The real reason Obama drew brakes on Syria attack

President Obama never gets tired of finding new ways to disappoint us.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, President Obama surprised the nation and the world when he announced that he would seek the approval of Congress before launching cruise (presumably called that because they fly far and at a constant speed) missiles at Syria. At the New York Times, Mark Landler reports (emphasis added):

He had several reasons, he told [his staff], including a sense of isolation after the terrible setback in the British Parliament. But the most compelling one may have been that acting alone would undercut him if in the next three years he needed Congressional authority for his next military confrontation in the Middle East, perhaps with Iran.

If he made the decision to strike Syria without Congress now, he said, would he get Congress when he really needed it?

“He can’t make these decisions divorced from the American public and from Congress,” said a senior aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations. “Who knows what we’re going to face in the next three and a half years in the Middle East?”

President Obama, who has spent his two terms in office redefining the meaning of the word “disheartening” has surpassed himself yet again. He agrees to stop playing – in a role made famous by George W. Bush –  the unitary executive for a day and seek Congressional approval for a strike on Syria. But, in possibly foregoing an attack on Syria, he’s saving his political capital for that rainy day he might seek to attack Iran.

Cross-posted from the Foreign Policy in Focus blog Focal Points.

5 replies »

  1. Thats a lot of conjecture based on rumor. Who said it? A “senior aide” who for all we know could be a damn janitor at the newspaper that pulled shit out of his ass for the sole purpose of earning 20 bucks from the reporter. Or, it could be Joe Biden. We don’t know.

    Then, to take it further and, based on something that might potentially happen sometime in the future, criticize Obama for this … it just doesn’t add up.

    Personally, I liken this more to Rowanda. We are watching war crimes in action (morally if not in the technical eyes of international law). Do we really want to sit back and do nothing just because the previous asshat misled us and the rest of the world in order to [insert various morally bankrupt rationals for invading Iraq here]?

    What is happening in Syria has nothing to do with what happened in Iraq or Afghanistan. And we must analyze the situation and determine our response, if any, based on that. At least, we must if we wish to maintain a logical, rational outlook towards international relations.

    • Do we *want* to do nothing? Of course not. Do we want to do something precipitous? Even less. Let’s say we intervene, whatever intervention means. Let’s say the rebels take the upper hand. “Rebel” doesn’t connote one cohesive group of people in Syria. Assad falls, and there’s a power vacuum leading potentially to a failed state that would make Somalia blush. In whose hands do the chemical weapons fall? Where are Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and Israel in the development and aftermath?

      Yes, 100,000+ current dead, including the 1,000+ dead at the hands of chemical weapons of, as of yet, uncertain provenance is horribly tragic. Ill-advised action predicated on the will of strange bedfellows with dubious motives could easily make that a seven-figure catastrophe.

      • What you say is possible. It is also possible that this could trigger WWIII. It is also possible it could trigger nothing. Conjecture on top of conjecture on top of conjecture is meaningless.

        What the author posted is speculation on one possible reason Obama decided to get congressional approval for a military strike against Syria. We can all dream up a dozen different reasons for why Obama did it. The end result though is that he has gone to congress. That is something, whatever possible ulterior motives he may or may not have, that is a good thing – moving the presidency away from dictatorial powers.

        I don’t have the answer for what the best course of action in Syria will be. All I know is that we can not sit idly by while a nation uses Sarin gas in a conflict. That kind of precedence should not be allowed. Period. Especially when the main reason for inaction is based on the actions of the previous asshat in the white house. George W Bush was responsible for enough evil in this world. Let’s not let him be responsible for anymore.