Making a Bad Situation Worse
Charles M. Blow
from yesterday's New York Times
Words that should be etched in granite, Mr. Blow. Now what the heck did I do with my chisel....
The Syrian military's use of chemical weapons on civilians, particularly innocent children, is despicable. But do you remember the humanitarian catastrophe that occurred when we toppled the Butcher of Baghdad? Was it worth it? And don't forget that Saddam remained an ally of ours for years after he gassed his own people in 1982. At least we can give President Obama a little bit of credit for human compassion. That sort of thing never bothered Ronald Reagan. Bashar al-Assad is a brute - no doubt about it - but as Mahatma Gandhi once observed, people like that eventually (and always) fall of their own weight.
While it's true that giving peace a chance is futile in a situation like the one in Syria, an attack on the Syrian military could result in collateral damage that will only inflame the Arab world. In case it's slipped your mind, we poll lower than athlete's foot in that region of the planet these days. Why throw gas on the fire?
Let's say we go in there and blast Assad and his entire government straight to the pit of hell:
QUESTION: What happens next?
ANSWER: We don't know.
This is not a good idea.
“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
– Barack Obama, December 20, 2007
He now claims that a president does indeed have such power (He got it right the first time) but that he's going to let the House of Reprehensibles decide this matter. That is what is known as an "easy way out". No matter what Obama does, the right wing would be screaming bloody murder. This is a way for him to avoid that situation. Clever. It will be interesting to see whether or not this congress - which has obstructed him on every matter for almost six years - gives him the green light. Still, it's a refreshing thing to see a president seeking congressional approval to declare war (however limited) for the first time in seventy-two years.
Isn't it ironic that we should be caught unaware when a president does something he is mandated by the Constitution to do? We surely do live in interesting times.
We'd be wise not to go down that road again either.
"In a case of poignant imagery that echoes the photo-op of Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein shaking hands, Kerry’s demonization of Assad seems awkward when viewed next to the photograph of him, and his lovely wife, having a quiet and cozy dinner with President Assad and his glamorous investment-banker wife in 2009."