Before I digest everything from President Obama’s speech on Syria last night and the reaction to it, I want to put this out:
Remember? We tried “shock and awe” at the beginning of the Iraq War and then it took us ten years with mucho boots on the ground and thousands of our people (and of course others) getting killed or gravely wounded to get out of there and in the end even though we helped set up a government or supported it, that government dismissed us — and I always have to add, we didn’t even get a lock on the oil , and I don’t care what anyone suggests, oil was our primary concern or reason for the whole thing.
Also I heard an interesting interview (and I did not get the name of the author) about a biography of Woodrow Wilson. He’s of course the president who served one term and then won a second on the slogan: “he kept us out of war”, and then upon taking his second term he got us into World War I on the principle (his) of “making the world safe for democracy”. And it was noted that Obama seems to be mirroring Wilson in this. Obama campaigned on ending wars of choice in the Middle East and now he seems hell bent on getting us militarily involved in something in Syria in order to essentially make the world safe for democracy or at least safe from dictator who lobs chemical weapons at his people — there is not much democracy in the Middle East, save for Israel and the attempts at it elsewhere.
I came away from Obama’s speech last night thinking it would have been a good idea for him to have worked things out with congress behind the scenes before he committed himself and to have gotten his message out to the American people earlier. And if he saw it was not playing well, to have dropped the plan and moved on. It is a war of choice (I know he does not call it war but it is). Even the isolationists leading up to World War II shut up and went along after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. And 9/11, the 12th anniversary of which we are observing today, came at the right time for the interventionists who influenced George W. Bush (pardon me for being cynical). And isn’t it tragically ironic that on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. we have a president ready to plunge us into yet another military action in the Middle East? So much for the apology tour he made at the beginning of his presidency.
We just are not directly threatened here. Of course that does not mean we don’t face some future threat from all of this. Yes, we should be working ever so discreetly, clandestinely perhaps, to shape things the way we need them.
Oh, and one more thing, the Russian plan to let Syria give up its chemical weapons is no doubt a stalling tactic, but if it defuses things for the moment or gets us out of a tough spot maybe that is good.
The threat of force by Obama most likely did move things along. But again, Obama should have gotten support first. Now he is in the uncomfortable position of saying: I’m going to attack you, if I can get permission.
But let us all hope and pray it all works out to the good.