Secretary of State John Kerry gave an impassioned speech to the American people last week, beseeching our citizens to support the administration’s call to action against the Assad regime in Syria. A few days later, President Obama himself went on national television to implore the people of the United States of America to support the Syrian rebellion. He used his talent for oratory to try and assuage fears of more military involvement in the Middle East, and to try and defend the need for an American presence in the region. As it turns out, the war in Syria is a hard sell for the Obama administration.
President Obama also used his speech to announce that, contrary to what his administration had been saying, the President would seek Congressional authorization of any attack on Syria. Many saw the move by the President as a response to Britain’s decision not to take action against Syria – their contention is that with the British bowing out, the President had no other choice but to ask for Congressional approval. In fact, some might say that the President’s last minute decision to ask for approval is simply an attempt to provide himself cover if getting involved in Syria ends up being the wrong call.
However, despite calls to action from both the Secretary of State and the President… most of America seem unmoved.
It’s not completely President Obama’s fault. After more than a decade of war, with little to show for our efforts, many Americans are simply tired of fighting. We have spent much in blood, time, and money trying to make a difference for good in the Middle East, and our compensation has been marginal at best.
In Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt and other places, things do not seem to be getting better. In some areas life is actually more difficult for the people living there, and al-Qaeda and other terrorist organization seem to reenergizing in recent years. Across North Africa, rebel groups are increasingly partnering with terrorist organizations; in some countries, they’ve even taken control (Libya, Egypt, Palestine, and Lebanon). In Iraq, violence is ever increasing and al-Qaeda seems as strong today as they were years ago. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is becoming relevant again. In Syria, al-Qaeda makes up a strong contingent of the rebel forces. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood had been elected and now is fighting against the military for control. In Lebanon, Hezbollah has been propped up for years by the Syrian government and is now returning the favor and helping Assad fight his rebels. In Libya, violence is surging and several different hardline Islamic groups are creating havoc in a nation that has yet to recover from their overthrow of Dictator Muammar Gadaffi. Things are bad folks, and most Americans can see that thus far our interventions haven’t meant a whole lot in terms of stabilizing the region.
However, other reasons for disaffection of engaging in Syria’s Civil War are the President’s fault. The scandals at the NSA, IRS, Justice Department and in Benghazi have left a bad taste in the mouths of all Americans who were not already Obama supporters. Over the last year we have uncovered that the government lies to us… often. If we cannot trust the government to be honest when we have evidence — hard proof that they’ve made mistakes or worse — how can we trust them now, about this?
President Obama may find he has an easier time selling the need to attack Syria to our legislature, but given the early reviews from his latest speech… I’m not so sure. Many Democrats seem unsure about the administrations motivations and are openly distraught about having to choose between war and siding against the administration. Some vocal Republicans openly scoff at the idea of voting for war against Syria, especially when it means that we would be helping rebel groups that include al-Qaeda soldiers. Even the war hawks seem against the proposal, because they believe it doesn’t go far enough. Which is why President Obama is reaching out to Senator McCain to try to get support to pass a war resolution against Syria. (Why do Democrats always turn to McCain or Lindsey Graham to get their ideas passed?)
Whatever happens next week, I think the Obama administration is going to have a tough time selling the idea of war in Syria to the American people. We just don’t want to get involved in someone else’s Civil War.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com