What to say about this speech? I can start by noting that the opening paragraphs come about two years too late. The first half of the speech is the sort of address that Presidents make when they are telling the American people about something that the President has decided to do, to wit, to respond to an imminent threat to American interests, with the punchline being, "Air, land, and naval forces of the United States have begun a campaign to . . . "
Hear we have Obama speaking,
When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it. Because what happened to those people -- to those children -- is not only a violation of international law, it’s also a danger to our security.
If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction, and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran -- which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon, or to take a more peaceful path.
This is not a world we should accept. This is what’s at stake. And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.
That’s my judgment as Commander-in-Chief.Forget the logic employed and the lack of credible evidence so far presented. Let's take Obama at his word. Accept that Assad has used chemical weapons. Accept that this use presents a danger to US security. Accept, as he says later on, that as President he has the authority to strike Syria militarily.
OK, so what's he going to do? Will he man-up and act on his professed beliefs that the situation in Syria presents a danger to the US and that he has the authority to respond in a military manner to that threat? Will he act, then accept the consequences of his actions both in terms of domestic politics and international fall-out? Nope. Not at all. This is a man dedicated to avoiding consequences of principled actions. In essence, he will do nothing.
After all that war talk and macho chest beating, his "plan" is to . . . dither. He doesn't want Congress to vote right now: put it off; no hurry; I'll get back to you. The fact is he got completely outplayed by Putin, who seized on the stupidity of John "Gafemachine" Kerry, and managed simultaneously to put Obama in a box and offer him a way out of that box. Obama lies when he implies that he and Putin developed this proposal together some time back. The facts are quite different: Putin made the offer for some sort of international control or supervision of Syria's chemical weapons a couple of weeks ago, but it was flatly rejected by Obama. The proposal came back to life when Kerry, as the State Department has admitted, "misspoke" by giving Assad a week to give up his chemical weapons to avoid our "unbelievably small" attack. Putin pounced and made his offer anew, and got the Syrians to go along. The whole issue, in other words, the whole imminent threat and imperative to act charade has now been booted to some as yet undetermined international process, which will undoubtedly involve the UN Security Council--the same body essentially dismissed by Obama's Ambassador to the UN--and what could be virtually endless rounds of negotiating some text with no teeth. Obama is now sending Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart Lavrov; not a cheery thought. I know Lavrov, having clashed with him at the UN, and Kerry is no match for him.
Meanwhile, of course, Russia has enhanced its stature in the region and, as if to emphasize that it now considers itself at least the US's equal, has announced that it intends to sell Iran a new sophisticated SAM system and help it build a new nuclear reactor. There you go, President Obama. Another success for you right up there with Benghazi and "Fast and Furious."
Mr. Obama, you built this; the rest of us will pay the price for years to come.