Syria is President Obama’s Mess

I’m not saying that the Obama administration “trumped up” the chemical weapons charges in Syria for their own political purposes… but the war in Syria feels like it was supposed to be a “wag the dog” moment for the administration. It feels like someone in a White House strategy session said, “Hey! You know how we could get everyone to forget all these scandals? Let’s have a war!” Well, now Syria is President Obama’s mess.

On Tuesday night the President delivered a message that was supposed to… well I’m not sure what it was supposed to do. I thought it may be an attempt to build support for going to war against Syria, but then the President said he wanted Congress to delay a war vote. So maybe it was supposed to argue that war with Syria was unnecessary, but then the President said we needed to punish Assad and protect the innocent children. In fact, the only thing I’m really sure about is that the Obama administration has no idea what to do with Syria.

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Their attitude now seems to suggest that they never calculated that most Americans might be against going to war. It’s as if they assumed Americans would march happily to war simply because the President said they should! Now the President has a whole new scandal to deal with – the destruction of our foreign policy credibility and the bungling of the Syrian Civil War.

To see how lost the Obama administration is, one only had to watch his Syria speech. “The president, in the space of his 16-minute address, was often at odds with himself. He spent the first 12 minutes arguing for the merits of striking Syria — and then delivered the news that he was putting military action on hold.

He promised that it would be “a limited strike” without troops on the ground or a long air campaign, yet he argued that it was the sort of blow that “no other nation can deliver.” He argued that “we should not be the world’s policeman” while also saying that because of our “belief in freedom and dignity for all people,” we cannot “look the other way.” He asserted that what Bashar al-Assad did is “a danger to our security” while also saying that “the Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military.”

If anything, the speech just confused the media, Americans and pollsters. A CNN poll taken in the immediate aftermath of the speech said that 60% of respondents said “it was not in the national interests of the U.S. to be involved in the bloody two year old Syrian Civil War.” However, 61% also said “they support the president’s position on Syria.” I’m not exactly certain how it’s possible for the response to both of these answers to get 60%, but it seems that CNN is unsure as well. “The survey indicates that the speech didn’t move the needle very much on whether U.S. air strikes against Syria would achieve significant goals for the U.S.”

Add another scandal to the pile – it’s just another day for the Obama administration, as they mess up yet another important political endeavor.


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