute that the Bush admin. made a mess of Iraq after the initial military action, and it took a lot to turn that around. Obama’s Big Libyan Adventure hasn’t exactly turned out well, with the eastern part of the country rife with hard-core Islamists. If Obama strikes Syria, he better have a good plan for what comes after.

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2 Responses to “NY Times: Hey, Obama Really Needs To Follow Through And Strike Syria”

  1. Dana says:

    It seems that the editors of The New York Times think that it’s vitally important that President Obama match his rhetoric with action, so as not to look like a milquetoast and a fool — and I’d suggest that it’s too late for that! — but they, too, don’t have any real plan, no goal that they specify as something to be achieved. The most that anybody seems to say is that such needs to be done to “punish” President Assad, to teach him some sort of lesson.

    But Mr Assad learned his lesson earlier, the lessons of Muammar Gadafi and Hosni Mubarak, the lesson that losing means, at best, a jail cell, if not just being beaten to death. If it’s a choice between using chemical weapons and losing power, it’s no choice at all.

  2. Wicked_Filner_Wednesday says:

    Presidents should not make a habit of drawing red lines in public, but if they do, they had best follow through.

    That is a given. If you are going to wave a stick, you’d best be prepared to use it – much like Pres Kennedy and Reagan did. And Bush.

    But, this guy? This guy likes to poster with his stick, and now he sees people laughing at him. No evil national leader listens to him despite him placating their wishes and offering them support.

    I truly believe that he will attack Syria without making a case to the UN or America. Screw the UN, law demands he get approval from Congress and especially from the American people. Yet, he does not fear us. As can be seen by his unilateral tyranny.

    (did you know he recently added to his illegal dream act rules stating that kid’s parents are now exempt from deportation)

    And what is worse, this Congress has done nothing to stop his tyranny, and will do nothing to stop this war. Obama will attack because like a whiny child, he will strike out because his feelings and pride are hurt.

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